News

Today marked the celebration of our annual Literacy Volunteer Appreciation luncheon at Whitman's Baker Center. Twenty-one volunteers and some very special guests joined to share a meal and reflect upon the progress that had been made from the year behind us.

Our brigade of thirty-nine volunteer tutors help spread education and opportunity to fourty-two enrolled students. Through one on one learning, we are able to help students achieve their educational and professional goals. For some, that might look like learning English, while others have a targeted goal in mind, like obtaining a high school equivalency diploma or a US citizenship. 

Over the last year, 1031 hours of teaching has helped to break down barriers and pave the way to new opportunities.

Thank you to our many volunteers and to the local AAUW chapter for providing financial support to the program! 

Become a student or a volunteer today!

2019 AAUW Grant

BMAC Team

One group from Boise, Four Hundred Twenty-Five Volunteers, Seven Hundred Eight patients = Love Heals Free Clinic!

Planning for the two-day event took months and dozens of volunteers. Over the course of three days, the clinic was set up and hundreds of local people in need received medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, physical therapy and massage services.

The team at Love Heals said "We were incredibly impressed by the dedication and kindness you exhibited over this past week. It is only because YOU were there to serve that this was able to happen! Thank you!"

Patients left with services they otherwise wouldn't have had the money to receive. "This helps the community a lot and many people are in need so thank you! I would have given this a rating of 1,000 if I could. Thank you so much." Another said: " Blown away. People were sweet and helpful. I couldn’t believe people took the time to make this happen. Amazing what you are doing!"

Clinic directors report that because of this clinic one person's life was literally saved! A patient came in for a vision service but had a blood pressure so excessive that they were at risk of a stroke, heart attack and a handful of other life-threatening possibilities. He was sent to the ER and was immediately admitted to the hospital. He spent Easter weekend in the hospital and now his blood pressure is under control and he can return to work.

Local resources will be put in touch with patients for follow up on requested services. "The idea is a continuum of care." says, Love Heals.

WWMOLogo page 001



BMAC friends, we are excited to share that a newly founded organization is in our midst! Walla Walla Music Organization brings opportunities for creative expression through audio education to Walla Walla's youth. 

What started as a project with the Walla Walla Library is growing...and going mobile. Instructor, Rodney Outlaw will bring his 12-week digital music production course, currently held at the Walla Walla Library's 'CrewSpace', to local middle and high schools. This step forward will include adding additional equipment and enrolling up to 50 students, a jump from his initial class size of 12.

Rodney is dedicated and his motto is: "If you show up, I'm going to teach you. Financial barriers will not be a reason not to learn." 

Rodney's mission is clear, sharing, "This community is rich with talent, yet there are few areas where youth can access the education needed to gain skills in fostering creativity in the setting of a professional music production lab." Through his teaching, Rodney will provide guidance and support students need to be successful in the field of music production, while also unlocking confidence in their abilities and dreams.

View their program brochure here
Check out their video here:


Why is BMAC involved? Well, we are Walla Walla Music Organization's fiscal sponsor. Meaning, we sponsor and support them until they are ready to establish their own 501c3. All funds raised here will go to Walla Walla Music Organization. 

 




Mary Lou

Story By: Walla Walla Union Bulletin's Annie Charnley Eveland

Published: Mar 3, 2019

Longtime BMAC employee retires



Walla Wallan Mary Lou Jenkins retired on Friday, about 15,340 days after she began working at Blue Mountain Action Council.

When she started there 42 years ago, Jimmy Carter became U.S. president, the popular film “Rocky was released, NASA unveiled Enterprise, its first space shuttle, Nadia Comaneci won three gold medals and the $2 bill was issued.


A special reception last week honored Mary Lou’s dedication to the community, said CEO Kathy Covey in a release.

Mary Lou worked primarily with BMAC’s adult and youth employment programs and energy assistance. 

However, her immense institutional knowledge of BMAC, its partner agencies and Walla Walla community “made her an invaluable resource to clients and staff alike. She is beloved in the community for her passion and compassion,” Kathy said.

