Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Amy’s Place Helps Whatcom’s Homeless Youth

The current economic situation in our country has prompted many people to tighten their purse strings, cutting out many of the little luxuries of life. But non-profit organizations don’t provide “luxuries” for the underprivileged in our community; they provide necessities for survival that many of us take for granted.

Amy's Place for Youth Kids of Amy’s Place for Youth with Congressman Rick Larsen.
Photo courtesy Heidi Unick

Amy’s Place for Youth, a not-for-profit organization that serves homeless youth in Whatcom County, is feeling the financial strain. Without an increase in donations from our community, Amy’s Place director Heidi Unick says that the organization will be forced to close before the holidays this year.

Amy’s Place opened in late 2006 as a drop-in center for street-involved youth. They’ve helped over a thousand different kids during the past four years.

“We’re open every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 11 PM,” Heidi said in a phone interview. “We offer kids a meal and there’s also a food pantry so they can take food with them. We have hygiene supplies, sleeping bags, clothes, and shoes for kids too.” The young visitors can also hear a presentation from various local agency representatives to learn about other support programs available in our community.

Their evening programs are segregated by age. The Friday night program is open for youth ages 18 to 24, while Saturday night is open for youth age 17 and under. On average, about 25 kids visit Amy’s Place during each session; about half are new to the program and half are returners. Of the 330 youths that have attended an Amy’s Place program this year, about 80 are in a homeless situation.

Amy's Place for Youth Wrapping presents during the holidays at Amy’s Place for Youth.
Photo courtesy Heidi Unick

“Many of the youth have left abusive home situations, but are often abused on the streets as well. Our volunteers provide mentorship for the kids, so they know that we care about what happens to them,” Heidi said.

Heidi went on to explain that many of these kids are afflicted with an illness or a chemical dependence, so it’s difficult for them to get a job or stay in school. For awhile, Amy’s Place offered a Tuesday program that provided educational support, but a lack of funding and volunteers forced them to discontinue the resource.

“Securing consistent funding for Amy’s Place has been a great challenge,” said Heidi. “We are grateful for tangible donations from organizations like St. Luke’s Foundation, which donated shelving, furniture, floor coverings, and more, but if we don’t have the money for next month’s rent, we cannot continue this program.”

The community is invited to learn more about supporting Amy’s Place at an Open House on Thursday, October 28, 2010 from 7 to 8:30 PM. Visitors can take a tour, listen to a presentation about Amy’s Place, and meet the volunteers and youth of Amy’s Place. The fun and informative event will also include a Dessert Auction.

To learn more about supporting Amy’s Place with your money or time, please visit their website or call (360) 671-5567 or (360) 920-0615.

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Family Bowling in Whatcom County

Bowling ball and pins Bring the family to a local bowling alley!

With the change from summer to fall, you might be looking for more kid-friendly indoor activities. A trip to the bowling alley on a rainy afternoon is a great way to get kids off the couch and enjoying time together as a family.

Variations of bowling have been played for centuries with the common goal of rolling a ball along a flat surface to knock over pins or reach some kind of target. According to United States Bowling Conference, the rules of the game as we know it were standardized in New York City on September 9, 1895.

Bowling leagues and tournaments are popular group activities for adults, but playing a few games as a family is an enjoyable pastime too. Bowling is an awesome location for a birthday party as well; many bowling alleys have special rates and options for parties too!

On the next rainy day, check out one of these Whatcom County bowling alleys with your family. Contact them directly to find hours and rates!

20th Century Bowling
1411 North State Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 734-5250

Family Perks: Café, Birthday Party Packages, Youth Lessons, Cosmic Bowling

Park Bowl
4175 Meridian
Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 734-1430

Family Perks: Restaurant, Birthday Party Packages, Youth League, Cosmic Bowling, Billiards and Arcade Room

Mt. Baker Lanes
1788 Labounty Drive
Ferndale, Washington 98248
(360) 384-0235

Family Perks: Restaurant, Birthday Party Packages, Family Day (Sundays)

What’s your family’s favorite part about a trip to the bowling alley? Leave a comment to let us know!

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Whatcom County U-Pick Farms

Living in Bellingham makes it easy for families to access products grown right here in our own county. With a weekly farmers market and plenty of local grocers and restaurants purchasing produce directly from local farmers, it’s easy to incorporate fresh, seasonal foods into your child’s diet.

Cloud Mountain Farm Cloud Mountain Farm
Photo by Megan Taft

And what’s more fun than simply purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables? Picking it yourself! A family trip to a local farm allows kids to get up close and personal with their food, and it might make them more willing to try different vegetables.

Lots of Whatcom County farms have “u-pick” options for fall favorites during the autumn season. Check out this list from Sustainable Connections of Whatcom County U-Pick Farms.

Apple Creek Orchard: U-pick Jonagold, Melrose, and Mutsu apples. Farm-fresh eggs, honey and organic Armes Farms garlic also for sale.

Bellingham Country Gardens: U-pick vegetables. This is a no spray farm.

BelleWood Acres: U-pick pumpkins, stream walk, watch apples being harvested, packed, and fresh cider being pressed. Apples, pears, cider, peanut butter and more BelleWood products available at the store.

Boxx Berry Farm: U-pick pumpkins. Corn, peaches, squash, frozen berries, carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, and other no-spray veggies are also for sale.

Cloud Mountain Farm Cloud Mountain Farm
Photo by Megan Taft

Cloud Mountain Farm: U-pick pumpkins. Asian pears, hazelnuts, aronia, quince, table and wine grapes, heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, melons, squash, pumpkins, gourds, apple cider, and fruit and ornamental plants also for sale.

Stoney Ridge Farm: U-pick pumpkins and apples. Enjoy wagon rides, a corn-maze, seeing farm animals, and ready-made treats like cider and caramel apple pie during your visit as well!

What’s your favorite “u-pick” farm? Leave a comment to let us know!

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