November 04, 2008

Community Outreach Grant winners using funds in variety of ways to benefit needy groups

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When the Center for Community Partnerships invited Case Western Reserve University departments and groups seeking charitable funding to apply for its new Community Outreach Program grants, they received dozens of applications. Groups that were starting new outreach initiatives, as well as those who wanted to continue ongoing programs, shared their stories of helping the community, and how additional funding would allow them to do even more.

Ten campus affiliates were selected to receive $1,000 each for the 2008-2009 academic year to continue their outreach work in the areas of Pre K-12, senior citizens, health, social service, community and economic development, and lifelong learning.

The winners were introduced during the sixth annual Case for Community Day. Since the announcement, several winning groups have already started using the funds to expand their community outreach.

A reviewing committee nominated the top 10 programs for the center to support. Members of the committee included Anne Bingham, executive director of Foundation Relations; Molly Berger, history professor and associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Lynette Forde, assistant director of Foundation Relations; and Shannon French, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence.

Each of the winning groups will be featured in an ongoing series. First up is the RePlay for Kids/Phi Delta Epsilon Rainbow & RePlay Partnership. The two organizations are pairing up to adapt toys for children with special needs.

Read their story:

All children love toys. However, children who have special needs sometimes have difficulty playing with items that have certain gadgets, switches and other technical components. Enter RePlay for Kids, a nonprofit organization with roots at Case Western Reserve, and Phi Delta Epsilon, a medical fraternity.

"We hold monthly workshops at Case Western Reserve to adapt toys for children with disabilities. We fix the toys at these workshops, or we take mainstream battery-operated toys and adapt them so these children can use them," said Bill Memberg, an alumnus and a biomedical engineer with the Cleveland FES Center who is the director of RePlay for Kids. The campus workshops usually include volunteers who are students (many of them engineering majors), staff and alumni.

Memberg estimates that these workshops have saved RePlay's partner agencies over $60,000 during the past five years.

He applied for the grant so that his organization could purchase additional toolkits, increase the number of workshops it offers and bring in additional partner agencies.

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Meanwhile, Phi Delta Epsilon submitted a separate grant application for an outreach initiative repairing toys for children at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. The medical fraternity, which also partners with the Children's Miracle Network, estimated that its program could potentially serve over 300 patients and families every year.

Because they had similar missions, the organizations will share a Community Outreach Program Grant to adapt toys for children with special needs. RePlay will host quarterly toy workshops at the hospital, and members of Phi Delta Epsilon will volunteer at these workshops.

In addition, the service fraternity members will help RePlay pick out the toys that will be adapted, and RePlay volunteers will train them on how to adapt the items. The Phi Delta Epsilon members will then help distribute and show patients how to use the adapted toys.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, November 4, 2008 11:13 AM | News Topics: Alumni, Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Grants, HeadlinesMain, School of Medicine, Staff, Students, features

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