Local families reconvene for round table discussions

Community members gathered at the Florence Senior Center on March 5 for another Siuslaw Family Table event hosted by Siuslaw Family Connections and Siuslaw Vision. The theme was “Celebrate and Reconvene.” Photo by Jean Lee for the Siuslaw News

March 16, 2023 — On March 5, Siuslaw Family Connections and Siuslaw Vision hosted another round of table events to discuss important local issues, including long and short-term community spaces and childcare needs. The facilitator, Anika Miller, set the tone of openness and inclusivity at the door by immediately greeting participants and asking if they had anything in particular they hoped to discuss.

This event was hosted for the first time at the Florence Senior Center under the theme “Celebrate and Reconvene.” With targeted focus based on the feedback from the first event, each table had a designated topic so participants could brainstorm and offer valuable feedback.

Childcare and a potluck-style dinner were offered so participants could give their full attention to the proceedings. City council members were sprinkled in attendance amongst the participants, lending additional credibility to these important discussions. It was a unique opportunity for more voices to get heard and express individual needs, no matter how exceptional.

Updates since the last event in January included the Miller Park playground project. As of the event, $190,000 of the needed $230,000 had been raised. During a February city council meeting the city approved the designs for the new playground.

Topics discussed during this event covered short-term community spaces for family clubs and activities, increasing access to high-quality, inclusive, affordable childcare and the possibility of establishing a parks and recreation department. Proposals for a Siuslaw Family Connection Marketing/Outreach coordinator and/or childcare coordinator were also explored.

“If we want to maintain a standard of quality care, that needs to be subsidized,” said one participant regarding childcare. “There needs to be more support for the people who want to be providers. But without the money, it’s a race to the bottom.”

The round table event will drive targeted improvements where they are needed most and help administrators decide where to put potential budgets.

This is the second Family Table event, and the organizers hope to turn these events into a series for the Siuslaw region, including Florence, Dunes City, Mapleton, Deadwood and Swisshome.

Participation in future events is highly encouraged. More community members adding to the conversations will help elevate the Siuslaw region to become the communal hub residents want it to be.

For more information on the two organizations hosting the event go to www.siuslawfamilyconnection.org/ or siuslawvision.org/.