Strengthening Rural Families

Welcome to Strengthening Rural Families
…working together to build stronger families and communities in rural Benton  County.

Our programs serve the communities of rural Benton County including Alsea,  Blodgett, Kings Valley, Monroe, and Philomath.

We use a collaborative approach to promote the health and well-being of individuals and families in rural communities through education, advocacy, coalition building and community connections. We collaborate, administer resources, support and provide programming through our two initiatives – Rural Parenting and Rural Health.

SRF has locally based community coordinators in each of the primary areas we serve. Together, we bring programs and services to the places that families can best access them: their home towns!


Our Staff

Executive Director—Paul Smith,
Community Coordinators:
Alsea—Mirium Ulm,
Monroe—Janeece Cook,
Philomath—Laura Lundeen,
Rural Outreach—Nodabi Morales-Santos,
Youth Development—Alexandra Barone,
Alsea Preschool Lead Teacher— Mirium Ulm,, Alsea Pups Preschool phone (541) 487-4305
Philomath Next Steps Teacher—Sunny Bennett,
Office Manager/Bookkeeper—Lauri Lehman,

Visit us at 535 S. 19th St., # 147, Philomath, OR 97370
Mail to: P.O. Box 1528, Philomath, OR 97370

Call us at (541) 929-2535.


Strengthening Rural Families Board of Directors

Mark Thielman, SRF Board Chair, Superintendent, Alsea School, (541) 487-4305

Luis Maciel, Board Secretary, Juvenile Services Supervisor, Benton County Juvenile Department, (541) 766-6060

Bre Miller, Board Treasurer, General Manager, Corvallis Knights, (541) 752-5656

Susie Lisser, Owner, S. Lisser Consulting,

Lori McGraw, Senior Instructor, Oregon State University, College of Public Health & Human Sciences, (541) 737-4996

Judy Price, Retired Special Educator, (541) 752-9040

Tammy Skubinna, Professor Emeritus, OSU Extension Faculty, (541) 752-4214


SRF Advisory Team:

Carolyn Ashton, OSU Extension Services
Julia Engle, Philomath Community Library
Alicia Griggs, Benton County Health Department
Derik Hering, Benton County Juvenile Department
Kelly Locey, Benton County Health Department
Aoife Magee, Linn Benton Community College
Molly Perino, Benton County Health Department
Kendra Sue Phillips-Neal, Jackson Street Youth Services
Phoenix Ries, Licensed Professional Counselor
Lori Robertson, Kidco Headstart
Sarah Rustan-Woosley, Philomath Youth Activities Club
Kim Van Horn, Old Mill Center for Children & Families

Strengthening Rural Families Programming

Community Coordinators

Alsea: Mirium Ulm at, (541) 487-4305

Monroe: Janeece Cook at, (541) 829-1349

Philomath: Laura Lundeen at, (541) 929-2535

Positive Youth Development: Alexandra Barone at, (541) 929-2535

Bilingual Rural Outreach: Nodabi Morales-Santos at, (541) 929-2535

Alsea Classes—Mirium at to register

Squishtivities – Held once a month for parents and/or caregivers and children of any age, (adults must attend with their youth.) Create, play, and learn with sensory play, exploration & crafts. Held monthly, on the first Wednesday of the month, 4/4 and 5/2. 11:45am—12:45pm. Cost: FREE. Snack included. Held at the Alsea Pups Preschool. Held in partnership with the Alsea School District.

Pinewood Car Derby Race –  Saturday, April 7 @ 10am at the Merc. This event is for families to come together and have FUN! Go to John Boy’s Mercantile to buy your car kit and sign up for the race for $10.00. If you already have a car, the cost is $5.00. Use the rules from the pine car derby kit.  It will be double elimination, no age class and parents and kids can work together. Trophies for the fastest, second and third and the most crazy, outrageous-looking car! Sponsored by John Boy’s Mercantile. All the proceeds go to Strengthening Rural Families to support the Alsea Pups Preschool.

Fresh Grown Cooking Class for Kids! Each week participants engage in a short hands-on nutrition activity, followed by working together in small groups to prepare new and delicious recipes. Get ready to learn, cook, eat and enjoy! For students in 2nd-5th grades. Held Thursdays, February 22-March 22 from 3:30pm-5:30pm at the Alsea Library Community Room. FREE. Please pre-register by Feb. 20. You can sign up at the Alsea Library or on-line here:  Brought to you by the Healthy Youth Program at Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute, Alsea Community Library, Strengthening Rural Families, with funding from the LB Health Equity Alliance.

Monroe Classes—call Janeece Cook at (541) 829-1349 to register

Squishtivities – Held once a month for parents and/or caregivers and children of any age, (adults must attend with their youth.) Create, play, and learn with sensory play, exploration & crafts. Held monthly, on the first Tuesday of the month, 4/3, and 5/1. 11:00am—12:00pm. Cost: FREE. Snack included, at the Monroe Community Library. Held in partnership with the Monroe Community Library.

Philomath Classes– call Laura Lundeen at (541) 929-2535 to register

Live & Learn with Your Toddler – This 10 week class is for parents and their toddlers and provides information, activities, songs and games focused on supporting the children’s development. Tuesdays, April 3 – June 5, 9:10am-11:00am. $30 for Philomath School District residents/$74 for out of district. Clemens Primary School, Rm #146, Philomath, OR 97370. In partnership with LBCC Parenting Education and funded by Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon.

