Grants at Work

A New Kitchen

Thanks to donors to the Community Foundation, Knox County residents are increasing their cooking skills, leading to a healthier community.

Helping His Hands Disaster Response is located in Vincennes and is a short term mission organization specializing in disaster response. The organization follows a mandate focused on immediate response to regions and people stricken by natural disasters, followed by continual aide in their journey of rebuilding.

Recently, the organization embarked on an update to the kitchen space in their facility with a long term goal to teach cooking Knox County residents how to cook on a limited budget. While most of the organization’s programs are geared toward low-income families, no one was turned away if they expressed interest in learning how to cook healthy on a budget.

The kitchen space allowed for a new program designed to increase kitchen safety awareness in Knox County, improve nutrition and promote healthy eating choices, and involve parents and children in a project that fosters working together. The impact of the program includes healthier Knox County residents, less hospital emergency room visits due to poor food handing, and less safety issues in the kitchen, which often lead to fires.

The Knox County Community Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the organization for its kitchen project in 2017. With the grant, the organization was able to complete the kitchen update. Following completion, in addition to weekly classes and food pantry sampling days, the organization has allowed other charitable partners to use the kitchen and hosted community events.

For more information, contact Scott Shipman at Helping His Hands at (812) 494-2888.

Preventing Substance Abuse and Violence

Thanks to donors to the Community Foundation, Knox County students are increasing their decision-making skills, leading to a safer and healthier community.

Children & Family Services prevention specialists in Knox County are focused on lowering the rates of substance abuse in adults by building decision-making skills and promoting positive peer relations – key protective factors for adolescents. When applying to the Community Foundation for an expansion of the program, the agency was already in its 4th year of providing comprehensive prevention programming for high school freshmen in partnership with the 3 public school corporations in Knox County, all with very promising outcomes. Those outcomes led to a recommendation to expand the program to 7th grade students.

The Knox County Community Foundation awarded a $5,225 grant in 2017 and a $5,000 grant in 2018 to the agency for Prevention Programming.

The 7th grade prevention project was delivered weekly at Clark Middle School during the 2017-18 school year by a qualified Children & Family Services prevention specialist.

Program objectives included the development and demonstration of key skills and competencies of 7th graders as a means of furthering the goal, including: (1) ability to assess likely behavioral responses to direct and indirect influences; (2) understanding positive and negative peer influences; (3) increased knowledge regarding tobacco, alcohol and prescription drug use; (4) ability to diffuse bullying behavior; (5) resistance skills; and (6) developing positive peer relationships.

Students were given a pre-test before the first session and a post-test after the last session of the classroom program. Knowledge of key skills and competencies grew by 23 to 25%. With the students’ increase in knowledge, the pro-social goal for a culture of resilient families, productive workers, a stronger economy, and a healthier community, also grew.

For more information, contact Lynne Rump, CEO, Children & Family Services Corporation at (812) 886-4470.

Keep Vincennes Rolling

Keep Vincennes Rolling is a non-profit organization developed to educate Knox County children about bike safety as well as making Vincennes a greener city with employees riding their bikes to work. Keep Vincennes Rolling started in September 2012 and has already made great strides to allow community members young and old to be safer biking around town. Knox County Community Foundation granted over 3,000 dollars to Keep Vincennes Rolling which allowed the organization to buy 300 children’s bicycle helmets to be given out at various events like Kids Equipped to Achieve, the YMCA Kid’s triathlon, and the Watermelon Festival. Also, ten “share the road” signs were purchased to be placed throughout the county. Every year, Keep Vincennes Rolling has a biking event that encourages local individuals and families to promote bicycle safety and healthy living while the Bike Patrol officers from Vincennes ride alongside the riders to get community members familiar with them. The biking event also brings a lot of out-of-town visitors that enriches the Vincennes economy through hotel rooms and restaurants. Amber Gerkin believes that if you start teaching young children early about bike safety, you won’t be “trying to change a high schooler’s bad habits.” Keep Vincennes Rolling is a great way to promote better living and give a way for family members to do outdoor bonding activities together. To become involved, contact Amber Gerkin at 812-890-4502.

Vigo Elementary Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom at Vigo Elementary is a smart way to teach kids who have different types of learning styles about science and other subjects. Many of the children who attend Vigo live in town and do not have any access to planting a garden, so the garden teaches them about plants, insects, and the responsibility of caring for something living. The Knox County Community Foundation was able to fund the purchasing of different plants that produce vegetables that the students may not be able to try any other time. All of the students at Vigo Elementary have had a hand in helping in the garden between playing in it at recess or planting and watering the plants. The grant from the Knox County Community Foundation jump-started other community member and organizations to donate money in some form. A pollinator garden was recently put in that protect the biodiversity of local pollinators that gives students a chance to see butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds and the outdoor pavilion where the students will sit at picnic tables to learn next to the garden will be able to be used in August 2014. Christe Jarvis, Vigo Elementary’s social worker, says, “In addition to the children being excited about the garden, parents and other community members have been interested in learning more about the project.” The whole community worked together to donate 400 pounds of bottle caps, laundry detergent caps, and other lids that was melted to make a bench for the pavilion. Jarvis continues by saying, “When we check the mail, we sometimes get bottle lids sent to us from community members to help us with our goal.” Even the school board is excited about the Outdoor Classroom since the theme for the 2014-2015 school year was elected to be “Garden.” For more questions, contact Kelly McCarty, principal of Vigo Elementary, at (812) 882-5817.