Hello Community! We are Heart Rising, and we are going strong! This month we are going to tell you a little bit about our community partnerships and how they are leading to some wonderful outcomes. And of course, you will read all about our organization and its latest accomplishments. But first, just a reminder: Heart Rising was established in September of 2020 with the goal of organizing volunteer teams of four or more, to be matched with families who lost homes and belongings in the area fires. Offering emotional support and friendship, teams assist individuals, couples, and families in securing food, shelter, and necessities for the long-term. Teams stay with the families as long as they are needed. In turn, connections deepen community resiliency efforts, as safe and secure lives and homes are restored.
Since our establishment in the fall of 2020, we have signed up more than 85 volunteers, organized more than 15 teams, and helped over 25 families. We are currently taking donations on behalf of the families, and to assist teams with their work, through the Thalden Foundation. Barry and Kathryn Thalden have spearheaded many successful projects in our community. Donations for Heart Rising can be sent to the Thalden Foundation at: 550 Ashland Loop Road, Ashland, OR 97520. You will also find a donate button on our website: HeartRising.org.
If you are a family in need of help or you are a volunteer wanting to offer help, you can click on the “Offer Help” or “Request Help” buttons on our website at heartrising.org. You just fill out a short, confidential form and someone will contact you. We also have information in Spanish and some bilingual volunteers. But now, we have lots of good information to share with you about our recently-formed community partnerships!
As the result of our connection with one couple, a whole world of possibility opened up. One of the biggest challenges we have faced is helping some families find resources for housing. Many families are temporarily housed in local motels, hotels, trailers, RV’s, and apartments. McKayla and her husband Craig were one of the couples who received team support from us. At the time McKayla contacted us, she had also reached out to a foundation in California called Tiny Pine Foundation to see if she and her husband could secure a tiny house after their home burned in the valley. Tiny Pine Foundation was formed after the Paradise fires in northern California. They helped fund, find materials for, and build over 40 houses in the Paradise-Chico area.
They had been looking into the idea of expanding their efforts to southern Oregon after requests for help came in after our fires. Connections were made and Alyssa Nolan, Director of Tiny Pines, got behind our local movement. Alyssa talked about her organization’s efforts in regard to the Rogue Valley, “You have to start somewhere. We won’t be solving the housing crisis in Paradise or the Rogue Valley, but we can make a significant impact.” With her help, Mckayla and her husband found out they qualified for a tiny home. You can make a donation for Rogue Valley tiny homes at: tinypinefoundation.com or send an email to Alyssa at: firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also on Facebook.
At the same time, a local Rogue Valley resident, businessman, and cycling enthusiast named Steve Davidson had been trying to figure out how he could help with the massive restorative effort. As with others, the magnitude of the fires had been so overwhelming that “coming out of 2020, with everything that was going on, and then the fire, I have to admit I was feeling a lot of despair about our country and our community,” he said. Steve thought about how he could make a difference. ”I wanted to do something that would address a specific need and see the results immediately.” He came up with the idea of sponsoring a local fundraiser for the tiny homes. Steve realized he could also take his enthusiasm for cycling and turn it into donations. Steve called to check in with Pete Catoe, the CEO of his company back east, ECRS Software. He told Pete he had this idea for a fundraiser, the “Tiny House Ride.” He was stunned to learn his company would match whatever he could raise, up to $15,000 for the tiny houses.
Tiny House Ride will take place from February 27th until March 13rd, 2021. It is a virtual, and at the same time, real event. Riders can volunteer to ride individually, social-distanced with a mask not in a group, for up to a week, receiving pledges of support in advance for their mileage achieved in the form of donations. Competitors can also participate by riding their home Pelotons or other stationary devices, agreeing to complete a goal of so many miles within that week. Please get involved! To register for the Tiny House Ride fundraising event, go to: www.bikereg.com and for updates go to: Tiny House Ride group, enroll and feel a part of this growing movement. “I am so glad I decided to do something about this,” says Steve. “I am hopeful now. The tiny house movement and the ride have lifted my spirits and renewed my faith in our community.” Following the ride, there’s going to be a Zoom party with great prizes.
Heart Rising got behind the effort too. We have been connecting with Alyssa from Tiny Pine and thanks to community donations, we were able to put $1,000 towards our local tiny house efforts! And we are inviting our volunteers to participate.
Kayla, half of our sponsored couple, recently added, “The team that Heart Rising connected with us, has been instrumental in helping us rebuild our lives. I would like to thank Patie and Lucie for their kindness in connecting us with a wonderful group of ladies. All of them are amazing and have been so helpful. We couldn’t have gotten where we are without their support, and the two of you.” You are a gift to us too, Kayla.
We are so excited and grateful to see the momentum with which the community has taken up these challenges and how one kind gesture can lead to the next best thing. We are grateful to all our teams, taking families food, connecting them to the school drop-offs of fresh produce, directing families to new clothes at various sites, working with children finding employment, even looking into benefits. As Alyssa Nolan says, “It takes a community to build a village.”
Please join us. You can volunteer in big or small ways. You decide how much you want to do and how much time you want to spend. We look forward to hearing from you!
Heart Rising at: HeartRising.Org –
Patie Millen, Founder, Lucie K. Scheuer, Associate Director