Ariel Foundation is proud to support the people and projects whose missions are to improve the quality of life in the Mount Vernon, Ohio area. Click the panels below for more detailed information on some of the notable gifts the Foundation has given.
Central Ohio Technical College’s College Aspire summer workshops offer community youth ages 10-18—especially those from low-income families—the opportunity to choose from a variety of FREE faculty-led, hands-on workshops designed to provide participants with technology-based, engaging activities on a college campus. The one-week workshops are held on all four of COTC’s campuses (Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala). The purpose of College Aspire is to demonstrate to both students and their families that college is accessible in their community and possible regardless of their circumstances.
Each workshop is taught by a COTC faculty member, and involves classroom instruction, lab time, field experiences and group projects. The experience varies from one technology to another, but students are guaranteed hands-on technological activities daily. The culmination of each workshop is an all-inclusive Saturday Showcase where students exhibit their work to family, friends and each other.
One student in each workshop who demonstrates a passion for learning, an eagerness to engage in the subject matter and enthusiasm for furthering his or her education is selected as the Shooting Star and awarded a $1,000 COTC scholarship.
During the week of the workshops, parents and guardians are invited to attend a free, two-hour “College Aspire—The Next Step” session on each COTC campus to learn more about college preparation, admissions, financial aid and earning free college credit in school.
Doors at Schnormeier Event Center
What began as a discussion after a rained-out wedding in Ariel-Foundation Park's Schnormeier Event Center in the fall of 2016 has finally become a reality. It was a long process, but the installation of large overhead doors on the event center was completed in July 2018.
The goal was to complete major supplemental upgrades methodically, so as not to alter the architectural integrity and uniqueness of the park, but to enhance its use. A grant from The Ariel Foundation has allowed the Foundation Park Conservancy (FPC) to do just that, while preserving the industrial heritage of the facility. The new doors, featuring smoked safety glass panels and an oil-rubbed bronze finish, provide wind and rain protection as well as privacy for events. The four-foot-foot opening above the doors allow for better air flow and a reduced wind load on the building while the doors are in use.
"The addition of these beautiful doors is a huge benefit to our community and to the Conservancy," said FPC President Kim Rose. "It allows for greater use of the buildings, extending our season into May and October; it protects those who have rented the building for private events; and allows the building to be darker earlier for events like Movie Monday which gets our families home sooner." Many of the park's concert series musicians will be grateful as they and their equipment will be sheltered from the wind. Brides, grooms and their families will also have restful minds knowing that rain will no longer threaten their special day at Ariel-Foundation Park.
FPC is also greatful to Mount Vernon Overhead Door, Custom Cutters, and Miller Electrical Solutions for bringing the project to life.
Enhancements for Camp Hope, We Honor Veterans, Bereavement Services and Bereavement education programs:
Hospice of Knox County (HKC) is a non-profit organization that provides palliative and hospice care and bereavement services to Mount Vernon and Knox County. In addition to delivering outstanding patient care, HKC offers a variety of programs and services to the families of patients and to all members of our community. This enhancement grant funds or partially funds these programs and services.
Camp Hope is a four-day camp for children and teens that have experienced the death of a loved one. One of the enhancements provided by the grant is scholarships allowing children in need to attend the camp. It also provides campers with a special event at the end of summer which reunites the campers, helping them to nurture the relationships formed at camp.
The We Honor Veterans program pays tribute to veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Cost Guard. The grant money will be used to build a volunteer training program to enhance the community pinning ceremonies in which local veterans are thanked and honored.
HKC offers Bereavement Services to people of all ages in the community in need of our specialized bereavement services. The grant is helping us expand our resources for those that attend any of our specialized groups. It will also enhance the arts and crafts projects that we provide for the children and young teen groups.
Bereavement Education is an enhancement grant that will allow members of our Bereavement Team to attend a four-day specialized training at The Center for Loss and Life Transition with Dr. Alan Wolfet in Colorado. Staff members attending the training will receive a certificate of completion from Colorado State University, Division of Outreach. The entire staff at Hospice of Knox County is honored to be able to share these enhancements with our friends and neighbors in the community.
The Mount Vernon Industry Mural Is located on the West Mulberry street wall of the McDaniel CPA building. It is a dynamic montage of selected Mount Vernon industries from the past including the beginnings of gas and oil drilling. Its colorful pulsating artistic composition and scale reflects the vibrant life of the city. In conjunction with the industries, the B&O railroad which played an important role in the manufacturing transportation is also represented. The mural depicts the energy and contribution the City of Mount Vernon has had in industrial ventures over many years.
