Junior League of Owensboro (JLO) has announced the winners of their Community Initiative Grants. Two local non-profits were awarded $10,00 each during Tuesday night’s awards ceremony, CASA of the Ohio Valley and Owensboro Community Dental Clinic. Two students were also chosen as this year’s scholarship recipients, Anna Kimmel and Brooklyn Knight, each receiving a scholarship in the amount of $500.00.
“A lot of years we only have the ability to award one grant and this year was fantastic as we were able to award two,” said newly appointed league president Stacey Davis. “We had several finalists that gave a general presentation to our league and it gave our members a voice to choose these two grant recipients, both very deserving, which gave them each a huge check to take back to their non-profit.”
CASA of Ohio Valley will now have the opportunity to implement a Family Court Children’s Room. The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) organization, who sees over 700 substantiated abuse and neglect cases in Daviess County each year, serves children ages birth to 18 years old. In the court system, they will start the renovation of a room that will be kid-friendly. Oftentimes in these situations, the kids are in the same room as their offender.
“One of the things we find when we go to family court is that the waiting area is very cramped and cold and uncomfortable and just not kid-friendly,” said Rosemary Conder, Executive Director of CASA of Ohio Valley. “There are a lot of children that sometimes have to wait for hours to see the judge or have their case heard. It’s another trauma that they are exposed to and we really want to reduce the negative effect of it as much as possible. I think the new space will be great.”
The renovation will provide additional kid-friendly amenities such as iPads, educational components, comfy chairs and an atmosphere that lessens the anxiety of going to court. Junior League of Owensboro has a long-standing history with CASA and was elated to continue its support.
“CASA was actually started by the Junior League 22 years ago, in 1996,” Conder said. “They were the very beginning group to take it on to start the organization and the volunteers to make it happen. The I think the awarding of this grant shows the tremendous community support we have for issues affecting the children in the community and I think it also inspires others in the community to donate close to home. We have a lot of needs directly here in the community. When they see a group of women come together for a common cause to make a change in the community I think it inspires others in the community to do the same.”
The Children’s Oral Health Improvement Project will also be funded by the JLO grant as a vision of the Community Dental Clinic. Approximately 1,000 children are treated annually at the clinic with an additional 3,000 school screenings each year. The clinic serves a population of 98 percent Medicaid patients.
The League, who is comprised of women who are committed to promoting voluntarism, announced their new league president, Stacey Davis, along with various awards given by the league. Other award recipients included Active Member of the Year – Tara Thompson, Sustainer of the Year – Joy Carroll, Board Member of the Year – Leslie Neeley and New Member of the Year – Erin Waller.
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