Thursday, November 27, 2008

Economics, staff changes forces local non-profit to continue with volunteers and part time staff

East Hillside Patch
announced this month that it will continue to serve the community despite some recent staff departures. As a result of these departures and the current economic climate, the organization will operate mostly through volunteers and a social work intern. Its three biggest projects are the Health Equity Project, a free after school program named Mind 2 Mind and the needs assessment survey.

Changes in Patch
Cindy Donner, executive director, has accepted a teaching position at the College of St. Scholastica and Jennifer Zapata, youth director, has moved to California to be closer to family. For economic reasons, Patch’s board has chosen not to fill these vacancies.
Instead, the board of directors will take a hands-on role in carrying out administrative duties, continuing the Health Equity Project and supporting Jahna Hardy, the recently hired part-time Youth Program Director, for its Mind-2-Mind program. Tamara Miskovic, an UMD MSW intern, will assist with agency-support duties and complete the neighborhood surveys that began last year.

Extra volunteers needed
As a result of these changes, the Patch office won’t be open on a regular basis any longer. Other than that, the agency continues to seek extra volunteers, more funders and board members. Patch’s focus remains on community development, social justice and youth programs. The agency has secured funding to assist board members in board development and strategic planning, which will begin in the upcoming months.
“Patch is just like the East Hillside and Endion neighborhoods it supports – resilient,” said Mona Cheslak, Patch board member.
For more information about East Hillside Patch please leave a message at the office, 218-728-4287, or e-mail

Social work intern
If someone comes knocking on your door to ask what type of needs you have, please take time to answer the questions. That’s the sentiment of Tamara Miskovic, a social work intern at East Hillside Patch. Miskovic said, “Please participate because it’s for you!”

“Please participate because it is for you!”
Tamara Miskovic
on neighborhood needs survey

She said the biggest problems she sees in the East Hillside neighborhood are health care and childcare. She also said young single mothers need support groups and all neighbors need to know what is going on with in the neighborhood and how to network with each other.