Siblings gather for reunion, surprise 80th birthday

Posted by Mitch on July 6, 2016 1:42 PM in Uncategorized

Members of the Brooks family gather for a photo at Highland Park in Crookston, Minn., on Sunday. (Photo by Hannah Black/Grand Forks Herald)

By Hannah Black on Jul 3, 2016 at 8:14 p.m. (Grand Forks Herald)

CROOKSTON, Minn.—Eight Brooks siblings gathered with family at Highland Park on Sunday afternoon, marking the second time in three decades they had been together at the same time.

The siblings called the event the Brooks Family Reunion—around 50 family members attended. But they also surprised their mother, Lois, with an early 80th birthday celebration that included gifts and a cake.

Lois Brooks of Crookston was surprised to see her eight children and so much of her family in one place.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” she said, smiling.

Lois is a foster grandmother at Tri-Valley Head Start, where she looks after children younger than 15 months. She has almost 70 grandchildren and great-grandchildren of her own, but her family is normally scattered across the country. But that changed Sunday, as her children and many of her relatives talked, laughed and shared a meal.
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Tri-Valley Will Provide Transportation to Free Summer Meals in Crookston, Thief River Falls, and Warren

Posted by Mitch on May 24, 2016 10:30 AM in Transportation

The Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Public Transportation Program will provide free transportation on T.H.E. Bus to the free summer meals programs in Crookston, Thief River Falls, and Warren.

In Crookston, T.H.E. Bus for Eat United will run Monday through Thursday with predetermined schedule stops. Hours of operation are 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. from June 13 through August 11.

In Thief River Falls, T.H.E. Bus will run Monday through Friday. Riders can call to schedule a ride or they can get on a schedule to be picked up at the same time each day for the duration of the program. Hours of operation are 11 am to 12:45 pm from June 13 through August 19.

In Warren, T.H.E. Bus will run on Monday. Riders can call to schedule a ride or they can get on a schedule to be picked up. Hours of operation for free meal transportation are 11 am to 1 pm for lunch. Meals will be served at the WAO Elementary School.

For any questions or to schedule a ride on T.H.E. Bus, please call Tri-Valley Public Transportation at 1-800-201-3432. More information about Tri-Valley Transportation Programs can also be found at www.tvoc.org/services/transportation/.

Tri-Valley To Provide Free Public Transportation Services in Warren

Posted by Mitch on May 19, 2016 10:29 AM in Transportation

The Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Public Transportation Program announced recently that it will offer free public transportation in the city of Warren. This city-wide service begins on June 6 and runs until August 29. Free rides will be available on Monday’s from 10 am to 3:30 pm. Following August 29 the cost of a ride will be just $1.

For any questions or to schedule a ride on the Tri-Valley Heartland Express (T.H.E. Bus) in Warren, please call Tri-Valley Public Transportation at 1-800-201-3432. More information about Tri-Valley Transportation Programs can also be found at /services/transportation/.

T.H.E. Bus is a curb to curb service and provides public transportation services to the general public in eight Minnesota counties, Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington, Mahnomen, and Clearwater. Buses run through these counties on various days with various destinations. Our public transit buses are available with no age limits or income guidelines. Buses have seating available for up to 40 passengers. Each bus is handicap accessible with two accessible entrances. If passengers are unable to use the door he/she may request the use of the lift. Each driver has been trained to properly use the lift and secure mobility devices within the buses.

Tri-Valley Transportation Provides Rides to IIHF Hockey Teams

Posted by Mitch on April 29, 2016 8:28 AM in Transportation

The Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Transportation Program had an opportunity to provide transportation to a unique group of riders in April. Tri-Valley’s T.H.E. Bus was utilized to transport players, coaches, and staff from teams competing in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey World Championship U18. The event was held in Thief River Falls on April 6-12.

Transportation was provided to and from practices and games and to their hotels. The international teams included Switzerland, Slovakia, Russia, Latvia, and Finland. A total of 1,775 rides were given and 291.5 miles were covered during the week. “This was a seven day tournament so I think the numbers are impressive,” states Marion Henry (Transportation Program Coordinator). “Our drivers worked well with the schedules that they were given and the teams appreciated the service. I think the drivers did a wonderful job.”

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF; French: Fédération internationale de hockey sur glace) is a worldwide governing body for ice hockey and in-line hockey. It is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and has 74 members. It manages international ice hockey tournaments and maintains the IIHF World Ranking.

Tri-Valley Head Start Attends Several Events in March

Posted by Mitch on April 4, 2016 2:39 PM in Head Start

On March 8th and 9th, the Minnesota Head Start Association held their quarterly meeting in St. Paul.

