Millennium NL 2012_FINAL_mf_06_nl.qxd 11/29/2012 11:27 AM Page 1 ‘Pajama Santas’ warm kids’ heads, hearts for the holidays It’s That Time of Year: Support the Millennium Fund Send your gift in the enclosed envelope or go to www.akroncf.org/give/millennium and donate online! Grants awarded to programs for children have an immediate and lasting effect. Akron Community Foundation and the Akron Beacon Journal created this endowed fund in 1999 to support the health, enrichment and education of area children. Grants made from the Millennium Fund are awarded to grassroots children’s programs where even a small grant makes a big difference. Total gifts since 1999: $929,819.78 Grants awarded since 1999: $498,909 Millennium Fund for Children a fund of Akron Community Foundation 345 West Cedar Street Akron, OH 44307-2407 phone: 330-376-8522 fax: 330-376-0202 www.akroncf.org Issue 12 2012 Unwrapping a pair of cozy pajamas is a beloved Christmas tradition in many families. But for children in homeless shelters and impoverished neighborhoods, pajamas are often an impossible luxury. It’s not unusual for these children to spend the holiday season sleeping in their regular winter The Pajama Program gives children in need a brand new clothes just to stay pair of cozy pajamas and a book they can call their own. warm. That’s why Patty “For children who come from broken Gillespie, president of the local chapter of homes or are waiting to be adopted, the Pajama Program, has made it her pajamas are much more than something mission to ensure no child has to go to to sleep in,” Gillespie said. “Pajamas give bed in jeans and a sweatshirt. With the help of a $1,000 grant from the Millennium these children comfort and love – like a hug at bedtime.” Fund, the Pajama Program is giving local The Pajama Program partners with area children a brand new pair of warm pajamas this holiday season. See Pajamas, page 3 Adapted toys bring joy to area families circuitry systems so they can be activated Interactive toys like Hokey Pokey Elmo using an assistive technology device called are among the most popular items on children’s Christmas lists. Kids of all ages a switch. Switches may be controlled with a person’s breath, head movements or even light up when they see Elmo dance and blinking. are eager to squeeze They are often his hand for more. But tricky for children what happens when a to learn, which is child isn’t physically able why practicing on to press the button? a toy is so useful. That’s where RePlay By using the for Kids comes in. This switch to activate innovative agency a toy, the child adapts toys for children builds valuable with developmental skills he can use disabilities. Using volunteers and donated toys, Adapted toys like the doll above help in his daily life. “If a child can the organization is able kids learn to use their assistive devices. make Elmo giggle to repair and adapt by using their switch, they can also use that nearly 700 items each year. The toys are switch to say, ‘I need a drink of water,’ or then distributed to agencies throughout to turn on the lights at home,” explained Northeast Ohio that use them during Natalie Wardega, assistant director. “We physical therapy sessions. make it fun and more motivating.” To adapt these toys, volunteers – The services provided by RePlay for Kids including engineering students from the University of Akron – adjust the toys’ See RePlay, page 4 Millennium NL 2012_FINAL_mf_06_nl.qxd 11/29/2012 11:27 AM Page 2 Millennium Fund awards $48,000 to youth programs The Millennium Fund for Children awarded 34 grants totaling $48,000 this year, bringing its cumulative grantmaking total to $498,909. The following agencies received grants in 2012: ACCESS Inc., for counseling and support services for homeless children, $2,000 Act II Productions Illusion Factory, for free live theater performances for children in need, $1,825 Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, for nutritious meal packs for hungry children, $2,000 Akron Community Health Resources Inc., for a health education program for children with chronic asthma, $2,000 Akron Community Service Center & Urban League, for the Dining with Santa holiday breakfast for underprivileged kids, $500 Akron Rotary Foundation, to purchase dictionaries for third graders in Akron Public Schools, $500 Alchemy Inc., to purchase backpacks and writing journals for low-income boys at Crouse Elementary School, Innes Middle School and Litchfield Middle School, $1,680 Asian Services in Action Inc., for a kindergarten readiness program for refugee children living in the Leggett and Findley community learning center neighborhoods, $500 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit & Medina Counties, for a mentoring program for at-risk students at Mason and Firestone elementary schools, $500 Blessings in a Backpack (Akron), to provide backpacks of food for the weekend to students in need at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center and the Akron Digital Academy, $1,000 Blessings in a Backpack (Green), to provide backpacks of food for the weekend to students in need at Green Primary School and Greenwood Early Learning Center, $1,000 Caring for Kids Inc., to