December 2009

This is an alternative adapted from the print issue.

Table of Contents:

  1. Letter From the President
  2. Helping Hands Ministry
  3. CompuPlace
  4. CompuPlace (continued)
  5. Community Support
  6. Margaret Bock Housing
    & ECC Board of Directors
  7. ECC News, Donations & Thanks
  8. Wish Lists

Page 1
Letter From the President

What a year this has been. The Ecumenical Community Center moved to 601 Second Ave SE in February. From our new location:

ECC has provided a home from which Green Square Meals and the Witwer Senior Center have prepared over 250,000 meals.

Helping Hands Ministry has provided over $60,000 in financial assistance to people coping with the impacts of flood and the economic downturn. Funds you provided, given to people in great need.

CompuPlace awarded more scholarship assistance than ever before to persons with disabilities using the program’s special computer hardware and programming.

ECC has provided free storage space to several area churches and agencies that lost buildings to the 2008 flood.

Through floods and economic downturn your generous support has helped ECC assist more people than ever. Thank you.

Thank you for your generosity and your concern. I hope that you will continue to support the Ecumenical Center. The need is great and together we can accomplish even more!

May this be a time of giving and thanksgiving for all of us.

Jim Kennedy
ECC Board President

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year 2010!

Page 1 Asides:

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Graphic of neighbors visiting outdoors
with this caption:
See Page 5 for section on “Community Support”

Page 2
Helping Hands Ministry

601 Second Avenue SE #2
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Lois Rude, HHM Director
Barb Kane, HHM Staff Associate
Phone: (319)-366-2651

Helping Hands Ministry (HHM) continues to receive many requests for assistance.
Incoming telephone calls average 564 per month to date.
Financial assistance since the last issue of The Echo has been provided as follows:

Month Households Persons Total Amount Funds Exhausted Date
August 74150$ 5,479.6608/26/09
September 59114$ 5,136.0909/28/09
October 57125$ 5,201.6710/27/09
Totals 190389$15,817.42   

The majority of requests are for help with rent, rent deposit, utility or utility deposit.
Typically the amount of financial help ranges between $75 and $100 per household with a maximum of $150.
Households affected by the loss of jobs due to the flood and those unable to find jobs due to the current economy continue to seek HHM assistance.
Those with FEMA numbers are being helped by our Flood 2008 Grant from the GCRCF with up to $300 per household.
Being good stewards of the funds donated, HHM ascertains if households are eligible for other local agency help.
HHM also serves as an advocate with service providers to work with the households. Donations of items on our “Office Supply Wish List” helps control costs.
Grants provided the following for
August through October:
Flood 2008 Grant: 26 Households/57 persons $ 4,805.32
City of Marion First Month Rent: 12 Households/28 persons $ 5,135.48
Local Homeless Fund for Linn Co: 26 Households/58 persons $10,771.00
Total: 64 Households/143 persons $20,711.80

Volunteer training sessions are scheduled for the last Wednesday of the month from 10:30—11:30 am
Come if you are interested and could donate at least three (3) hours per week or twelve (12) hours per month between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
Please call 366-2651 if you have any questions.
It is only through the continued support of the faith community and individual donations that we have been able to increase the number of households served.
We are so thankful! Barb and I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Page 3

Robin Switzer Brunner, Director
601 Second Ave SE #3
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Phone: (319)-362-4284

COMPUPLACE Provides Specialized Abilities-Based
Computer Access & Training
to People with Disabilities

CompuPlace provides individualized computer learning services primarily to people with intellectual disabilities, and also to people who need Assistive Technology. We serve those for whom a typical computer learning center is not appropriate. Often emphasized are literacy and basic skills. We are in need of increased community support. Since the flood, and now in belt-tightening mode, fewer clients can bring the requested $7 per hour. This is because fewer are employed, may work fewer hours, or have other expenses. We do have group sessions. If your group can help support CompuPlace and seeks training in a computer lab, please contact us. Please leave a message. The Director cannot always answer the phone while teaching. We serve clients usually from about 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

In the third quarter of 2009, July through September, an average of 52 clients received an average of 177 client-hours of service per month. Services were delivered and maintenance tasks were performed with a monthly average of 170 paid staff hours.

Using skills gained from designing and maintaining the Ecumenical Community Center’s website,, the Director is designing personally tailored learning games for individual clients. Snapshots are needed for these games, and volunteers to photograph and sort snapshots from around the community would be very helpful.

Page 4
CompuPlace (continued)

Taking Care of Your Computer

Learn some Do It Yourself computer maintenance, or barter with someone who can help you. All tools need a bit of care, and your computer is no different. We like C Cleaner to tidy up relatively quickly. Defragmenting can help speed up a machine. Up-to-date versions of AVG Free Anti-Virus, C Cleaner and an effective defragmenter, Defraggler, are available at There is a NEW AVG Free AntiVirus version 9.0. These and many other helpful programs are NOT very difficult to learn to use, and ONLY work IF you USE them. They are NOT all automatic. One aspect of maintenance is cleanliness. At CompuPlace we periodically turn the keyboards upside down over the trash can and tap firmly. Keyboards, Touch Screens and mice are wiped off regularly with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol in an effort to keep our workspace healthier.

Web Accessibility

Does your favorite website provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities to access the information it contains? The CompuPlace Director is learning about and advocating for greater web accessibility. Screen Readers are one type of Assistive Technology. They allow computer text to be read aloud. Making a web page more accessible to users of Screen Readers can help everyone. Ensure that your page can be navigated and controlled by either keyboard or mouse. In Linn County 14% of us have a disability. A little over half of these 28,000 individuals use some alternative method to access information on the web. Welcoming these individuals to a website may be simpler than you think. There are many good resources for learning about web accessibility, guidelines to follow, and choices to make. Call CompuPlace if your group would enjoy a Web Accessibility presentation.
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) is a great resource and has a listserv
WAVE provides the ability to evaluate accessibility as you follow links
Cynthia Says provides options for details in the report of the evaluation
HERA Evaluator provides options for how “picky” you want the evaluation to be

A List Apart has good articles about accessibility & more

Accessibility is not Enough and Jakob Nielsen knows

Accessify Forum Try Beginners First

Do-IT Some really driven individuals

CSS Techniques for Accessibility

Designing Accessible websites booklet

iCITA Illinois Center for Information Technology and Web Accessibility
Great links here for adjusting font size I should use

LIghtHouse International's Guidelines

Access IT one particularly enlightening article

U of TX accessibility Institute

Web Accessibility Institute's tips

A very good Usability Study

Page 5
Community Support

You can support the Ecumenical Community Center by logging on to our website at

If you click on the link at the bottom of ECC's web page to get your own great web hosting, then DreamHost will make a donation to the ECC in the amount of $97 to begin with and $5 thereafter.

Other ways to support us, is to volunteer.

Volunteer opportunities are detailed on our website.

Helping Hands conducts monthly orientations on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 10:30 to Noon.
Just drop in.

You can “make a positive difference” in a person’s life by donating:

a clip & return portion: