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Agency Stories - Community Impact
Community Impact Stories from our Partner Agencies
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Zanesville
Little Brothers Cory and Leondre seem as different as night and day. Cory is a skateboarder and struggles academically. Leondre is into traditional sports and is a good student. Cory is quiet and reserved. Leondre is outgoing and ornery. What they have in common is…the lifelong disappointment of an absent father and growing up in a single parent/mom household. What they also share is their Big Brother John. John knows firsthand what it is like to grow up with a single mom and no positive male influence. He considers being a big brother “the most important job he has ever had”. With each of his little brothers, John encourages academic achievement, volunteerism, strong work ethic, and fun! John takes an active role in their education. He attends parent/teacher conferences. John schedules library study days for each of his little brothers when he sees him struggling. John also models the importance of education by taking the teens to work with them where they can see that education and hard work pay off. John teaches life skills, like cutting the grass, household repairs, and budgeting. Each mother has told us that John is teaching her son how to be a good, respectable father/man.
Muskingum Valley Council, BSA
Pack 257 is located in Somerset, Ohio. They are sponsored by the Somerset United Methodist Church. Pack 257 began to notice that the Somerset United Methodist Church’s food pantry was struggling in today’s economy during the past holiday season. The unit of Pack 257 organized two food drives and with the efforts of 30 Cub Scouts, the food drives collected over 3,000 food items for the church’s food pantry. Pack 257 also worked together placing over 500 miniature American flags on veteran gravesites.
Catholic Social Services
When Catholic Social Services (CSS) first met “Beth”, she was 85 years old with a high level of anxiety over her financial situation. She is a widow and had been living with her brother and sister-in-law at their home for the past few years. Her brother was helping her take care of her finances but she states that she never had any money even though she receives a moderate income. Her brother would just tell her that he had to pay her bills and her share of the household expenses but he was reluctant to show her any accounting of these transactions. With the help of a friend, Beth was able to inquire about and then move to a local residential facility for senior citizens. It was apparent to the facility’s staff that Beth’s mental state was deteriorated to a point where she displayed confusion and memory issues that inhibited her from managing her finances by herself. They made a referral to CSS to assist her with payee services. A CSS worker met with Beth to discuss her financial situation and create a monthly budget which would meet her needs. She admitted that she was unable to care for finances appropriately and needed someone she could trust since it seemed that her own brother had been taking money from her. We created a workable monthly budget that met her essential living needs but also addressed her mounting debt from medical bills that had not been paid by her brother. Slowly over the course of a couple of years, CSS was able to pay off her debts and help her start to rebuild her savings. While her brother had told her that she didn’t have enough money to pay all the bills, CSS found that there was an adequate amount of funds and assisted her in becoming financially self-sufficient. She has been able to lower her anxiety regarding her financial situation which enabled her to have “peace of mind” in knowing that her money is safe and used in her best interest. She has been able to accumulate a few thousand dollars in savings which has allowed her to enjoy her life and even visit a cousin in Florida that she had not seen for many years. She states that she is so happy to have found Catholic Social Services because they have created a better quality of life for her.
Christ’s Table’s volunteer drivers are caring, compassionate giving souls who truly care for our participants. Our drivers become family to many of our homebound clients, they are trusted and in many cases this is the only human contact our participants have each day. Our drivers truly go over and beyond “just delivering meals”. A current driver was delivering a meal, the homebound participant expressed they needed their medication and had no means of getting to the pharmacy. Our driver finished delivering all the meals on his route, returned back to the participant’s home picking up the prescription verification, traveled to the pharmacy for the medication, and delivered it to the participant’s home. Our driver then went onto reading the directions of the medication making sure his new found friend was clear on how to take the medication. Without this driver’s assistance, it may have been days before this senior would have had this medication.
Eastside Community Ministry
From elementary to her high school years this young lady spent many years in the Eastside Community Ministry’s Youth Program. She spent many, many nights of personal homework, tutoring, helping in the kitchen preparing dinner, and life skill lessons planning for a successful future. Finally in June 2010 she graduated from high school with her dreams of attending college to receive a medical degree. Financial aid was available but sadly did not cover all the costs required to enroll in college. Luckily the Eastside Community Ministry’s Academic Incentive dollars played a huge role in covering the expenses not covered by financial aid. The $1,000 that was earned paid for books, a computer, and gasoline to and from school.
