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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Sandra Burnett, Administrative Director, Rochester Organization Of Families, 360-273-6375

 Rochester Organization of Families Moves to Stand-alone Status

OLYMPIA -- After more than a decade under the umbrella of the TOGETHER! organization, a south Thurston County community program is striking out on it’s own.   The Rochester Organization of Families (ROOF) has recently been incorporated as a nonprofit and  the process is now underway for registration with the federal government as a nonprofit with 501(c) (3) status.  Administrative Director Sandra Burnett says the association with TOGETHER! has been great and the two organizations will continue to have a good working relationship.  “This transition means ROOF will be an independent entity as we move to a new location at the old Rochester primary school.  After twelve years with TOGETHER! it’s time for us to stretch our wings a little and the fantastic support from the community will allow us to do that.” 

Burnett says the main program provided by ROOF is “Kids Place”, an after school program which hosts about 50 children from the first through the sixth grades.  “The program runs from 3:15 to 5:00 weekday afternoons and is a resource for homework and enrichment activities for high-risk kids, referred from the schools.  The results we have had are a tribute to the program.  Kids who enter the program are below grade level.  In 2003, 77-percent improved their scores to grade level or above and in 2002 the improvement was 84-percent.”

Other ROOF programs include-

  • A food bank, which distributed 6,000 food baskets in the 2002-03-time period.

  • Parenting classes.

  • Emergency services for families in need.

  • Hispanic support services.

  • Operation Santa, which distributed about 600 toys and 600 parcels of clothing items to more than 200 Rochester area families last month.

Burnett says the 8, mostly part-time, workers at ROOF are assisted greatly by many volunteers and by other agencies in providing the various services.          

Thurston County Commissioner Bob Macleod, whose district includes Rochester, says the team who will oversee the ROOF changeover is an excellent one.  “This establishment of a transition team draws on the experience of many long-time supporters of ROOF.  It also sets up ROOF as a non-profit organization, which will improve its fund raising stature; while remaining within the “family” of TOGETHER! which has a long history of assisting youth, families and communities in the county.”  Members of the team include Laurel Smith, Eric Bricker, Tim Rupert, Michael Langer, Earlyse Swift, Linda Billings, Jim Anderson, Kellie McNelly, Bob Macleod and Sandra Burnett.  The team will work closely with the ROOF board of directors in making the changeover.

Burnett says they hope to have the transition finished by the end of June.

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3