Youth farm helps food share, grows leaders

Youth farm helps food share, grows leaders

A local youth farm program is expanding through a partnership with Chemeketa Community College.

The Marion Polk Food Share’s youth program has helped grow 23,000 pounds of food for families in need in Marion and Polk counties, according to the Statesman Journal. In addition, appealing to high school and college students have helped numerous young people grow in agricultural skills and as community leaders.

Now the farm is growing with the moving to a new site at Chemeketa Community College, allowing the program to double in size.

“Having the youth farm at Chemeketa is more than just a bigger farm, We have the opportunity to create a garden education site for the entire community.” said Ian Dixon-McDonald, vice president of programs at MPFS.

The new farm will be integrated into the Chemeketa agricultural sciences program, allowing the students to see a working farm in action.

“This partnership is exactly the kind of collaboration we seek to integrate educational opportunity with community needs,” said Julie Huckestein, president of Chemeketa.

Rick Guapo, president of the food share, says that the partnership represented an aligning of goals between the organization and the college, allowing a pooling of resources.

“This is the partnership we wanted,” he said. “Together we have the resources to strengthen the community.”

Half of the food grown in the new garden will be distributed through the food share to families in need. The rest will be sold at the Salem Saturday Market, allowing Youth Farm students to learn business and money management skills.

Florida to open first male trafficking safehouse

Florida to open first male trafficking safehouse

The Florida Dream Center is organizing the construction of the first safehouse to help male sex trafficking victims in central Florida.

The shelter will be the first ever boy-only safe house in the country. Bill LoSasso, president of the Florida Dream Center, estimates that 10%-15% of trafficking victims are boys.

There’s no one helping boys,” he said, according to ABC Action News. “They’re not coming out and telling. They feel worse. What happened to them is bad enough, but they don’t want what people are going to say to be even worse.”

Because there is no safe house for male trafficking victims, often law enforcement officers do not have a place to send victims to recover, and as a result victims never seek help, according to LoSasso.

The safehouse will be modeled after safehouses that currently exist for girls, with self contained school systems and one-on-one staff interaction.

“When kids are in a small environment, and you sort of have high-staff ratios, you can give them a lot of that one-on-one attention that they’ve never had before,” said said Natasha Nascimento. Nascimento runs a safehouse for female victims of sex trafficking.

The Florida dream center has raised $100,000 to purchase the land for the shelter. The house itself will cost another $100,000. Once the house is purchased, the state government will fund about 80% of the shelter’s costs.

Edie Rhea, a former trafficking victim, says she is so excited to see the shelter coming to life.

“This is long overdue. I can’t imagine a place like this when I was a child growing up,” Rhea said. “I’m praying for a great success for them.” 

Church gives pizza driver $1,000 tip

Church gives pizza driver $1,000 tip

A church in Pickerington Ohio surprised a domino’s delivery driver with a $1,000 tip last Sunday.

Sycamore Creek church had just been wrapping up a sermon series called “I was broke, now I’m not.” In addition, the church had been putting a missions emphasis on random acts of kindness, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The driver, Natasha, was brought on stage to deliver a $5.99 pizza.

Rev. Steve Merkle asked Natasha what the biggest tip she’s ever received was. She replied $10.

“We’ve been teaching our church this last month about being generous,” Merkle said “and so we did something special for you today. We took up a special offering for a tip for you.”

Merkle pulled out the stack of bills. Natasha burst into tears. She hugged the pastor.

“Thank you so much” she said.

“I hope that this can help you,” Markle said. “I don’t know what’s going on in your life.”

“It can help a lot,” Natasha said “Thank you so much, thank you everybody.”

Merkle then said a special prayer for her on stage.

Video of this can be viewed here.


Flight attendent leaves encouraging notes to passengers

Flight attendent leaves encouraging notes to passengers

Taylor Tippett first started leaving notes in passengers seats a year ago, and she’s still going strong.

The 22 year old American Airlines attendant leaves notes with messages like “be kind to yourself” and “you’re golden” in the safety cards in the seat pockets of her aircraft.

The notes started with a bad day on the job for Tippett.

“I was on the back of a plane early in the morning before a flight last year just thinking and beating myself up about a lot of things,” she said according to Yahoo News. “I realized I was being so harsh and mean to myself, and so I started journaling to work through my thoughts. I then noticed a small composition pad my instructor had given me, and I realized I wanted to…take this moment and do something with it — to encourage others with what I was going through.”


Tippett’s first note was “Be kind to yourself.”

Tippett’s notes are a part of a photo series on her blog called “words from the window seat”. The notes can also be found on Instagram using the hashtag #wordsfromthewindowseat

Tippett’s notes are inspired by her travels, conversations she’s had, and any obstacles she is facing.

The flight attendant says she hopes her notes will encourage passengers to travel to new places and gain new perspective on their problems.

“Life can be so dark and heavy, but trying new things and going new places puts so much into perspective and encourages you to live your life full and free.”

Missing Ohio Toddler found alive

Missing Ohio Toddler found alive

A two year old Ohio girl was found alive Sunday after being missing for two days.

Riann Peterson had been missing from her great-grandparents home since Friday evening. On Sunday evening an unidentified volunteer searcher riding a four wheeler found the little girl in a field about one-mile south of where she was last seen, according to Fox News.

The searcher quickly called the 911 dispatcher. “I found baby Rainn and she’s alive!” he said.

During the emergency call Riann can be heard crying in the background.

“I hear her. Oh, I just got goosebumps.” the dispatcher said.

“I couldn’t give up on this kid. Thank God.” said the volunteer.

Riann was reported missing at 6:30 pm last Friday. Authorities are investigating how the child managed to leave her great-grandparents house.  But for now the community of Trumbull county is celebrating.

“She appears okay and we are so thankful,” said Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere,