It is hard to know how to respond to the increasing violence facing our Nation. The loss of 17 students and teachers is heart breaking and has left many feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.

I’d like to think that this could never happen on Orcas and I sure hope I am right.

Hoping alone is not enough, however. We know there are children and adults dealing with loss, anger, addiction, poverty, and more in this community. Orcas is fortunate to have a web of prevention programs like the Primary Intervention Program, Second Step, and counselors at the school, as well as programs at the Funhouse Commons, the Senior Center, the Resource Center and through SAFE San Juan’s. In addition, Allison Sanders and Trillium Swanson are currently working on bringing the Communities who Care model to further increase the network on Orcas. The goal is to build awareness among the entire community to support our children and help them develop into healthy adults.

By working together we can knit a safety net that will (hopefully) catch those who need it most before they fall into the abyss. It is challenging to measure the impact of all of these efforts, but we know that not dealing with mental health issues, anger, and poverty is not an option. OICF will continue to support these efforts knowing that if one life is changed, we have invested wisely.

Next Saturday, Feb 24, (10 to 11:30 at the Senior Center) there will be a Candidate Forum for the Public Hospital District commissioner positions. If you have a question you would like to have answered, please email it to by Monday the 19th.

Take care,