Trimble Area Children To Receive Cradle To Career Help

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Children living in Trimble township may have a brighter future thanks to a nearly half-million dollar federal grant.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of $468,000 to Ohio University to be directed to the Promise Neighborhood Trimble project, as a part of its Federal Promise Neighborhoods program launched in 2010.

The grant will enable the development of a plan to coordinate existing services focusing on Trimble's children from cradle to career. The University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) are the principal recipients.

The information was provided in a Thursday news release from Ohio University saying Trimble's high poverty rate (nearly 30 percent), high unemployment rate and an increasingly transient population are factors making it a prime candidate for funding from the Promise Neighborhoods program, which has awarded more than $38 million over two years. Ohio University's proposal was among 233 reviewed this year, and its target community is one of only three rural areas among the 20 funded this year.

Promise Neighborhood Trimble will create a partnership among Ohio University, Trimble Local School District, Tomcat Bridgebuilders and Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Program. Additionally, there are more than a dozen local agencies contributing to the effort.

Other areas of Ohio University that will contribute include the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kids on Campus in CHSP and the Edward Stevens Literacy Center in the Patton College of Education.

"We are very excited to help lead this effort to better understand and respond to the needs of the children of Trimble township," said CHSP Dean Randy Leite. "This is a wonderful manifestation of our college's commitment to reach out to the underserved."

Leite co-authored the grant proposal with Barry Oches, senior research associate at the Voinovich School.

During the planning year, the partnership will identify solutions to achieve critical results for the children living in the villages of Jacksonville, Trimble and Glouster to succeed in life. At the end of the year, the partnership will seek additional funding to implement the plan.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Trimble Local School District to coordinate the resources available enabling children to gain knowledge and skills from the preschool years to college, overcoming the realities of the local economy and succeed in life," said Oches.

CHSP will provide coordinating oversight of the planning effort, and its Kids on Campus afterschool and summer program will be a cornerstone of the project. The Voinovich School will take the lead on needs assessment, data collection, analysis and evaluation.