We have had some changes at the Commission homefront.

"Honest Abe" Lincoln Mosier has stepped up to take the chair position for the Grant County Commission on Children and Families. I know that he will do a great job. Scott Myers has been elected vice-chair for this year.

Last month I noted that we would be looking at the local service-based organizations that the Commission helps to improve through our dollars. These local organizations applied for funding from the Commission in July of 2007 and were awarded funding for the two-year legislative season. These organizations are held accountable and must report quarterly to the commission on how the money is spent. This month we will look at Families First Parent Resource Center.

Families First has many programs within its center. The organization serves over 100 children and their parents each year throughout Grant County with Home Visiting for a Healthy Start (for first-birth parents) and Parents as Teachers Home Visiting to teach parents how to get the very best from and for their children.

They also serve teenage girls and boys with Girl's Circle and Boy's Council, which provides a safe environment to discuss issues of self-esteem, confidence and the ability to resist high-risk behaviors.

The Her-os and He-ros Club offers one-on-one mentoring for middle school youth by caring adults.

Families First also offers Strengthening Families groups for 10- to 14-year-olds and their parents, helping them learn to communicate effectively while acknowledging the different issues facing today's teens from those their parents faced.

The organization also provides support for breastfeeding mothers and support for depression.

These are just a few of the classes and programs currently being offered by Families First.

During the Christmas season they provided Christmas gifts to children in their program through sponsored partnerships with corporations and agencies outside Grant County, and they delivered Christmas dinners provided by the First Christian Church. Families First, being a service organization, helps young parents enroll in Oregon Health Plan and assists them in finding safe, affordable housing; donates hundreds of new books to children in Grant County (to promote literacy); and offers good, clean clothing to parents for their infants and children, provided by Osh Kosh B'Gosh Factory store in Woodburn, while encouraging families to exchange clothing family to family.

Other offerings include informative and useful parenting workshops and classes throughout the year, including On Demand parent classes, called Parenting Wisely, for those that are referred for this specialized class.

Families First is recognized as the parenting resource of Grant County, and its mission statement is to promote and provide education and social supports that foster successful parenting.

For more information regarding upcoming parenting series classes or any of the programs listed above, give Families First a call at 541-575-1006 or stop by their newly remodeled building at 401 S. Canyon Blvd. in John Day.

Cathy Currey is a member of the Commission on Children and Families board.

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