By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Henderson House unveils new kids play patio

Karl remembered how she and the other members of the McMinnville Chamber’s MAC Leadership Team were searching for a service project last fall.

Members of the chamber’s leadership class select a project every year from proposals from various local nonprofit organizations. And Henderson House submitted photos of the dilapidated patio that children fleeing domestic violence use as a play area.

“The purpose of that area was what tugged at our heart strings,” said Karl, who owns the Internet marketing agency Suite 4 Social. “We wanted to make sure kids coming from domestic violence at least have a nice place to play even while they are escaping those situations.”

The patio was not in good shape, she said. “It was terribly unsafe for kids.”

Members raised $8,000 and countless volunteers hours starting in October to create a new patio and play area. The results were unveiled Wednesday.

Savenia Falquist, executive director of the agency, said volunteers provided not only a new concrete patio slab, but also a covered area for kids to play.

Completion of the patio projects capped a nine-month program for the leadership group, which is sponsored by the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce. It consists of professional and business people interested in learning more about various aspects of the community and local commerce.

A service project is always part of that education.

After being a member of the team for nine months and leading the Henderson House project, Karl said she hopes to be on the team’s advisory committee.

“I had been intrigued by the leadership program for several years,” she said. “I wanted to be more involved with the community in general. Although we’ve been in McMinnville since 2008, I really wasn’t actively involved in the community, and I really wanted to change that and give something back.”

Falquist praised participants for the job they did.

“They set a goal of raising $8,000 in donations and reached that mark, but they also put in a ton of volunteer hours,” she said. “They did just a fantastic job. This gave us a chance to thank them for all of their efforts.”

Falquist recently took over as executive director at Henderson House in October. “This is the first year for me, so I’m happy see how it all came together,” she said.

The leadership class has been part of McMinnville for the past 30 years. This year, it attracted 31 participants. Rhonda Pope, communications and events manager for the chamber, became coordinator of the program two years ago.

Karl said she recommends the program wholeheartedly for anyone who really wants to get acquainted with the community.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” she said. “You learn so much about McMinnville.”


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