September 2010

This is an alternative adapted from the print issue.

Table of Contents:

  1. Letter From the President
  2. Helping Hands Ministry
  3. CompuPlace
  4. ECC News, MBH Update & ECC Development Director
  5. Open House 9-25-10 & ECC Board of Directors
  6. HHM & CompuPlace Wish Lists

Page 1
Letter from the President

Push and pray. I recently heard author Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle) speak in Iowa City. Ms. Walls was describing her grandmother who sometimes drove a small school bus. If the bus became stuck or just needed help up a hill, her grandmother would have her students get out and recite prayers as they pushed the bus. ‗Push and pray‘ was her grandmother‘s shouted encouragement to her students.

Push and pray – I like the combination of action and faith. The Ecumenical Center is continuing its work on several programs. Helping Hands Ministry is again helping to administer first month‘s rent programs designed to help people in need get into stable housing situations. The rent monies are provided by Linn County and Marion. Helping Hands Ministry, through your donations to the Ecumenical Center, provides the administrative support to make the program work. The first month‘s rent program also helps stretch Helping Hands dollars when providing financial aid for other needs.

CompuPlace is expanding the computer hardware and software available to individuals with disabilities. Director Robin Brunner continues to expand the accessibility of the computer programs available to CompuPlace users.

New this fall, the ECC is working with Marvalee Vuichard to expand community awareness for the Center‘s programs. Some of you may have talked with Marvalee and I hope more of you will the opportunity to do so in the near future.

Push and pray. There is a great need in our community for action and faith. Thank you all for your support of the Ecumenical Community Center. Collectively our action and faith will move us down the road as we address the challenges our community faces.

Jim Kennedy
ECC Board President

Page 1 Aside

Zero Poverty Summit 2010 10/10/10 at 1:10 pm Hope United Church of Christ
150 9th Avenue
Hiawatha, IA 52233
Speakers from:
Matthew 25 Ministry Hub
Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program
Willis Dady Shelter STRAP
ICAN & Horizons Program
Helping Hands Ministry
Director as Moderator
(See website for more info)

Page 2
Helping Hands Ministry

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


Thanks to the City of Marion, 91 households representing 214 persons were assisted with first month rent. To qualify, the household had to provide proof of income for the past three months falling within 130% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, be able to pay their own rent deposit and show an ability to pay ongoing rent and basic living expenses. Households were required to ex-haust any help from Linn County. Landlords had to be willing to accept first month rent from Helping Hands. The maximum payable rent was $600. Of the 91 households, 55 were families and 36 were individuals. Telephone interviews 6 and 12 months after assistance show the households in stabilized housing. It is with this additional type of community support that Helping Hands Ministry

During the first 8 months of 2010, HHM has served 481 households representing 1,010 persons! A total of 24 churches have donated $52,054 for HHM serves of which $48,065 has been distributed during this 8 month period. The majority of requests are for rent or rent deposit and utility/deposit (electricity primarily). Most of the households are eligible for heating assistance through HACAP‘s energy assistance program. HHM does not duplicate already existing program assistance.

HHM has just been notified that it has been approved for another $70,000 grant from the Housing Fund for Linn County (HFfLC). This award will be used to help Linn County residents with limited in-come to move into a place by paying either the first month‘s rent or the deposit, maintain a place by paying one month‘s rent to avoid eviction, or by paying an old utility bill or utility deposit to get utili-ties in their name at the new place. With the first $35,000 HFfLC grant this year, 83 households representing 202 persons were assisted. The new grant should serve 150-160 households in 2011. We thank you for your continued support and prayers. Lois Ann Rude, HHM Director

A photo of intern Kiersten Onanga is displayed here.

Kiersten Onanga is a Senior at Mt. Mercy University and is doing her Social Work internship at HHM. She plans on pursuing a Master‘s Degree. Her passion is helping families. HHM is pleased to have Kiersten 24 hours a week for a total of 312 hours during the Fall semester.

On a personal note, she is married with one child and another due in February.

In addition to becoming fully trained on the Helping Hands Minis-try Program, Kiersten will also be involved in small groups for the Zero Poverty Project‘s ―Getting Ahead‖ program. Stop by and in-troduce yourself. Welcome, Kiersten!

Page 3

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

COMPUPLACE: A specialized Learning Lab for People with Intellectual Disabilities or Assistive Technology needs.

Since the last issue of the ECHO, we have been upgrading our lab with newer XP ma-chines from the REACT Center, and with wonderful new integrated TouchScreens and some new software purchased through a grant from the Rockwell Collins Employee United Fund. Many thanks to Rockwell Collins and its commitment to our community!