Artist, John Donnelly is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but has lived in Mount Vernon, Ohio for the past 30 years. He is a professor of art at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. John has painted several other residential and commercial murals in Mount Vernon. In addition to his murals and illustrations John exhibits his abstract paintings nationally and is collected by corporate and private patrons.
Enrichment Programs 2018
This grant funds or partially funds three different enrichment programs for students in the five city and county school districts. The programs are the All-County Honors Band Concert, the Mentorship for Leadership Program, and the Summer Institute Program.
The All-County Honors Band Concert held in November consists of 150 top notch band students from the middle schools and high schools in the city and county districts. The selected students spend time at their school practicing in small groups with their band director, and a 2 hour evening session for all. The final practice is held all day on the day of the concert with two guest conductors, culminating in an evening concert for the public free of charge at the Memorial Theater.
The Mentorship for Leadership Program served 15 juniors and seniors in all five city and county schools with a mentorship program throughout the school year. Students work 20 hours with mentors in the community at careers they are interested in pursuing along with 10 hours of seminars provided by the ESC. What a great experience to help students decide on future career choices.
The Summer Institute Program at Ohio Northern University will help 35 gifted high school students in the entire county and city schools spend a week at college exploring career fields with other gifted students. This outstanding program includes a week long campus experience with college classes which provides some students with a clearer picture of their life direction and all with rich memories of their week at ONU.
Knox Technical Center Student Grants
Knox Technical Center (Knox County Career Center-Adult Education) provides career training for adult students that include preparation for industry-recognized certification/licensure. Through the generous support from Ariel Foundation, grants are available to students entering 7 of the 17 career training offerings in the following KTC programs: Automotive Technician, Certified Administrative Assistant, CNC Machinist Certification, HVAC-R, Phlebotomy, State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA), and Welding Certification. These are in-demand careers within the area. Without such grants, many of these students would not have been able to pursue their dream by furthering their education. The grant recipients can take their skills to the businesses of Knox County to provide services for future generations.
Kokosing Gap Trail Zero Turn Mower
The KGT maintains a number of lawn spaces along the trail and the new Exmark-Lazer Z-E Series 52 inch mower will be put to use on a weekly basis keeping the green spaces looking like a park and keeping plant growth off of the trails. Thanks to The Ariel Foundation’s focus on projects that improve the quality of life in the Mount Vernon area.
Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Programs, Columbia Elementary
These research-based programs are designed to provide intervention to struggling readers in order to further develop and improve: phonological processing, working memory, phonemic awareness, sequencing, vocabulary, reading fluency, and grammar. What a benefit it is for these students to be given this extra help in reading.
This year alone, students who have benefited from these programs have averaged academic growth of one year and nine months. Being able to make such gains in reading in this short period time is crucial to the success of these children as reading is such a critical foundation to their ability to learn. By making such gains, not only are they able to learn more, but they have become much more confident.
The Ariel Foundation is happy to continue its support for the Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Programs at Columbia Elementary.
8th Grade Washington, D.C. Class Trip
Each year, Mount Vernon Middle School provides the opportunity for 8th grade students to attend a class trip to Washington, D.C. This amazing opportunity is due in part from the generosity of the Ariel Foundation. Highlights from this trip are a stop at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, many Smithsonian Museums, and the beautiful memorials in our Nation’s capital. Another highlight is the school’s wreath lying at Arlington National Cemetery.
Heartland Fifth Grade Outdoor Camp
Each year, in early May, all 5th graders in the Mount Vernon City Schools travel to Heartland Camp in Marengo, Ohio for an outdoor educational opportunity that is the highlight of the 5th grade year and the culmination of their elementary education journey. This is the initial phase of the transition that brings students together from the six neighborhood elementary schools to becoming one Yellow Jacket Family as they move on to middle school.
Heartland Camp’s mission is “to encourage hands-on discovery, teamwork, personal growth and an appreciation for the environment through a fun, safe, quality program.” Heartland staff members are all well-trained to guide students through a variety of classes and experiences such as Reptiles and Amphibians Study, Stream Study, Archery, Survival Training, and Team Building Activities with the highlight experience for most students, the Zip Line.
