LA PINE, Ore. - FACT — Families and Communities Together — is a nonprofit organization that has been operating in southern Deschutes Country for over a decade.
The goal of the volunteer-operated program is to support local parents through resource classes, community gatherings, and most recently through the Giggles Learning Center.
"For the last two years, we have been running a learning center which provides day care and preschool," said Terri Newcomb, board president of FACT.
The goal of the day care is to support children and supplement their education with a safe and structured learning environment.
Often times, the family structure for children at the Giggles Learning Center is unstable, and the day care/preschool is a location where kids can learn the social skills and behavior mechanics necessary to be successful in the classroom.
While still a new program, the learning center has been a success largely because of one person, Dee Ann Lewis, and she is our Pay It Forward recipient.
"I nominated Dee Ann because she is honest and puts herself last and everyone else first," said Kerri Webster, who works in the Bend-La Pine Schools as a bus driver. "Parents will come into the FACT program, and if they need help with clothing or food, she will step forward and make sure that the families get what they need."
"Honestly, without Dee Ann, our FACT program would not be here," Newcomb said.
Lewis' devotion to FACT and the Giggles Learning Center is the reason she is a recipient of $500 from our Pay It Forward program, sponsored by CoEnergy Propane and Mid Oregon Credit Union.
Even after being surprised with the money, Lewis was reluctant to admit how much of a role she has played in the development of FACT and the learning center.
"There are plenty of people who have worked just as hard and put just as much time into this as me," she said.
The Giggles Learning Center will directly benefit from the $500.
"We need advertising money to promote the program here at Giggles," Lewis said.
She admits a bump in advertising will also result in a bump in participation in the day care and preschool -- an increase that will strain resources even more.
But Lewis says: Bring it on.
"When you see the results, when you see the impact you can have on individual families, on individual children, that's all the motivation you need," Lewis said. "Having that as your perspective makes it easy to do the work."
Learn more about FACT's programs at: http://www.parentingfacts.org/
If you would like to nominate someone or a group for our Pay It Forward award, you can do so under the Contests tab at KTVZ.COM, or visit http://www.KTVZ.com/PayItForward.