By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — St. Vincent’s Home Corporation makes selective loans or grants to projects which further the original purpose of St. Vincent’s Home —serving children in need.
The corporation awarded almost $50,000 in grants for fall 2014 throughout the Diocese of Davenport. Groups requested more than $100,000 in grant money.
St. Vincent Home cared for children in a variety of ways, beginning as an orphanage. It later was a relocation center for displaced youngsters, a residential treatment center for emotionally disabled adolescents and a child-placing agency through Catholic Charities.
In 1973, the board of St. Vincent’s Home changed the focus of its child-care effort, closed the institution and determined to broaden its services geographically and programmatically. It established the St. Vincent’s Home Corporation, making selective grants to others engaged in kindred activities.
Grants were awarded to the following groups:
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great River Area, Keokuk, received $1,920. Money will be spent to fund monthly meetings where snacks and activities will are available. According to the Fort Madison United Way survey, two of the top five needs are “positive and fun activities for families and after-school programs for middle school youth.” Youths and their families will be invited to attend meetings/programs and events and be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister.
• Child Abuse Council, Moline Ill., $4,000. Funds are to be used for a conference for about 140 mental-health professionals, social workers, medical professionals, educators and others. The conference topic is Children Exposed to Violence. One in four children in the communities the council serves is likely to suffer from some violent experience before age 18. The conference will educate individuals who come in contact with children who have suffered violence to be proactive in assisting them.
• Emma Cornelis Hospitality House, Fort Madison, $4,000. Funds will be used for homeless shelter operations. The house will serve about 40 children during the year and possibly more. The group intends to provide food, shelter and clothing and needed assistance for homeless families.
• Ecumenical Housing Development Group, Bettendorf, $2,100. Money will be used for the purchase of supplies and activities. The STEM/Steam education will allow children of the Fairmount Pines low-income housing area to plant a garden and to use online virtual learning in regards to agriculture and cooking activities in which they will learn about plants and other specimens. They’ll also learn fractions and measurements during activities. They will also sample healthy fruits and vegetables out of their garden. Volunteer teachers will serve about 60 youths in the next 12 months. Program organizers expect 85 percent of the students to have an increased interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math and 75 percent to express an interest in pursuing a career in those fields.
• Family Resources, Inc., Davenport, $5,000. Funds will be used in Family Resources’ emergency fund that assists families with such needs as vehicle maintenance and fuel, bus tokens, emergency clothing, food assistance, rent/utility assistance and translation services for non-English-speaking clients. This project will pair families with a care coordinator to provide parenting education skill development, coping skills and self-sufficiency skills.
• Hand in Hand, Bettendorf, $2,000. Funds will be used to pay fees for camp activities such as swimming, horseback riding and boating for children from 5 years old to young adults who have physical or developmental disabilities. Fifty percent of the children served come from families with low income. The camp teaches social skills and independence.
• Humility of Mary Housing, Inc., Davenport, $10,000. Money would be used to cover a portion of salaries for employees who work directly with families. They will serve approximately 150 children in 75-single-parent homes over the next 12 months. The service coordinators help parents improve their daily living skills, increase education and employment. The children have experienced trauma or chaotic environments.
• Information, Referral & Assistance Services, Clinton, $3,000. Funds will be used in the Jericho Supportive Housing project for people struggling to make ends meet. The agency provides affordable housing and helps clients achieve financial stability and develop self-sufficiency. Families who are homeless or near homeless get safe and decent housing. Children involved range in age from infants to teenagers.
• Mahaska County YMCA, Oskaloosa, $5,000. Funds will be matched with other grants to purchase commercial equipment for the kitchen at the Kids’ Corner Facility, a 4-year-old preschool program. Forty to 50 percent of the kids served at the preschool are low income.
• Project Renewal, Davenport, $3,700. Funds will support educational and recreational activities for low-income, at-risk youth and provide a stipend for four or five college students to plan, implement and supervise summer activities for the 2015 Summer Youth Program which is free to the children. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily with snacks as needed. Youths can earn privileges to participate in extra activities by demonstrating positive behavior, good attitude and regular attendance. The summer program is a Service Learning Project Site for Notre Dame University.
• Safer Foundation, Davenport, $2,100. Funds will be used in the Davenport Youth Empowerment program that serves Scott County individuals 16-18 years old referred from the Seventh Judicial District Court. Funding will assist with paying high school equivalency testing/diploma fees, incentive awards for attendance/appropriate conduct, and recreational activities to expose youths to more positive leisure-time pursuits. It is currently the only organization offering educational programming for court-involved youths who have been unsuccessful in the traditional school setting. The majority of youths served are from low-income families.
• Vera French, Davenport, $500. Money will provide equipment and toys, art supplies, etc., for therapy rooms in the Davenport public schools. Play therapy provides a way for children with severe emotional disturbance to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. Over the last for years, more than 90 percent of the children have demonstrated a significant reduction in symptomatic behavior and have had increased success in their families and schools.
• Young House Family Services, Burlington, $4,000. Funds will be used for a wide range of programs serving more than 4,000 children and families every year.
• Ecumenical Lord’s Cupboard, Wapello County, $500. Money will be used to purchase wholesome food to provide meals for families in Wapello County. About 21 percent of all children in Wapello County go hungry at some point in the month.
The next St. Vincent Home Corporation grant deadline is Sept. 15.