Hello everyone! Wintertime in Iowa seems never ending! The weather has been rough on MICA families, employees and volunteers. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and I can’t wait to write my last report and talk about the summer! I am really excited about seeing a green and beautiful Grinnell!
Families we served
Recently two of my co-workers compiled information about the families we served in the month of January and in the year 2009. Here are some fun numbers I thought you might enjoy!
-Month of January
- 10 households received services for a Utility Crisis*
- 96 households accessed our Food Pantry
- 65 households applied for our energy/heat assistance program (LIHEAP)
*Anyone who has a disconnect notice from their heating vendor or who is running extremely low on propane
-January1, 2009- December 31, 2009
- 146 households received services for a Utility Crisis
- 1,467 households accessed our Food Pantry
- 840 households applied for LIHEAP
-Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Last year by February we had processed 512 LIHEAP applications. This year we have processed 592 applications compared to the same time last year.
Grinnell Chamber of Commerce
During this last quarter I attended a very fun and exciting event, The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to recognize business leaders and award them for their accomplishments in 2009. It was nice to meet and mingle with business owners in the community. In general, I enjoyed learning more about the role of the Chamber and about Chamber members (local business owners). I never knew the Chamber played an important role in this community.
The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce works very hard to promote local businesses and bring the community together at the same time. For instance, the Chamber holds various events throughout the year to help businesses gain exposure in Grinnell. Interestingly, these events also allow families to come together and actively engage in their communities. The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce holds or participates in community events such as: the Farmer’s Market, Family Weekend at Grinnell College, Grinnell College Alumni Weekend, 4th of July Parade, Homecoming Parade, Music in the Park, First Friday Fest (the summer block parties I talked about in my first report) and many more. Additionally, the Chamber holds mixers on the first Friday of every month to allow networking to take place between Chamber members and to collect canned goods for our food pantry! Overall, I believe the Chamber is doing a great job in the community. With the help of the Chamber and motivated business individuals Grinnell is slowly becoming a more visible and prosperous small town!
Learning about community resources
One of my favorite parts about working at MICA is learning about new resources available in the community! I have recently discovered that there are parenting classes available twice a month from 6-7:30pm at the Drake Library. I have attended two of these classes and I think they are absolutely wonderful! These classes are led by two mental health professionals that organize for speakers to present during class sessions. Guest speakers present on a wide range of topics involving discipline, safety, community resources, family activities, etc. Essentially, the purpose of the classes is to provide parents/guardians with the skills necessary to expand their parenting knowledge and for parents/guardians who attend to serve as a support group for one another. Some of the perks about attending the classes are free supper, childcare and gifts. Parents/guardians who attend classes receive free childcare during the class session, gifts that relate to the class topic, and $20 in Grinnell Bucks. This is definitely a fantastic resource available in the community that I am happy I learned more about. The main reason I attended this class was because I wanted to feel comfortable referring families there. I wanted to provide information for families about my first-hand experience with the class.
One of my other responsibilities at MICA is to train and oversee volunteers. Volunteer applications and background checks get processed in our central office in Marshalltown, so I have anxiously been waiting for our individuals to get approved. After a long wait, I am very happy to announce that we currently have seven volunteers working at MICA!! They are all amazing individuals who I look forward to getting to know throughout the rest of my time here. All of our volunteers are very enthusiastic, friendly, generous and hard working. We are very fortunate to have so many awesome volunteers who are willing to spend some of their free time giving back to their community. It is absolutely amazing to have them around! Our pantry looks so much neater now that there is someone stocking food regularly and weighing/sorting donations. Additionally, it is very nice to have another friendly face in the office. I really do not know what we would do without our volunteers!
Plans after Grinnell
Everyone keeps asking me what I am going to do after completing my fellowship and I finally have an answer. I have decided to move to Chicago! I am currently seeking employment in the Windy City and I am hoping to find a job before moving there. However, if I do not find employment I still plan on making the big move! Fortunately, I have been saving money and living on a tight budget since I began my fellowship, so I can definitely make this happen. I am really excited about moving in with my best friend and living in the city again!! Surprisingly, I am also excited about interviewing for a new job! I think I am ready to show the world everything I have to offer in the workforce!
During these last couple months I have discovered that job hunting is exciting, yet very overwhelming. I keep finding postings for wonderful positions in my field of interest, Student Affairs and Social Work, however most places are looking to hire someone as soon as possible. As of now I am content with knowing that I am making an effort to find employment and I am trying to stay as optimistic as possible during my searches. At least job hunting has exposed me to different search engines and networking techniques. I feel like a few months ago I was completely clueless on where and how to start. Whereas now, I am more relaxed and efficient about how I do my searches.
Well, that is all I have for this quarterly report. Thanks for reading! Until next time!!! I am looking forward to writing my last report! Feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have at email@example.com.