by Ellen Kersey
JEA Oregon Mentor
“Do you think my report is too negative?”
This was the question I asked Bill Flechtner when I sent in my semi-annual report for him to submit to the Oregon Publishers Foundation. (Bill and I are both mentors in the JEA Mentoring Program, and our funding is, in part, provided by OPF. Part of our JEA reporting is to regularly contact our state-level funders about our work.)
Bill’s response was … “If it’s the truth, go with it.”
So I did. I reported on my two mentees. One teaches in Hillsboro, Ore., 65 miles from where I live. The other teaches in Merrill, 250 miles from where I live.
The first, Alisa Eich, was discouraged, along with her staff, because they couldn’t raise the funds to produce an issue. They had been re-doing stories since September to update them since they had been unable to raise the funds to publish an issue.
When Laurie Hieb, the Oregon Publishers Foundation executive director, read my report, she was moved by Alisa’s sad situation.
She contacted Bill, who contacted me. Laurie wanted to know how much it would cost for Alisa’s staff to print a paper. I checked with Alisa, learned it was $300 (they had managed to raise $200), and replied to Laurie’s question.
What a surprise for me and Alisa, when Laurie contacted us and let us know that the OPF would be donating $600 to Alisa’s school, Liberty High School in Hillsboro, so they could publish two issues and have time to raise funds to continue publishing.
Alisa and her staff were ecstatic and extremely encouraged by this gracious gift.
The photo shows the staff proudly perusing that issue.
Laurie Hieb and the Oregon Publishers Foundation have been supporters of the JEA Mentoring Program since its beginning in 2007. OPF was one of the first organizations to sign on as funders of mentor stipends in their state. We appreciate OPF continuing to find ways to help support scholastic journalism in Oregon. JEA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. One of its missions is supporting mentoring of new media advisers.