purchase holiday and birthday gifts for children in foster care, $1,600 CASA Board Volunteer Association Inc., for the CASA Holiday Toy Shop, which provides gifts to abused and page 2 neglected children in the Summit County court system, $1,979 Children’s Concert Society of Akron, to help children from low-income families attend the Concert Hall Series, $1,500 Christ Child Society of Akron, to purchase diapers, wipes, blankets, bottles and books for mothers of at-risk newborns, $2,000 Christian Fellowship Basketball League, to A grant to Jennings CLC will support a walking and nutrition purchase T-shirts and program that encourages students to adopt healthy behaviors. trophies for Get Fit Day, a physical fitness and nutrition program for cold-weather pajamas for children in need, $1,000 inner-city youth, $800 Pregnancy Care of Summit County Community Pregnancy Center Inc., Inc., to purchase cribs and mattresses to purchase formula for the Feeding for parents experiencing a crisis Hungry Children program, $2,000 pregnancy, $2,000 Firestone High School Instrumental Project GRAD Akron, for an early Music Association, for an advanced musical training program for underserved college awareness program that introduces disadvantaged elementary children from Akron Public Schools, and middle school students to potential $1,000 careers and the importance of higher First Congregational Church of education, $1,500 Akron, for the Peanut Butter & Jelly Outreach Program at Mason Community RePlay for Kids, to provide adapted Learning Center, which provides students and repaired toys and assistive devices for children with disabilities from lowin need with food for the weekend, income families, $1,931 $2,000 Victim Assistance Program, for Good Neighbors Inc., to purchase the “Kids Need a Firm Foundation” toothpaste and toothbrushes for needy picnic for children who have witnessed children, $1,500 or been victims of violence, $1,500 Hattie Larlham Foundation, for the Victory Gallop, for Petie the Pony Youth Volunteer Corps program, which visits at Akron Children’s Hospital for pairs children in the community with children with life-threatening illnesses children with disabilities for one-on-one and injuries, $1,500 social activities, $1,000 Here’s Hope Horse Farm, for the 2013 Weathervane Community Playhouse, to provide scholarships summer therapeutic riding program for to children from low-income families, children with special needs, $2,000 $1,000 Jennings Community Learning Women’s Auxiliary Board of Center, Akron Public Schools, for a lunchtime walking and nutrition program Summit County Children Services, to purchase beds for kids in the care that targets childhood obesity, $785 of children’s services, $1,000 Magical Theatre Company, for Youth Excellence Performing anti-bullying theater productions in Arts Workshop, to purchase Akron Public Schools, $2,000 supplies for a leadership conference Mobile Meals Inc., to provide for at-risk youth that focuses on medically prescribed supplements to building positive relationships, children in need, $2,000 dropout prevention and personal Pajama Program, Eastern Ohio excellence, $900 Chapter, to purchase books and Millennium NL 2012_FINAL_mf_06_nl.qxd 11/29/2012 11:27 AM Page 3 Fund preserves founders’ passion for helping kids Thirteen years ago, the Millennium Fund for Children was just a glimmer in the eye of former Akron Beacon Journal editor Jan Leach. The paper had just published a series of articles on the needs of local children, most notably those affected by shaken baby syndrome. The topic lay heavy on her heart. “I always felt newspapers should pay close attention to the children and the under-served in the community who don’t have a voice of their own,“ she said. “We were very interested in the well-being of children in the area.” Around that same time, former Beacon Journal publisher John Dotson and thenAkron Community Foundation president Jody Bacon attended a conference designed to encourage the exchange of ideas about local philanthropy. In the midst of all the discussions, one simple idea stood out: Ask people to donate their last hour’s pay of the 20th century to benefit children in the 21st century and beyond. Then and there, the Millennium Fund for Children was born. “It became very clear that it was a great idea,” Jan said. “We really liked it, and we thought we could do it with the resources of the community foundation.” The concept caught on immediately, so Jan, John, Jody and a handful of residents set out to develop a focus. Jan and John’s unique insight from years working in local news led the group to a single deserving focus: grassroots children’s causes. On Thanksgiving 1999, Akron Beacon Journal and Akron Community Foundation announced the establishment of the Millennium Fund for Children, a permanent endowment to improve the lives of children in the Akron Beacon Journal’s five-county circulation area. More than a decade has passed since the fund was created, but its core purpose remains the same: using small grants to make a big difference. Nearly half a million dollars in grants have fed hungry infants, provided beds to children in foster care, engaged young students with live theater, and much more. And the need is growing. This year, Millennium Fund Grant History With your support, grants from the Millennium Fund have more than doubled since 2000 $50,000 $40,000 $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 2000 2001 2002 2003 Pajamas, continued from page 1 2004 2005 agencies to distribute pajamas and books to kids of all ages. Many of the children have never owned a book. For them, the program helps spark a love for reading. For younger children, it gives their parents the chance to tuck them in at night with a story. “We take it for granted, but these kids don’t have that,” Patty said. “The gift of a new book is a simple gesture that gives children the hope for a better tomorrow.” 