(Plain Press, June 2014)For over two years now, the directors or staff representatives of Ohio City Human Service organizations have been meeting on a monthly basis. On the second Tuesday of each month, executive directors or staff representatives of the participating organizations meet to dialogue and listen to a speaker recruited to make a presentation on a topic of interest. A member organization hosts the event, and another member organization brings lunch for the participants.
Anita Cook, Executive Director of the West Side Catholic Center, said the group emerged from a larger group of all Ohio City nonprofit organizations that formed four years ago and has a large meeting once per year. Cook says the Human Service subgroup initially began meeting to talk about services to the homeless population. Cook says many of the directors, working in the same neighborhood, had never met each other. They were able to work together in areas where they discovered they had overlapping services and coordinate the delivery of the same services at different locations on different days.
Cook says the organizations now cooperate in resource leveraging, sharing request for proposal information and information on other resources. They participate in quarterly educational events.
At the May Ohio City Human Services Dialogue hosted by Rev. Alan Harris at Franklin Circle Church, members dialogued with guest speaker Chuck Hoven, Managing Editor of the Plain Press. They talked about how to submit free events for listings in the Plain Press Community Board. Discussed some of issues currently being covered by the Plain Press. Members also pitched some story ideas and shared news of upcoming events and new programs.
Kerry McCormack, Director of Community Affairs for Ohio City Incorporated shared information about how the Department of Education of Miami University is working with Ohio City Inc. on a project to help train teachers to work in urban schools. The goal of the program is for education students to learn from the community to become better teachers. The teacher education students will be connecting with parents and community members and learning about the needs of students and families in the school communities of Paul Dunbar, Urban Community School, Metro Catholic School and Near West Intergenerational School.
At the June Ohio City Human Services Dialogue hosted by Providence House Executive Director Natalie Leek-Nelson the guest speaker was Cynthia Ries, Executive Director of Community Shares. Ries talked about workplace giving campaigns and costs and benefits of becoming a Community Shares member organization. Two Ohio City Human Services organizations that are members of Community Shares, Providence House and Cogswell Hall, shared their experience as members of Community Shares, how they collect the necessary volunteer points required of members, and how being a member has helped with their budget.
Ohio City Human Services organizations present at the meeting, but not members of Community Shares, also shared information about the services they provide giving Ries an idea of the range of services the groups provide.
John Gill, Director of the St. Ignatius High School Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership talked about Arrupe House’s after school and summer programs for neighborhood youth as well as its homeless outreach services.
A May Dugan staff member shared information about its services involving education, food, clothing and community counseling.
Executive Director Anita Cook of the West Side Catholic Center mentioned the organization’s drop in center and transition in place services for homeless women and their children.
Malachi Center shared information about their shower program for the homeless and afterschool and summer programs for youth.
Lutheran Family Services noted the organization provides mental health counseling.
Rev. Alan Harris of Franklin Circle Christian Church spoke of the church’s ministry involving outreach programs, clothing distribution, community meals and food bags and youth enrichment programs.
Paul Finley, Executive Director of St. Herman’s House of Hospitality shared information about the meals served, grocery bags distributed to families with dependent children and its men’s shelter.
In addition to the monthly dialogue, the Ohio City Human Services Collaborative has printed a Ohio City Human Services Reference Guide which list 16 member organizations and the services they provide. Member organizations listed include: Centers for Families and Children at St. Patrick’s Church, Cogswell Hall, Franklin Circle Christian Church, Lutheran Family Services, May Dugan Center, Metanoia Project, Providence House, St. Herman’s House of Hospitality, St. Ignatius/Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership, St. Malachi Center, St. Malachi Church, Stella Maris, St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Patrick Church, Transitional Housing Inc., and the West Side Catholic Center.
The Ohio City Human Services Collaborative will hold their next dialogue luncheon at May Dugan Center on Tuesday June 10th. The group will not have a dialogue luncheon in July or August. In July they will participate in a neighborhood education committee happy hour at Light Bistro on July 24th. In August Ohio City Human Services is planning a back to school backpack giveaway for August 8th.
Editor’s Note: Ohio City Human Services organizations interested in participating in the collaborative can call Anita Cook at West Side Catholic Center at 216-631-4741, ext. 102.