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.
Mentorship for Leadership
Each year a mentorship program is offered to gifted high school juniors and seniors. This career exploration program pairs a student with a mentor in a career field of their interest.
The 30 hour program provides students with opportunities to experience real life and on-the-job training to help them make college and career decisions.
They also receive high school credit for graduation. Mentors are volunteers representing all aspects of the community. They provide individual attention to the student to guide and tutor the student in their area of expertise. This program provides a positive benefit for students and mentors.
Mount Vernon High School Scoreboard Upgrade
During the renovation of Yellow Jacket Stadium / Energy Field the summer of 2014, the need to update the current scoreboard was realized.
Through the efforts of local business, a grant from the Ariel Foundation, and local individuals throughout the community, the existing scoreboard was upgraded. Included in the improvements were moving the scoreboard closer to the field and installing a digital display board above the existing scoreboard. An oil rig design displaying the renaming of the Yellow Jacket Stadium to Yellow Jacket Stadium / Energy Field was installed.
District Leadership Conference Transportation
Mount Vernon Key Club attended its District Leadership Convention in Beachwood, Ohio, on March 13-15, 2015. Twenty-two members attended this conference. The weekend focused on the training and collaboration of 300 Key Clubbers from the state of Ohio. Members elected a new state leadership board, and Emily Keiderling, junior at Mount Vernon High School, was elected to serve on the state level as Secretary-Treasurer for 2015-16. Michelle Silverwood, also a junior at MVHS, was pinned Lieutenant Governor of Division 11. The accolades continued with juniors Emily Keiderling and Nick Downey placing first and second respectively in the oratorical competition, and the musical trio of Aidan Clarkson (Grade 9), Mary Harris (Grade 9), and Thadius Skillman (Grade 12) earned the club third place in the talent competition.While the trophies and the elected positions were indeed an honor, they only accented the true value of the experience. Mount Vernon Key Club gained inspiration through motivational speakers and sessions as well as was challenged by the vision of the governor-elect. In 2015-16 the club plans to broaden its focus to include a new Safety and Security for Children project and sponsor Mission in Motion, a drive to collect shoes to support a world-wide initiative. District Leadership Conference 2015 provided a value experience to students of Mount Vernon High School, an experience that in turn will profit the community of Mount Vernon.
The YMCA of Mount Vernon offers progressive swimming lessons to the Knox County community. Progressive swimming lessons allow swimmers to progress at their own pace, while they become proficient at each new skill level. The YMCA of Mount Vernon serves the youth of our community in this critical lifesaving skill. In 2014, over 290 children took swimming lessons through the Y.
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). Through the generous donation of the Ariel Foundation, 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.
The JJ Project
JJ House is an eleven-year-old boy born with brittle bone disease. Who would have thought that this little boy in a wheelchair, a survivor of a daunting condition from the night he was born barely alive, would be directing a musical? He did - through his conviction and tenacity. When we see someone who can dream big and inspire others to share in that dream, it shows us that we are all connected to humanity in unsuspecting ways.
This project is unique because the premise of the documentary is not only the pursuit of JJ's story, but the implementation of an educational program through MTVarts, a local community theatre company. Each production team member's role was held by a child with an adult mentor who showed the future of our community theatre professionals how to put on a musical - a key element of developing a healthy and sustainable community. The results of the performances and post-performance interviews of the adult mentors and youth proteges are astounding, provocative, and awe-inspiring as they recount lessons learned along the way to achieving JJ's dream and what it means to the future of our community.
The JJ Project is an I-CONN Video Production written, directed, by Matt Starr. Story editing is being provided by Jarrod Dowalter. Final post-production is scheduled to wrap summer, 2015, and the producers will begin the application to the film festival circuit.
4H Center Renovation Feasibility Study
The Knox County 4-H program is a non-formal educational, youth development program offered to individuals age 5 and in Kindergarten to age 18 that provides hands-on, experiential learning activities. We focus on active involvement and quality experiences which stimulate lifelong learning of values and life skills by participating in club activities, enrolling in projects and participating in camps. Then we provide the opportunity for youth to use those values and skills as participants and leaders in our valued community.For 2013, 1,077 youth, including 93 Cloverbuds enrolled in the Knox County 4-H program.
They were enrolled in a total of 64 community clubs, advised by 189 adult volunteers. The current Knox County 4-H Center, owned by the non-profit Knox County 4-H Planning Committee, has proven there is value in a central location for multiple club meetings and other educational activities with an average of 450 club meetings per year. Currently the facility is in need of upgrades for general operation and usability.4-H, has a vast array of resources for youth education.
With the assistance of the Ariel Foundation, the Knox County Planning Committee is exploring the feasibility to expand the available space it offers clubs with the acquisition of a different location. Simply put, a larger space with a more appealing setting can greatly enhance the ability to reach and serve more and more youth in our community.