Angie Lindseth, President Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council, Parent Affiliate, Andy Nissen, Vice President Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council, Parent Affiliate, Tara Morrison, Program Area Specialist, Staff Affiliate, Laurie Coleman, Head Start Child and Family Program Director, Director Affiliate, all attended the event.  Denny DeMers, former CEO of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., also attended the event and got voted in as a Friend of the Director Affiliate.

Membership in MHSA provides members with networking, training, policy development, and advocacy opportunities through organized peer and interest groups.  Attendees heard from The Minnesota Department of Human Services on what is new for licensed providers, and from Minnesota Reading Corps on new opportunities for coaching corp members.  They also had discussions about workforce recruiting within Head Start and heard from Dave Synder with the MN Building Asset Coalition. (pictured with Angie in the attached photo)

On March 9th, MHSA held their annual Head Start Heroes event to honor members of the Minnesota Head Start community who overcame tremendous challenges and achieved personal and family success.  Our very own, Angie Lindseth, President Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council, presented an award to one of the recipients this year!  The event was held at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Attendees had time to view the Wonder Years, the science of early childhood development, exhibit at the museum as well.

Also on the 9th, Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director for the National Head Start Association, held a discussion about the future of Head Start.  Specifically, what is happening in Washington D.C. and how Head Start can prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Concluding the two day event, Angie and Andy traveled to the State Capitol to bring Head Start Heroes booklets to legislators’ offices.

Tri-Valley’s Caring Companion Program Earns Promising Practice Award

Posted by Mitch on April 1, 2016 9:16 AM in Senior Programs

Eight community initiatives with proven results in moving families toward self-sufficiency received Best Practices Awards last week. Minnesota Community Action Partnership, Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity, and the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development have partnered for the past 11 years to evaluate and to recognize initiatives that aim to end poverty across Minnesota.

The awards go to local Community Action programs that have achieved outstanding and measurable impacts in helping low-income households achieve greater economic self-sufficiency and building partnerships across social service, government and business sectors to better meet the needs of local communities.

Tri-Valley’s Caring Companion Program earned the “Promising Practice” Award. The Caring Companion Program consists of companions who are 50 years or older. They help other seniors by visiting with them, taking them to appointments, helping with errands and groceries, playing cards or games, having coffee with them and being a friend to them.  Caring Companions can make a difference in the quality of life for a lonely senior.

“You do not need medical or special skills, all you need is the ability to be a friend.  Caring Companions serve two hours a week and up, depending on the time they have to give and the needs of the clients,” says Heidi Simmons, Senior Programs Director. “We are having more requests from Veterans who are lonely or need to get out to do errands etc.  Please think about making that call today to help out others who may not be as fortunate as yourself, it is a win-win situation for all involved.”

Tri-Valley has Caring Companion and Foster Grandparent opportunities throughout Northwest Minnesota. For more information on how to become a Foster Grandparent, Caring Companion or how to receive Caring Companion Services call Heidi Simmons at 1-800-584-7020.

(Pictured L-R)- Arnie Anderson (Executive Director of Minnesota Community Action Partnership), Tikki Brown (Director for the Office of Economic Opportunity), Jason Carlson (CEO of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.)

“Raising of America” Documentary Event Draws Area Leaders to UMC Campus

Posted by Mitch on April 1, 2016 8:32 AM in Uncategorized

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., along with The City of Crookston, The Chamber & Visitors Bureau and the Crookston Early Childhood Initiative presented a viewing of the “Raising of America” (The Signature Hour) Documentary on Wednesday, March 30 at the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Bede Ballroom.

The informational event drew 45 leaders from the area business, government, and early childhood communities. Those in attendance watched the documentary, learned about the U.S. statistics as it relates to poverty, early childhood development, cost and availability of childcare, etc. Following the documentary there was an open discussion based around questions from the video in regards to: We all want what’s best for our children, so why is child well-being in the U.S. so much worse than other rich nations? Why do we allow our most vulnerable children to fall so much further behind the median? How does the squeeze on young families and caregivers—the squeeze for time, money and resources—drip down on infants and young children and alter the wiring of their developing brains with potential long-term consequences?

The Raising of America Series is a five-part documentary series that explores the question: Why are so many children in America faring so poorly? What are the consequences for the nation’s future? How might we, as a nation, do better? The film joins Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett, a trusted pediatrician and researcher at Boston Medical Center, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman and former multi-billion dollar hedge fund manager Robert Dugger. Each brings a very different perspective to the importance the early childhood experience and yet each tells us the same thing: for children to do better in school and in life, we can’t wait until they enter kindergarten. Crucial brain development occurs during the very first years of life. (From www.raisingofamerica.org)

Tri-Valley Caring Companion Program To Receive Promising Practice Award

Posted by Mitch on March 11, 2016 2:00 PM in Senior Programs

St. Paul, MN – Eight community initiatives with proven results in moving families toward self-sufficiency will receive Best Practices Awards at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 23rd. Minnesota Community Action Partnership, Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity, and the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development have partnered for the past 11 years to evaluate and to recognize initiatives that aim to end poverty across Minnesota.

