Etcetera - 01/06/10

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Robert Keatts, chairman of the Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Affiliation Committee said it and the Sasayama Sister City Committee plan to begin a one-month-long summer exchange program for middle school students and high school freshmen.

An informational meeting will be tonight at 6 in Room 151 at Garrison Middle School, 906 Chase Ave.

The program is open to students finishing seventh, eighth or ninth grades in June. A student from Walla Walla would go to Sasayama and a student from Sasayama to Walla Walla, staying with the opposite family.

Open to two students from each city, the initial program would begin in July, Robert said. Sending families from Walla Walla must agree to host a student from Sasayama for the duration of their student's stay in Sasayama. The home-stay exchange is an outgrowth of the two-week home-stay program Sasayama and Walla Walla have participated in since 1994, Robert said.

Students would travel to and from their respective cities, stay with the host family, sightsee and participate in family and community activities. Students selected will be required to attend a series of meetings, with one or both parents, to learn basic language skills, instruction on culture and customs, and an overview of the history of Sasayama and surrounding area.

For more details, contact Robert at 509-525-0049 or robert_wwscc@yahoo.com.

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With the new year, Children's Museum of Eastern Oregon in downtown Pendleton is expanding its Open Doors program to assist more of the community's children and families, according to a release from Jill Gregg, executive director.

Terrifically Free Tuesday will be offered every week, with 25 family passes available at 23 libraries throughout Eastern Oregon, and more free family passes available to local at-risk and low-income families, Jill said. A full list of participating libraries is available at www.cmeo.org.

The two-year-old Open Doors program helps enable all families to have access to the museum regardless of their financial situation.

Now the program is bigger and more beneficial for the whole community, Jill said. The number of free family memberships is expanding from 30 to 66 memberships. Partnerships with local service organizations is growing from 1 to 5 organizations this year. "CMEO's Open Doors program provides families in our community with the opportunity to play, learn and build important values and skills in a constructive and creative play environment," she said. Helping make the program possible this year are grants from United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties, the Herbert A. Templeton Foundation and Juan Young Trust. For additional details, call CMEO at 541-276-1066. The museum is at 400 S. Main St. Online, see www.cmeo.org .

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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