Mount Vernon City Schools is committed to providing a positive experience for all fifth graders and grateful for the Ariel Foundation partnership to help foster their transition to the Mount Vernon Middle School. All fifth grade teachers, special area teachers, and district administrators are instrumental in making this a positive experience. Students are also fortunate to have the Middle School principals, counselors and various sixth grade teachers participate, allowing fifth graders to become acquainted with their future teachers. High school seniors and juniors serve as cabin leaders and role models for the students, and they are an integral component in making this a rewarding experience.
Mount Vernon High School DC Trip
With financial assistance from Ariel Foundation, the Mount Vernon High School AP Government & Politics took its first ever trip to Washington DC in May 2018. This unique trip was much more than a sightseeing tour for the junior and senior students. While they did get to visit some of our country's most well know know landmarks, like the Jefferson, MLK and FDR Memorials they also go see government at work by meeting and interacting with government officials from the US, China, Iran and Mexico.
The class focuses on the study of the government and politics of 7 different countries: The United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, China and Iran. The students were able to meet with lobbyists from the US, and diplomats from Iran, China and Mexico. The conversations mostly focused on how each official does their job, issues in their home country and their role within the US government system. One of the highlights of the trip was a personal tour of the IM Pei designed Chinese Embassy which also featured a lengthy discussion in the Ambassador's Reception Room. The 30 students were also able to tour the Mexican Culture Institute, US Capitol Building, Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Newseum. Stops at Antietam and Bull Run National Battlefields book-ended the trip.
Seventeen scholarships for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program, with concentrations in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, were made possible with funding provided by The Ariel Foundation. To best serve the local, national, and international communities, Mount Vernon Nazarene University is committed to addressing the recognized need for professionals in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). MVNU has built strong academic programs in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and information technology.
Every February, Mount Vernon Nazarene University Art and Design students compete for an Esther Buchwald Art and Design Scholarship and Awards. Faculty and staff members from the department gather to assess student portfolios; after careful review, the strongest portfolios from each class are identified, one from among fine art majors and one from graphic design. The winning students are each given a scholarship or award for the following semester, made possible by an annual donation from The Ariel Foundation. The scholarships encourage art and design majors to excel in their studio practice at the Buchwald Center, MVNU’s beautiful downtown art and design facility.
Each year, two juniors and three seniors from the Mount Vernon Nazarene University Nursing program are selected by a scholarship committee through a University application process. MVNU offers its students the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Laboratory and through classroom instruction, plus one-on-one mentoring with expert faculty. A wide range of clinical practice opportunities completes the experience, as students gain exposure to a variety of healthcare organizations.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church.
Students in the Environmental Justice class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University sought to aide food insecure households in Knox County through the creation of the MVNU Garden. Through the class, students conducted research, sought approval, and applied for a grant to fund the initial construction of the garden. Thanks to Ariel Foundation, the garden has now become a reality!
The Garden is currently made up of five 4 ft x 4 ft raised beds. Plants that are included in this year’s garden are peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, sugar snap peas, watermelon, zucchini, carrots, radishes, pumpkins, sunflowers, and various herbs. Though the garden started as a class project, it has grown to include the help of students, faculty, and community members outside of the original Environmental Justice class.
The MVNU Garden is partnering with the Mount Vernon Salvation Army food pantry and will donate half of the produce grown in the garden. The MVNU Garden will hopefully continue to grow and serve the Mount Vernon community for many years to come.
MTVarts Classics Series "The Diary of Anne Frank"
MTVarts Classics Series honors our cultural and literature heritage with an educational outreach to secondary students. Live theatre productions present authentic, uncensored works by iconic American playwrights as the author intended. Over 1,200 middle and high school students attended a performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
Support from Ariel Foundation made possible the unique opportunity to host a traveling exhibit from the Anne Frank Center in New York City. Their Associate Director of Education joined us for in-school programs and exhibit interaction. Housed in Veteran’s Hall at the Knox County Memorial Building, over 1,000 elementary, middle school, high school, college, home school students and community members experienced “Anne Frank: A History for Today.”
The 21st century student experiencing live theatre in an educational environment has greater tolerance and improved ability to read the emotions of others, has increased understanding of plot and vocabulary, and gains an appreciation for the arts.
Measured in the lives engaged, the thoughts provoked, and the experience of seeing literature studied come to life on the stage, this is our most successful endeavor.
