Clatsop County Wellville: 2017 Year in Review

As we dig into our plans for 2018, it’s worth taking a look back to what we achieved in 2017. Here’s the 2017 Year in Review for Clatsop County.

The year started with great news, when Clatsop County Wellville team found out they had been awarded a grant from Department of Education to do a feasibility study for universal pre-K. Over the following months the Economic Development team went through a process to set up the county to accept the funds, and contracted with consultants at Social Finance to implement the study. They also applied for and received an in-kind grant from the Sorenson Impact Center to fund dedicated time of three data scientists, who began their work mid-year. Clatsop is now at the halfway point for both grants.

In going through this process, the Clatsop Wellville team has established a connection with committed and engaged educators and residents who care deeply about kids; the Department of Education told them that Clatsop’s community engagement levels are unusually high.

That said, they’ve encountered a few barriers along the way. The transportation logistics and expense in rural communities is a huge obstacle. They’ve also found that school districts have widely varying populations of special education and English Language Learner students, which affect the school districts’ incentives for participating in a pre-kindergarten Pay for Success (PFS) transaction. As the year closed, they realized that the current set of school districts will not be a fit for PFS. Therefore, they’ve adjusted their plans and started looking for philanthropic funding to implement a smaller-scale expansion of pre-K.

In addition to the pre-K work, the Emotional Health team identified the need to create a Children’s Network with a focus on Trauma Informed Care (TIC). To this end, Clatsop Wellville member Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization hired Transformational Community Alignment to complete an environmental scan of Clatsop County and to help the community partners with a strategic business plan.  In 2018, a local group will work out more details of the TIC implementation plan, including developing plans to submit a grant proposal to Care Oregon’s CCO for funds to hire a TIC coordinator.

Operationally, the executive leadership reengaged and strengthened the Clatsop Wellville Strategic Council. They invited new, engaged community leaders into the Council, including members from the faith and Hispanic communities. Overall, the team is more representative of the county and better positioned as a team.

Overall, while some of their planned programs and activities didn’t work out as they had intended, the Clatsop team now has experience successfully raising funds, getting different organizations and stakeholders to collaborate, and completing data-gathering and analysis.

Clatsop County Way to Wellville – Plans for 2018

This spring, Clatsop County Way to Wellville will launch a workplace wellness program for employees of local businesses, including an activity punch card and a walking program that uses the Meetup website to organize and expand involvement.

The team also plans to continue and expand Clatsop County Kids Go, a kids’ obesity prevention program that includes nutrition classes, yoga instruction, gardening and cooking lessons.

Finally, they plan to expand on the success of the recently launched community health cards, which give people access to 18 free offers, including park visits and other discounts for recreation. Clinics, which give them to patients who need more physical activity, have already asked for more.

It’s also nice to note that regional and national leaders are taking note of Clatsop County’s work. The successful grant awards from the US Department of Education and the Sorenson Impact Center have impressed other regional funders about Clatsop’s leadership. They have been successful raising money and gaining resources even though Clatsop is a rural community, where making such progress is harder than in densely populated areas more used to standardizing and coordinating. This has built great confidence and goodwill within the community, and has garnered attention from potential partners and other community organizations, like the Oregon Community Foundation.

The Strategic Council members continue to expand awareness of the Clatsop Wellville by championing their work. For instance, Debbie Morrow spoke at the annual meeting of the Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific about Clatsop County Kids Go, inspiring an audience member from a local Chevy dealership to donate radio spots about Wellville.