Our View: Way to go, Idaho

June 21, 2013 

Today we are taking another opportunity to focus on some of the efforts and news that make Idaho and the Treasure Valley special. We hope you enjoy the good news we share here in our second installment of Way To Go, Idaho.

CREATE COMMON GOOD

A few weeks back we were visited by Tara Russell, who operates Create Common Good, a Boise non-profit specializing in job training to vulnerable populations and refugees through a farm-to-table food production "social enterprise."

Refugees are among the hardest people to place in jobs because they often have the language barriers in addition to limited job skills. Russell's group works on both those issues to help clients assimilate and get employed.

"We use food to change lives," says Russell. She says they place about 95 percent of their graduates - who have come from Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East - in food production and culinary positions.

Russell is savvy about non-profit survival amid diminishing charitable and community support. So, the group creates food products that supply area schools and even sell some packaged foods from a new location on 2513 S. Federal Way, Boise.

Thursday, it was to host the first monthly "Supperclub," complete with food prepared by the culinary staff - who are trained by an Australian chef now on staff - and a wine service by one of Idaho's local wineries. The cost of $80 per tickets goes to fund future efforts of Create Common Good. Sign up for one a Supperclub July 18, Aug. 15 or Sept. 19 by emailing Neva@createcommongood.org or call (208) 258-6800.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

The other night there was a meeting called to measure interest in forming a "village" concept with the mission of helping Boise's elderly stay in their homes longer.

Some 120 people showed up at North Junior High School to discuss how they could create something similar to My Own Home in Moscow, which affords its members (who pay $450 for individuals, $550 for couples) services like transportation, handyman duties, meals, social activities and care. Sometimes volunteers assist them and sometimes professionals.

Two Valley women, Diane Ronayne and Susan Graham, an attorney who represents seniors in legal matters, aren't sure exactly what form a village could take in the city's North or East end. They emphasized it would be volunteer-driven and would fill a void many seniors face in their quest to stay in their homes longer.

We want to commend their efforts to organize a Village in Boise and invite people to learn more about the 200 villages already in existence across the U.S. Graham can be reached at info@senioredgelegal.com or (208) 344-0375.

To read more about the "villages" and check out a video, click here.

PRAISE FOR VOLUNTEERING

The other day Gov. Butch Otter sent out a release thanking some 1,500 volunteers who staff many of the commissions and councils he oversees. He calls their work "civic virtue," which goes beyond voting to devoting time to these efforts. We applaud his applauding and we want to recognize one of our own here at the Statesman.

For the past year Jess Flynn has faithfully served as a community member on our Editorial Board. She joined publisher Mike Jung and our editorial writers in shaping opinions and endorsements. Most Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., Jess - co-founder and CEO of Red Sky Public Relations - came in with coffee and stimulating takes on the issues we face around the Treasure Valley and the state.

Thanks for your service, Jess, and we wish you the best.

"Our View" is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman's editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

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