Expanding Open Hours & General Support for Marketing, Programming and Development
SPI is where Science and Play Intersect, but it’s also the place where locals of all ages and backgrounds convene. This community hub and point of pride on Main Street is a sensory experience; it’s a comfortable and colorful environment in which laughter resounds. Parents de-construct electronics with their teenagers, college students hone skills as future science educators, and preschoolers marvel at lightbulbs they’ve illuminated with the turn of a gear. Last year’s grant from The Ariel Foundation expanded SPI’s hours. And a community-supported capital campaign moved the organization to a larger, more welcoming exploration space in the Wright Center. The result of these investments: SPI’s attendance increased approximately 56% over the prior year! As participation increased, so too did the need to hire more staff with varying skills. This year’s grant providing general support for development, marketing, and programming which will not only sustain operations in this new context but will allow for the advancement of growth strategies that ensure SPI’s reputation as a community asset.
Summer Music Garden 2018
Summer Music Garden concerts were held in the Children’s Garden at the Knox County Career Center on three Sundays: June, July and August from 4-6 pm. The concerts are supported by a grant from the Ariel Foundation, additionally supported by Knox Pages and Miller of Holmes County.
Sarah Goslee Reed started the sixth season of the concert series with an afternoon of story and song. Sarah was joined by Andrew Clarkson on bass and Skip Trask on drums and played selections from her newest CD, Sleep Like Fish. The weather was gorgeous with about 50 children and 75 - 80 adults. Sarah’s songs celebrated the beauty of the Children’s Garden and our planet Earth, and MTVarts gave a preview of the up- coming musical, The Addams Family.
Joanie Calem, folk musician, singer/song-writer and story- teller included songs in her program that illustrated her advocacy for those with disabilities. An active member of the Children’s Music Network, Joanie continues her interactive song and story programs at festivals, schools, libraries and parks, inviting her audiences to make friends and build community. SPI provided scavenger hunts for participants to look for several kinds of plants and animals in the garden. Although the weather was lovely, the crowd was small, but very enthusiastic, none the less.
Duke Otherwise returned for a second year to another record crowd of over 100 people. Duke sang and tapped his way through his hilarious, charming and interactive program. Having played at area libraries last year, he had a following that made many requests. In spite of weather forecasts to the contrary, a giant thundercloud appeared and drenched nearly everyone. However, Duke moved under the shelter and continued the second half of the concert with nearly 50 people, while SPI provided an activity using pH sensitive ink to make disappearing messages.
From Preschool through 8th grade, our students benefit from challenging curriculum and being held to high expectations. With caring and effective teachers, St. Vincent School instills values of service, respect, self-discipline, citizenship, love and compassion in a Christ-centered environment. This places our children on the right path in life and school.
Not only do St. Vincent students work hard, they also play hard at recess every day. The generous support of Ariel Foundation helped build a new playground to replace the 30-year-old broken equipment. Our students and the children in the surrounding community love their new, safe playground! The St. Vincent School community wishes to thank Ariel Foundation for being a good partner in keeping Mount Vernon a great place to raise families.
Learning through Christ, the Saint Vincent de Paul School family strives to excel in knowledge, service, leadership, and faith through Roman Catholic Tradition.
2018 Swimming Lessons
The YMCA of Mount Vernon offers progressive swimming lessons to the Knox County community. Progressive swimming lessons allow current or future swimmers to develop new skills at their own pace, while they become proficient and confident at each new level. The YMCA of Mount Vernon serves the youth of our community in this critical lifesaving skill and 139 participants learned to swim through our organization.
The YMCA swimming lessons program offers a variety of class groupings geared towards all ages and skill levels. These include: Shrimp and Perch (ages 6 months – 3 years), Pike, Eel, Ray and Starfish (ages 3 – 6), Polliwog, Guppy, Minnow, Fish and Flying Fish (ages 7 – 15). With these grant funds, the Y is able to hire, and train quality staff as well as purchase the necessary equipment to offer the best possible aquatics program for our community.
2018 Annual Campaign
The YMCA of Mount Vernon was able to grant 235 scholarships and this program made a positive impact on over 500 individuals. The YMCA of Mount Vernon never turns anyone away due to an inability to pay so offering financial assistance to those in need is critical to our cause of strengthening the community. We look forward to helping many Knox County residents in the year 2018 through this program. We would like to thank The Ariel Foundation for their generous ongoing support of this Annual Campaign and for their direct involvement in positively impacting the lives of Knox County residents.