SWOCC nursing program grant

Student Shaylynn Jensen tends to the needs of a ‘Chester Chest.’ Working with a realistic plastic torso helps future nurses build their skills and confidence before treating live patients.

Plastic patients help student nurses learn

Chester has one arm and no head, but he performs a valuable service for student nurses.

“Without tools like this, it would be really hard for us to learn,” said Shaylynn Jensen of Coos Bay, a second-year student at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

One recent morning, Jensen and seven classmates took turns treating the imaginary ailments of plastic patients. Sharing three simulated human torsos known as Chester Chests, they worked in teams to draw imitation blood and administer mock medication.

Opportunities to practice those skills will expand soon, thanks to a grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund. The fund granted SWOCC $11,300 grant to buy 10 new Chester Chests.

The grant is part of $366,126 awarded during the tribe’s 2020 Grant Week. Fueled by revenue from The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, the grants help 71 community agencies in southwestern Oregon. Since 2002, the fund has awarded nearly $6.8 million in community grants.

“We’re glad to be able to help SWOCC educate future nurses,” said tribal fund Administrator Jackie Chambers. “More and more of our local residents are senior citizens – including tribal members. We’re going to need a lot more nurses in the years to come.”

Chester is a “vascular access simulator,” designed as a realistic practice tool. SWOCC has some head-to-toe mannequins for full-scale simulations, but Chester is cheaper, simpler and easier to maintain for routine use.

 “He can be very helpful,” said lab instructor Leigh Eswonia.

The new Chesters can’t arrive too soon. The old units are wearing out, forcing Eswonia to “MacGyver” them with temporary fixes.

She replaced one unit’s fluid reservoir with a recycled pop bottle, using adhesive tape to attach the simulated blood vessels. It works, for now.

SWOCC’s nursing program is growing to meet the rising need for health-care professionals. Jensen and 30 other second-year students will graduate this spring. Coming behind them is a first-year class of 50. Altogether, 100 future nurses will be enrolled next fall, as the college prepares to open its new health and science technology building.

Jensen, 20, will be this year’s youngest nursing graduate. Her all-business attitude is typical of the 2020 class – a group that Eswonia calls “very motivated.”

“We’re thankful for donations because some of this equipment is so expensive,” Jensen said. “This is what helps us practice safe patient care so we’re prepared for the clinical setting.”

A few months from now, Jensen and her classmates will be registered nurses, treating live patients in real hospitals. Most will choose jobs close to home, but their skills are also in high demand in bigger cities.

“These guys can go anywhere they want,” Eswonia said.

Wherever they go, they’ll owe their skills (at least partly) to a headless plastic torso.

Help for Education

SWOCC nursing is one of 20 education-related programs receiving grants from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund in 2020. Here’s the whole list:

  • Alternatives to Violence, $6,410
  • Aviva Health (formerly Umpqua Community Health Center), $5,000
  • Bob Belloni Ranch Inc., $7,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley, $6,000
  • Brookings Harbor Education Foundation Inc., $4,300
  • Center for Nonprofit Stewardship, $2,000
  • College Dreams, $6,000

More about the Community Fund

COPS grant

Tribe helps sheriff buy pickup

Aug. 28, 2019

The Coos County Sheriff’s Office has a shiny new patrol rig, courtesy of the Coquille Indian Tribe.

Because the county provides patrol help on the Kilkich Reservation, the Tribe is allowed to pass along the benefits of the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program.

“That gives us an opportunity to give back to the neighboring community,” said Tribal Police Chief Scott LaFevre.

LaFevre explained that the Tribe applies for a COPS grant every two to three years and usually receives about $300,000.  Though the Tribe’s own needs take first priority, LaFevre looks for opportunities to share. This year, the sheriff netted a four-wheel-drive Ford F-150.

“I think it helps immensely with our teamwork with the sheriff’s office,” LaFevre said.

Teamwork is important, because the Tribe’s four-person force can’t provide 24-hour, 365-day coverage on the reservation.

“That truck will be responding at Kilkich when we’re not here,” LaFevre said.


