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Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

The deadline is fast approaching for those interested, to submit their names for serving on the Board of the newly established Eel River Valley Multi-Generational Center in Fortuna.

”A nominating committee has been formed and they are talking to a number of people in the community,” said Project Startup Coordinator Sabrina De Lashmutt. “A lot of people have said they are very interested,” she added. The deadline to submit an application is March 16, 2012. More information is available by calling 725-1722.

The plan is to select a board of directors consisting of nine to eleven people from all walks of life and with diverse cultural backgrounds. “Having experience with fundraising, marketing, local government, and financial expertise would be very helpful,” De Lashmutt said.

Individuals will need to make a serious time commitment to serve on the board of directors, with an eight to 12 month time commitment of at least two meetings per month anticipated as the Multi-Generational Center is established.

De Lashmutt said the board will need to immediately begin work on what she describes as the Center's “critical path.” The board will oversee “getting the center open, deciding on programming, and how to stay financially stable and independent,” she said.

The proposed location for the Multi-Generational Center is 2280 Newburg Road, the former home of Fortuna Adult Day health Care services. An engineering study is currently being conducted on the building by Fortuna-based Whitchurch Engineering Inc. The study is required for the application of a conditional use permit for the building from the City of Fortuna. It is expected the study will be completed in the next six weeks.

Once the conditional use permit is received, the Center will begin sub-leasing the building from the Humboldt Senior Reource Center. “The plan is not to duplicate existing services ... to not reinvent the wheel,” De Lashmutt said. The vision is to have existing services such as Fortuna Senior Services and the Humboldt Senior Resource Center's Fortuna Meals on Wheels programs be located in the new Center, so there can be one centralized location for these and other types of services.

De Lashmutt is very excited about the establishment of a Multi-Generational Center in Fortuna. “It is a proven fact that it helps both children and seniors,” she said, also noting that the interaction between generations is found to have immediate and long-term health and social benefits for both groups. In addition, multi-generational centers have proven to promote understanding and respect between generations, and help them grow stronger together.

The Center will offer programs for participation by a combination of the generations, but De Lashmutt added, “It will not be successful unless each age group also has their own space.”

photo captions:

photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

The Eel River Valley Multi-Generational Center is to be built on the Newburg Road site of the former Fortuna Adult Day Health Care services. There is a garden area and greenhouse at that location that would be incorporated into the services offered at the Center. Pictured are (from left) Leigh Pierre Oetker, executive director of the McLean Foundation; Sabrina De Lashmutt, Eel River Valley Multi-Generational Center start-up coordinator; and Joyce Hayes, executive director of Humboldt Senior Resource Center.