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A SNAP change to Mosaic

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette
 

Recent changes haven’t hindered SNAP participants and volunteers from moving forward as an organization. The community classroom for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities recently changed its name to Mosaic. SNAP, then called Special Needs Advocacy Parents, started in 1998. In December, board members voted for the change of name.

 

“The community is a mosaic and it’s made of many parts. Those with disabilities are part of that picture,” said Kim Ortloff, board president of Mosaic.

 

“On a more personal note, their life is a mosaic. In our program, they discover they are artists, poets and social butterflies. They discover things they haven’t tried before.”

 

Ortloff said some confusion arose when the federal government changed the Food Stamp program to SNAP.

 

“What we do is quite hidden,” Ortloff said. “Part of our goal is to connect people more with the community.”

 

Bonne Smith, project director, said changes are coming up for the classes on education, cultural arts and social activities, to serve the aging participants.

 

She said federal programs are seeing funding decrease, which impacts participants, some of whom are hungry and/or poverty-stricken.

 

Smith plans to launch a food co-op and farm share with farmers in the fall where participants pay to receive local food and support. She’s already received a commitment from Nash’s Organic Produce to send a box of vegetables weekly to promote healthier eating in class.

 

Some of the people in the program live without basic eating staples, Smith said.

 

Exercise is part of the continued curriculum, too.

 

Jess McNeil, a Mosaic participant, said Mosaic has gotten to be a big family.

 

“It’s a family away from my family,” he said.

 

McNeil likes all his classes.

 

“Recycled Art is a blast,” he said. “I’ve never worked with copper before.”

 

Participants in the theater and theater set design class are preparing for their March 3 production of “KSNAP: A Battle between Funk and Disco.” Look for a future story previewing the event at Olympic Theatre Arts.

Future undecided

Leaders seem to have a clear direction for Mosaic despite not having a set facility for the fall. As reported in previous Gazette articles, the Sequim School District’s board voted to close most of the Sequim Community School, home of Mosaic and other programs, due to the building’s structural issues.

 

Ortloff said they have a committee searching for either a fully donated space, a rental space or a space to share with another program.

 

First, they’ll determine their fundraising efforts for the year. Ortloff said they hope to tie together fundraising and community awareness. They also are exploring the option of hiring a grantwriter.

 

Many more of Mosaic’s participants come from Port Angeles compared to when the program started with mostly Sequim students. Smith said there’s a push to move the organization west and increase programming because of the population.

 

Mosaic currently operates without an executive director. Smith said board members split duties while they increase their understanding of the program before going through the hiring process.

 

Mosaic’s classes run Tuesday-Thursday for about 40 students ages 21 and up.

 

Visit www.snapforall.org for more on Mosaic, formerly SNAP. A new website is forthcoming.

 

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.
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