Averages for the first seven months of 2010 look like 2009. Each month we are serv-ing 47 clients, providing 157 client-hours of service with 163 paid staff hours. In addi-tion to maintaining this level of service, we have developed exciting new teaching tools to be used by our clients both here and in their own homes. Through the gracious and enthusiastic assistance of REACT volunteer Bryon Wiscons, we have a Question and Answer game, a Spelling game with an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, and most re-cently, a Matching game. These games, pictured below, can be personalized with the subject matter most salient to our individual clients, and with the words and pictures most relevant to them as they go about their daily lives. Since games made for adults with disabilities are often expensive and are not always suited to an individuals‘ skills and / or interests, these games comprise a series of projects with great potential.

Three Screen shots of games are displayed here.
A Question and Answer game with a USA question and a 4 by 4 array of possible answers, revealing a map of the USA as questions are correctly answered.
A Spelling game with a picture of a computer on top and an on-screen QWERTY keyboard along the bottom.
A Matching game similar to Concentration, also a 4 by 4 array. This one has photos of dogs. The cover image for the 16 images is a repeated image of a dish of dog food. The image behind, which is revealed as the matches are made, is of a dog catching a frisbee in midair.

With the Question and Answer game, we work on reading both isolated words and words in a sentence. It can also be a logic task. For example, one should look for a number in answer to “How many…?” The Spelling game can help a person who does not speak to communicate needs and wishes more precisely. The Matching game, can allow ―peeking‖ and clients can work on mouse skills as well as exercise memory.

We need volunteers to take pictures, size digital images, and write trivia questions!

Page 5
ECC News

THANKS for 2010 support from:

St Pius X Catholic
First Baptist Marion
Immaculate Conception Catholic
St Matthew‘s
St Joseph‘s—Marion
St Ludmila Catholic
First Congregational
St Stephens Lutheran
Oakland Church of the Nazarene
Echo Hill Presbyterian Deacons
Echo Hill Presbyterian
First Presbyterian, C.R.
Westminster Presbyterian
First Christian
First Lutheran
Gloria Dei Lutheran
Our Savior‘s Lutheran
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
Buffalo U/Methodist
Living Water U/Methodist
Prairie Chapel U/Methodist
Salem U/Methodist
St. Paul‘s U/Methodist
People‘s Church Unitarian
Mission of Hope
Church Women United
Christ Episcopal

It is recognized that some churches choose to send donations to HHM & ECC on a quarterly basis. This report merely shows deposits for the first eight months of 2010.

Margaret Bock Housing Update

“A Home on Third”
1021 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403

Margaret Bock Housing (MBH) continues to serve low income single adults with affordable housing. It is currently at full capacity with a waiting list for acceptance. Thirty-four (34) single rooms are available to be occupied. Six of the rooms have an adjoining bathroom whereas the remaining 28 share one of several community bathrooms. Rent varies according to the size of the room from $235 to $255 per month including utilities and cleaning of all common areas.

The minimum requirements for acceptance are: must be single, have a source of income, pay a $130 security deposit, pay one month rent in advance and agree to a ―criminal check‖. Rent applications may be picked up at the Helping Hands Ministry office located at 601 Second Avenue SE #2.
Wish list: twin sheets & pillows

ECC Director of Development

A photo of Marvalee Vuichard is displayed here.

Marvalee Vuichard is the new ECC Director of Development. She will be meeting with the staff of CompuPlace and Helping Hands Ministry to review needs and prepare grant information. It is her intention to visit with local churches and interested persons about their involvement and commitment to the ECC. Marvalee can be reached at (319) 377-9364 or

Page 5
Tour de Hope & ECC Board of Directors

Tour de Hope

TOUR de HOPE Join us for a free progressive open house featuring moving stories, delicious food, and fun door prizes! Saturday, September 25 9am -2pm

AID TO WOMEN, 701 Center Point Rd NE, a pregnancy resource center, empowers women to choose life through Christ-centered education, counseling, and support.

EQUIPPING YOUTH, 118 3rd Ave SE, #431, promotes character education through our Powerful Choices abstinence program for youth and their families.

HELPING HANDS MINISTRY, 601 2nd Ave SE #2, at the Ecumenical Community Center, provides referral services and financial assistance to Linn County residents.

HIS HANDS FREE MEDICAL CLINIC, 1043 3rd Ave SE, provides for the physical and spiritual needs of the uninsured through quality and dignified healthcare.

HOUSE OF HOPE, 1744 2nd Ave SE, empowers, encourages, and equips women to live well through mentoring, housing, classes, and speaking events.

MISSION OF HOPE, 1537 1st Ave SE, serves the formerly incarcerated and others in need by providing food, clothes, shelter, worship services, and Bible studies.

Begin Anywhere, Be Inspired Everywhere!
319-862-2636 to pre-register

ECC Board of Directors

As of 07/01/10

Page 6
HHM & CompuPlace Wish Lists

HHM Wish List

For distribution to clients:

For office:

CompuPlace Wish List

Printing of the quarterly publication of The Echo is graciously provided by First Lutheran Church; Cedar Rapids, IA