“To many of our past and present clients, Mary Lou is BMAC. We’ll certainly miss her. She’s been a valued colleague and dear friend,” Kathy said.

Mary Lou came on board as a receptionist/typist in 1976. Soon thereafter, she moved to the employment training and placement program.

“Her rapport with youths and adults looking for work or training was outstanding.” It helped that in some situations she was bilingual in Spanish and English. 

“She proudly hung her GED diploma on her office wall, to be an example to those she worked with. Soon her diploma was surrounded by the certificates and diplomas of those she inspired,” Kathy said.

Coworkers knew her as one who said yes when asked for help — she lent a hand to many BMAC programs. Kathy described Mary Lou as “a sort of living history of BMAC.”

And her active involvement in the community reached beyond the nonprofit social services agency. 

Walla Walla Valley Soroptimist Club named her a Woman of Distinction in 2008 for her tireless efforts toward changing lives and changing the community through her work at BMAC, Los Aspirantes, State Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and Friends of Children of Walla Walla.

And she served on the Walla Walla City Council from January 2012-December 2015. 

“It has been a privilege and honor to have served the customers at BMAC as I was allowed to do for 40-plus years,” Mary Lou emailed.  

In addition to Kathy, Mary Lou worked with CEOs  Pete Frisvold, Phyllis Pulfer and Steve Moss and is grateful for their guidance and support. She also said her many co-workers became her second family.  

Now it’s onward into the new phase in her life, a time she’s looking forward to. Happy trails, Mary Lou.

Originally Published by the Union-Bulletin
January 27, 2018

Building
Current Building, Winter 2019



1811 BMAC Entry Rendering 2 3
Rendering of Future Remodel, Winter 2020


Blue Mountain Action Council, the community action partnership whose gamut of services has helped oversee construction of housing for low-income seniors, the disabled, homeless veterans and the Teen Center, will focus this year on plans for a permanent spot of its own.

The organization has announced a nearly $3.7 million undertaking that will redevelop a Second Avenue office complex to position the operation at the gateway to downtown Walla Walla.

“It is time,” BMAC CEO Kathy Covey told the Union-Bulletin. “For over a half-century we have been in the business of helping our neighbors put a roof over their heads, food on their tables, train for jobs to support their families, and find emergency help when things turn upside down. We must now do the same for our staff who work on our community’s behalf.”

The agency has acquired the 11,000-square-foot complex in the 200 block of North Second Avenue, currently home to Nielson Eye Care and an Edward Jones financial advisor office. Those businesses will relocate. Covey said.

A massive overhaul of the property will include a reconfiguration that opens the interior and moves the main entrance to what is now the back of the building. Ample parking is already available, Covey said.

The change will move the BMAC Community Service Center from its current spot owned by Walla Walla County at 1520 Kelly Place. That building, across from Fort Walla Walla Park, is expected to be sold in three to four years. Food distribution services, another major arm of BMAC’s client services, will continue at the Food Bank at 921 Cherry St. The Housing Services Division, which also shares that address, will continue in that spot, too.

Covey said transition will be the realization of a longtime vision for the organization. In its almost 53-year history, the operation has had seven different locations.

Covey said the active search over the last 15 years for a permanent home has been postponed at times so the agency can focus on fundraising and construction of other projects that support its mission.

Most recently that includes fundraising for and construction of The Hub teen center. Located at 534 S. Third Ave., the center brings the teen-focused services from Children’s Home Society and The Health Center to one location. It also includes The Loft, a homeless shelter for teens, plus Early Childhood Head Start and youth job training.

Reconfiguring the new space will require a major fundraising initiative. BMAC will raise $500,000 from local donors for the endeavor. More than $100,000 of that goal has already been met, Covey said.

Funding for the project is multifaceted. BMAC acquired the property with a $1.4 million loan, said CFO Rick Claridge. About $750,000 from a Department of Commerce grant is highly anticipated for the project, as is a $1 million allocation from the Legislature.

Administrators are confident funding resources will provide for the needs of the renovations. The agency must give six months notice at its current location and will do so in anticipation of the move

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