Holiday homeless kids’ party rocks jailhouse

Find out why the men and women who prefer green for the color of their work attire give time and money to youngsters who have so little …

The program supervisor at the county jail, Elizabeth Daily (left, red blouse), and other Multnomah County Corrections workers, get ready to hand out the child-specific bundles of toys and clothes they purchased and wrapped for the occasion.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As one may imagine, Christmas can be an unhappy and stressful time for kids of parents who are homeless.

But for 18 years now, members of Local 88/Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Multnomah County Corrections Association have pitched in to help make the Holidays brighter for these kids.

“The day we hold our annual holiday party for the Community Transitions School children,” says Elizabeth Daily, Program Supervisor of the Facilities Security Unit, Multnomah County Inverness Jail, “is always special.”

Dep. Moaning, a veteran, 25-year MSCO corrections officer helps out at the event, on her day off. She’s giving out Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy badges.

“The Community Transitions School is a community-based program that teaches children who are homeless. It helps the children be in a school with other children, all coming from the same family environment as them. Instructors at the school recognize that the children have needs that can’t always be taken care of in a traditional school situation.”

Daily told us that each child at the Holiday event gets four gifts: Two of clothing, and two of toys. “Each gift is specifically chosen for each child; it isn’t a ‘grab bag’. And, everything – the toys, clothes, and pizza for the party – are all donated. Nothing comes out of the Sheriff’s Office budget.”

In the absence of Sheriff Bernie Giusto, Raimond Adgers, Facility Commander, Multnomah County Inverness Jail, (front and center), leads a “singing contest” among the jail’s staffmembers and Deputies.

Sheriff misses party
For the first year we can remember, Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto missed the party. He was talking with County Chair Ted Wheeler about the jail’s management – the same meeting at which he says he was misquoted about retiring from his position.

Raimond Adgers, Facility Commander of Multnomah County’s Inverness Jail, handled the Master of Ceremonies duties. The kids, and their teenage mentors from Wilson High School, sang songs, and participated in the day’s entertainment.

Commander Adgers thanks the kids for a handmade “thank you” card.

Chief Deputy Ron Bishop leads the kids in the official swearing-in of the “Junior Deputies”.

The kids who come to this special party get more than gifts.

“Hopefully, our event helps teach these kids,” Daily said, “that interaction with police officers can be positive. Most of these kids only experience uniformed presence when they are in a highly emotional situation. It is important to us to let them know we are here to keep them safe. Here, they get to see that they are real people who care about them and their community.”

Providing energetic entertainment is Vancouver’s own Curtis Carlyle.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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