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Thurston County’s battle with the Coronavirus has been long and stressful. According to the regional COVID-19 dashboard, to date more than 11,000 residents tested positive with nearly 700 hospitalizations and 100 deaths. But the arrival of vaccines and centralized vaccination sites have dramatically reduced its spread and allowed us to start the slow return to community gatherings and more normal life.

One of the largest of these sites was hosted at South Puget Sound Community College and staffed by tireless volunteers and a partnership of medical professionals. Though the...

Post date: Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 2:56pm
United Way of Thurston County stepped up when kids and families needed support more than ever In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread in Washington, we knew certain organizations in Thurston County would be vital in supporting the needs of families and children as we navigated new uncertainties as a community. Among those was the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County.    With schools closed, children of first responders and essential workers needed childcare. We connected with leadership at the Boys & Girls Clubs right away because we knew they would fill a critical...
Post date: Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 12:09pm

Wherever they exist, YMCAs are the beating heart of the communities they serve, providing essential programs for children, seniors and entire families. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, South Sound YMCA faced considerable challenges in continuing to provide those services. Not only did demand for childcare increase exponentially as centers throughout the state closed their doors, but traditional sources of funding simultaneously dried up to an alarming degree.  

“We lost close to 50% of our revenue,” says South Sound YMCA Executive Director Kyle Cronk. “We were a $10...

Post date: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 2:44pm

 

Alfred Cleaves grew up during the polio pandemic of the late 40s and early 50s.

“We used to travel from our home in Providence, Rhode Island up to Maine during the summers. We would avoid Boston and any other large cities just so we would be safe,” he says.

As a young child, he was among the first...

Post date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 5:50pm

Hanna Bailey is an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Quixote Communities, an Olympia-based organization. We asked her how she got started in service work and to tell us about her experience. Here's her story!

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Post date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 5:31pm

Excited to thank AmeriCorps members & AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers on #NationalServiceRecognitionDay for stepping up & showing up when our communities need it most. #AmeriCorpsWorks for Thurston County!   Here is the proclamation from the Olympia City Council meeting. What a great testimony on the impact of AmeriCorps! Since 2015, over 60 people have served full-time for a year with Greater South Sound VISTA, raising over $4 million dollars in cash donations and in-kind resources for local organizations.   We currently have full-time members serving at Thurston County...
Post date: Friday, April 23, 2021 - 11:31am
It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week and we’re shining the spotlight on volunteers who are making a difference – volunteers like Ron Bruchet. "Giving back to our community has always been important to me (and my wife) through giving and volunteering,” he said. “I've served on several boards and committees and quickly learned that I always gain more from the experience than it takes from the giving of my time. I've met so many great people who are very passionate and have witnessed the positive outcomes of the various programs serving our most vulnerable population.”   Ron's been busy!...
Post date: Friday, April 23, 2021 - 11:12am
It is #NationalVolunteerWeek, and we're sharing stories of volunteers who are making a difference every day. Kate Watkins is a Community Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). VISTA is a national service program dedicated to ending poverty by building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and public agencies. Kate works at United Way of Thurston County, connecting people who want to volunteer with local nonprofits and community-based organizations who need help. "I enjoy connecting and working with people who are passionate about making a difference. I'm...
Post date: Friday, April 23, 2021 - 11:10am
Happy #NationalVolunteerWeek! Thank you to the incredible volunteers who are making a difference in Thurston County every day. Volunteers such as Chris and Steve Hall. Chris and Steve have been superstar volunteers at the COVID-19 Vaccination clinics. Chris has volunteered 14 times, and Steve has volunteered 8! Here's what they had to say about their experience, "What we learned after our first shift was how JOYOUS the experience is. People are so happy! In observation, I (Chris) congratulated, laughed and even cried with people as they shared their emotions about what getting a shot...
Post date: Friday, April 23, 2021 - 11:05am

In a normal year, the Family Support Center of South Sound’s (FSCSS) Pear Blossom Place provides approximately 16,000 ‘shelter bed nights.’ It’s a formula derived from the number of people housed in an emergency shelter multiplied by the number of nights they stayed. But in 2020 the need for services soared to a high of 28,819 shelter bed nights. The demand was so great that the Olympia nonprofit began housing families at two local hotels - including one that caught fire in May. 

“We had thirteen families in that hotel when it burned down,” says Maija Glasier-Lawson,...

Post date: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 8:48am

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