By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
You may not have heard of Keizer United, but that’s one of the reasons the non-profit group is seeking to make a big splash with its first fundraising event Monday, May 12.
The non-profit group supports Keizer’s Peer Court. the Southeast Keizer Community Center, the Mid-Valley Literacy Center and Keizer community gardens.
The fundraiser includes a live auction featuring a Traeger grill, wine tours, a golfing package and custom cabinets as well as performances by Capitol City Theater. Tickets are $20 per person or $150 for a table of eight. The fun begins at 6 p.m. at Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road N.E.
“The funding some of our member groups have had through Marion County Children and Family Services and other sources has been depleted,” said Cari Emery, peer court coordinator. “Our first goal is to make up what we are losing through other programs.”
For the peer court, the lost funding includes the elimination of a block grant focused on juvenile accountability.
“Instead of spending the money on education, they are putting it into remodeling buildings and facilities,” Emery said. The total loss for the peer court, which last year had a 90 percent success rate for youth offenders completing the program and staying out of trouble for six months, amounts to about $5,000.
The Mid-Valley Literacy Center provides adult basic education including GED and citizenship test preparation. The Southeast Keizer Community Center provides services for parents through support groups and classes at Salem Mennonite Church, on Candlewood Drive Northeast in Keizer.
“They provide a family meal and school-readiness activities. The parents themselves are taking it on and running it and rolling it out,” said Tanya Hamilton, who heads up some of the Keizer community garden projects.
Hamilton hopes the event draws new organizations under the Keizer United umbrella.
“The more money we can put together is good for the programs we have, but we’d like to be able to grow and collaborate with other programs in the community,” Hamilton said. “The idea is to start creating a pot of money we can leverage toward future projects.”