Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 16, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/15/10

In this edition:

*Transitioning Youth
*Pride Events
*Goodwill Annual Report
*Did You Know?

*Transitioning Youth
I have been involved in a neat program designed to help young people who are aging out of the foster care system. The following info on the Transitioning Youth program comes from LaTasha Massey, an employee of Johnson County Social Services. People interested in helping out should contact LaTasha at 356-6090.

Our vision is that youth and young adults who are “aging out” of the foster care system should have healthy and meaningful lifelong connections within their own community. It is through these connections that they will be better able to gain the knowledge, skills, and resources to support themselves and realize their goals for their lives. Iowa Youth Dream Team is one strategy to support youth and young adults as they transition from the foster care system.

In Iowa, 800-900 young people annually end their involvement with the foster care system as they “age out” at age 18. These “system-involved youth” face many obstacles and challenges!

State and national research demonstrates that these young people fare much worse than other youth in a host of outcome areas including education, employment, health, housing, and supportive relationships. National studies show that 4 years after leaving care, 25% of youth have been homeless, only 46% have graduated from high school, 42% have become parents themselves, and fewer than 20% are self-supporting.

It is clear that to improve the outlook for youth aging out of foster care, more attention needs to be given to helping youth establish lifelong connections and permanency. Coordination is needed, and greater efforts to engage families and communities in supporting these young people are critical.

To address the needs in Johnson County, the Iowa Youth Dream Team (IYDT) process has been developed. This process is a youth-centered practice model that empowers youth to take control of their lives and dreams. Supportive adults and peers create a team that helps the youth make connections to resources, education, employment, health care, housing and supportive personal and community relationships. Through these connections and relationships, young people will be better able to gain access to and take advantage of the resources, knowledge, and skills to support themselves and realize their life’s dreams.

Please let me know if you would be interested in getting involved! We need community members to serve as team members/mentors.

I continue to see the issues around immigration differently than many of my fellow Americans.

Most immigration occurs for economic purposes. This is an economic issue – there is a US demand for low wage labor, and Mexico has a supply of people willing to work for wages considered low in the US.

The thing that is SO wrong in my mind is that corporations maintain so many more rights than people. Multinational corporations are free to operate ANYWHERE they want; try to stop this, and the international economic, legal, and military forces rally to the defense of the corporation.

Human beings, on the other hand, have no such economic rights. Management can go wherever it likes; labor is strictly limited. BP can continue to operate in the US forever… a person who crosses the border seeking work is jailed.

Before we can talk about immigration reform, we need to discuss economic reforms. It is a skewed and unfair marketplace that created illegal immigration in the first place. Let’s fix it.

*Pride Events
There are many Pride events taking place this week in Johnson County. The Friday night Patio Party is an annual get together for members of the LGBT community and allies. The festivities begin at 6 PM on Friday, June 18 on the patio of the Sheraton in downtown Iowa City.

The Iowa City Pride 2010 Parade will take place on Saturday, June 19, starting at College Green Park at 12 noon. Check-in/line-up will begin at 11 a.m.

Registration for the Pride Parade is non-competitive, free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded for creativity, enthusiasm, etc., after the parade!

*Goodwill Annual Report
There are many nonprofit organizations that serve Johnson County. Few have served as well and as long as Goodwill Industries of the Heartland.

Goodwill exists to overcome barriers to employment. Most folks think of people with mental retardation as the population served, but Goodwill does much, much, more. Goodwill serves people with physical disabilities, people with mental illnesses, people with brain injuries, people fighting drug addictions, the homeless, veterans, people reentering society from prison, at-risk youth, seniors, and many more. If barriers exist to employment, Goodwill tries to help.

I recently received Goodwill’s 2009 Annual Report, and I thought I’d mention a few statistics:

*Goodwill of the Heartland served 1,454 clients in 2009 – 480 in Johnson County.

*The 2009 budget is over $21 million - $15.5 million from store sales. Over 500,000 donations came in during this period.

*The original recyclers, Goodwill kept over 23 million tons of waste out of local landfills in 2009.

Thanks to Goodwill CEO Jeff Nock, Board Chair Dick Schwab, and all the fantastic people that continue to keep Goodwill among the top nonprofits in eastern Iowa!

*DID YOU KNOW? US Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) is the only open atheist in the history of Congress.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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