There are some great non-profits in Olympia that are doing innovative work. Here is a profile of one of my favorites:
Founded in May 2007, Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER) is a collection of low-income parents and their allies. POWER was formed by former members, staff, and volunteers of the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition, (WROC), after a disagreement with the two-member WROC Board over the future of the organization. POWER continues the work of WROC and looks towards further opportunities to support families navigating the welfare system. Member led and consensus based, this local nonprofit recognizes the power of building community and supporting leadership among those most impacted by social, economic and political injustice.
POWER offers an impressive array of services and resources that increase members’ understanding of the welfare system, their rights within that system, and ways to advocate for their families and their communities. Currently POWER provides the following:
· Information on legal rights to public benefits through tabling at welfare offices, food banks and other places where low-income people congregate. Additionally, information is given over the phone and at “Know Your Rights” workshops held on a regular basis at Safeplace and Family Support Center in Olympia and the Human Response Network in Chehalis. POWER members and staff will bring the workshop to any group of parents or organization that serve parents who invite them.
· Training for members in areas such as public speaking, understanding and navigating the legislature, and understanding economic systems and the global struggle for social justice. Workshops can be presented in Spanish as well as English.
· Voter registration and continued education at meetings and outreach. · Weekly updates to over 500 members that include information about how and when to contact legislators, information on pertinent bills, job openings, opportunities for activism, answers to poverty and parenting questions, and free or affordable cultural events.
· Activities and events for families to gather together, share their stories, skills and ideas for coping with poverty, and have fun while planning the revolution.
POWER is made up of passionate and intelligent members, volunteers and staff, but there is plenty of room for your involvement! Volunteer meetings are held every Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the Payne Room of the First Christian Church at 7th and Franklin in downtown Olympia. You can also call for more information, 360-352-9716 or toll free at 1-866-343-9716, http://www.myspace.com/parentsorganizing. Tax free donations can be sent to POWER at 701 Franklin Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501 or on website pay pal account, http://www.oly-wa.us/power/.