News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Stars program receives funding

100 Women Who Care-Sisters recently raised $8,400 for Age Friendly Sisters Country/Sisters Transportation and Ride Share, the ride share services staffed by volunteers in our community. The fundraising was conducted at the group's June 27 quarterly meeting; the checks were presented to STARS on Saturday, June 29.

Members of 100 WWC-Sisters, which now numbers over 100 members, chose STARS after presentations by the three nominated nonprofits, all of which represent Sisters' caring, giving community.

STARS executive director Rennie Morrell said, "Community support is very important to STARS sustainability and 100WWC gave me the opportunity to share our story and needs with compassionate people. STARS volunteers and passengers are grateful for the support and appreciate the help with spreading the word about how vital STARS is to Sisters."

Morrell explained that STARS serves people in the community who need rides to and from non-emergency medical appointments. With an annual budget of $25,000, each round-trip costs STARS $43, or $1,075 for every 25 rides, with expenses for fuel costs, licensing fees, and background checks.

There are currently 183 Sisters residents enrolled in STARS, with 42 trained drivers and eight dispatchers to serve them. Last year, STARS provided 573 round trip rides to Bend, Redmond, and Sisters for a total of 25,000 miles, representing 6,500 volunteer hours for the year. This year there has been a 44 percent increase in demand with a 95 percent completion rate.

After being an AFSC Action Team since 2017, STARS has filed to become an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. STARS receives funding for their program from grants, foundations like the Roundhouse Foundation, and donations. Passengers are never charged for the rides but can make a donation if they wish.

Call 541-904-5545 on Tuesday or Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to schedule a ride. Apply to volunteer at starsride.org.

The other two organizations nominated for funding consideration were Citizens4Community and Outlaw Boosters.

C4C executive director Kellen Klein explained C4C is a nonprofit that fosters a connected community in Sisters Country by encouraging civility, collaboration, and civic engagement. They aim to help everyone to thrive and feel they belong. A priority is to reach those who are socially isolated and/or underrepresented in community decisions.

Founded in 2016, they now have a full-time executive director, one part-time contractor, and seven board members who contribute over 500 hours per year. Hundreds of people attend events sponsored by C4C: Community Forums, Let's Get Together! Series, and this year's Sisters 4th Fest. Their programs include Civic Leadership Academy, Momentum grants, and Graduates Banner Project. C4C weaves people together with their Community Builders monthly meetings, Sisters Vision facilitation, and maintaining a community website and database.

C4C is designing new programming for underserved populations (e.g., youth, Latinos). They also offer resources and initiatives that enable greater citizen engagement and belonging (e.g., a volunteer board linking people to volunteer opportunities, welcoming new residents to Sisters, and mini grants for new projects).

Grants provide 75 percent of the C4C budget, 15 percent comes from individual donors, and 10 percent from fees for activity/service. In 2023 their total income was $113,000 and the 2024 budget is $162,000.

For more information email [email protected], phone (541) 203-0527 or visit their website at citizens4community.com.

In 2012, the Outlaw Booster Club was established to develop a sense of community around the schools and to provide financial activities benefitting K-12 students in the Sisters School District.

The club is a nonprofit organization comprised of parents, guardians, alumni, coaches, teachers, school administrators, and community members. They have already contributed $169,000 in funds and other contributions to the SSD.

The annual $25,000 budget is funded by the concession stands, the Outlaw Open golf tournament, Hall of Fame dinner, and support from local businesses. The organization is run by 35 volunteers guided by seven board members.

The current activities undertaken by the Boosters include scholarships to assist in college readiness, track improvement, weight room benches, and kids camps for football and baseball. No student is turned away from participating due to lacking proper equipment. The former $75 pay-to-play fee that students were charged to participate has been eliminated.

The Boosters proposed to use any funding received for continuing the scholarship program, improving the field house with hitting/throwing cages, and improving the locker rooms, plus purchasing an athletic cart. More information is available at http://www.outlawboosterclub.com.

Nominations were also received by 100WWC for Meals on Wheels and The Peaceful Presence Project. Meals on Wheels is the local arm of the Central Oregon Council on Aging providing meals to homebound seniors. For information visit http://www.councilonaging.org/programs/food-nutrition. The Peaceful Project provides non-medical, thoughtful support to individuals and families facing serious and terminal illness. End of life doulas offer education to improve death and grief literacy, holistic and proactive planning for advanced illness care, and compassionate bedside presence. Their website is http://www.thepeacefulpresenceproject.org. The three candidates to be voted on are determined by drawing names from a hat containing all nominees.

The next quarterly meeting for 100WWC-Sisters is scheduled for September 26, at noon. Nomination and membership forms are available by contacting [email protected]. They can also be followed on Facebook.

 

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