Our mission is to strengthen families by promoting self-sufficiency, life-long learning, and
healthy living free of substance abuse, child abuse and family violence.
We envision serving Wahkiakum County as a socially responsive community center,
providing leadership in services to children and families,
collaborating to build a strong community of residents who care for each other.
The St. James Family Center Staff and Board of Directors:
Recognize that the motivation that inspires and undergirds the Family Center is based on
Christian faith and on the Episcopal baptismal covenant:
"We will strive for justice and peace among all people,
and respect the dignity of every human being",
and "We will see and serve Christ in all persons,
loving our neighbor as ourselves".
All SJFC programs are non-religious and all are open to everyone in the community.
SJFC began in
St. James Child Care Facility,
to provide preschool and wraparound childcare for preschool age children.
Over time, staff began helping families with referrals to community services.
It became clear that in order to help some children succeed in preschool, more contact and support with families was needed.
Family support principles became a standard in which all SJFC programs are grounded, with the key premise that responsibility for the development and well-being of children lies within the family, and all segments of society must support families to do their best in raising their children.
The small congregation of St. James Church, located in rural Wahkiakum County in southwest Washington State, founded St. James Preschool in 1985 to fill the need for early childhood education classes in the county.
Simultaneously, the economy of the area deteriorated. In the 1980’s the industries of fishing and logging, which once thrived in this community, began a decline that has continued for the past 25 years. As a result of this decline many families began to travel out of county for work and others became unemployed and searching for work with state assistance.
It soon became evident that in order to provide preschool, full day childcare was also needed. St. James preschool became St. James Childcare and eventually St. James Family Center (SJFC).
Today St. James Family Center is the only not-for-profit family service agency in Wahkiakum County. The Center’s 14,000 square foot building houses a variety of family-focused programs, making SJFC a unique resource for county residents.
SJFC provides the only licensed center-based childcare program for children age 2.5 -12 in Wahkiakum County.
SJFC prides itself in having responded to community need and expanding programs and services offered based on community assessments. All programs are based in the Principals of Family Support with high standards and practices which demonstrate successful outcomes.
The Charlotte House
~ where the name came from ~
Charlotte was the wife of James Birnie, a fur trader, who founded the town of Cathlamet in 1846.
Charlotte’s house was not only a shelter for her large family, but for the lost and hungry, as well as for Dr. John McLoughlin from Fort Vancouver, and Captain Ulysses S. Grant and Lt. Phillip Sheridan of the United States Army. Charlotte was the woman behind the man. After her husband’s death, she donated land for the school.
(Submitted by Myna Martin, 1998)