Since 1955, Parents and Friends, Inc. has been providing opportunities for people with developmental challenges and similar needs to participate fully in our community. For some individuals, this means safely accessing medical care; for others it means going to work, volunteering, learning new skills, shopping, banking, exercising, meal planning and preparation, staying safe in a power outage, or simply going out to connect with others in our coastal community.
This generation of developmentally disabled adults is the first to outlive their parent-caregivers. With this knowledge, we anticipate the needs of these individuals rather than reacting, by opening a licensed Residential Care Facility for the Elderly that provides safe, person-centered, around the clock care in a beautiful neighborhood home. The home is now at full capacity with 4 residents, and we are developing more homes to ensure that more folks can benefit from these unique supports that are not otherwise available in our area.
We are grateful to our supportive and inclusive Mendocino Coast community, to our more than 170 local employees, and we are honored to support the needs of each person we serve to live a good life of their choosing. We invite you to take a look at the slideshow to view just some of the the ways we fulfill our mission. We couldn't do it without your support!
Buddy has been a valued employee of the Paul Bunyan Thrift Shop for many years, and, he was recently welcomed as a new member of the Parents & Friends safety committee. One of Buddy’s goals involves taking paid time off from his day job in order to dedicate time to his column, BUDDY ASKS, which appears in our monthly employee newsletter. Yesterday, as he was heading to his office work day, he found some money on the ground and turned it in. When we arrived at the office, we had an unexpected visit from Salvador Vera, Knights of Columbus Council # 8187, who made a generous donation to Parents and Friends, Inc. of the proceeds from their annual Tootsie Roll Drive. Buddy was on hand to accept!
In addition to interviewing employees to learn more about them (over twenty, so far), today Buddy upped his game by beginning to type up the articles himself. Buddy is a natural, and everything he learned about typing came right back to him. It was a great day of progress. He even tried an Avocado Roll for the first time! Buddy didn’t leave until we had a date chosen for our next work date together. Buddy’s self-advocacy ensures that his needs and desires are known, which then allows him opportunities to make progress on his goals, leading to a more satisfying and self-directed life of his own design. Bravo, Buddy!
Thanks to a grant from The Redwood Coast Regional Center, Parents and Friends is pleased to be able to offer a 2-day Person Centered Planning training course to our day program clients and support staff, which will provide the skills needed to gain insight into themselves, thereby enabling them to better support the individual needs of others. This grant will also allow PFI to certify two in-house trainers so that we can deliver this very important training all of our employees. Happy New Year!
As we as an organization continue to support and anticipate the needs of the individuals we serve, we are pleased to announce our most recent grant award, a $3 million dollar Community Development Block Grant which will support the lifecycle of our community members to age in place. We are thrilled and grateful for the support from the City of Fort Bragg!
Parents and Friends is pleased to provide employment services on the Mendocino coast through our employment program, The Job Connection. Individuals are referred either from the Redwood Coast Regional Center, or through the Department of Rehabilitation. Two of our day programs, Life on the Coast and The Community Connection, also have a work component as part of their offerings.
Being able to work together as a team to support individual goals is the master recipe for employment success. We invite you to read more in our current edition of the Progress newsletter.
PFI is proud to be not only one of the largest employers on the Mendocino coast, but we are also appreciative of our diverse and talented staff of direct service providers, supervisors, and administrators. It is the individuals we serve who benefit most, of course, from the talents of our staff of over 160 well trained, CPR and Pro-Act certified employees. It is not just every once in a while that I witness something extra special going on, that is above and beyond what is expected and required.
This week I happened to be over at The Community Connection day program, where a myriad of activities are going on at any given time. Each activity that occurs is based on goals and choices made on an individual basis. At the east end of the Chestnut Street building, where our learning kitchen is located, several folks were pitching in as meals were being prepared; groceries were brought in from a morning shopping spree, mindful of individual dietary needs and preferences; in the middle area, folks were washing hands and brushing their teeth; others were laundering their swim and shower towels that they used at CV Starr earlier in the day. In the entrance area, coats were hung and bags were stowed as people were coming and going on about their busy day. Some arrived and left on foot, and others with the assistance of a mobility aid such as a motorized wheelchair, cane, or walker; the MTA, Dial-A-Ride, a PFI wheelchair lift van, or an employee vehicle also take us where we want to be. At the west end of the building, one person had made a decision to take a moment to themselves in the quiet room to exercise good self-care. Program Manager Ann Jovich was at the end of the hall, in her office, meeting with a new hire in between conversations with staff and clients - as well as fielding the many phone calls she does each day. I saved the middle room for last, because it is a very rich and diverse environment! Lily was drawing, Mike was clapping with his friends, Sergio was singing, Hannah was doing her exercises, Kymberlee was being interviewed by Buddy for the employee newsletter, Antony was explaining to Dale what he did over the weekend, Jared was laughing and listening to some of his favorite music, and, I also heard a faint guitar track. It was a quiet song, very soulful and calm. It wasn’t coming from Jared's speaker. I turned around to see that it was Tim, playing his heart out on his acoustic guitar, as Priscilla looked on in delight. It was a special moment, shared in this photo. You may also view the brief video on our Facebook page. Thanks for sharing your gifts, Tim!