Abriendo PuertasEn Espanol, para familias con ninos de Kinder a grado 12.  Martes, Abril 3 – Junio 5, 6:00pm-8:00pm. 10 sesions, $30. Cuidado de ninos GRATIS. Cena GRATIS @ 5:30pm. Biblioteca de Clemens Primary School, Philomath, OR 97370. Traído a usted por Strengthening Rural Families, con la financiación proporcionada por LBCC- Parenting Success Network

  • Cene con otros padres y hablen acerca de su papel como los primeros maestros de sus hijos
  • Apoye a sus hijos en la escuela aprendiendo cómo crecen y se desarrollan
  • Aprenda como trabajar con la escuela para conseguir los mejores resultados para sus hijos
  • Aprenda nuevas ideas para la disciplina
  • Aprenda como apoyar las habilidades de lectura y matemáticas de su hijo

Por favor llame a la coordinadora, Nodabi Morales al (503) 574-0832 o la oficina de Strengthening Rural Families al (541) 929-2535 para registrarse y reservar cuidado de niños.

Live & Learn with Your Baby– Your baby is learning! This 10 week class is for parents and their babies. Come join other parents and their babies as you prepare for a lifetime of learning. Learn how to support your child’s emotional, physical and intellectual development through songs, activities and group discussions – all while building a community of support and lifelong friends for you and your child. Taught by Sunny Bennett. Wednesdays, April 4 – June 6, 9:30am-11:20am. Cost $25, with scholarships available. Clemens Primary School, SRF Common Area, Philomath, OR 97370. With support from LBCC Parenting Education.

Squishtivities – Held once a month for parents and/or caregivers and children of any age, (adults must attend with their youth.) Create, play, and learn with sensory play, exploration & crafts. Held monthly, on the second Wednesday of the month, 4/11 and 5/9. 10:30am—11:30am. Cost: FREE. Snack included. Held in collaboration with the Philomath Community Library.

Parenting Game-Changer Workshops—Different Topics, Held Monthly 

Yoga Calm: For school-age youth. The tools and skills that Yoga Calm nurtures provide the resilience and “grit” that more and more educators agree is key to children’s success, both in school and after graduation. But it’s more than just grit. Or attitude. Or a growth mindset. Or leadership skills.

It’s emotional intelligence. It’s resources for thriving.

The sessions engage heart, mind and body with a combination of physical skills, social skills games, and mindfulness activities. It helps kids develop emotional intelligence, communication skills, trust, and empathy and provides for a calmer home and more productive school environment. Held throughout the Philomath School District. And TBD @ Monroe Grade School

Girls Circles & Council for Boys & Young Men: For youth ages 10-18 who want to learn how to express themselves better, develop ways to make healthy decisions and learn how to feel great about themselves. In partnership with Philomath Youth Activities Club, Benton Co. Juvenile Dept. & Jackson Street Youth Svcs. Held @ Philomath Middle School, Monroe Grade School, & around Benton County. Please contact us directly (541) 929-2535 with a schedule.

Adult Dental Van: March 21 @ Gathering Together Farm in Philomath. Call (541) 929-2535 for an appointment. For adults 19 years of age or older and without insurance. If you have dental pain or a toothache, but don’t have insurance. Will provide fillings or extractions for those in pain. (This does not include wisdom teeth.) In collaboration with Medical Teams International and Samaritan Health Services. Mobile vans scheduled throughout the county, call SRF office for more information.

General Info @ SRF


We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and gladly accept donations, whether $10 or $1000!

You can support Strengthening Rural Families three ways:

1. Donate to SRF directly. We will gratefully accept your check by mail at: P.O. Box 1528, Philomath, OR 97370, or in person at our office at 535 S. 19th Street in Philomath.

2. You can donate by clicking here:   

2. You can shop on and donate a portion of your purchase to us.
Thank you for your support.

Like us on Facebook!

General Info

In collaboration with others, Strengthening Rural Families’ provides services and programming for individuals and families in rural Benton County. Some of the programming includes:

Our Rural Parenting Initiative, which provides classes and workshops for parents and caregivers:

In rural Benton County – SRF Schedule – Click Here

In Linn & Benton Counties – Parenting Success Network

Our Rural Health Initiative, which provides healthy living classes, workshops and activities.

Funders and Collaborators

Funders and Collaborators 

Alsea School District
301 3rd Street
Alsea, OR 97324

Benton Community Foundation – Lagestee Regional Initiative
P.O. Box 911
Corvallis, OR 97339

Benton County Health Services
P.O. Box 579
Corvallis, OR 97339-0579

Benton County Oral Health Coalition
Samaritan Health Services
815 NW 9th Street, Avery Square Suite 254
Corvallis, OR 97330

Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon
1785 NE Sandy Blvd, Suite 270
Portland, OR 97232

City of Philomath
P.O. Box 400
Philomath, OR 97370

Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

All branches:
Alsea Community Library
19192 Alsea Hwy
Alsea, OR 97324

Monroe Community Library
380 N. 5th Street
Monroe, OR 97456

Philomath Community Library
1050 Applegate Street
Philomath, OR 97370

Early Learning Hub of Linn, Benton & Lincoln Counties
Linn Benton Community College
6500 Pacific Blvd SW, LM-101
Albany, OR 97321

Ford Family Foundation
1600 NW Stewart Parkway
Roseburg, OR 97471-1957

Health Equity Alliance
WNHS – 257 SW Madison, #113
Corvallis, OR 97333
Linn Benton Health Equity Alliance

Kings Valley Charter School
33840 Kings Valley Highway
Philomath, OR 97370
Kings Valley Charter School

Monroe School District
365 N. 5th Street
Monroe, OR 97456
Monroe School District

Old Mill Center for Children & Families
1650 SW 45th Place
Corvallis, OR 97333

Philomath School District
535 S. 19th Street
Philomath, OR 97370

Simple Actions Family Foundation
“Simple Actions Family Foundation supports the vision and actions
of those who improve lives and communities worldwide.”

Templeton Foundation

United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties
P.O. Box 2499
Corvallis, OR 97330