One of Florence’s most active social service organizations has decided on the person that will lead it into the future.
Siuslaw Outreach Services (SOS), 1576 12th St. in Florence, has named Interim Director Bob Teter to the position on a permanent basis. Teter has been the acting director since the beginning of the year and the retirement of his predecessor, David Wiegan.
“I have been here for about seven years, so I feel comfortable with the responsibilities that go with the position,” Teter said. “Dave did a great job while he was here and I learned a lot working with him, so I feel that I can step right in and continue to serve our clients moving forward.”
The services provided by SOS are more extensive than community members may realize.
SOS assists not only women and victims of domestic violence, but also veterans, families in transition, the homeless and the mentally challenged.
Teter said the need for the support SOS provides is meaningful to the community.
“We are still collating numbers from 2016, but in 2015 we served more than 2,900 individuals, so obviously there is a need for our services,” Teter said.
Moreover, while the funding for this years programs has been secured, there is no guarantee that current levels of funding will continue in the future.
“There is always uncertainty with any transition. But the Trump Administration has proposed cutting off all funding to some of the programs that support our work,” Teter said. “One of the programs pays the salary of a staff member and that would dramatically impact our ability to serve our clients.”
Teter is focusing on improving the skillsets of the SOS volunteers and staff who interact with clients by providing opportunities to learn more about the organization’s mission.
“We have really started to focus on training,” he said. “I want everyone on our staff to be able to serve our clients to the best of their ability, so we have begun to increase the training available to all of our staff and volunteers.”
Teter is also making small changes at the SOS facility as time and money allows. The first steps in that effort have included a new computer workstation for clients to use for job and housing searches and a private space for children to play while their parents are involved in the intake procedures.
Teter is quick to point out the organization’s ongoing need for volunteers.
“It really is all about our volunteers. They are an amazing and dedicated group that donate their time and energy to helping others,” Teter said. “We would not be able to do the work we do without them, and I encourage anyone that is interested in helping out to give us a call.”
For more information on donating to or volunteering at SOS, call 541-997-2816 or visit www.florencesos.org.