As part of Parents and Friends’ safety plan, we have and maintain (3) Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at our facilities: our administrative offices, 306 E. Redwood Avenue; The Paul Bunyan Thrift Store and Furniture Annex, 350 S. Main Street; and The Community Connection, 521 E. Chestnut Street. All of PFI’s staff members are trained to use these life saving devices, in addition to being CPR and first aid certified. PFI currently employs over 160 community members; that’s a lot of safe people on our coast!
By attending our 5th annual Beer, Bison, & Bluegrass BBQ Concert and Fundraiser, your support allows Parents & Friends, Inc. to continue to provide support and skill building through our many programs which include fitness, employment, medical needs, sports, shopping, meal planning, transportation, education, cooking, hygiene, housekeeping, budgeting, gardening, social skills and relationships, volunteering, safety, effective communication, self-advocacy, and so much more. In addition, our supported living services provide the individualized supports for the individuals whom we serve to remain in their own homes in our community, close to their friends and loved ones.
Then and Now
Parents and Friends have served individuals with developmental challenges and similar needs on the Mendocino coast since 1955. During that time, these then young individuals were denied an education and thus were sequestered in homes and institutions. The parents and friends of these young individuals found a way to provide an education and inclusion via their own creation, “The Paul Bunyan School,” which was located in a small house in downtown Fort Bragg, where the rent was paid by our local Lions Club. Our support services were funded with the proceeds from bake sales and garage sales, which grew to become “The Paul Bunyan Thrift Store,” which is a much-loved community asset, providing employment, bargains, upcycling and social opportunities for our entire community while raising funds for PFI.
Coming Full Circle
There are individuals who, in the earlier days, did have to move away in order to receive the support they required; in some cases, they were institutionalized out of the area. In 2017, we have worked closely with one of these institutions, The Sonoma Developmental Center, to move individuals into community living. This spring we welcomed 2 gentlemen who lived inside of the institution for several decades. Now they live as roommates in Fort Bragg, participating in everyday community life with support from Parents and Friends.
Save The Date!
Join us on Saturday, September 2nd from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm at Our Lady of Good Counsel Hall, 605 Maple Street, for the Fifth Annual BEER, BISON & BLUEGRASS Fundraiser benefitting Fort Bragg’s Parents & Friends, Inc.
Come sample local and regional microbrews, enjoy Mendocino County fresh ground Bison burgers, with all the fixins, grilled on site, the way you like it. Of course, there will be a vegetarian option available, as well as soft drinks, Cowlick’s Ice Cream, Thanksgiving Coffee, plus wine for sale by the glass. There will be raffle prizes, silent auction items, games and…LIVE bluegrass music by The Mendocino Quartet starring the legendary Gene Parsons, David Hayes, Steven Bates and Gwyneth Moreland. The Green Fields will get you moving on the dance floor – don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Tickets will be available in Fort Bragg at The Paul Bunyan Thrift Shop and Harvest Market; in Mendocino at Out of This World; and online at brownpapertickets.com. That’s Beer, Bison, & Bluegrass on Saturday September 2nd from noon until 4pm in Fort Bragg, CA!
The mission of Parents & Friends Inc. is to provide opportunities for persons with developmental challenges and similar needs to participate fully in our community. PFI is a 501c3 non-profit organization and have been serving the Mendocino coast since 1955.
It’s been awhile since folks on the coast have been able to enjoy the simple pleasure of an afternoon of bowling & burgers with friends. As you will recall, Fort Bragg’s beloved Noyo Bowl closed down several years ago, in 2010. Bowling is a sport that many people can participate in, and, have fun whether playing or cheering on others. Our closest bowling lanes are located over an hour away, and it can be a hardship for many to obtain transportation and support to head over the hill to Ukiah for a day.
Parents & Friends is pleased to be able to support individuals in their choice and budget for community activities through our Places To Go program. To date we have supported two dates with friends to enjoy not only the bowling lanes at Yokayo Bowling Center, but also to check out the county’s newest popular eating establishment, In-N-Out Burger.
They say a picture says a thousand words, so, please let us know what you think!
February 28th, known as the last day of the shortest month of the year, was a day of firsts for our friend Froim.
Froim has never had a paid job in the community. It was an exciting day for all.
In addition to touring his new workplace at The Paul Bunyan Thrift Shop and Furniture Annex, Froim was introduced to his coworkers, supervisors, and job coaches. He also learned how to punch his time card at the digital time clock. He learned what his work responsibilities are, and he showed everyone what good work is capable of doing. Froim will be working in the back of the shop, processing hangers and bags for the store.
If you see Froim, please say hello and congratulate him on his new job. It was a beautiful and successful first day!