Connect Casino Road

YOUR EVERETT COMMUNITY NEIGHBORS NEED YOUR HELP

Just a few miles south of downtown Everett is a thriving, diverse community.  Considered the poorest area of Snohomish County, they have been hit especially hard during the Covid 19 pandemic.  Hard workers, many in the construction and hospitality industry, were among the first to lose their employment.

There is an amazing collaborative effort across many organizations to assist.  Connect Casino Road (CCR) https://www.connectcasinoroad.org, ChildStrive https://childstrive.org, Madres de Casino Road https://www.facebook.com/madrescasinord, Ventures https://www.venturesnonprofit.org, and Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) https://www.voaww.org, are the tip of the iceberg. CCR is located at 14 East Casino Rd, Everett, WA 98208, along with ChildStrive, Ventures and Madres de Casino Road.

In 2016, the Community Foundation of Snohomish County https://www.cf-sc.org/ recognized this substantial need and began providing administrative services as the backbone of this effort.  With a mission to help this population succeed and a goal to meet their immediate and critical needs, CCR was realized. With Sara Boyle as Director of CCR, Yelitza Medina as Family and Communications Coordinator across all Partners, Jessica Figueroa as the Village on Casino Road Coordniator and Rebecca Mauldin as Director of Devopment and Communication for Child Strive, these outstanding individuals work tirelessly to assist people in need.  Please see the websites above for more details about their expertise and commitment.

Occupying a building of the ChildStrive complex, they work hand in hand with all these organizations.  An expansive renovation of the CCR area took place to turn this into a community center where everyone could gather to learn, congregate, play, and just communicate with their neighbors. A place to hold birthday parties, wedding and baby showers, or have a cup of coffee while watching the children play in the courtyard.  It is to be simply called the “Village”, not by any partner’s name. Their tagline is “Place to Aspire”.

This was made possible with a $200,000 grant from Premera’s Social Impact Initiative, a $500,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a $75,000 United Way of Snohomish County grant. While the pandemic squashed plans for a grand opening celebration, all partners quickly and seamlessly switched gears.

Until the Village can become fully functional, CCR is offering food bank services with VOAWW, (one phone call to VOAWW started the CCR food bank in a week), rent assistance ($90,000 to date), medical referrals, (including domestic and child abuse), and more. Call or email them at the links above if you need this help.

A big concern is the rent eviction moratorium, which was extended on September 1, 2020, through the end of 2020.  While CCR and many other agencies have been helping with rent assistance services, when the eviction moratorium ends, many families will be left with back rent still owed and no ability to pay.  At that point, the need for housing will increase drastically to prevent an even larger homeless situation in south Snohomish County.

CCR’s ultimate goal is to be a fluid platform that transforms and evolves with the changing needs of the community over time.  This includes, but will certainly not be limited to providing a safe, supportive learning environment, tutoring resources for children in need, GED classes for adults, language classes, art and cultural experiences and other options of interest for all concerned in a warm, friendly, inclusive community setting.

Madres de Casino Road is an amazing group of women who started their effort to empower girls and women.  Their food bank offers basic staples, but amazingly, fresh produce by working with farmers and farmers’ markets for their surplus, and also by purchasing what is not donated. Research shows that healthy food leads to a healthy mind and Madres is working hard to achieve that goal with fresh fruits and vegetables for families and children.

ChildStrive continues to offer support to families struggling with education and that of their children, especially those with disabilities.  Their pre-school is up and running, though remotely, with teachers and staff assisting virtually in helping parents keep their children from falling behind educationally.  Child Strive will follow the Everett School District’s guidelines for when it will be safe to return students to the classroom.

ChildStrive is also offering free hot lunch for pick up on Fridays between Noon and 2:00 pm.  Meanwhile their students who would normally be dependent on a meal at school are being delivered meals to their homes.

There are many ways to help.  Follow any of the highlighted links above for the organizations, drop off food at your local food bank or make a cash donation so they can purchase non donated items. Once the Covid 19 pandemic resides, there will be an increased need for volunteers and services from all backgrounds.  Please assist if you can.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience.