Summer has sped by, filled with new programs, new projects, new partners, and community. I am writing to share a few highlights!

Thanks to the Isabelle Ridgway Foundation, we have begun implementation of Village Central, adopting the proven Village Model to uniquely serve seniors who live, work, and socialize in the Near East. Village Central is a member-driven organization that assists seniors in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, while remaining in their home and neighborhood.

A Senior Village Program Coordinator, Jim Trickett, has been hired! Jim, seen in the group photo below (blue button down shirt), has been a long-time resident of Columbus, since leaving his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to attend the Ohio State University. Building upon a Journalism degree, his professional experience includes sales, operations and senior management. He is married to Mary, and they are the proud parents of three sons, several dogs, goldfish, and one rabbit.

Jim has a long time interest in community development and working to improve how we age successfully in this fast-paced and sometimes difficult society. 

Jim has hit the ground running, already having formed an Advisory Committee made up of local seniors, and working diligently to create the volunteer force that will support Village Central.    Jim’s primary focus is to recruit, manage, and organize volunteers and partners who, in turn, will support members. Village Central member benefits will include access to:

  • Transportation to appointments and social gatherings;
  • Light home maintenance, such as cleaning, organizing, yard work, and snow removal; 
  • Assistance with referrals, service coordination, and application processes;
  • Members-only discounts on professional services;
  • Instructional assistance;
  • Health and wellness classes;
  • Reading and discussion groups; and 
  • Social activities and networking.

The most valuable benefit of Village Central is the building of community that results in a safer and caring neighborhood, a place where we check in on each other, celebrate together, and support one another when times are hard.

Central Community House received a Catalyst Award from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. This was a collaborative effort with CRC – The Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, Gladden Community House, Godman Guild Association, and St. Stephen’s Community House!

We are proud to be a part of an inaugural Catalyst class, joined by 12 other amazing non-profit partners!

As a result of this $250,000 investment, the Columbus Federation of Settlements, including Columbus’ five Settlement Houses, will provide place-based and collaborative crisis mitigation services.

$20 million in requests were submitted to the County; $1.5 million in awards were disbursed.

Central Community House has transitioned its Development Director role from that of a part-time position to a full-time one, increasing Central’s capacity to grow, innovate, and enhance programming. Filling this role, Alex Barkley has joined Central’s Leadership Team as Development Director!

Alex has over seven years of experience in community organizing, communications, program management, philanthropy, and more. He has demonstrated an ability to coordinate and garner support for multifaceted and complex community initiatives and programs. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Public Management and Leadership from Northern Illinois University. Alex’s career pursuits have been driven by a desire to help increase the quality of life and equity for families and neighborhoods in Central Ohio. Working at Central Community House is the perfect opportunity for him to continue the pursuit of helping others and build inclusive and resilient communities.

Alex lives in Sharon Township with his wife Dana, and hound dog, Hueco. In his free time, Alex can be found going for long bike rides, camping, and rock climbing in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Alex also enjoys playing guitar, listening to rock music, and learning about other’s life experiences.

Central’s Leadership Team, from left to right, includes Tami Hall (Finance Director), Marci Ryan (Associate Director), Tamar Forrest (Executive Director), Jackie Calderone (TRANSIT ARTS Director), and Alex Barkley (Development Director).

Summer Program Highlights

Creative Strings was a huge success despite the rain!

Photo Credit: Nicole Yarling

The Academy for Community Entrepreneurs at Central (ACE) graduated its first cohort this summer!

Graduates learned about their Entrepreneur Type, created a Business Model, wrote a Business Plan, and are now moving toward launching their business.

Photo below, from left to right — Deonna Barnett (Instructor), Malva Alexander (Artist Cove, LLC), Leroinica Ayers (Honey B33’s Haven), Brittany Holmes (Bert’s on the Budget Event Planning, LLC), Chelsea Johnson (FND Firms), Mimi Rivers (The SKYEE Box), Diane Royster (MMD Staffing Agency), Cleesia Smith (ACE Program Coordinator)

Not pictured: Debra Tucker (DJames Arts Enterprise, LLC)Kendra Cobb (M.O.R.E.E Columbus)

Coming Soon!

I hope the photos and updates above brought a smile to your face. I am fortunate to be part of a team that is making strong, positive impact in the Near East of Columbus.

And, smiles and laughter are a great part of our work life, but it would be a disservice for me not to underscore the continued challenges faced in the community we serve.

While attending a Racial Disproportionality presentation and conversation at Franklin County Children’s Services (FCCS) last night, I was was reminded of the sobering statistics that illustrate the societal failure that continues to be present, connected to both explicit racism and implicit biases. Disproportionality indices demonstrated that black children are overrepresented among education, legal, and individual referral sources to FCCS. Patterns were even bleaker when considering multi-racial children, who were overrepresented in these areas, but also for child welfare and medical referral sources.   

FCCS, under the leadership of Chip Spinning, is working hard to find innovative ways to combat these negative influences. It is a battle that cannot be won alone, and community leaders were at the table last night. Central is here to do our part, one family at a time. 

I am thankful for Central staff who engage with youth through the arts, recreation, homework help, or mentorship. It is not uncommon for kids to come to us with labels, or for them to join us during times when they have been suspended from school. It is very common for us to focus on their assets. And from this perspective, much less likely that negative associations appear.

Education across sectors, communities, and neighborhoods is critical, and it is here where the hope lies. We must continue to spread our knowledge and compassion.

Until next time…

Warm regards, Tammy

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