Almost Time for Scioto Gives

By Kimberly Jenkins -

Sandy Smith, Principal of Bloom-Vernon Elementary, unloading items for the Steven A. Hunter Power Packs

Sandy Smith, Principal of Bloom-Vernon Elementary, unloading items for the Steven A. Hunter Power Packs

SCIOTO GIVES — The day for giving is coming! — October 19, 2017

The region is filled with nonprofit organizations that put in countless hours of work year-round to make the area a better place. From assisting homeless people to homeless pets, from education to artistic opportunities and everything between, it is that time of year again for many of these organizations to reap the benefits of matched donations, thanks to the staff at the Scioto Foundation.

The Scioto Foundation offers many opportunities for community development, from scholarships to watching over endowment funds. They will be matching incoming donations to their registered nonprofit organization accounts this year with the annual Scioto Gives event, set for Oct. 19, 2017. You have 12 hours to make your donation between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Throughout the 12-hour period, they will post how well the nonprofits are doing on Facebook and Twitter. Some of the nonprofit organizations that benefit from donations from Scioto Gives are: Portsmouth STEM Academy, the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, Scioto County Educational Service Center, The Scioto County Habitat for Humanity, Hill View Retirement Center, and Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail. The Portsmouth Daily Times is highlighting these organizations each Saturday, until the Scioto Gives Collection Day, and asked these organizations how Scioto Gives helps them.

Portsmouth STEM Academy is a private nonprofit K-12 school founded in 2014 in Portsmouth’s historic Boneyfiddle area. Students attend classes for the full calendar year with seasonal vacations that mirror the local university academic calendar. This includes a more relaxed summer semester which features field trips and activities. Close proximity to Shawnee State offers numerous additional learning opportunities for the students. The school’s focus on best-practices and inclusiveness has quickly attracted attention from both families in the region and innovative teachers seeking alternatives to a conventional school environment. The facility is in a reimagined and refitted historic building and is co-located on Third Street with the Portsmouth Area Children’s Theater.

“Donations to Scioto Gives will provide the students with additional Science and Technology resources,” Dr. Michael R. Barnhart, Professor of Music and Media Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts – Shawnee State University

Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund

The Steven A Hunter Hope Fund was established in memory of Steven Hunter in January of 2006. Steven was a 2003 graduate of Portsmouth High School, attended Shawnee State University and Milligan College. Steven’s enthusiasm was contagious and his compassion inspires us all. Steven had a strong conviction to help those in need, rooted in his strong Christian faith.

It is our mission to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged children in Scioto and surrounding counties by supplying basic needs and opportunities and fostering hope for their future. Our primary focus is childhood hunger and it is addressed through Steven’s Power Pack Program, providing food for the weekend for elementary aged school children with financial needs.

Steven’s Power Pack now serves almost 1,100 hungry children every weekend during the school year in 18 different public schools in Scioto, Pike, & Adams Counties, including Portsmouth Elementary, East Portsmouth Elementary, New Boston Oak Intermediate & Stanton Primary, Northwest Elementary, Valley Elementary, West Portsmouth Elementary, Green Elementary, Clay Elementary, Bloom-Vernon Elementary, Minford Elementary, Sciotoville Elementary Academy, Wheelersburg Elementary, Portsmouth STEM Academy, Jasper Elementary, Zahn’s Corner Middle Elementary School, Western Elementary, Waverly Intermediate Elementary and Manchester Elementary Schools.

A program is also maintained in the Portsmouth City School District providing clothing, shoes, field trip & excursion fees, supplies, and other items or fees that help level the playing field for children affected by poverty.

“Scioto Gives helps by building the endowment fund for the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund. That ensures stability so the fund will continue to help our children long after we are gone. We are so grateful for this campaign that helps us grow the endowment,” Mark and Virgie Hunter.

