The vocation of every man and woman is to serve humanity. -Leo Tolstoy

Posts Tagged ‘community’

Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City

In OKC on November 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm

The Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City communicates the importance of assisting the under served as well as any organization I have seen. They are well known for building partnerships with businesses and other organizations that benefit inner city communities. This effort includes engaging professionals to volunteer as teachers and mentors for adults who do not have ready access to formal education. The Urban Leagues other areas of focus are (from their website):

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

The entrepreneurship program provides services in: credit reports, business plan development, loan application processing, business registration packets, market research, seminars & workshops, procurement assistance, referrals and legal status development. 

JOBS AND TRAINING

The Workforce Development Department specializes in training for the hardest to employ or individuals that are underemployed.  The department also works to contact central Oklahoma’s major employers with the urban employees.

The department provides career development resources including job readiness training, annual career expo, and diversity training for employers.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The affordable housing program provides quality & affordable homes to low to moderate income families by rehabilitating existing structures & constructing new homes.

The program also facilitates FREE weatherization services and prepares families for home ownership by hosting homebuyer education and credit counseling workshops.

URBAN HEALTH

The urban health program works to increase awareness of breast health, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancer prevention through free community health fairs, referrals, group interventions and free fitness activities.

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

The children and families department provides after school tutoring, food vouchers, utility assistance, bus passes and parent training for adults.


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deadCENTER

In The arts on September 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

The opening night of deadCENTER was one of the coolest events that I attended in the last year. Thousands of people sitting on a closed off street in downtown OKC watching a documentary set partly in Oklahoma was kind of awesome. That evening was followed up by dozens of screenings of independent films all over OKC.

From their website:

The name “deadCENTER” refers to the geographic location of the festival – in Oklahoma City – the “dead center” of the United States. And because we’re downtown Oklahoma City, essentially we’re in the dead center of everything!  Founded in 2001, we envision a thriving, interactive global film community. We provide a competitive platform for independent filmmakers and a dynamic educational forum.  Designed to inspire growth in the local film industry and energize visiting film professionals, the deadCENTER Film Festival will continue to encourage the film arts through screenings, discussions, competition, special events, panels, and focused programming.

 

IdeaLab @ IAO

In Visual Art on August 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm

IdeaLab is a monthly series of salons/round tables/panels/discussions presented by Individual Artists of Oklahoma. The mission of IdeaLab is to:

Create programs that promote cognitive diversity resulting in the expression of new ideas. This is accomplished by provoking interaction and conversation between varied communities and disciplines using experimental methods and formats.

The first IdeaLab takes place on September 27th and will feature Rob Sturma (poet), Wayne Wyrick (astronomer), Blair Humphreys (urban designer) and Jonathan Roberts (nonprofit leader) answering the question What’s Next? in their field. After each speaker talks for 12 minutes the conversation will be opened to all attendees. Hopefully this will be an opportunity for new connections and the shrinking of Oklahoma City.

I will discuss IdeaLab more in later posts. The planning has been a broad based collaborative effort and anyone who wishes to have input on future events is welcome to participate.

What OKC Needs

In nonprofits on August 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

In an earlier post I wrote about the effort to bring Breakthrough to Oklahoma City. These are some other types of nonprofits that OKC could benefit from.

Job training programs like these in Austin:

Artist collectives like these in Philadelphia:

Free “Schools” like these:
Whole Neighborhood Initiatives like these:
Artist Residencies like these:
In the future I will write about other types of organizations that I would like to see in Oklahoma.

Breakthrough

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 9:55 am

For the past four months an exploratory committee made up of Danne Johnson, Jackie Mania, Josh Harlow and myself has been working to bring Breakthrough to OKC. I am so excited about the potential impact on our community. From the Breakthrough website:

At 33 locations across the nation and abroad, Breakthrough Collaborative launches motivated middle-school students on the path to college and prepares older students for careers in education. A national nonprofit, Breakthrough Collaborative is devoted to preparing high-achieving middle-school students, most of whom are of color and from low-income families, to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs. Breakthrough also recruits and trains outstanding high school and college students to become Breakthrough teachers and build an interest in careers as educators.

In June I was fortunate to visit Breakthrough Houston and was blown away by the work they are doing there. Even the highest achieving low income students in Oklahoma City graduate college at very low rates. Breakthrough can help to alter this trend and the lives of entire families.

If you would like to be involved in the effort to bring Breakthrough to OKC please contact me.

Why?

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Why am I writing a blog? This space is meant primarily as a place for me to record and share my thoughts on nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma City. I have been involved with a number of local nonprofits over the past eight years as a patron, volunteer, board and committee member, staff, consultant and user of services. Some of the organizations do amazing work while others fail both their mission and the public that they are entrusted to serve. I want to promote those organizations that are doing good work and contribute to a conversation about best practices.

Oh, and I love Oklahoma!

Service Clubs

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

Last night I was inducted into the OKC Midtown Rotary Club. Until very recently I had never considered joining Rotary or any of the other service clubs such as Kiwanis, Lions, Optimists or Exchange. I held a limited view of these organizations as groups of older men who met early in the morning to drink coffee. While that is generally an accurate description it leaves out the more important aspects of the organizations.

For nearly 100 years these groups have been doing important charitable work both in their communities and around the world. Most have areas of focus such as youth sports, child abuse prevention, health care and clean water. Midtown Rotary focuses on the arts. In building social bonds among people who are like minded in their devotion to service these groups actively promote community.

OKC Midtown Rotary is a markedly younger and more gender balanced club than most. When looking at the aging demographics of other clubs I fear for the potential loss of these important institutions. I encourage anyone interested in improving their community to investigate these organizations. I’m glad that I did.

OKC Midtown Rotary meets at 6 pm every Tuesday at McNellie’s, 1100, Classen Drive, OKC, Ok. Visitors are always welcome!

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