2019 Community Fund Grants

Coquille Tribal Fund supports 49 groups

NORTH BEND –  The largest was $20,000, the smallest just $1,110. Whatever the size, each of the 49 grants awarded by the Coquille Tribal Community Fund this year will improve life in a local community.

Grantees and local dignitaries gathered at The Mill Casino-Hotel on Friday to celebrate the work of the grantees. This year’s tribal fund grants totaled $261,762.50. The fund, consistently the leading source of charitable grants for South Coast nonprofits, has distributed more than $6.4 million since it was launched in 2001.

The fund’s largest 2019 grant was $20,000 to the Umpqua Community Health Center, to help buy a new ultrasound machine for expectant mothers. The machine will replace an obsolete model nearly three decades old.

The smallest 2019 grant was $1,110, awarded to the Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church’s warming center project. Operating on a frugal budget, the church opens its doors to homeless people on nights when the temperature dips below freezing. The $1,110 will cover its costs for a whole year.

Money for the fund comes from a share of the tribe’s casino revenue. Each year an appointed board of tribal members and community leaders meets to review applications and decide on the awards.

The year’s board consisted of Coquille Tribal Council Secretary Linda Mecum; Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins; state Rep. Gary Leif; Chelsea Burns, Coquille Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors; Joe Benetti, mayor of Coos Bay; Jon Ivy, tribal member; and Scott LaFevre, tribal member.

The tribal fund’s next application cycle will begin Sept. 1. Learn more at www.coquilletribe.org, or call fund Administrator Jackie Chambers at (541) 756-0904.

Here’s a list of 2019 grants:

  • ACCESS, $5,000
  • Bandon Historical Society Museum, $2,500
  • Bandon Showcase Inc., $1,500
  • Bear Cupboard, $7,500
  • Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon, $5,000
  • Brookings Harbor Education Foundation Inc., $3,500
  • Camp Myrtlewood, $10,000
  • CASA of Lane County, $5,000
  • Charleston Fishing Families, $5,000
  • Charleston Food Bank, $5,000
  • Chetco Activity Center, $5,000
  • Community Presbyterian Church Warming Center (Lakeside), $1,110
  • Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Myrtle Creek, $2,500
  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon, $5,000
  • Coos Art Museum, $3,500
  • Coos Bay Area Zonta Service Foundation, $5,000
  • Coos Bay Seventh-day Adventist Food Pantry and Community Service, $5,000
  • Coos County Friends of Public Health, $4,500
  • Coos Watershed Association, $2,000
  • Coquille Indian Tribe Community Health Center, $10,000
  • Coquille Watershed Association, $3,525
  • Curry County Historical Society, $1,500
  • Florence Food Share, $3,000
  • Friends of Coos County Animals Inc., $5,000
  • Harmony United Methodist Church, $5,000
  • HIV Alliance, $5,000
  • Junction City Local Aid, $5,000
  • Knights of Columbus Council 1261, $5,000
  • La Clinica del Valle, $10,000
  • Little Theatre on the Bay, $5,000
  • Mapleton Food Share, $5,000
  • Oregon Childrens’ Foundation dba SMART Start Making A Reader Today, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – Court Appointed Special Advocates, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – South Coast Food Share (SCFS), $10,000
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, $3,000
  • Peter Britt Gardens Music & Arts Festival Association, $2,000
  • Rogue Retreat, $10,000
  • Roots & Wings Community Preschool, $7,000
  • ShelterCare, $5,000
  • Smith and Bern VFW Post 6102, $10,000
  • South Coast Clambake Music Festival, $3,000
  • South Umpqua Historical Society, $5,000
  • Southwestern Oregon Veterans Outreach Inc., $4,500
  • Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, $7,000
  • Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, $5,000
  • Sumner Rural Fire Protection District, $6,128
  • Triangle Food Box, $2,500
  • Umpqua Community Health Center, $20,000
  • Youth 71Five, $5,000

2019 Community Fund Grants

Tribe Invests in Stronger Communities

More than four-dozen community organizations received support from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund in 2019, with grants totaling more than a quarter-million dollars.

The grants, funded by revenue from The Mill Casino, support a wide range of community services. They range from $1,110 for a small-town church’s homeless warming shelter to $20,000 for a prenatal ultrasound machine.

Learn more in this news coverage: