Community gathers to support The Nest
Great ideas can begin with a single thought, but carrying them to fruition takes a whole village of support.
So on a blustery Sunday afternoon, volunteers locked arms with community members to gather up funding during a family affair at the cozy McCrumb barn on Finley Point. There a fall fundraising event brought in nearly $5,000 for The Nest, a program that will provide transitional living for pregnant and new moms while learniing parenting and life skills.
The fundraiser offered live music, a barbecue, pie auction, silent auction and Native games for children and adults. The games also served as teaching tools, reinforcing concepts that boys should not hit girls, according Paul Phillips with the Salish Kootenai College health department.
Advisory board member Lucy McCrumb donated the venue.
“Everyone had a great time, and we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our communities, and our wonderful volunteers,” Executive Director Jenifer Blumberg said.
When the new non-profit was blessed with funds to purchase the home for The Nest in St. Ignatius, Blumberg said they thought they were on their way, “and we are — it just may take longer than we had hoped,” she said.
The community continues to support the program through donations and volunteer time, but major dollars for operating costs still needed to be secured through grant funding.
“Despite the fact that everyone I have talked to feels that The Nest would be a huge asset to the Reservation and Lake County, the major grant funders who would provide operating support for us are just not funding this start-up,” she said. “We have been turned down more than once because we have not established a ‘track record’ yet.”
Blumberg noted that research has shown the need for early intervention in children’s lives, and how important it is to teach life skills to their moms while they are living in a safe and secure environment.
“Frankly, it is hard for me to understand why so many people don’t realize that prevention truly saves money in the long run,” she said. “If we put our money there, and into the early years of children’s lives, we don’t end up having to spend so much in the criminal and mental health systems.”
Yet work continues as the remodel of The Nest home is almost complete, and plans are in the works to get a garden and greenhouse up and running.
“It will be such an important part of our whole approach at The Nest — healthy living, healthy eating and lots of good exercise in the fresh Mission Mountain air,” Blumberg said.
The good news is that classes and activities are now being offered at The Nest.
“There will be some activity going on until we can provide the staffing necessary to fully operate the home,” Blumberg said.
The Lower Flathead Valley Community Foundation granted money to hold the first session of Circle of Security classes at The Nest, and the Lake County Health Department and Tribal and County WIC and Parents as Teachers programs are helping get out the word about their monthly playgroups.
“We all still believe that there are angels out there who will understand the need and will be willing to help us out until we can establish the fact that we truly can make a difference, and provide the proof for potential grant funders,” Blumberg said.