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 This year, the Pajama Program is teaming up with the Akron Urban League to give children in need a memorable holiday celebration. At the Urban League’s annual Dining with Santa event on Dec. 15, nearly 400 kids will enjoy a hot breakfast, visits with Santa Claus, face painting and other fun activities. Each of them will receive two special gifts: a new pair of pajamas and a book. A $500 Millennium Fund grant will help make the celebration possible. “Many times, the gifts the children Former Akron Beacon Journal editor Jan Leach has been involved with the Millennium Fund since its beginning. grant requests to the Millennium Fund totaled more than $83,000 – a 13 percent increase over 2011. But with your help – and the gifts of thousands of people across greater Akron – more grants are being awarded each year to meet those needs. “Some of the issues we wrote about ... in 1999 are the same today; they may even be more acute,” she said. “Every year, we see dozens of good programs seeking help. Every year, we have to turn down some of these worthy programs. With the uneven economy and cutbacks from state and government agencies, there is probably an even greater need.” Even a small gift can make a big difference: $50 can teach a refugee child English; $35 can supply a year’s worth of milk to a needy child; and $5 can help a child victim of violence experience a carefree day of food, music and fun with local first responders. Go online and give today at www.akroncf.org/give/millennium. receive here are the only ones they’ll receive during the holiday season,” said Donna Sadler, vice president of programs at the Urban League. “Meeting Santa puts a big smile on their face. It’s very exciting.” Experience all the smiles and giggles from last year’s Dining with Santa event at www.akronist.com/santa. Or, find out how you, too, can help the Pajama Program get jammies and books to children in need by contacting [email protected] page 3 Millennium NL 2012_FINAL_mf_06_nl.qxd 11/29/2012 11:27 AM Page 4 AKRON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Akron, OH Permit No. 918 345 West Cedar Street Akron, OH 44307 Millennium Fund Advisory Committee Members Lou Albertson Connie Collins Rev. Mark Frey Jan Leach John T. Petures Jr. Shaun Schweitzer Shirley Simon Laurie Zuckerman We strive for accuracy in our mailings. If you find any errors on the address label above, please call 330-376-8522 or send an email to [email protected] RePlay, continued from page 1 are critical for local agencies and families. An off-the-shelf adapted toy can run up to $200 – a price many parents are unable to pay. As a result, agencies often see families whose children’s only exposure to adapted toys and devices is during therapy. Thankfully, a Millennium Fund grant this year will make it possible for those families to have adapted toys of their own. The $1,931 grant will help the agency produce free toys for low-income families to use at home. “We don’t want kids to lose those skills when they go home,” Wardega said. “Plus, if there are other children in the house, they can play with the toys together. It helps with inclusion.” Some parents, like Lorie McMullen, attend the workshops to learn how to adapt their own toys. Lorie’s 3-year-old daughter, Rakaya, was born with cerebral palsy. “(The toys) teach Rakaya cause and effect,” as well as independence, Lorie said. “She wants to play with them by herself, and I never thought I’d see that day.” The gratitude from families and agencies that receive these toys is priceless. In one Above: A young boy uses his switch to play with a Toy Story action figure. When he activates the toy, Woody says some of his famous phrases. Right: Dr. Theresa Beyerle, associate director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Akron, looks on as a student adapts a stuffed toy during a volunteer workshop. memorable instance, an agency told Wardega, “The light-up musical toy you adapted was the only toy that motivated one of our autistic children to do his therapy.” It’s those kinds of stories that inspire RePlay for Kids to keep increasing the number of toys they produce for local agencies. “Every time I deliver our toys, they are so excited to see me,” Wardega said. “It’s rewarding to see how important our services are.” Watch Lorie and University of Akron engineering students transform toys at www.akronist.com/replayforkids.
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