Thanks to a group of 233 central Oklahoma women hoping to improve the lives of their fellow Oklahomans, some homeless young men soon will have a chance to learn a basic life skill — cooking. A new foster home will be built for abused and neglected boys. People in desperate need will receive dental care and people with disabilities will get to experience a specially designed challenge course.
Impact Oklahoma, a nonprofit organization dedicated to awarding grants to groups doing important civic work, recently announced its yearly grantees. Neighborhood Services Organization's Carolyn Williams Center (a home for men 18 to 23 who have aged out of foster care or are homeless) and White Fields (a facility that cares for abused and neglected boys) each will be awarded $100,000 grants. D-Dent (Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment) and Central Christian Camp (a group that serves 550 campers with special needs) each will receive $16,500.
“There are so many deserving groups out there,” said Impact Oklahoma board member Sheryl McLain. “The process of awarding the grants was a very thoughtful, extensive and rewarding process.”
Four committees of Impact Oklahoma volunteers analyzed the 32 grant applications received this year and narrowed them down to the four winners.
At Neighborhood Services Organization's Carolyn Williams Center, the plan for using the grant money is already set in motion with a rendering of a new 450 square foot industrial kitchen to replace the small, insufficient kitchen presently serving the group of about 20 young men.
“This teaching kitchen not only will teach them how to cook for themselves and about healthy eating, but it will also impact generations with their children and their families,” said Stacey Ninness, president and CEO of Neighborhood Services Organization.
For years, volunteers from NSO have been baking birthday cakes for the men that stay at the Carolyn Williams Center.
“Most of these young men have never had a birthday cake,” Ninness said. “They were talking about how important it would be to learn how to make their own birthday cakes for their kids. Things like that you take for granted.”
Impact Oklahoma is seeking new members to join in their philanthropic work. The organization is open to women of all ages and the only requirement to join is a $1,000 donation. Every cent of these donations are put into the grant fund and the organization's goal is to reach 500 members in order to award $100,000 grants to five organizations.
For information about Impact Oklahoma, go online to www.impactok.org or call 650-1100.