The awards go to local Community Action programs that have achieved outstanding and measurable impacts in helping low-income households achieve greater economic self-sufficiency and building partnerships across social service, government and business sectors to better meet the needs of local communities.

Awardees include:

  • Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin County: Community Action Legal Services
  • Community Action Duluth: Free Tax Assistance Sites and Circles of Security
  • West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc.: Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM)
  • Tri-Valley Opportunity Council: Caring Companion Program
  • Tri-County Action Program: Save It, Fix It, Spend It
  • Western Community Action: Wellness Initiatives for SNAP-Eligible Populations
  • Minnesota Valley Action Council: Head Start’s Approach to Two-Generational Father Engagement

Minnesota Community Action Partnership is an association of Community Action agencies that offer the last local line of defense for families in need. Cumulatively, Community Action agencies annually serve more than 200,000 low-income Minnesota families with programs such as Head Start, Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Programs, Weatherization, Jobs & Employment programs, affordable housing development and support, child care, transportation, food support, and senior services.

Tri-Valley Senior Volunteers Make a Difference

Posted by Mitch on January 21, 2016 1:02 PM in Senior Programs

Now that the holidays are over and the winter doldrums are starting to give way to more pleasant weather, are you looking to get more active or find something meaningful to do? If you answered yes, look into volunteering with Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.’s Senior Programs. Tri-Valley’s Senior Programs consists of the Caring Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program.

The Caring Companion Program consists of companions who are 50 years or older. They help other seniors by visiting with them, taking them to appointments, helping with errands and groceries, playing cards or games, having coffee with them and being a friend to them.  Caring Companions can make a difference in the quality of life for a lonely senior.

The Foster Grandparent Program consists of volunteers who are 55 years or older. They volunteer in schools, Head Starts, Developmental Achievement Centers, non-profit day cares and juvenile centers under the supervision of a teacher or childcare professional. They assist children with activities in which they need assistance and mentor children and youth.

Have you considered the benefits of volunteering?  Here are a few of many:

  1. Volunteering is good for your mind and body.  Your role as a volunteer can give you a sense of pride and identity.  And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
  2. Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy and it is especially beneficial in older adults.  Mortality rate is lower among volunteers and volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
  3. Volunteering can make you happy.  Helping others kindles happiness.   Research has shown that the good feelings you experience when helping others may be just as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet.  But it’s the smile from a child or thankful person that shows you’re really making a difference in someone’s life.  And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Tri-Valley has Caring Companion and Foster Grandparent opportunities throughout Northwest Minnesota. For more information on how to become a Foster Grandparent, Caring Companion or how to receive Caring Companion Services call Heidi, Jeanette, Jean, Jessica, or Marley at 1-800-584-7020.

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR HEALTH INSURANCE ENDS JANUARY 31

Posted by Mitch on January 21, 2016 10:04 AM in MNsure

Local MNsure-certified specialists available for free, in-person enrollment assistance

Crookston, Minn. — The deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage for 2016 is rapidly approaching. Here in Polk, Norman and Marshall counties, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is offering free, in-person assistance.

Minnesotans looking to enroll in private health insurance coverage, or change their plan, have until Sunday, January 31, 2016, to enroll in health insurance coverage. Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year round.

MNsure is the only place to qualify for financial assistance to help make premiums more affordable. If assistance is needed in completing the enrollment process, help is available through MNsure-certified assisters – navigators and brokers located in communities around the state.

If Minnesotans who don’t qualify for an exemption go without insurance coverage in 2016, they will be subject to a tax penalty of 2.5% of taxable income or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child), whichever is greater.

To schedule an appointment for assistance with MNsure please call 1-800-584-7020 and ask for Nancy Ramon or Mitch Bakken.

Minnesotans interested in enrolling should bring the following materials to their appointment:

  • Social Security Number for each person applying
  • Date of birth for everyone in household (not just those applying)
  • Driver’s license, Tribal ID or other ID
  • For non-citizens, Green Card or other immigration documents
  • Last year’s tax forms (1040EZ or page 1 of 1040)
  • Most recent pay stubs
  • Documents for other income sources (social security, unemployment, self-employment, etc.)
  • W2 form or Employer Tax ID Number
  • Employer’s address and contact information
  • Information about any employer-provided health insurance available to each person applying (request this from the employer)

The 2016 open enrollment period began on November 1, 2015, and ends on January 31, 2016. Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year round. As of May 2014, 95 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage—the highest percentage in state history.

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