Eastside has dealt with one older couple several times in the past and, through our ability to holistically serve our clients, we’ve been able to better their circumstances. This couple cannot drive and must walk wherever they are going. The man is mentally challenged and his wife is deaf-mute. She can use sign language and read lips very well. Despite their circumstances, both of these people are always smiling. They have visited our Clothing Bank in the past and came to Eastside seeking assistance in paying a water bill just recently. Upon reviewing their expenses with them, our staff noticed that they both receive an SSI check each month, but rent, utilities, and grocery bills quickly consume their entire income. In helping them fill out the application for monetary assistance, we discovered that their water had been shut off for a year. We determined that were able to provide them with the $50 necessary to turn on their water. When hearing this, the man began to clap his hands and smile. He turned to his wife and said, “Now we can finally have a hot bath!”This is exactly what our mission means when we say we are creating a better community by serving our neighbors in need.
Local Girl Scout Brownie Troop #60246, currently 3rd Graders at John McIntire School, under the leadership of Debbie Mohler, have conducted the following community service projects:
Christ’s Table – make holiday center pieces for the tables each year
Red Cross – collected toys, games, coloring books & crayons for fire victims
Senior Center – filled Easter eggs for their annual egg hunt
Transitions – provided stuff animals for children
Goodwill – provided donated items for Good Turn Day
Make A Difference Day – made pinecone bird feeders for residents of Willow Haven
Food Bank - donated can goods for “Feed the Heartland”
Animal Shelter – provided miscellaneous donated items and baked dog biscuits
County Home - donated “Gift in Kind” Girl Scout cookies to residents
Muskingum Co. Health Department - provided coloring books and crayons for children’s waiting room – during the flu season when there were no toys available.
While distributing books at the Red Cross Military Family event we encountered a grandmother who thanked us for her free book from the previous year. She stated that her granddaughter liked the book so much that she promised to purchase a new book for her every week. They have enjoyed many hours of reading together and will cherish the memories for a lifetime. Our free book program encouraged a positive change in the reading habits of this family and promoted a love of reading for the granddaughter which she may someday share with her own children and grandchildren.
Jolene Cramer of Reynoldsburg shared a similar story with us. She received a book from the Literacy Council at the Mall Health Fair in 2010. She shared the book with her one-year-old niece who had just been taken in by her grandmother. The child was very quiet and shy but embraced the book and enjoyed story-time with her aunt. Now every time Jolene visits she is sure to bring a book and looks forward to reading it over and over again to her niece. Due to her positive experience Jolene was pleased to participate in the Muskingum County Literacy Council 2011 Silent Auction Fundraising event held at the Colony Square Mall. She was the final bidder on five baskets and helped us reach our fundraising goal.
Morgan Behavioral Health Choices
One referral involved a first grader who went into the office each day to complain of being sick and needing to go home. If the student is not at school they cannot get an education. The SAS consultant worked with the student and discovered that their parents were having marital issues and the child was afraid that one of them would leave while the child was at school. The SAS consultant met with the parents and then the family to open discussion about the child’s fears. The child began staying at school the entire day without any complaints of being ill.
This may not seem to have a major impact, but it was for that child. The child was able to talk with their parents, who thought they were keeping the problems hidden from the child. The SAS consultant continued to meet regularly with the child and when the parents eventually divorced, it was not as traumatic as it could have been. This same child also showed an increase of 4 assets at the completion of their involvement with the SAS program. The improvements were in the areas of support and positive identity. The student’s survey showed that she felt safer at home, school and community; felt that the adults in her home valued what she had to say; her school cared about and encouraged her; and that she felt that she had control over what happened to her most of the time. She exceeded the projected improvement in the area of 3 assets. Her teacher also noted an improvement in her school performance and social/peer relations in their evaluation. A copy of the Asset development survey is included with this application so that reviewers may have a better understanding of how it works.
