Sylvia’s Story

IMG_3563 (1)Have you ever had a day where you just can’t shake “the funk”? That “funk” or sadness can take hold of us so quickly. It can take away more than just our joy, it can affect our long-term physical health too.

Sylvia found herself in a trap, battling both depression and diabetes. Sylvia’s doctor thought she didn’t care that her disease was going to kill her, but her culture had taught her not to question doctors. She didn’t fully understand the severity of her situation, and the doctor felt frustrated that she wasn’t getting the care she desperately needed.  The clinic was at its wits’ end and connected Sylvia with Alicia, our Clinical Community Health Worker, to see if she could get Sylvia to take her insulin.

The minute Alicia walked in Sylvia’s front door, she could see the hopelessness in Sylvia’s eyes. With a gentle, soft-spoken tone, Alicia explained to her the seriousness of her situation. Sylvia shared how lonely and isolated she felt. Sylvia hadn’t fully understood what the doctor was telling her; that she could lose her vision, limbs, and possibly her life, if she didn’t take her insulin.

Sylvia felt listened to, and she clearly understood the consequences if she didn’t care for herself. Thankfully, she began to take her life-saving insulin. As Sylvia’s health improved, her outlook improved too.

What if our Alicia hadn’t come when she did? Would Sylvia just be another diabetes statistic? Thanks to donors like you, who continue to water and fertilize our programs with hope, we can connect more people like Sylvia to the care they so desperately need. There is hope, where there was once despair.

Please give today and your donation will be matched!

Juan and Monika’s Story

dirty-hands-one-small-plantWhen your family is hurting, you hurt too. Their pain becomes your pain. That’s how Monika and Juan felt about their daughter, Tonya. When the family arrived in our community, they struggled—working three or more jobs just to make ends meet. With no place to live when they got here, they were in survival mode, focusing on providing the bare necessities for their children. Adjusting and fitting in to an unknown culture meant a new diet rich in fatty and processed foods.

Juan and Monika were no strangers to hard times and sacrificing for their children. But they now found themselves in a situation they didn’t know how to solve. Their change in diet and increased stress caused Tonya to become overweight. This caused medical issues for her and worry for her parents. She was referred to the local clinic to get help. The clinic suggested a nutrition class offered by The Next Door, where the family was taught what healthy foods look like in this strange new country.

They had a glimmer of hope, but the problem persisted. It takes time to develop healthy habits, and access to fruits and veggies is expensive. A small plot of land became available through The Next Door’s Raices garden program. Even though Juan knew how to grow plants, like he did as a young boy with his father in Mexico, he had to learn all over again. Different soil meant different plants.

Cucumbers, zucchini, and watermelon seedlings began to sprout. The family started eating healthy, nutritious foods. Another plot became available, and Juan planted and grew more fresh foods for his family. Their kitchen table began to radiate color; greens, reds, and oranges. Many hungry stomachs ate it all. It became a new way of life for them. Tonya’s weight came under control, she started to prefer veggies and fruit above all other food choices and most importantly her stress level decreased immensely. Now, Tonya teaches others to eat their veggies too!

Sometimes hope comes in strange packages; like dirt, seeds, and hard work. Will you help us plant more seeds of hope that bloom into beautiful blossoms, just like Tonya?

Please donate today and your generous contribution will be matched!

Meet Trudy

girl-hands-in-hair-YOWHigh school is hard enough, can you imagine taking a strenuous math test after a restless night of sleeping on a friend’s couch because your home feels unsafe? Meet Trudy—a determined, alone, and unsupported teenager.

Trudy doesn’t like to go home after school, because she may find her parents on drug binges that last for days. She relies on the generosity of her friends and their couches to feel safe. Her clothes are worn thin and there are times she goes hungry. Frequently she feels overwhelmed and depressed about her circumstances. She carries the world on her shoulders, what child should have to do that?

She’s a hard worker, holding down a job and going to school so that she can provide for herself. She’s fearful and doesn’t trust many people because of all the uncertainty she faces in her home life. But she’s resilient, and in her heart, she desperately wants to break this cycle of substance abuse. Recently, she was referred to our Youth Outreach Worker who works at the high school, and she has started sharing more about her suffering.

How many kids do we drive by at the bus stop, who are suffering just like Trudy? Without your support, our Youth Outreach Worker wouldn’t have been able to uncover the tough barriers Trudy is facing, so that she and others like her, can reach their full potential!

You can be the sunshine that helps seedlings, like Trudy, grow strong roots—and grow into beautiful blossoms. Please donate today and your donation will be matched!

Greta’s Story

dealing-two-babies-pregnant Some days we look good on the outside, but on the inside we feel sad and afraid. Greta feels like this every day. Living in The Dalles with her three children and her husband in a decent little house, you would never know that her heart aches that she’s having another baby boy. She’s afraid that her husband will reject the baby, because he didn’t want another one. She’s afraid the cycle of pain that she experienced as a child won’t be broken.

Growing up, Greta was beaten with a rope because she was a girl. To protect her, her mother sent her away to live at her aunt’s house. Feelings of rejection and abandonment continued to brew in her heart. Her painful past haunts her. She can’t sleep and she’s anxious about having another baby—it overwhelms her. As a parent, can you imagine that kind of pain and shame?

One of our highly-trained Family Services support staff met with Greta recently at a Welcome Baby Visit, and through a flood of tears, she shared her traumatic story for the first time. She felt relieved to be heard and understood. Her heart’s desire is to break the family cycle of pain and abuse, and give her children a better childhood than she had.

How easy is it to overlook someone like Greta, a person who appears to have it “all”, a married mom of three with another baby on the way? Without a visit from our caring family support person, she may have continued trying to hold it all together on the outside, while suffering so deeply from unresolved trauma on the inside.

Will you help us help others, like Greta, to flourish and bloom into the beautiful flowers that they are meant to be? Please consider a donation today, which will be matched—it will change not just one life, but the lives of an entire family.

RWJF Culture of Health Prize Celebration

Inclement Weather Update

Our office in Hood River will be opening at 10am on Thursday February 9, due to inclement weather. The Dalles office will be open at the normal time.

Tax-deductible donations

YOUR end of the year gift  is a gift of hope, that has the power to transform lives. We rely on your support to make our programs possible. Please consider helping your neighbors Donate today! 

New Job Openings

Take a look at our new job postings.

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Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize

 

 

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will honor the Columbia Gorge Region, Oregon & Washington at its RWJF Culture of Health Prize National Celebration and Learning Event taking place at its headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. The Columbia Gorge sent a delegation of six representatives to the event, two of whom will participate in a luncheon ceremony discussion about their efforts to ensure the region’s residents thrive.

The Prize honors communities for their efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Chosen from nearly 200 communities across the country, the Columbia Gorge’s selection stems from its success in bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health, drawing especially on the wisdom, voice, and experience of residents. The Columbia Gorge region is one of seven communities awarded the Prize in 2016. There are nearly 30 trailblazing communities throughout the nation that have been honored with this distinguished award.