Paterson/Brewster alliance focused on vital services
In the lower Methow Valley, social services and economic sustainability can be difficult to obtain. Most programs in the Methow Valley only serve the Methow Valley School District, which ends just south of Carlton.
In response to the lower valley’s community needs, a small band of concerned citizens are working towards developing more built-in resilience. The Pateros/Brewster Community Resource Center (PBCRC) was created in the aftermath of the Carlton Complex Fire to identify and meet the needs of an underserved community.
Founding board members Grace and Jim Larsen, Mark Miller, Cecelia Arellano, and Executive Director Gene Dowers look to Room One and TwispWorks as role models to create a space that meets the multi-faceted needs of a community.
Part of the challenge is two-fold: a small rural population and a wide variety of required services. Pateros and the lower valley are made up of working families, senior citizens and migrant workers. It is a close-knit community of people looking for solutions to common problems, with limited resources.
Pateros and the lower valley need a myriad of services typically offered in urban areas by many different organizations, while efficiently making use of space, funding and resources. The PBCRC strives to shorten the gap between people and resources for health and business.
Since its beginnings in 2015, PBCRC has accomplished major steps towards providing necessary community services. The organization has worked to form partnerships with Okanogan Behavioral Health Care, WorkSource, Economic Alliance, Family Health Centers, Okanogan Community Action Council, Housing Authority of Okanogan County, Okanogan Long Term Recovery and Room One.
Through these partnerships, PBCRC is able to connect a wide variety of resources to the community. Bilingual classes and services are offered throughout the week, on site, and at the school. People can get help writing a resume and searching for a job, learning about insurance options and coverage, take health and parenting courses, and have access to mental health care.
PBCRC also enacted the Map Your Neighborhood program to identify specific needs of residents, such as mobility or medical, that require additional assistance during an emergency. The grant funds that make the Map Your Neighborhood program possible originated with the Unmet Needs Roundtable.
Family Health Centers is offering free classes at PBCRC. The Diabetes Self-Management Program is already underway. The course is six weeks long, and all materials are provided. Topics include how to deal with diabetes symptoms, safe exercises, how to take medication safely, and tips on working effectively with health care providers. To register for the Diabetes Self-Management Program, email email@example.com.
The next steps for PBCRC include offering adult education GED courses, expanding outreach services, and creating business incubation. To meet these goals, PBCRC is seeking to fill its building space with adult education services, social service agencies and compatible retail. Construction and expansion costs include soundproofing rooms for confidential client services, upgrading the commercial kitchen space, adding bathrooms and acquiring computers for client use.
Funding for PBCRC comes in the form of donations, grants and community events. The Community Foundation of North Central Washington provided a $5,000 startup grant in 2015 and an Impact Grant in 2017 to help meet operational expenses.
Annual fundraising community events include the annual Salmon Bake and Cultural Celebration on June 22 this year, and the Hog Roast during the hydro races on Aug. 17. PBCRC also sells T-shirts featuring artwork by acclaimed artist Virgil “Smoker” Marchand.
Visit www.paterosresource.com to donate, or contact PBCRC Executive Director Gene Dowers (509) 923-7460.