Morgan County Senior Center
Mary Jones had a spinal cord injury on December 18, 2008. After surgery on January 2, 2009, she began relearning to walk and to use her hands. Mary went through intense therapy in the hospital, lived in a nursing home for a short while, and then returned home in late February 2009. Therapy continued twice a week in the home. Mary’s husband began taking over all of the household chores, controlling the bills, and personal care of Mary all while continuing his duties of managing the family farm. On April 22, 2009 the struggling couple contacted the Homemaker Program with Morgan County Office on Aging. Debbie Valentine from the Homemaker Program came to the couple’s home to assist in the daily household chores that were consuming Mr. Jones. “That first time was hard. ..I wasn't used to having a stranger come in to clean my house and etc. I cried” said Mary. Now nearly two years later having Debbie in to our home is a blessing. She does a wonderful job and is so willing to help in any way possible. Mary continues to struggle on a daily basis and she feels that she could not live in her home if it wasn’t for her husband, the home delivered meals program, and the Homemaker Program.
Muskingum Family Y
During 2010 we had a little girl who was age 5 by the name of “Cindy” who participated in several of our youth programs. She received financial support from the Y to do so. At first Cindy was very hesitant to participate as she lacked the self confidence and self-esteem to do so. Through the encouragement and support of our volunteers, staff, and her parents, Cindy really grew in our programs. She is the first to jump into any activity and helps with “new” kids in the programs by making friends with them and making them feel welcome. Cindy demonstrates the Y’s core values of honesty, respect, caring and responsibility.
The Muskingum Family YMCA was pleased to provide assistance last summer to 3 young men who have attended Camp Nuhop the last few years. The parents are very appreciative of the financial support and have an investment in getting their child to Nuhop. They see the improvements in behavior, self esteem, and respect for others that Camp Nuhop and the staff instill in them to grow and be empowered. One camper, “Chad”, has attended the last 3 years and the comments his parents have made about his improved behavior at home and at school and that he cannot wait to attend again this summer.
American Red Cross
On Thursday, September 16, 2010, the Muskingum Valley Chapter was called to Crooksville High School to set up emergency sheltering and mass care for the victims of the tornadoes that struck Perry County. Trained staff and volunteers assisted local law enforcement, local EMA Directors and first responders to help feed and shelter families who were forced out of their homes. For the next week staff and volunteers worked with families providing immediate needs such as food, clothing and temporary lodging after their homes were damaged by the storms. In the end the Red Cross assisted 7 families (12 adults and 9 children) with help to get them back on their feet when the need was most.
Over the last 3 years, we have worked closely with local mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the military. We have helped them form the new Tri-County Gold Star Mothers Charter which covers Muskingum, Perry, and Morgan counties. In a joint venture we have created a new website dedicated to Tri-County Gold Star Mothers located at http://tri-countygoldstarmother.yolasite.com. Tri-County Gold Star Mothers are meeting monthly are the Red Cross Chapter House.
On July 8, 2010 Launfull (Junior) Salyer, trained in American Red Cross Standard First Aid with Infant/Child CPR, helped save the life of his three-year-old grandson, Bobby Richmond. While visiting his grandfather, Bobby was discovered at the bottom of the pool. Junior pulled Bobby from the pool and determined there were no signs of life. While family members called 911, Junior started CPR. By the time EMS arrived, Bobby had a pulse, was breathing and crying. Without a doubt, the skills learned in the American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course and used by Junior, contributed to saving Bobby’s life.
The Salvation Army
A family of six who were exasperated by their housing costs stayed in The Emergency Shelter for the full 90 days while they learned how to budget their money, care for their children and the father waited on a Social Security claim to be approved. The family has been in a permanent residence for over six months without financial assistance.
A single father brings his small daughter in everyday after she gets out of school. She would be hungry if not for this program. She seems very happy to be able to socialize and have a hot meal.
We had a client whose husband committed suicide and was living on survivor benefits while she pulled her and her children’s lives back together. Your contribution helped her to keep her water service on. Sometimes tragedy and crisis seem to have a domino effect that has now been altered. We were able to help her financially with your help as well as spiritually.
Zanesville Civic League
Riley has been attending the Zanesville Civic League’s After School Program for 3 years. She has grown remarkably because of the program. Recently Riley’s grades have improved greatly because of the staff’s extra help that she receives during homework help and tutoring. Riley has progressed from incredibly withdrawn to accepting roles in plays and skits, including a lead role. She has also learned to help in the center’s kitchen and brings home healthy recipe’s to try. I see her checking and smelling food in the fridge for safety as Mrs. Kim taught her. She enjoys the trips to the John McIntire Library and has been participating in the Summer Reading Program every summer in the ZCL Summer Camp. Because of this program Riley has become an excellent reader, and reads all the time. The center’s staff has been invaluable at molding Riley into a well adjusted young lady.