Santa Maria Community Services
Santa Maria Community Services, a Cincinnati nonprofit organization serving the west side, has been helping families with various challenges with educational tools and resources to help themselves for 116 years.
Many of those who have benefitted have been of Hispanic heritage, and the need for Santa Maria services has never been greater.
According to the 2010 census, the Hispanic population grew by 4.2 percent in West Price Hill, 12.3 percent in Lower Price Hill and 6.9 percent in East Price Hill. In the 45205 ZIP code, only 24 percent of children under 5 are enrolled in preschool or childcare programs; instead, children of immigrants are more likely to be in the care of family, friends or neighbors.
Santa Maria’s programs help bridge the gap between recent immigrants and important educational and developmental resources. More than 95 percent of the Hispanic families served by the organization’s Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) enroll their children in preschool and are committed to finding the best schools for their kids.
Now, with a $127,000 grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Santa Maria will be able to serve an additional 40 Hispanic children, many of whose families have immigrated from Guatemala and live below the poverty line.
The new bilingual home visitor will work with POP and another agency program, Family Child Care Providers Network (FCC), that connect parents and caregivers to preschool and kindergarten programs, early child development resources and ongoing peer support. The home visitor will work specifically with the increasing Spanish-speaking community in Price Hill, an initiative that represents the first organized effort in Cincinnati to reach the Hispanic child-care population.
In 2012, Santa Maria’s POP program served 196 children ages 3-5 and 218 parents and caregivers, comprising white/Caucasian (including Latino), African-American, multicultural and Asian clients. Hispanic children enrolled in the POP program increased their Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL) scores by 14 percentile points.
The FCC Providers Network has served 50 providers and 150 children in the past year; 45 of those children also have been involved in a kindergarten-readiness project.
Through home visits, Santa Maria staff members also connect parents and caregivers to resources such as English classes, financial literacy classes and health education.
Learning about philanthropy is such a powerful lesson for college students, and, when taught young, tends to permeate their adult lives. At Northern Kentucky University, that lesson has amounted to $18,550 invested by college students in 12 Greater Cincinnati area nonprofit organizations during the spring 2013 semester. It is all part of the nationally recognized Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project.
Student philanthropy classes at NKU combine grant-making with classroom learning, so that students become more engaged in their reading and research. Nearly 90 percent of the students who take a student philanthropy class at NKU report increased understanding of the ideas being taught in the course. They also reported heightened awareness of community needs and how nonprofit organizations are meeting those needs.
“Mayerson classes are some of the most effective classes we offer at NKU,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Gail Wells.
This was the 13th year for student philanthropy courses at NKU. In that time, students have had a hand in the distribution of $757,000 to 300 nonprofit organizations, the majority of that in the form of direct grants of $1,000 to $2,000. The funding generally comes from community donors. The Manuel D. & Rhoda Mayerson Foundation of Cincinnati, Citi of Florence and the Scripps Howard Foundation of Cincinnati were the key supports for the spring semester.
In addition, students raised some of the money to support the classes with letter-writing campaigns, T-shirt sales and other fundraising efforts. Students raised over $2,500 of the $18,550 being distributed. Some classes also collected needed items for nonprofits and signed up after class to volunteer for the organizations.
“One of the great aspects of this program is the community support,” said Mark Neikirk, executive director of the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which oversees the program. “Donors to the ‘giving pool’ have made it possible for NKU to offer these classes year in and year out.
“But in recent years, students have stepped up, too, raising some of the funds directly,” he said. “What we’re trying to teach is the class material. What we’re trying to instill is community stewardship – what the late Manuel Mayerson, who helped conceive of this program, called ‘the habit of giving.’ And research shows that this works. NKU students who took a Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project class are more likely, after graduation, to give money to nonprofits, to serve on nonprofit boards and to volunteer their time.”
NKU is a national leader in developing student philanthropy pedagogy. A faculty handbook, published in 2010 by NKU, has been distributed nationally to universities in nearly every state. NKU faculties have published research on the topic and frequently discuss this pedagogy at academic conferences.
This year’s recipient organizations were: the Dragonfly Foundation ($1,275); the Children’s Law Center ($1,275); Teen Challenge Cincinnati ($1,000); DCCH Center for Families and Children ($1,000); Reset Ministries ($1,000); Hosea House ($4,000); Buseesa Community Development Centre in Uganda and the Sisters of Notre Dame in Park Hills ($2,000); Santa Maria Community Services International Welcome Center ($1,000); Stop AIDS ($1,000); Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati ($2,000); Brighton Recovery Center for Women ($1,000); and Historic New Richmond Inc. ($2,000).
Classes participating this year included Strategies of Persuasion, College Writing, Grant Proposal Writing, Leadership Around the World, Studies in Spanish Language Cinema, Community Social Work, Social Work Practice, and Exhibits and Museums and Historic Sites.
A full list of nonprofits that have received funding from 2000 through Spring 2012 is available at http://civicengagement.nku.edu/involved/mayerson.php, along with the classes involved.
Donations to the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project can be made online at http://development.nku.edu/give.html (specify Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project) or by contacting Dan Emsicke in the NKU Office of University Development at (859) 572-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to extend a warm congratulations to Leo Calderon, director for Latino Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University, and his entire staff. On Friday, they are being honored by Santa Maria Community Services for all they do to strengthen the lives of Hispanics/Latinos in our Greater Cincinnati area.
It is a well deserved honor. I have seen the commitment of Leo and his staff first hand through my public relations work with the YMCA Black & Latino Achievers Program. Leo’s extensive civic involvement has included board memberships at the Kentucky Board of Education, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Behringer-Crawford Museum, Women’s Crisis Center, BRIDGES for a Just Community, and English Language Learners Foundation.
Santa Maria’s Bienestar Recognition Luncheon will be Friday, May 10 from 11:30 am until 2 pm at The Millennium Hotel downtown Cincinnati. Registration closes on Tuesday morning (May 7) at 10 am at this link.
The event benefits Santa Maria’s Bienestar program, that makes vitally important health care services more accessible for Hispanic immigrants in our area.
Bienestar’s signature component is its Promotores de Salud. Promotores are members of the Hispanic community who complete a series of trainings on various diseases and their prevention (hypertension, diabetes, domestic violence, alcoholism, cancer, HIV, hygiene and government assistance programs) and then share the received information with family members and friends as well as members in their community and make school and company presentations.
Within the last few years Santa Maria Community Services recruited and trained over 60 Promotores de Salud.
Thank you to them for such very important work!