Three local residents went to the Loveland council meeting on October 14 and plead with intimate, passionate, and personal stories - urging council to consider applying for federal money that would help the Loveland Initiate re-open their community center.
One was Tony Hauser, who as a young boy became part of the Loveland Initiative's Teen Group, then the Loveland Shalom Teen Group. Tony tells council how in grade-school, the group taught him about community service, helped him with his school work, and later provided him with a scholarship that helped him with his college degree. He talked about how all these years later as a young man, he continues to serve not only the clients of the Loveland Initiative, but the entire community. "We helped others in the community as well as learn things ourselves." Tony was instrumental as a twelve-year-old in providing leadership, that continues today, in the State of Ohio recognized Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Loveland, now in it's twelth year. He said, "I used to go to the Cool School, then I tutored at the Cool School. I was provided a backpack for school, now I help with the backpack drive."
The Loveland Initiative operated out of a church for several years, however, the church grew its programming and there was no longer room for them. This Loveland institution is currently without a place to call home. The staff is working out of their homes at this time.
Homeless herself when she moved to Loveland was Debbie Jones. She talked about having nothing when she found an apartment, however the Loveland Initiative gave her things like a comforter and electric skillet. She decided to volunteer with the group and was able to help people when, "When they needed food after their house burnt down." She talked about kids who got toys and parents who got shoes.
The City is considering applying for the federal funds, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), to save budgeted road funds for other needed paving projects. The project the city has been considering, would repave W. Main Street, Ridgeland Avenue, and Englage Avenue and would add parking at Anniversary Park on West Loveland Avenue.
Supporters of the community group would like to see a portion of the money the city might receive, go to helping the Loveland Initiative do more again.
The Loveland Initiative was organized in 1996 by a group of neighbors supported by the Loveland community. It was created as a way for neighbors to assist neighbors when times were tough. It was founded on the principle that all local folks have assests they can bring to the table, whether they are folks of great wealth, or of lesser welth, or a business, or the fire department. They serve Loveland’s under-served children and their families to improve their lives. They offer both immediate and long-term solution, programs - advancing their mission to provide educational support and assistance to under-served children and their families.
For the last seventeen years, they have successfully provided services in our community; such as the Tracy Johnson Scholarship fund, the Cool School Enrichment Program, the Holiday Toy Store, the State reconogized Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, the Set for Success summer program, the DreamMakers Teen Group, the family Resource Center and the annual Back-to-School Fair in partnership with Loveland Interfaith Effort. Their efforts led to the founding of the L.I.F.E. food pantry.
Charleen Craft explained how the Cool School was run when it operated their center in the small strip mall across the street from Goodwill. "The children got off the school bus, had homework time, had snacks, they had computers, and they had tutors."
Seventy-percent of CDBG funds must be used for activities that benefit low and moderate-income persons, according to their request. The Loveland Initiative provides services to those families in the Loveland area. Their grant request is for $18,000 a year for a three-year period for office and meeting space; to include rent, utilities, insurance, and office supplies. They told city council that 500 children annually, and 81 families are served through their programs. They currently, have board meetings in homes, and business meetings are held at New Hope Baptist Church
The Loveland Initiative has many programs which are designed to enhance the capabilities of low income families in the Loveland area. In order for the Loveland Initiative staff to properly serve the community and children they want to again have a location to work from. Many types of supplies, equipment, donations are dropped off and there needs to be space to house these items and to meet with the families in need.
Jones described her house as being like Santa came, after the grandmother of six was allowed to shop for the children at the Loveland Initiative's Toy Store. She said she hopes and prays that the Loveland Initiative now gets the help they need so they can open up the resource center again. She let out a long sigh and cried leaving the microphone.
Hauser said, "I know these things are really important to the community. I would implore you, to be so generous, because I know we could put this money to good use for many years to come."
Listen and watch as they make their case...
Loveland Initiative Trustee, Susanne O’Neill spoke at the September 23 council meeting introducing their request for consideration of CDBG funding.
O'neill talked about the Loveland Intiitaive's enrichment program that provides after-school help in the Loveland Elementary School to "children who are at risk", and the other community services they provide.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF CURRENT PROGRAMS/PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES
There are a total of eight current programs that serve as the provider of resources for families: