Thursday, February 14, 2008
Beginnings Octagon renovations
To date, through a combination of fundraising efforts, the Beginnings team has already raised more than $48,000. The projected budget outlines phase one (kitchen expansion and ADA-compliant bathroom) at $185,000, phase two (meeting room, office expansion) at $78,000, and phase three (roof repair, window upgrades, bathroom renovation, etc.) at $37,000.
If you do the math, you can see that despite the money already raised, the project is going to require about $250,000 more for completion. That money is accumulated through community offerings and fundraisers. “Gifting opportunities” range from “Friend” at $20-$900; “Contributor” at $1,000; “Family” at $2,000-$4,000; “Supporter” at $5,000-$9,000; “Sponsor” at $10,000-$29,000; and “Benefactor” for those who contribute $30,000 or more. Gifts of $1,000 will be greatly treasured and the donor will be designated a lifetime member. In addition, as a small gesture of appreciation, Beginnings will be tiling the foyer walls with a commemorative tile displaying each donor’s name.
The article doesn't provide an address to which to send money, but they're in the phone book.
Beginnings Kicks Off Ambitious Capital Campaign
Community Center, School Look To Next 30 Years
After three decades of service to Southern Humboldt residents, a beloved community center, school, and gathering place is looking to make much-needed improvements, and has kicked off an ambitious fundraising campaign to meet that goal.
Set on 85 acres in an idyllic vale in Briceland, Beginnings Community Center began as a Montessori school in Garberville in 1973, with the property being purchased in 1976 and groundbreaking on the Octagon taking place in 1977. Now, Beginnings is comprised of both preschool and elementary school programs, the Children’s House and Skyfish School; the Yin Yang Pavilion, a martial-arts Dojo; the Beginnings Volunteer Fire Dept., now the largest in Southern Humboldt; and the beloved Octagon, which has been the site of numerous events, from weddings and memorials to fundraisers and dance classes.
Having been well used for thirty years, the Octagon is overdue for an overhaul, the first phase of which will involve building a new kitchen and adding an ADA-compliant restroom. “The existing kitchen is much too small for our many needs,” said Rupda Leserer-Lambley, a board member and Skyfish parent. Leserer-Lambley and Chestine Anderson – a board member who recently retired from teaching after 26 years – explained that a roomy, modern kitchen will be added to the northeast corner of the building, and the existing kitchen area will be converted into an ADA restroom and storage space.
The kitchen is used four days a week for nutritious, homemade lunches for the students, which number about 20 in the preschool program and 45 in the elementary. Additionally, it’s heavily utilized for special events, and its users are stymied by both lack of space and lack of a dishwasher. The new kitchen will incorporate both, and will be constructed to industrial standards; that way, people wishing to rent it for business purposes may do so, and the possibility of adding programs such as regular community lunches will be opened as well.
“It really is a community meeting place,” Leserer-Lambley continued, naming the numerous uses of the Octagon: in addition to providing the kitchen and teaching space for children four days a week, the building also hosts African dance, capoeira, and yoga classes, as well as smaller musical events, annual fundraisers for groups such as Sanctuary Forest, and community events such as weddings. Perennial celebrations include the Children’s Winter Faire, held since 1987, the Spring Plant and Trade Fair, and now, a Mother’s Day Brunch too. Additionally, Beginnings serves the pivotal role of being the area’s Red Cross Disaster Relief Center.
The services provided by the organization, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, go far beyond providing a physical space for activities, though. The group serves as an umbrella for many community services, most notably the Beginnings VFD, which responded to its first call in 1978. Workgroups such as Nick’s Interns – now incorporated as a non-profit – began there, and the Institute For Sustainable Forestry was created there. Beginnings has also fostered a number of learning programs, such as the Briceland Learning Center, and has sponsored groups such as the Friends of South Fork Earth Club.
A dedicated staff ensures that the day-to-day operations of the community center are run smoothly, including Executive Director Peter Ryce, Administrative Assistant Mary Giardino, Food & Nutrition Program Administrator Aleida Rios, and bookkeeper Bobbie Todd. The office space was originally built for just one or two people, though – so the second phase of the renovation project will involve expanding the existing office considerably, and converting a room currently used for dry storage into a meeting room.
In addition to its staff, Beginnings has benefited heavily from community support, in the form of volunteering, board service, and donations. “We cook every day from scratch,” Anderson said, “and most of that is organic food. In addition to what we purchase, we receive donations from parents, from the Community Park, and from local grocers, like Ray’s.” An annual membership fee costs only $5, but as part of its capital-campaign drive, the group hopes to add more lifetime members as well. Lifetime members – of which there are currently 41 – are people who have made a contribution of $1,000 or more.
The Beginnings Board of Directors officially introduced its renovation plan to the members at a Feb. 2 membership meeting. Next up for the group will be a public-relations campaign that includes coverage in local media, followed by the distribution of 1,000 leaflets and a local mailer detailing the project; local designer John Angus donated all the graphics services for the latter.
