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Report monitors `State of Caring'.

Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard

You see them in the newspaper every day, financial indicators marking our economic well-being: the downs and ups of the stock market, 30-Treasury bonds, the price of gold, the price of oil.

So how come we don't have a similar pulse-check on the state of the stuff closer to home: healthy kids, safe streets, good jobs, successful youths?

Starting today, we will. United Way of Lane County unveils its first State of Caring Report, a compilation of a host of local and state statistics that includes unemployment and net job growth, cost of housing, crime rates, child well-being, even the number of adults volunteering in the community.

The snapshot stacks current statistics against 10-year trends to measure where we stand and how far we have to go to meet the needs of community members, said United Way Executive Director Priscilla Gould. The report, which will be issued annually, lists 46 different categories that examine the status of families as well as infants, children, adults and elderly people.

Naturally there's good and bad news. Fewer jobs, more unemployment and higher housing costs, coupled with an increase in child abuse and domestic violence paint a bleak picture.

On the other hand, teen pregnancy is decreasing, as is the high school dropout rate and the overall crime rate.

"If we don't measure, we don't have the opportunity to know whether we're moving forward," Gould said.

The report includes a list of suggestions for people who want to help nudge the negative indicators into the positive zone.

Among the ideas: visiting senior centers and retirement homes to provide companionship, making up care packages that include canned food, personal items and clothing for neighbors in need or homeless people, volunteering in ways that help children, staying informed and voting in every election.

The report also lists helping agencies, the specific work they do and how to reach them.

Gould hopes people will take the suggestions to heart.

"When we feel overwhelmed by the scale of human misery, we're frozen into inaction. The thing we need to do is thousands of little actions," she said.

The State of Caring Report will be available in Saturday's Register-Guard.

It's also published online at caring.
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Title Annotation:United Way compiles a list of local statistics affecting quality of life; General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 14, 2003
Previous Article:For the Record.

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