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What's New at KidsPeace

News and Notes from KidsPeace

Please Volunteer for the Soccer Tournament!

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On August 22 and 23, KidsPeace will be holding its 12th Annual Soccer Invitational on the Orchard Hills Campus and a few auxiliary fields. We have 90 teams signed up to play, but we have very few volunteers to make sure that the weekend runs smoothly. There are so many things to do from directing traffic and parking, selling tee shirts and food and drinks, giving visitors information and directions, preparing the fields between games, and many other tasks that can be assigned to adults and older children. If you know adult or teen community members who would like to volunteer and get to watch some great soccer, please pass this request on to them as well. To learn more about how you can help, please call Kelly Fritzinger at 610-799-7495.

Sporting Clays Fundraiser September 25, 2009, at LV Sporting Clays

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Enjoy a great day of outdoor competition and a chance to show off your marksmanship skills. KidsPeace will be holding a sporting clays fundraiser at Lehigh Valley  Sporting Clays in Coplay, PA, on September 25, 2009. The proceeds of this event will go directly to the KidsPeace Children's Fund to provide resources for children receiving services from the various KidsPeace sites. Register with friends or through your company and please consider a corporate sponsorship for your team. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. and includes a barbecue after the competition. The deadline for registration is September 15, but register by August 15 and receive a 10% discount. For more information on this fun day, call Colleen Kulp at 610-799-7906. Download the event brochure by clicking here.

A Concert for KidsPeace

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The Axis Young Adult Ministry will be holding a concert to benefit KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs in Wayne County, PA, on Sunday, August 2, 2009. The concert will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end at 10:00 p.m. and be held in the auditorium of Grace Episcopal Church, 827 Church Street, Honesdale, PA, 18431. Featured performers include Cabinet, Dealer in Wares and Last Remnants, local Bluegrass, Clasic Rock and Blues bands. Coffee will be donated by Bean's Roasting House and Cafe, and there will be a bake sale that will also benefit KidsPeace. Tickets are $6 per person, $5 if a canned good is donated. For more informatioln, email KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs is grateful to the Axis Young Adult Ministry for improving the lives of foster children in Wayne County.

Remember, National KidsDay is August 2

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National KidsDay is an opportunity to plan a special day with the children in your life.  August 2nd is the first Sunday in August and the day designated by Congress to recognize the importance of spending time with children -- your sons and daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, friends' children or any child you can make feel important and special. KidsPeace created this day to recognize and celebrate the importance of the children in our lives and their need for positive time with caring adults. Tell us how you celebrated this year by writing a comment and forwarding it to KidsPeace.

Letter from KidsPeace CEO regarding the Fire

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Dear Friends of KidsPeace

I am writing to inform you of a fire we had early Thursday morning at our Pioneer Center building in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Let me assure you that there were no injuries and all children and KidsPeace associates were evacuated quickly and calmly. The fire, which began at around 3:00 a.m., was contained in an administrative section of the building and never threatened the children who were on site. The local fire departments responded rapidly and had the fire under control within 2 hours. These dedicated volunteer fire fighters remained on the scene for several hours to ensure that the fire was completely out and the building secured.
We are extremely proud of the KidsPeace associates who acted according to protocols and removed the children from the premises in an orderly, rapid manner. The 25 children were immediately transported to the Therapeutic Education Center on our Orchard Hills Campus and beds were made ready for them so that they could get back to sleep after this incident. We are preparing two residential houses on the Orchard Hills campus for these young men, and they should be able to move in very soon. Counselors are available to talk to the children about the incident and to provide whatever support they require to deal with this event.
The extent of damage to the building has not yet been determined, and the fire marshal is investigating to find the cause, which is believed to be an electrical issue in the administrative section of the building.  Safety is the number one element of the KidsPeace Model of Care, and this incident demonstrates that we take the safety of our children and associates very seriously. All of the children at KidsPeace are safe, unharmed and participating in their daily summer counseling sessions and activities.
We want to extend a special thank you to all of the local businesses, referral sources, community members and religious organizations that have reached out to offer support and assistance to our organization.  We truly appreciate each and every overture and we are thankful to have such an extended network of support to help us as we help those in our care.

Yours Truly,

Will Isemann
President and CEO

KidsPeace 12th Annual Soccer Tournament Registration Extended

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The KidsPeace 12th annual Soccer Tournament is extending the registration deadline to July 24, 2009. Many coaches have contacted us saying that they have been on vacation and couldn't make the registration deadline. The tournament will be held on the Orchard Hills Campus of KidsPeace in Orefield, PA, on August 22 and 23. Each team is guaranteed 3 games, and the tournament is open to girls and boys from U-9 to U-15 and girls U-9 - U-17. Click here for registration information, or call Jennelle Perich at 610-799-8493.

 Please note that  volunteering at this tournament is considered a community service, which youth can use for scouting, churches or other service organizations. For more information on volunteering, please call Kelly Fritzinger at 610-799-7495.

KidsPeace Praised for Family Group Decision Making

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Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) is a process by which families participate in planning the best course of action for their children during a comprehensive meeting that is facilitated by a caseworker. Jennifer Cox is the KidsPeace Family Group Conferencing Coordinator and Facilitator in Duncansville, PA, who directs these meeting for families in Blair County. Following the assumption that families know their children the best and are therefore best suited to set and attain goals with their children, county agencies refer families with at-risk children to participate in FGDM.  The meeting includes the child, family members, caseworkers and other adults who care about the child and are committed to finding the best solutions to address concerns; thereby, maintaining the child safely in his or her home.  The family, along with professionals, provides information (Strengths and Concerns) throughout the first part of the meeting, but the family group meets in private to actually develop the plan of action and gain commitment from all attendees to follow through and ensure success of the plan.