The total budget for the project is $279,000, of which $165,000 will be invested into Phase One (kitchen expansion and ADA-compliant bathroom). Of that amount, $50,000 has been raised already, from fundraisers, small grants, and board donations. Groundbreaking on the project is slated for the end of May. Phase Two will consist of expanding the office and building the meeting room, and Phrase Three will include renovation of the existing bathroom, roof repair, and window upgrades.
“What we’d like people to think about,” Leserer-Lambley concluded, “is what Beginnings means to them – how many times they’ve been here, and what their favorite memories here are.”
For more information about Beginnings and the capital campaign, call 923-3617. To contribute to the campaign, mail your pledge to Beginnings Inc., P.O. Box 190, Redway, Calif., 95560.
And it is sad to me to see yet another SoHum community cooperative effort become essentially privatized as a non-profit life-long job for one individual-with the corresponding vision of that one person dictating how Beginnings has developed. Certainly it's not all bad as is the case with the MCC and PB and Carol and then there's the ex-Mateel Community Credit Union--also a community job secure system for a handful of local individuals--i.e., essentially privatized. Like EPIC too..
With no turn-around in personnel one can expect the same ol' same ol' which is good while it lasts but it never lasts, does it.
Have you been told lately that you are an asshole? Well just in case, YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE!!!
While I don’t agree with everything that Peter Ryce does, Beginnings is much more than his vision. Without Peter Ryce, Beginnings would not have lasted this long and have a great future ahead of it. Peter Ryce and Beginnings have contributed so much more to this community than you can even comprehend.
Did I say you are an asshole Stevie Lewis??
The thing is, these are supposedly democratically run community based orgs that for all intents and purposes end up as life-long jobs for a single individual. Where is the community''s input and say over the years if one man runs the show year after year? You get a single vision without natural changes that would occur if the community was really involved and had a say in programs of the organization it has sponsored.
But you seem to have compared Beginnings to the MCC and to every other organization that the “hippy”/progressive? culture has created or whatever. In the way you are comparing them you could not have been more wrong. While Peter Ryce has run Beginnings all these years, and a pretty damn good job he has done, the MCC has been run by more than a handful of people over the years. In fact it seems that more often than not the MCC has been run by more than one person at any given time. Your last comment in relation the previous comment and the comment before that do not fit together. They are in conflict. In fact they point to one fucked up individual. You. You hate everything and everybody. No news there.
By the way, what is it exactly you do not like about Beginnings and what they do?
Maybe if teaching came from more variety or even straight culture, the kids would have done better than what we see and read in the newpapers too many times.
Beginnings can be as good or bad as you make it. Pretty much like any other school. Also Beginnings is a lot more than just the school too. That’s the main thing.
My daughter, on the other hand, couldn't live without the social construct and organized sports of public school. So there.
You may think it's funny that too many SoHum kids have committed suicide but it's not funny. It's not a joking matter but a serious condemnation of SoHum socialization of kids. Do I have to spell out the gross materialism to you as well or can you see the kids in their brand new SUVs racing past you on the way to Shelter Cove?
Too true, too true. My own daughter was passed through the bulk of her primary education in a rural private school without ever getting a handle on reading. She is dyslexic, and there was little awareness, screening or services available for those students. Evidently the problem still exists. Many teachers ignore it. They let learning disabled and worse yet, emotionally twisted students, just coast without any intervention. It is sad. It wasn't until she was under the private, one on one tutelage, from an extremely gifted teacher that she gained the skills that would serve her into her adulthood. Due to ignorance of learning disabilities, combined classrooms 2-3-4th grade together etc. and 'teacher burn-out' so common in these rural schools, many kids have gaps in their learning that affect them every day. Oh, if I had it to do over...
Or do you seriously think that has nothing to do with Sky Fish or Beginnings? Nothing to do with kids of dope growers, the same folks Beginnings and Sky Fish have relied on for years to fund Peter's school?
There are plenty of kids who go to Skyfish who cannot afford it and do not pay. No school is perfect for everybody. Your weed reference is gratuitous bullshit.
Gawdamighty, it will be a great day when SoHum narcissism bites the dust with reality feedback finally getting through the "we've arrived-you haven't" holier-than-thou attitude that SoHum reeks of.
Oh, and what a piggish thing to say about Skyfish: MY kids did fine, but others' kids..... If your kids did fine, it was certainly no thanks to YOUR parenting. I am very familiar with their struggles as teenagers and glad that they seem to be happy and functional now, but I don't see them as proof of your good parenting overcoming Peter Ryce's bad education.
Look up "narcissist," Stephen. It may be a relief to learn that the whole world doesn't revolve around you -- you're just suffering from a personality defect. Give yourself a rest.
And while this might seem like a minor point, I believe the school lunches make a huge difference in school performance. Angie and company cook terrific healthy meals every day. The mandates for school lunches in public schools which were weakened back during the Reagan administration leave much to be desired. Yes, we can provide our own lunches, but don't underestimate the power of a good hot meal in a kid's well-being at school.
That's not to knock the local public schools. They have some excellent teachers. But Skyfish is what is right for my son at this particular time.
This is the problem I see with community organization taken over by one or a handful of individuals to create essentially a private business operation that uses community funds to operate.
