2022 Spring Newsletter

Supporting a child’s mental well-being begins with early detection and prevention. Through teaching important life skills that build resiliency, preparing children to make positive choices, addressing concerning behaviors, and empowering parents to understand how a child’s development and well-being is affected by their mental health, we can help children lead fulfilling and empowered lives.

It’s already begun to be an exciting year here at Tanager Place, especially for our prevention programs. These programs include the area’s only LGBTQ+ Youth Center, the first Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program in Iowa, Camp Tanager, and YouthPort; a collaboration between Tanager Place, YPN, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Corridor. These programs continue to grow, expand, and serve more children and families than ever before thanks to an outpouring of community support.

When we work together as a community to reduce stigma and provide greater access for those who need additional support, amazing things happen. Thank you for supporting the kids and families at Tanager Place and our dedicated team who go above and beyond to make a difference. Your gift to Tanager Place helps provide a sense of belonging and hope for the children who participate in our programs.

Okpara Rice, CEO

Upcoming Events

June Jam

June 4th – Mays Island Plaza

Connect, celebrate and experience the mission of Tanager Place at this simple summer social. Be a part of this unique event that includes dinner, drinks and entertainment while you help raise funds for Tanager Place’s prevention, treatment and outreach initiatives. Purchase tickets now!

Imagination! Square

June 25th – Greene Square

Our former “Summer Fest” event will integrate with the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival on June 25th and take place immediately after the parade. Join us for activities for the whole family, a car show, a firefighter challenge, and much more! This event is free and open to the public.

Annual Golf Outing

August 4th – Hunters Ridge Golf Course

Tanager Place’s 28th annual golf outing returns August 4th. This four-person best shot outing includes meals, awards, contests and prizes.

Get your team together and join us for a day on the green while you support the mission of Tanager Place. Register your team today!

Connecting Across the Country

Through the power of technology, Tanager Place has connected with leaders throughout the United States to collaborate, provide education, and inspire.

On February 5th, Brandon P. Fleming, author and educator from Harvard University, shared his inspiring story in Tanager Place’s Speaker Series event. Through virtual presentation, he shared how education can impact a student’s mental wellbeing and how he overcame his own struggles by developing a passion for literature and debate. We were pleased to have 120 families log in to this inspiring Saturday morning presentation.

 

On February 23rd, Okpara Rice joined Martin Rafferty, and nationally-acclaimed best-selling author Dr. Bruce Perry for a keynote presentation at the Association of Children’s Residential and Community (ACRC) Virtual Summit on strategies for addressing trauma. Dr. Perry’s most recent book, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, encourages reflection on trauma and educates readers on reshaping their thought process through the lens of previous trauma experiences.

Freedom Schools Doubles Capacity

Last summer, Tanager Place launched the first Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools site in Iowa, a nationally recognized educational and literacy program. By offering this program, Tanager Place helps students avoid summer learning loss, build personal libraries, increase confidence, and address mental health risk factors in a proactive manner.

In 2022, Freedom Schools will not only return, but also will double capacity to serve 60 area students entering 6th-8th grades. With new books and learning opportunities, students will be provided with new experiences including field trips, art and music enrichments and volunteering. Students are selected based on academic need by Cedar Rapids school staff with enrollment beginning in late spring and the program implementation beginning in June.

Interested in volunteering or learning more about this program? Contact Crystal Hall, Director of Community Based & Prevention Services at chall@tanagerplace.org or 319-365-9164 ext. 610.

Camp Tanager Expansion Continues

Camp Tanager has long been a source of excitement for youth in our community. After learning how many children were placed on Camp Tanager’s waitlist each summer, Jared and Carol Hills gave a historic 1.9 million dollar gift in 2019 in an effort to expand camper capacity. Their dream is coming to life as the finishing touches are taking place on the new grand lodge and Hills cabin, a climate-controlled space that can be used year-round to host up to 24 guests at a time.

A new driveway and parking lot have also been added to Camp Tanager’s campus. As Phase 1 of the expansion project reaches completion, Camp Tanager is looking ahead for what comes next. Plans for Phase 2 of the project include a new lap pool and refurbishing the current zero-entry pool, a renovated shower house, a ropes course and a second climate-controlled cabin on site.

Camp provides life-changing opportunities that children otherwise might not have, a place where they can build critical life skills, interact with peers and explore new experiences. Registration for Summer 2022 Day and Overnight camps is open. Visit camptanager.org to learn more.

Welcome Crystal Hall

Crystal Hall joined the Tanager Place team in February as the Director of Community Based and Prevention Services. In this new role, Crystal will focus on:

  • Continuing to support collaboration efforts that take place between departments to better serve children and families.
  • Growing programs through outreach to unserved or underserved populations and different geographical regions.
  • Building teams of individuals that love their work and creating a culture of positivity.

Crystal brings over 20 years of experience working in child-focused organizations. She previously served as the Senior Director of YPN (Young Parents Network) and worked with the Iowa Department of Education managing the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.

Building Social Skills

The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Social Skills Groups at Tanager Place gives children on the autism spectrum an opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities that enhance communication and life skills they can utilize in social settings. Located on the main floor of Estle Center, the large Social Skills room is a welcoming space filled with board games, cozy furniture, and tables for music and art activities.

“It has been very rewarding to see the clients come back and enjoy time with peers and to grow through the experiences of the pandemic,” said Jennifer Arellano, Autism Social Skills Coordinator.

Twice a week, groups for kindergarten through high school meet and work on identified skills with their coaches and peers. Groups are held year round, with enrollment offered in late spring and summer. To learn more about our social skill groups or summer enrollment, please contact Tanager Place at 319-365-9164.

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