4-H is the nation's largest youth development and empowerment organization, reaching more than 7 million 4-H youth. Our goal is to help young people develop to their fullest potential. We believe that we can help our nation by helping youth develop into caring, competent and contributing citizens. We accomplish this by trying to follow our 4-H motto: "To Make the Best Better" and staying true to our core values.
KGT Erosion Repair
Part of the beauty of the Kokosing Gap Trail is its path beside the scenic Kokosing River and other streams in Knox County. The dynamic nature of rivers threaten structures like the Trail unless proactive measures to protect the berm are taken. Thanks to the grant from the Ariel Foundation, three vulnerable areas of the Trail were protected from erosion. 550 ton of limestone along with 600 ton of fill soil were placed at the locations to protect and repair the berm.
Summer Institute Program for Gifted Students
Gifted students in ninth, tenth and eleventh grade are invited to attend the Ohio Northern University Academic Honors Institutes held each June at ONU. A challenging week of courses are taught at ONU for students attending. Each course provides a great way to investigate potential career choices or college majors. This has been a perfect opportunity to interact with other gifted students with instruction provided by ONU professors and special guest lecturers.
In the summer of 2014, 29 students were able to attend the Institute returning with high marks for the program, their relations built with other students, as well as career directions.
Approximately forty-five students from Mount Vernon High School and Mount Vernon Middle School enjoyed seven chartered bus trips to Snow Trails in Mansfield, Ohio. Two teachers volunteered their time to chaperone those outings each Wednesday during the months of January and February. The students involved in Club Ski Mount Vernon choose outdoors winter sports, so this is a valuable opportunity for those kids.
Ariel Nurse Education Scholarships
The Ariel Foundation has generously supported Knox County residents by helping provide scholarships for local students pursuing a degree in nursing at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Two college juniors and three seniors are selected by a scholarship committee through a University application process each academic year. Mount Vernon Nazarene University offers a Bachelor of Science program with a nursing major. Students learn in a state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Laboratory and through classroom instruction and 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 health care organizations. MVNU is committed to the highest standards of excellence, integrating knowledge from natural and social sciences and the liberal arts with best practices in nursing science. Our integrated approach prepares graduates to meet the challenges in today’s rapidly changing health care environment.
The nursing program continues to grow and scholarships like this one from the Ariel Foundation are vital in providing financial assistance to those wishing to change the world around them through the health care field. 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. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 29 states and 12 countries/U.S. territories.
Ariel Engineering Education Scholarships
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is grateful for support from the Ariel Foundation in the launch of a new Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, with concentrations in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. A grant from the Ariel Foundation provided seven scholarships for students enrolled in the program. To best serve the local, national, and international communities, MVNU 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. To further enhance STEM programs, the University launched its engineering program.
Engineering is a rewarding discipline with a variety of exciting occupational possibilities. It is also among the highest paying career fields. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Electrical Engineers earn a median salary of more than $84,000 and Mechanical Engineers earn more than $78,000. In fact, engineering median salaries are more than twice as much as the national average for all occupations (Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/).
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. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 29 states and 12 countries/U.S. territories.
Jacket Stadium Renovation Project
The Jacket Boosters had the idea of completing a renovation project to Yellow Jacket stadium in 2012. Through the efforts of corporate sponsor, grants (received from the Ariel Foundation and the Community Foundation), and individuals throughout the community the Jacket Boosters were able to start construction in June 2014 to install a synthetic turf field. The project was completed September 2014 for the first home football game. A new drainage system was also installed. A new rubber based track surface was installed which will be used for the spring of 2015. The new turf field and track will be used by Mount Vernon City Schools, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and the public for many different events for many years in the future. With the renovation of the field and track, the stadium was renamed, Yellow Jacket Stadium / Energy Field.
Warehouse Expansion Project
HopeNow Furniture Bank of Knox County is a local 501(c)(3) charitable organization that collects gently-used, donated household furnishings and distributes them free of charge to low-income Knox County residents in need. Our goal is to make a house a home for those unable to afford even the most basic furniture. Those eligible for help include families with dependent children, the disabled, the unemployed, poverty-level senior citizens, and victims of fire and domestic violence. In 2014, HopeNow Furniture Bank helped 325 individuals and families with household furnishings, including 226 beds for children sleeping on the floor.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Ariel Foundation, our volunteers were able to build a woodworking shop for repairing furniture and building kitchen tables and bedsteads, which are in great demand but short supply. We are also able to purchase laptop computers, heavy-duty shelving, ventilating fans, and transport dollies to increase the efficiency of office and warehouse operations.
