Norfolk Arts Center: Fifth-grade Passport to Art Program 2018
The inaugural launch of the program has helped a core group of 30 students inspire creativity and expand their knowledge and appreciation of the arts through hands-on and experience-based opportunities. Home-school students from Creighton are among the regular participants, and organizers have heard from several families of fourth-graders excited about getting involved next year.
“Because of the passport program, my friends and I have gotten to do a lot of really cool projects like votive making and learning about op art. I also got to go to Soup ’R Art and talk to some artists and learn about their artwork.” -Piper Okamoto, Fifth-grader at Norfolk Middle School.
This program provides an effective form of physical exercise to people who are living with Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that forced intense exercise programs may delay the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms. Grant money from NACFF was used to purchase equipment, marketing material and RSB coach certifications. Family members also are encouraged to become involved as “corner men,” helping members with their boxing gloves, being a cheerleader and even participating themselves. The hope is to eventually offer an additional class time option.
“Over six months of doing Rock Steady Boxing, I have more energy, the tremors in my left hand aren’t as strong and I’ve developed good friendships and support from the other group members,” -Elaine Halferty, Participant
S.M.I.L.E. (Stephanie’s Miracles In Loving Equine) provided recreational therapy on horseback to 135 students per week, ranging in age from 2 to 65 with a wide range of disabilities. They also come from a 10-county area in Northeast Nebraska. “ I appreciate all the time and effort you put into having a grant fund,” said Patty Prauner of S.M.I.L.E. “S.M.I.L.E. operates on donations. Every dollar is a blessing to help others.”
“It is supporters such as yourself that help brings smiles to all the faces of the participants with S.M.I.L.E
Inc. Not just the riders’ faces, but those of the family, friends, and workers.” – A Grateful Mother of a
Project Homeless Connect is a one-day, one-stop event where individuals and families who are homeless or near homeless are able to receive a wide variety of immediate, on-site services and support for unmet needs, such as meals, medical services, haircuts and more. The second annual event served 350 guests, with the largest number of adults between the ages of 51-61 and children between the ages of 6-12 years old.
“More businesses and private sectors want to get involved and be a part of this project. They see the effects that this project has on hundreds of people in their own community, and many have voiced their wish to see it continue to grow.” -Lacy Kimes, Coordinator
Boy Scouts of America: Norfolk Area Scoutreach Program 2018
Through the Scoutreach after-school program, youths at Grant Elementary, Washington Elementary and Norfolk Middle School enjoy character-building programs that emphasize hands-on learning, fun exploration and Scouting adventures.
Through these meetings, Scouts have helped at the Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska and Mercy Meals with food packaging, in addition to constructing birdhouses, learning how to set up a tent, constructing robotic cars and even making rope from toilet paper.
The Norfolk Youth Theatre camp attracted 53 participants ranging in age from 9-18, up from 10 from the 2017 camp. The majority of the camp staff are from Norfolk and surrounding towns, and the camp serves children from Norfolk, Tilden, Stanton, Pierce and Battle Creek. The grant money allowed more of the budget to be used to provide food for the volunteers this year, allowing them to place their full focus on kids like Katy Edmisten.
“Katy’s week with Norfolk Youth Theatre gave her precisely the confidence boost she needed at the time. In September, when she auditioned for the Norfolk Community Theater’s ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ she landed a leading roles, which – before NYT – she didn’t think herself capable of.” -Karen Edmisten, Katy’s Mother
Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska: Unleash the Possibilities 2018
For Bright Horizons, the shelter housed two dogs and two cats that were brought current on vaccinations and testing. In one case, a single mother with two children lost her home and came to the shelter to surrender their dog since they couldn’t keep it without a home. After learning of this program, she was grateful that the shelter would house her dog while she searched for a new residence. The family was allowed to visit as much as possible and continually thanked the staff at the shelter for taking such good care of the dog.
Groups such as Mosaic and the Norfolk Catholic Elementary K Kids Club volunteered as part of the program. The animal shelter plans to continue the program with Paws to Read, Paws for Abilities, helping people who become homeless or are going through trauma.
Through the grant from the NACFF, the Mayor’s Diversity Council has been able to put together marketing materials as part of a broader outreach to the community, including T-shirts that have been sold in the community. The council’s main events have included a Cinco de Mayo event and the Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, which featured Raponzil Drake, pastor of Norfolk First United Methodist Church. Drake urged those attending to help lift someone who is “down.” Among future goals is bringing a Diversity and Inclusion Conference to Norfolk.
“We are extremely grateful to the community foundation. The grant has launched our group to another level that we could not have reached without the financial backing.”
Norfolk Public Schools: Career Exploration in K-4 Guidance Classroom 2018
Students in kindergarten through fourth grade at seven elementary schools in Norfolk are givenopportunities to explore careers with “Paws in Jobland” featuring a puppy named Paws, who helps students navigate a fictional city and learn more about the people who work there.
The software program allows students to work independently to explore careers that they might like to learn more about. The goal is to promote career exploration as part of the college/career readiness programming for Norfolk Public Schools.