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October 30, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 30, 2014

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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-25 A section of the Mason County Journal Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014- Serving the communities of Belfair, Allyn, GrapeView, Tahuya Mason Lake goufil ghore and Vidor .... Herald photo by Gordon Weeks Victoria Ahlfors, an outreach coordinator for The Coffee Oasis, a faith-based nonprofit organization, talks about establishing a Belfair outlet during a community forum Oct. 23 at the proposed site at 71 Old Belfair Highway in Belfair. "It's beautiful to see the hope in this community," she told the crowd of about 100. At right is Mason County Fire District 2 Captain Jeromy Hicks, who spoke in favor of the proposal. e Community leaders praise project to catch youths 'falling through the cracks" By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoun com An oasis is a fertile place in a wasteland, a refuge from surround- ing unpleasantness. A Belfair outlet of the faith-based nonprofit organization The Coffee Oasis could provide at-risk youth such a haven from homelessness and conflict at home and on the streets, speakers said at a commu- nity forum Oct. 23 in Belfair. About 100 people attended the forum at the proposed future site of The Coffee Oasis, a new 3,800-square-foot building at 71 Old Belfair Highway. A second forum will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 6 at the building. The Coffee Oasis has outlets in Bremerton, Port Orchard and Pouls- be. The organization caters to home- less and street-~riented youths ages 13 to 25. The organization is seeking $624,000 to cover initial setup and equipment at the Belfair site. That money would also pay for the first two years of operations, including salaries, insurance and furniture. The new building was donated by Belfair resident Richard Moore, who has three" daughters who graduated from North Mason High School. At the forum, North Mason High School math teacher Jody Olson said her "heart has been broken over and over and over again" by seeing stu- dents struggling because of the lack of resources to help them. Olson said she can offer her fresh- men math students some guidance during their hour together in the classroom each weekday, but they need support out in the community. The youths need a safe place "where people can talk about what's really happening in their lives," she said. "Kids falling through the cracks in North Mason will not show up to a (church) youth up because it's not their place/., their story is not a church story, yet," she said. Olson added, "Half the kids I see as freshmen are not there as seniors. And I don't know where they went, but you can bet they could have used a place like this." North Mason School Superinten- dent Dana Rosenbach said she is ex- cited by the proposal to help youths in crisis. In her district, 83 students report they are homeless but the figure is larger because kids are era- || - Thes community and The Coffee Oasis are a perfect match." Jeromy Hicks, North Mason Fire District 2 captain barrassed to admit it, she said. "They will try hard to look like their peers ... and pretend nothing is wrong," she said. Jeromy Hicks, captain of North Mason Fire District 2, called the proposal "a great opportunity~ for establishing a place where at-risk youth can congregate and socialize off the streets. "This community and The Coffee Oasis are a perfect match," he said. Becky Erickson told the crowd that soon after she became mayor of Poulsbe in 2010, a City Council member who worked as a greeter at Wal-Mart said he saw youths who lived in the woods come into the store to get warm and steal food. Erickson said she talked to officials in the North Kitsap School District, see FORUM, page A-28 NEWS BRIEFS North Mason staff honored Four members of North Mason Resources received honors from different orga- nizations in October. Janie Olmsted, chair- woman of the board of directors for North Mason Resources and a Work- Source volunteer, received the Lutheran Community Services Northwest Helen Norris Award for outstand- ing community service. She will be honored at the orga- nization's luncheon Nov. 9 in Bremerton. Harry Tachell, a retired Marine who served in Viet- nam, works with veterans from an office at the North Mason Resources offices in Belfair. Tachell recently re- ceived a letter from Ronald Hope, the national corn- mander of Disabled Ameri- can Veterans, that named him an aide to the national commander, an "honorary appointment as a thank you for the many contributions you have made in the lives of veterans in your commu- uity." Tyler Music works with people who are homeless, at risk of becoming home- less and others in need. He received a $114 grant from Peninsula Credit Union, given to residents who are making a difference. Cat Ross, the managing consultant of North Mason Resources, was named the North Mason Chamber of Commerce Member of the Month at the group's Octo- ber meeting. Cook-off raises 000 for those in need About $2,000 was raised " to help people in need at the inaugural North Mason Re- sources Chowder Cook-Off on Oct. 25 at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Belfair. The event drew eight am- ateur and five professional chefs. Billy Olsen from the Woodshed Bar & Grill won the award for best profes- sional chowder with his Rhode Island clam chowder. The judges' choice for best amateur chowder went to see BRIEFS, page A-28