A Day at the Theater
"A Day at the Theater" was designed to provide a full day experience where students would be exposed to fine arts and a "sit-down" meal at a nice restaurant, in this case Spaghetti Warehouse. The theater performance was held at the Capitol Theater, Columbus, Ohio, and was performed by Chamber Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts.
The students watched five performances based on short stories of classic authors: The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven, by E.A. Poe, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, The Necklace by W.W. Jacobs,The Monkey's Paw by Guy De Maupassant. In addition to the play performance and Spaghetti Warehouse dinner, students visited our Statehouse. Here they completed a Scavenger Hunt based on finding out different aspects of our Statehouse and the role it plays in our Ohio government.
I'm A Believer Infrastructure Project
In a world where the arts struggle, MTVarts is thriving because The Ariel Foundation believes in our dreams. Their $10,000 grant allowed MTVarts to cover the cost of the online ticketing system; purchase a black scrim; rent rehearsal space, specialized lighting, drops, props as well as purchase a special curtain for use in Shrek, the Musical. The Foundation's support for our I'm A Believer Infrastructure Project ensures sustainability and stability of our organization, giving us the freedom to pursue our mission of quality, affordable performing arts for our community.
Summer Music Garden
The Summer Music Garden hosted free concerts on June 22, July 20 and August 17 with performances by Firefly, The Rain Crows, and Padula Oblongata respectively. The SPI Spot staff met with children to create fireflies and birds for the first 2 concerts and everyone enjoyed the yo-yo expertise of Jim Marth.
Overall, everyone who came to these concerts loved the experience. All expressed thanks for providing this activity and loved the multi-generational feel. Many senior citizens attended without children, as well as numerous families with kids of all ages. The SPI activity was fun for everyone - those without kids thoroughly enjoyed watching the children. Many children danced throughout the shows - the area in front of the stage is perfect for that. Everyone said they would like to see this happen again!
Fast ForWord Renewal
Thanks to an annual gift from the Ariel Foundation, Twin Oak Elementary School is able to implement the Fast ForWord, a computer-based language and reading program. This research-based intervention program has been used with any student who is not on track to attain reading mastery. In previous years, Fast ForWord has been used as an intervention across all grade levels.
For the 2014-2015 school year, 40 second and third graders have been working on Fast ForWord to address their literacy and language deficits. The focus has been at these grade levels as a result of the Ohio Third Grade Guarantee. Students spend 30 minutes three to five days per week under the direct supervision of the speech language pathologist and trained paraprofessionals.
Students are tracked and their progress reviewed in order to move them through the various levels within the program. Through the use of the Fast ForWord data, the Twin Oak staff has seen at least a year’s gain with many students who have not been successful using other reading interventions.
Early Childhood Education
The YMCA childcare and preschool programs follow an educational, hands-on learning curriculum that provides further emphasis on kindergarten readiness, fine and gross motor skill development, socialization, healthy habits, and creativity. We strive to develop the whole child and to provide an environment for children to learn and gain self-confidence, make new friends and instill a respect for others. Our classrooms are staffed with quality early childhood educators that create a fun, nurturing atmosphere and understand the importance of early childhood development.
By investing in early childhood education we are ensuring that students develop a love for learning and build a strong educational foundation, which is the key to success for years to come.
Tables & Chairs
Orange Barrel Production Company is thankful for the chairs and tables that now grace our rehearsal area. They are used for seating, script study, temporary set pieces during our many weeks of rehearsals, as well as holding our props backstage during rehearsals and performances. Additional funds enabled us to purchase a yellow advertising sign allows us to alert the community that quality theater is just behind the "sign".
Memorial Building Architect/Engineering Feasibility Study
The Knox County Memorial Building has been a prominent and majestic edifice in our community since 1926. The improvements undertaken by the new Memorial Building Committee are meant to unleash the full potential of all three floors of this beautiful county asset, making it totally accessible to every Knox County citizen and visitor or group for the first time in almost nine decades. The primary improvement will be the installation of a new elevator that will stop at four levels; Ball Room, Memorial Hall, Basement, and an entrance from the outside of the building. This elevator will be installed in the interior northwest corner of the building, preserving the architectural integrity of the classic exterior lines. In addition, there will be substantial upgrading of some restrooms and/or installation of new restrooms on each level for the public's convenience and to bring the building into compliance with what is expected in the 21st Century. Funding for this entire project is being provided by private sources. The project is under the authority and oversight of the Knox County Commissioners.
Heart of Ohio Trail Project - Columbus Road to South Main Street
Thanks to the foresight and forethought of the Ariel Foundation, The Heart of Ohio Trail (HoOT) connector is yet another integral part of the Heart of Ohio Trail system and continues to build upon previous trail paving projects. The HoOT connector provides a safe means of travel for pedestrian traffic in the neighborhood, including the students from Columbia Elementary School.
