It's that time again!   Time to get ready for school, and Wood County Area Ministries  (WAM) is prepared to help, in two ways: 
1.  The Salvation Army (part of WAM) will be accepting applications for back pack and school supplies assistance for students in grades K to 12.   WHEN:   July 28 through  August 8, 2014, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, and 1:00 - 4:00 pm.  WHERE: 1045 North Main Street, Bowling Green.  Please call 419-352-5918 for information about the documentation that is needed.
2.  The First Presbyterian Church (a member of WAM) is part of the team to collect supplies to fill those back packs.  We are asked to contribute specifically Folders, any color; Composition books; Notebook Filler Paper, lined; and Spiral Notebooks (any size lines).  The back pack fillers appreciate any or all of these items that you are able to give.  Collection boxes will be in the Narthex and the area outside the office until August 3rd.
Other churches who are part of WAM will be asked to provide other assigned school supplies.  This drive is separate from other school supply collections -- it is a city-wide team effort to help kids start the school year feeling well-equipped and confident.  Thanks for all your help!                   
 -- Your Mission Team

LA CONEXION DE WOOD COUNTY (The Connection of Wood County)
“La Conexion” is a recently established Latino community based organization. Its mission is to be “a welcoming resource of unity and representation for the Latino community of Wood County”.  The Latino community has been growing in this County following a nationwide trend. The 2010 Census counted a number close to 6,000 Latinos in the county. Still, there was no organization specifically serving and representing the population.  The Latino community is a highly diverse community in itself, with people who are natives to this land and who speak only English, to the new comers who might speak only Spanish and/or other native languages.  In addition to the year-around residents, Wood County is a home to about 6-7 labor camps that house a significant number of farm workers every summer.
    La Conexion has been focusing on building community, reaching out to Latinos in the area and assessing needs to develop activities and programs accordingly. One of the first needs that arose was English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.  La Conexion developed a collaboration with the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) program, a graduate level program of the Department of English at BGSU. TESOL students can now acquire invaluable practicum experience while the community benefits from learning English. There are students from Asian and Arab origins in the class joining Latinos, as the program is open to the whole community. 
A second program that emerged from community needs is a Children and Youth Enrichment Program. This was established as a collaboration with the Latino Student Union (LSU) of BGSU. LSU members provide homework assistance, tutoring and mentoring to children and youth. This also includes English, when the kids are newcomers.  This program is free and open to the public. Both of these programs are currently housed at First Presbyterian Church. ESL classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday 6:00-7:30 pm at the Youth Lounge on the second floor. The Children Program is run on same days and times at the Nursery on the first floor. In addition, La Conexion members meet at First Presbyterian Church the first Sunday of every month, using the Green Lounge to this effect.
In July 2013 La Conexion was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Self Development of People Fund of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The grant’s main focus is the task of building community among Latinos and with non-Latinos in the area. The grant made possible the hiring of a part-time outreach person, and is paying for outreach mileage and promotional materials. As the Latino community becomes more visible, fruitful relationships with other County agencies and organizations are being developed. Many agencies have expressed that they wanted to outreach to the Latino community but that they couldn’t find a good way to do it due to language or other barriers. Now La Conexion is providing a vehicle for this outreach. Good collaborations have emerged with joint programming with the Wood County Public Library, Habitat for the Humanity of Wood County, The Cocoon Shelter, the City of BG Housing program, BGSU and others. These win-win partnerships benefit both, our local agencies and the community who is now benefitting from services and new opportunities.
La Conexion is eternally grateful to the First Presbyterian Church congregation for the donated space but, more importantly, for the welcoming spirit of the congregation.  We hope to strengthen our relationship with future joint programming and activities.  Thank you!
La Conexion de Wood County, laconexionwc@gmail.com;                                           PO Box 186, Bowling Green, OH 43402; (phone) 419-308-2328
Wood County Alternative School

We have welcomed the “Alternative High School” into two rooms beyond our pastors offices. As the purposes match our mission goals, we charge only a token fee. The students are marvelous assistants in helping manage clothes from our Deacons’ Shop. Here is description of their program:
The Wood County Alternative School provides a safe learning environment for at-risk youth from 10 public school districts and a vocational school in Wood County, Ohio.  Through educational and behavioral interventions, the program provides each student with the opportunity to improve or restore an educational career that has been impaired by expulsion, incarceration, poor grades, or a number of other adverse conditions.  The target population of the Alternative School is at-risk students in Wood County grades 6-12.  These students have exhausted nearly all traditional school options available to them through their home schools. 

Services and instruction are provided in the core academic areas, career development, school-to-work transitions, behavior interventions, group drug and alcohol education sessions, and group “teen topic” sessions.  Core academic classes are taught each day with additional opportunities for support with individualized credit recovery courses.  A community service component is also included in the program that is intended to foster in students a sense of civic and personal pride as well as provide them an opportunity to learn various hands-on skills that may prove beneficial in other settings. 
The program occupies room 113 and room 114 - one being the classroom, the other as a group / multi-purpose room.  The program is staffed by Rebecca Pisula- full-time teacher, Jennifer Irvin-full-time Outreach Coordinator, and Laura Gahn- part-time Intervention Specialist.  Operating on a typical public school schedule, the program runs 185 days a year, which consist of a five day week with seven hour days.  Average placements for the Long Term Program are one semester with a minimum placement requirement of 45 days.  The program provides an alternative learning environment where academic credits can continue to be earned and appropriate social / behavioral interventions can be addressed.  This mission is met with a philosophy that all students are worthy of dignity and respect.  By providing an environment for effective, positive, change for students through communication, cooperation, and parental involvement, the program believes all students are capable of learning and achieving success.
Strategies used to facilitate student success include: *Increasing student, parent, and school personnel communication and participation* Increasing the academic skills of students in the core academic areas * Assisting students in developing positive values, internal control, and coping skills * Improving individual and group decision making skills through integrated counseling and classroom interventions * Improving students’ abilities to adjust to changes in the environment while developing a positive self concept * Increasing positive work habits, study skills, and life skills * Providing assistance with correspondence course work * Issuing bi-weekly report cards * Providing small group and individual instruction that addresses the specific academic and social/behavioral needs of each student. 
The community service component of the program is not only designed to foster in students a sense of community and civic pride, but also a necessary element in increasing a students’ sense of self-worth.  By learning various hands-on skills and completing projects that utilize these skills, students are given an opportunity to gain a sense of accomplishment.  In turn, students may draw on these experiences and reach success in other areas of life.  The community service component of the program consists of the following opportunities: * Litter patrol * Assistance in Special Olympic games * Planting bulbs / flowers * Maintaining flowerbeds * Recycling * volunteering at food pantries * Sorting, and displaying clothing and household items for the Deacon Shop.  The Alternative School is readily available to contribute to a variety of organizations and projects that serve community interest.  Previous community service partners have included: * Bowling Green Schools * Bowling Green City Parks * Wood County Nursing Home * Wood Count Board of Developmental Disabilities * Wood County Council on Aging * Bowling Green Food Pantries * Wood County Educational Service Center Special Needs Programs * Habitat for Humanity *