Memories with Mom: Women’s Giving Circle Project
Through a grant provided generously by the Women’s Giving Circle of Jefferson County and the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, OVO presented “Memories with Mom,” a four-part series of educational and recreational events for mothers and their sons and daughters. Throughout the spring and summer of 2017, we partnered with local businesses and artisans to provide fun, engaging classes on canvas art painting, Latin fusion dancing, and cake decorating for 92 individuals in our community. The events were free to participants and gave families great opportunities to grow, learn, make memories, and have fun together! Throughout the duration of this project, we were overwhelmed with incredible community support and leveraged an additional $938 in In Kind donations to make these events a success. This project also helped us address several identified needs from our 2015 Community Needs Assessment to include youth programs and healthy relationships.
Camp And More Project (CAMP)
Summer Fun with a Purpose! This summer, OVO hosted for the first time ever the Camp And More Project (CAMP). The purpose of this project was to provide meaningful recreational summer programming for youth in our community. Recreation has consistently been identified during our Community Needs Assessments. Furthermore, we recognize the value of summer camp experiences. Summer camp helps kids achieve all kinds of important outcomes: increased confidence, improved interpersonal skills, better understanding of personal responsibility, competence in a variety of skill-based activities, and a love of nature and the outdoors. As part of this project, we provided two different summer camp experiences for youth in our community.
For Part 1 of CAMP, we provided a complete overnight summer camp experience for youth ages 10-13. We partnered with Jameson Camp, an accredited residential camp in Indianapolis, to provide a week long overnight summer camp for 17 kids from Jefferson, Jennings, and Scott Counties. For our campers, OVO provided full scholarships to Jameson, travel to and from camp for the youth and their parents, and essential packing list items. Our CAMPers attended Wellness Camp July 9-14th. During this special week of camp, they gained knowledge about the 6 Aspects of Wellness: physical, emotional, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, and social wellness. Additionally, our campers developed valuable character traits like confidence and self-respect and gained competency in activities like archery, art expressions, culinary arts, journalism, and outdoor adventures. We are so excited to have been able to offer such a rewarding and life-changing experience for these kids!
For Part 2 of CAMP, we provided an in-house leadership and recreational day camp for 10 teens from our three counties. CAMP was held July 17-21st, and throughout the week, teens developed leadership skills, visited cool places, made new friends, and completed a service project in the community. The week’s schedule was:
- Day 1- CAMP Kickoff: We started off the week with teambuilding activities to get know each other and to begin laying the foundation for leadership development. We played name games, completed a creative construction project, and worked on communication skills and team work through fun activities.
- Day 2- Louisville Mega Cavern: Teen CAMPers accepted the challenge and conquered their fears on the underground zip line course at the Louisville Mega Cavern. The day’s focus was encouragement, and our teens cheered each other on as they flew through the cavern and were ready with high fives on the other side! After zip lining, we hopped on board a tram tour of the cavern and learned about its history.
- Day 3: Zip City Indianapolis: CAMPers got to rock climb, jump in the trampoline park, zip line, play laser tag, and much more! The day allowed our campers to get to know one another even better and solidified new found friendships.Our group continued to encourage and support one another, especially during new challenges like the rock wall.
- Day 4: Breakout Games Louisville: CAMP went down to Breakout Louisville to work on our teambuilding skills! Our CAMPers were divided into two teams to take on two of their challenging escape rooms: Mystery Mansion and Museum Heist, and had to work together and use each other’s strengths to solve clues and move the mission forward. Afterwards, each team had the opportunity to discuss their experience and identify their personal strengths, leadership style, and role in team settings.
- Day 5: Giving Back to the Community: We rounded out the week by giving back and completing a service project here in Madison! The CAMP team planted flowers, trimmed trees and bushes, spread mulch, prepared flower pots, placed solar lights, and picked up sticks at the homes of 2 of our Section 8 tenants. This service project gave our group the opportunity to put the teamwork and leadership skills they have been working on throughout the week to good use and give our CAMPers an introduction to volunteerism.
As our first year for this project, we were incredibly impressed at the success of CAMP. Some of the outcomes for our teen CAMPers included…
- 100% satisfaction for project participants
- 70% increase in volunteerism
- 33% increase in feeling like they made a difference in their community
- 26% increase in feeling accomplished
- 22% increase in accepting new challenges
- 30% increase in feeling like they are leaders
- 31% increase in feeling confident in their strengths
One of our current special projects is Project Low-Income Versatile Empowerment (LIVE). By leveraging funding provided through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) Tax Credits and the United Way of Scott County, OVO provides assistance to qualifying Section 8 voucher holders in Jefferson, Jennings, and Scott Counties. The program provides assistance with lease deposits to help bridge the gap to housing and assist individuals and families in utilizing their Section 8 rental voucher. Project LIVE builds our capacity to provide gap funding for affordable housing, particularly to those that are elderly and/or disabled. The program also helps us tackle homelessness and access to affordable and quality housing in our service area.
Special thank you to the United Way of Scott County for their support!
Through Project Jump On Using Less Energy Service (JOULES), our youth-led energy education initiative, youth became energy influencers with the tools they need to help families and communities embrace home energy efficiency while developing life skills. The program encouraged all Hoosiers to responsibly use energy, thus making our communities a better and more beautiful place to live. Project JOULES’s goal was to educate the community about energy conservation in order to minimize energy bills and maximize energy savings.
Project JOULES focused on community outreach. Participants had opportunities to meet with elected officials, representatives from major corporations, and community leaders to engage in discourse and raise awareness about the benefits of energy education. As energy influencers, the youth worked with professional production and web design companies and utilize print media, video, radio, online news outlets, and social media to reach out into the community and share their knowledge of energy production, consumption, and conservation. Project JOULES hosted guest speakers focusing on both energy education and youth development. Topics included power plant engineering, home weatherization, local public policy, crime prevention, career planning, and volunteer opportunities. Project JOULES endeavored to make a difference in the lives of youth by energizing, educating, and inspiring positive change in our community. Project JOULES was made possible through funding provided through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and through community support.