Meet Your 2019 Grant Finalists

& Learn About The Projects They Have In Store

Education: Cognition
Environment, Preservation & Recreation: Child and Family Services
Family: Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center
Health & Wellness: Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources (K.A.I.R.)

 

Focus Area: Education

Charitable initiatives that further the ability to educate and improve education within those five counties.

Organization: Cognition
Project: Air and Space Program

Cognition is a hands-on science and discovery center in Beulah, Michigan, that is inspiring “kids” of all ages. With experiences like coding little robots, holding exotic pets, or engineering the best marble maze, it is a place that engages brains on many different levels. With a new larger building waiting to be filled with larger exhibits, Cognition is ready to take things to the next level, and make it known to the community what they offer!

Cognition proposes to purchase a phenomenal mobile planetarium complete with an inflatable dome, high quality projector, and a complete set of curricula featuring the Layered Earth and an additional set called Starry Night. Other included experiences feature weather, biological cells, plate tectonics, Native American mythology, ocean currents, Starry Night high school version, and Layered Earth geology. The platform has great educational credibility as it meets all the current Next Generation Science Standards. The Planetarium will be able to be set up or taken down quickly, which leaves the center with versatility even with a large impressive exhibit. The system is also mobile, so it would be able to be set up off-site for special events. The desired planetarium unit is made by StarLab and is able to hold 25-40 people for an immersive experience as a group, family, or community.

This planetarium would drastically increase Cognition’s ability to expand the minds of imaginations of all of its constituents, as well as draw many new friends to visit the center. This includes visitors of all ages and demographics from beyond the five-county region. Individuals that will be impacted by this experience range from toddlers and young parents, to teenagers seeking a place to volunteer and belong, to great grandparents and their visiting family. The experience would reach the at-risk youth of this low-income region, and also provide a high-quality experience for many families that cannot afford the travel to larger cities to enjoy. This will be a valuable educational resource for science and discovery fun for the northwestern region of Michigan and all its visitors.

A second part of the initiative would help engage the community by keeping them informed of the planetarium’s availability, and the other programs and opportunities of Cognition. The proposed digital sign to be located in the front property along US 31 will be a longstanding and valuable communication piece that would help the sustainability of the planetarium and Cognition as a whole.

The cutting-edge technology, quality curriculum, and immersive experience of the planetarium; in addition to a direct, highly visible and up-to-date digital sign, will extend Cognition’s reach and content far beyond what it has ever been able to offer. The region will reap the impact of an amazing learning and experiential opportunity through the years. May life-long learners be continually inspired!

 

 

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Focus Area: Environment, Preservation & Recreation

Charitable initiatives that preserve, enhance, revitalize, or restore facilities and surroundings within those five counties.

Organization: Child and Family Services
Project: YouthWork Conservation Corps

Based on FDR’s Depression-era New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps, Child and Family Services’ (CFS) YouthWork Conservation Corps (YWCC) provides direct access to work and learning-based service projects for an underserved and diverse population of young people in the five-county area. YWCC has the dual goals of teaching youth valuable job and life skills through service projects and of providing valuable services to the communities served with YWCC projects.

YouthWork members contribute to the fiber of their own communities in numerous ways. This may take place while planting native vegetation and trees in the towns where they live, cleaning up a beach, or weatherizing the home of a neighbor. YWCC members are from rural communities with limited resources to address their diverse needs. The service project’s members make a significant impact in addressing these needs – from building or repairing a boardwalk to upkeep on nature trails, to removing invasive species that threaten our environment. Projects come from our partners at local government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, schools, and more.

YWCC will contribute to a better prepared community of employees – employees our economy needs to thrive. YWCC allows youth to develop important job skills and experience while exploring their strengths, aptitudes, and interests. YWCC will target youth who are low-income, traumatized, developmentally disabled or delayed, in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, developmentally disabled or delayed, academically at-risk, returning veterans, or have documented behavioral issues such as court involvement.

Studies increasingly show the positive impacts on youth who participate in work-based learning and community service projects. YWCC members will be better educated and have better job skills, and will have higher rates of employment, higher wages, increased economic security, and be more personally and socially responsible. Youth who volunteer at least one hour each week are 50% less likely to abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, become pregnant, or engage in other adverse behaviors. Teens say they learn respect, kindness, a better understanding of people who are different, and patience from volunteering. Youth who volunteer are also more likely to do well in school, to graduate, and to vote. These youth are also more likely to volunteer, to have a stronger work ethic, and to give to charitable causes as adults when compared to their peers who do not volunteer (University of Nevada, Young Volunteers: The Benefits of Community Service, www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/cd/2003/fs0323.pdf).