South Central Ohio Educational Services Center (SCOESC)

Sharee Price is the gifted services coordinator for the ESC. She gave a big list of the things she does for the county through the ESC. “ I work with all the ESC schools in a number of different programs. I coordinate and moderate academic competitions for the high school students and middle and Junior high school quiz bowl. That is just a tournament, for each, and then I do the Scioto County Science Day. I do an Ohio Artist in residency each year and that’s an Ohio Arts Council project and I work with different schools each year, this year we are working with Clay High School and we have an artist named Gary Harwood, who’s here working with them. I do a youth art month exhibit at the Portsmouth Public Library, and i collect the art from each of the high schools select two pieces of work and then we have an exhibit there during the month of March. I work with local history department and this is our 16th year doing this.

I also do a project called the Memory Project which is where local high school students and sometimes their instructors create portraits, for children who live in orphanages in other countries. They create portraits and they get shipped, this is a national program, but we do our little part we’ve created over 250 portraits in over 10 different countries.

Another project I do is called visually literate it’s a high school project that takes place at Shawnee State University. Each of the school districts can submit 15 pieces and then it is juried down to 50 pieces to make the visually literate high school show. We award prizes of monetary value to the students, as well as Shawnee submits scholarships from this. Another thing I do is the Scioto County Music festival, which is in its 76th year. That includes students from Scioto County, plus Oak Hill and they audition and we also have auditions for a junior high band and the big final concert is given in the month of March each year.

Another thing is called, Youth MAX Leadership training, we partner with the Southern Ohio Professional partners who are a local group of business owners. They volunteer and act work with our students in small groups, we have one junior and one senior from each high school that comes in for that leadership training and that is in December.

I also do, District Mock trial where we work with local lawyers and judges and the students go in and we actually take over the Courthouse Municipal Building for a day, while they have this mock trial competition.

Plus, I do Summer Enrichment Scholarships for students who have been identified as gifted and that’s my most expensive program.

Scioto Gives, our hope is that the foundation helps build an endowment fund that will begin to support these programs or begin to support them. Right now, I have to raise all the money to make all these programs go. The hope is that we won’t have to go out and raise money all the time, so we can depend on that endowment.

Scioto Foundation, I do, write grants for current, what’s going on now, and I do get to help. Scioto Gives money, it is growing we’re trying not to use that money, until there is enough to actually support these programs. I still need to raise operating costs, but this is something that hopefully will help the daily operating costs in the future. The Scioto Foundation is a wonderful foundation. I couldn’t do what I do, without them.

The Scioto County Habitat for Humanity works to provide those in need with affordable and decent housing to low-income families. Internationally, there are more than 1,400 affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations. So far, in Scioto County, the organization has helped to provide 13 houses to those in need.

At Hill View Retirement Center, employees reported over 97 percent overall positive satisfaction when asked: ‘I am provided the training I need to do my job.’ These funds support of our Education Fund helps to provide even greater opportunities for more specific training and education,” said Hill View’s John Prose. “These funds allow us to provide more specialized training, especially in appropriately caring for and serving our residents with dementia, and additional funds will help us to achieve this.”

Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail was established in 2007 and located in Scioto County in South Central Ohio, offers those who travel its over 84-miles a journey through the rugged, heavily wooded Appalachian hill country and through an area rich in history, full of river lore and native American influences.

Currently containing 41 points of interest the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail enables the traveler the opportunity to capture the full flavor of the region and experience the varied topography and natural beauty of the area.

There are a total of forty-four (44) points of interest and historic landmarks along the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail as of 2011. Some of the points of interest include scenic views of the Ohio River, the natural beauty of Shawnee State Park and Forest, earthworks constructed by the ancient Hopewell Indians, the Kalanu Native American Cemetery, the Phillip Moore Stone House constructed in 1797, the Otway Covered Bridge built in 1874 and Scioto County’s last remaining covered bridge, remnants the Ohio and Erie Canal, Ohio’s largest Yellow buckeye tree and the boyhood homes of cowboy movie star Roy Rogers and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Branch Rickey.[4]

Sandy Smith, Principal of Bloom-Vernon Elementary, unloading items for the Steven A. Hunter Power Packs Smith, Principal of Bloom-Vernon Elementary, unloading items for the Steven A. Hunter Power Packs

By Kimberly Jenkins