As for my own kids experiences at Sky Fish and SoHum in general, I think the fact that both of my kids have abandoned SoHum hippie life speaks for itself. The lifestyle packaged and taught in SoHum alternative community isn't any one any parent in their right mind should be proud of. Just look at the statistics of what has happened to our kids. But keep looking the other way and label any social critic anyway you want. It's your community.
Actually, talk with the poor who have had accounts at the CCU vs. say Umpqua. Umpqua service wins out in the SoHum people I know and they are counterculture. But don't take my word for it. Ask around.
And so what if the CCU has long-term employees. Many employeers are thrilled to have people who stick around, because they have EXPERIENCE and usually provide better service having tenured employees. Maybe the CCU doesn't have yound people climbing the corporate ladder because it's not a corportation of 100's where people move around from office to office- there's only one- not much place to go.
Besides, employee turn around is a huge problem for employeers. Also, duh- not a lot of places for young people to work-because there's not a lot of buisnesses- how many do you honestly think this town can support? Also- Dazey's, Redway Feed, Shop Smart ,and many other establishments have lots of young people turn around.
I consider myself a liberal, but not a hippie- whatever that is supposed to mean anymore. I've lived here for over 16 years and honestly, I don't see much of a "hippie" community anymore. I do see a lot of hard working people that want a better life for their children that isn't embroiled in the America Mainstream mentality. Whether or not we can achieve that is another question. Of course there is a lot of other types here as well- as there are all over the COUNTY. (I grew up in Eureka- do you think that SOHum is the only place that has problems with their youth? -Please)
As for education- private or not- parents have to be involved and take responsibility for their education. Teachers can do only so much with the limited resources they have. I know- I grew up with two public school teachers as parents. Both types of schools have their issues. This "no-child left behind" program is crap-all the vetran school treachers I know can't stand what it is doing to the eduacation system. When I wsa a kid, California was #3 in the nation on spending per child. We're now 47th. Gee, no wonder the schools are failing our kids and parents are looking for alternatives.
SoHum does have issues with our children that have to be addressed. I'm doing it by being a postive role model. Stephen's comments are nothing more than his hatred towards this community. If you don't like it so much, then please leave it alone. You're not helpful or positive. So judgemental. Why do you insist on inflicting us all with your constant spu and assult on people that you don't even know?
Social critique is what I do. It is part and parcel of social change activism. If I was happy and content with the status quo, I wouldn't be actively trying to change it, would I? Are you happy with the status quo? Well then, why condemn me with this again blanket lie, that criticism automatically means I "hate" something or somebody.
I know you SoHummers never want to hear feed back that the glorious counterculture lifestyle and political value system is flawed but that's reality and you'll just have to deal with it. Calling me names for pointing out what's not working with existing counterculture institutions does nothing to solve the problems that these institutions are not addressing--such as the pull of mainstream socialization and consumerism on counterculture kids in SoHum and the reasons for the scary number of suicides by young people in SoHum, the drunken kids in car wrecks, and the lack of opportunity in SoHum for legal work for existing kids. It's terrible that local kids have virtually nothing but pot growing to look forward to as a career in SoHum. What has happened to the community vision? You cannot have community self-sufficiency or continuity for that matter with no work available for younger generations.
But the school thing. Most of the children wearing honor chords at SF graduations ten years ago came from the alternative schools. Many of their parents were also teachers one place or another.
However I'm not convinced our teenage suicide rate is higher than the nation's. We do have more children feeling entitled to the MTV life style that kids living in other places don't. But they wish they could so of course our kids embrace it, whether you encourage them or not. For a time. That parent thing is still important.
I have been to many school functions in my life and I have never been to one that served alchol like they do there...game areas for kids and a bar for the parents....I'd like to be watching the drives home on those roads from one of those parties.
I guess the family that parties together stays together is the motto there.
Lets talk about unqualified teachers teaching your children that attend school there, I know of at least one that has had only one year of community college and has no teaching certificates what-so-ever and claims to have taught there and at Salmon Creek Elementary school, or is Peter Ryce and his friends at Salmon Creek just covering for her too so that she can continue to receive welfare benefits from the state while making at least 10K a month growing pot. Give me a break people....counter culture my ass....welfare mothers with 12 year olds that have thousands of dollars worth of electronic toys..
You'd have to be brain dead to no know what the hell is really going on there and at Whale Gulch....training kids and inducting them into the dope growing cult that is SO FUCKING HUM..............
No one gives a shit about those kids they are all about making money and hiding the abuse and neglect of these children to keep those dope growing dollars rolling in.
I have recently created a social site where you can join if you like: http://powerofrespect.ning.com
I am launching a course on the Power of Respect. I intend to finish the first module this weekend.
My first efforts with this is to find non-profits that deal with foster parents and find donors to donate the money to the non-profit so they can pay for the course for their people.
I send best wishes to beautiful southern humboldt. I visited briefly last year and was blown away with the lush beauty of the place. Maybe because I now live in Las Vegas where the beauty of the surrounding mountains is stark in line and form and color, by comparison, where you live is luscious.
I wish everyone a joy-filled life.
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