 

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Focus Area: Family

Charitable initiatives that strengthen and enhance the lives of children and families within those five counties.

Organization: Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center
Project: Transforming Children’s Futures at Traverse Bay CAC

Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center (TBCAC) seeks funding from Impact 100 to transform its capacity to respond to allegations of child abuse in the six-counties served by the Center as well as the Sovereign Nation of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. No other organization does this work in our region. TBCAC has served over 2,000 children since opening its doors in 2010. TBCAC is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance and all services are provided free of charge, with no government tax dollars being allocated to the Center. Sue Bolde, Executive Director, has expanded the service area from two to seven jurisdictions during her tenure. Sue is a respected leader in the protection and well-being of children in the state.

In 2018, 359 children were interviewed at the child-friendly center by a trained forensic interviewer. The most common age of a child interviewed is just four years old. Children or vulnerable adults come when there are allegations of physical or sexual abuse or if they may have witnessed violence. A multidisciplinary team (MDT) consisting of law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, and victim advocates watch and listen to the interview live. MDT’s questions are answered during the interview so the child isn’t re-traumatized by telling their story multiple times.

TBCAC provides evidence-based counseling services to children and their families so they can heal from their trauma. Amelia Siders, Ph.D. serves as their clinical director. She oversees the intervention and counseling programs. A Play Therapist was hired in October 2017 to provide counseling for younger children who may not have the verbal skills for traditional counseling. Play therapy is also effective for older autistic children.

In December of 2019 the mortgage for TBCAC’s building will be paid off. Its offices are on the first floor of the building and the second floor has three apartments that have provided income. Funding from Impact 100 would allow the Center to expand the first floor to add another interview room, family room, and MDT room, thereby doubling capacity to interview and counsel children who have been abused. In February 2019, a record 54 children were interviewed. These 54 interviews were conducted in 18 days due to two days of being closed due to inclement weather. Impact 100 is the catalyst to truly transform the TBCAC into a state-of-the-art regional response center for the protection and wellbeing of children.

TBCAC believes in a world without abuse. Our robust prevention program has taught over 7,000 adults in our community how to protect children from abuse, the signs of abuse, and how to report suspected abuse. Nationally 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old. Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center provides help, hope, and healing for abused children. Members of Impact 100 can make a tremendous difference in the lives of children by supporting TBCAC with a transformational grant in 2020. Together, we can create a world without abuse!

 

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Focus Area: Health & Wellness

Charitable initiatives that positively impact the mental or physical health and wellness of the people within those five counties.

Organization: Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources (K.A.I.R.)
Project: Healthy Foods for Hungry Families

Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources (K.A.I.R.) is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1995 that reaches the many underprivileged of Kalkaska County and operates due to the generosity of the volunteer staff donating their time, and individuals continuing to support the community with donations, along with area churches. KAIR is the central hub and the largest resource available for residents of Kalkaska County.  Our mission as an interfaith, community based, volunteer program is to provide practical assistance to the qualified, elderly, frail, isolated, and needy of Kalkaska County.

Being conscious of ever-changing needs and demographics, KAIR is continuously looking for new ways to fill the need throughout Kalkaska County. KAIR’s Community Meal Program could provide food access to seniors, single parent households, and families with children by supplying additional nutritional meals to households unable to provide elemental sustenance.

The objective of this initiative is to provide 600 people each month with wholesome meals at no cost in order to help decrease food insecurity, childhood obesity, and future health problems by preparing nutritional foods and promoting suggested recipes for the betterment of households. This objective may result in gleaned knowledge of proper dietary eating habits and education of nourishing foods for daily living transforming well-being for families. Once the community meal program has been established, continued growth in the form of additional days of operation will be a primary focus.

According to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps for 2016, twenty-seven percent of children living in Kalkaska County are faced with the gripping clutches of poverty. This is four percent over the Michigan State average (County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 2016). The simple fact of children facing hunger on a daily basis, could lead to lower grades in school, less physical activities contributing to childhood obesity, and due to lack of nutritional values in consumed foods lead to more health problems in the future such as diabetes (County profiles of child and family well-being, 2012).

KAIR believes that a community meal program will benefit family lives by introducing and filling a need in Kalkaska County that may help prevent food insecure households. The initial cost of this endeavor is $127,905 which includes the purchase of a building, commercial stove, walk in cooler, and alto-sham that will benefit struggling families and aid in the prevention of food insecurity. KAIR would like to thank Impact 100 TC members for considering its community meal program grant request.