KidsPeace in Duncansville has been extremely successful with FGDM, and hopes to be expanding the program to other counties.  Recently, Director of the Family Unity Project Jim Nice, who has introduced FGDM to 33 states, visited the Blair County Implementation team and met with Judge Jolene Kopriva, county workers, and KidsPeace Family Group Conferencing Coordinator/Facilitator Jennifer Cox. After the group meeting, Mr. Nice, who has co-authored two books on the subject, sat in on an actual FGDM meeting conducted by KidsPeace.

Mr. Nice wrote a report following his day with the KidsPeace facilitated FGDM meeting and had kind words for Jennifer and the KidsPeace approach:

I had the honor of being invited to observe a Blair County family conference. It was held at the Valley View Park in Altoona on Saturday afternoon, June 27. Jennifer Cox had worked with a young woman living at a treatment center, who was transitioning from high school into college, emancipating into adulthood, away from her family and needing help, support and friendship. She invited those close to her and her family. Her father, who had not been in her life since she was a child, responded positively as did her friends.  Her maternal family did not participate, related to issues involved with her being in treatment. She decided to have a conference with those that would participate. She chose the park on a beautiful early summer day.

She needed help. Blair County helped her do FGDM, careful that she understood the process, was free to decide to move forward with it, and prepare her and all those invited for the event. Her father came early and spent some time with her. They all gathered at the reserved park pavilion. Jennifer and Shari McConnell (of KidsPeace) had arrived early and prepared the pavilion for the conference and provided refreshments. I admired their flexibility, patience and respect and that of her county caseworker, Melissa Stump.  They were helpful through every step of the conference. Some guests arrived late. The family decided when to wait, when to start. The noise and the wind made things clumsy, but they did it very well. 

After the strengths and concerns were listened to and recorded in phase one, those of us who were not in the family group retired under a tree on a nearby hillside. When we were called back to listen to their plan, Jennifer and Shari carefully learned what had been decided, with close attention to details, before asking Melissa for the agency support. She was careful to understand the plan. She gladly gave agreement and support to what had been decided. Attention was paid to a follow-up to assure the plans were working.

There was clearly sadness that often goes with major changes in life, especially in troubled and difficult times.  I also sensed in this young woman some hope and reassurance from having people who love and care for her gather around to help.  As I left that night, I admired the county, Jennifer, Shari, Melissa, and those who work with her at the center, for helping her a gather those who love her, to help her through these times.

These words of praise are especially precious since Mr. Nice is considered to be the person who introduced FGDM to the child welfare system. He has been a teacher, CPS caseworker, family therapist and parenting educator, as well as a consultant to the Child Welfare League of America, National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges, University of Iowa, University of Washington, University of California, Davis, Iowa State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He lives in rural Polk County in Oregon and worked for Oregon’s Children’s Services from 1981 to 1994.

Thanks to KidsPeace’s success in Duncansville, we have been awarded a contract to provide FGDM in Schuylkill County.  We hope to eventually grow our programming to many other counties in PA and eventually to other states that provide funding for this type of initiative, which focuses on family strengths, keeps families together and gives them the tools to address concerns and make home a safer, more empowering environment for all family members.

8th Annual KidsPeace Toy Run

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Please join us for the 8th Annual KidsPeace Toy Run. Sponsored by the Independent Bikers of Pennsylvania

Sunday, July 19, 2009 (Rain or shine)

Leaves at 12 p.m. (Noon). Registration starts at 10 a.m. from Werry's Pub to KidsPeace in Orefield, PA. There will be live music, food, pavillion and pool for kids, auction, raffles and more at Werry's Pub.

$15 donation. Kids 12 and under, $2.50. Donations of new toys, clothes, videos, etc., for children 10-18 years old are appreciated and needed.

Directions to Werry's Pub: I-80 to Exit 309 (old 52), follow Rte. 209 North for 4 miles. Make right approx. 1 1/4 miles. Werry's Pub is on the left after fleamarket.

Contact Owen for more information at 570-223-9934 or 917-488-3957.

KidsPeace Soccer Invitational Registration Deadline Drawing Near

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The 12th Annual KidsPeace Soccer Invitational will be held on August 22 and 23, 2009. The registration deadline is drawing near, so teams are encouraged to sign up today to ensure a spot on the roster. We are accepting U11 teams in both 8v8 and 11v11 format, and we are also offering a $25 discount per team if 5 teams or more from the same club register for this great weekend. Remember that all teams are guaranteed 3 games, more if they reach the finals. There will be family activities and camping available on our beautiful campus. For more information, call Jenelle Perich at 610-799-8493.

Words of Praise for Mesabi Academy

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This letter was passed along by Program Manager Lance Edminister of KidsPeace Mesabi Academy in Buhl, Minnesota. They young man wanted it to go to the "person in charge" and was very sincere in his desire to have this associate receive recognition of  his great work with the kids.

Vice President of Mesabi Academy:

I have somewhat of an unexpected request. My one on one (Mr. Lenzen) has done a remarkable job since I have been here. I cannot explain how well he does at his job. However, I can say that he is a big part of why I am so successful in my treatment. The people who work on our unit are the people who change lives. I could not have done this without Mr. Lenzen. I do not know you, so I do not how supportive you will be of this letter. But I made a decision that if I am being recognized for my work, then he should be too. He is a great staff and a great person. I am not sure how he can be recognized, but I hope you will possibly find some way to do so. Thank you for reading my letter.



*Name changed to protect privacy


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