"We're like cheerleaders for families," says Laura Poueymirou, an early intervention and early childhood special education specialist with EC CARES, a Lane County agency affiliated with the UO College of Education. "We teach parents and preschool teachers about child development and how to adjust for each child with individual needs." Poueymirou grew up near Saratoga in upstate New York, majored in psychology at SUNY Geneseo, and worked four years at a group home for kids with special needs. Then she, a friend, and a dog spent six months exploring the northern states in her VW van. "I wound up here and haven't left," she says. "It'll be 14 years in October." A volunteer at the WOW Hall since she arrived ("I found out about it from Frog"), Poueymirou retired earlier this month after four years on the Hall's BoD. A grad of the county's master recycler program, she also volunteers on the recycling crew at events such as the Oregon Country Fair and the Eugene Celebration. She will take a leave of absence in September for a year of adventure in South America, where she plans to learn Spanish and to volunteer for an organization that's turning ranch land into national parks.