At present, the trail begins at the C. A. and C. Depot and traverses near the new fabulous Ariel-Foundation Park. Unlike any other paving project on the Heart of Ohio Trail, all funded with state and federal grant dollars, this HoOT connector is a reality due entirely to the generosity and benevolence of the Ariel Foundation. Staying true to one of the foundations missions... "the Ariel Foundation encourages and promotes the preservation, expansion, protection and proper maintenance of the community's parks and public areas".
Image Is Everything
The Foundation for Knox Community Hospital's 2014 Image Is Everything Campaign was a great success. The campaign is more than $400,000 toward the purchase of new diagnostic imaging equipment - a new ultrasound unit, new radiographic equipment, and a new digital C-Arm. Diagnostic imaging is a critical element to almost every service offered at Knox Community Hospital.
The additional equipment purchased through this campaign will ensure that KCH continues to provide the highest-quality healthcare services across numerous disciplines and practices. The Foundation for Knox Community Hospital is also extremely grateful for the strong support of The Ariel Foundation through the years. This generosity has been instrumental in the success of our efforts, and has made a lasting impact on our community.
Pathway to the Future
In 2014, the Ohio County & Independent Agricultural Societies proposed a new road project. Our fairgrounds needed a safer way of entering and exiting the grounds and keep the traffic flowing easily off the main roads. The Ariel Foundation offered to help us raise the funds by matching donations that we would receive from the local community. The fair board sent out over 200 letters to local business and families in the community that have supported the fair in the past years.
With the letters we raised over 24,000.00 to put towards our new road project. We went back to the foundation with our wonderful news as to how much we raised, and they were ready to help us with the "Pathway to the Future" grant. We completed the grant application and we received a generous grant in the amount of $50,000.00. If it wasn't for the support of the community and the Foundation this project would have never been completed.
In the spring and summer of 2014, the American Red Cross was able to certify 37 young people in our Babysitting Class through the 'Learn to Earn' grant. This class teaches youth ages 12-18 basic skills necessary to safely care for younger children. This includes skills such as pediatric CPR and First Aid, caring for infants and how to promote yourself and business.
Mural above Gospel Supply Shop
The Knox County Renaissance Foundation, in partnership with Ariel Foundation, is pleased to bring another historic treasure to downtown Mount Vernon. In 2014, local artist David Stowell painted the facade of 117 S. Main St. to appear exactly as it did in 1910. Mr. Stowell used a photograph from that date as well as some of his own research of period Italianate architecture to create the design. The building needed about 10 days worth of prep work which included scraping, sanding and stucco repair. To apply the design, Stowell used a complicated technique that created a chalk outline of the design onto the surface. It took him another week week to finish the painting itself. This mural was such a success that KCRF and Ariel Foundation have more murals in store for the community in 2015.
Starting Point has been able to increase the outreach through a partnership between Starting Point and Relationships Under Construction. This partnership provides Sexual Risk Avoidance education within many of our Knox County Schools and other various community related organizations in an effort to educate our youth by providing them the blueprint for strong future families.
SPI Spot Continuing Support
The SPI Continuing Support Grant supports our space at 227 S. Main St. for one year. SPI, the Science Play-Space Initiative, began only three years ago and currently operates a discovery space, SPI Spot, where children ages 0-11 come with a caregiver to explore their world through free play with educational toys and scientific equipment. We are now open 5 days a week and have hosted weekly preschool activities and special Saturday programs.
Our space supports community building with its informal atmosphere and repeat visitors who often come weekly or biweekly. In addition to a few minimally paid staff, visitors interact with our volunteers from the two local colleges, high school, and the community. In addition to free open house at every downtown First Friday event and winter Second Saturdays, we also make a presence other community events such as the Earth day Festival and the Dan Emmet festival.
In addition to normal open hours, we also host field trips serving local preschools, daycares, playgroups, elementary schools, scouts, and adults. Our programming space is also used for spring break activities, after school programs such as CSI (Cool Science Investigators) for Middle School, special events, and summer camps.
In the summer we are offering several camps including Camp Invention (at Twin Oak School), Science Olympic Challenge by the Girls Scouts, and a Junkbox Challenge as well as a Nature Camp in collaboration with Brown Family Environmental Center. Additionally, in 2014 we will be bringing weekly activities to Riverside and Hiawatha park to complement the school districts free lunch program and the city parks program at Hiawatha.
Public Square Holiday Lights
The City of Mount Vernon purchased 2500 new lights for the large pine tree on the Public Square, as well as hiring Oakland Nursery to assist in the decorating of the large tree for the holiday season. In addition, 4, pre-lit snowflake arches and wreathes to light the paths of the Public Square during the holidays were also purchased.