Benjamin B W


The Carlisle OIC has many important programs that serve local Carlisle residents. These programs all fall under the two basic themes of adult and general education. Through computer training, Wilson reading programs, survival skills programs, English as a second language classes as well as other support services for the homeless. Adult education classes are designed to help people improve their math, writing and reading skills. General Education Development classes are responsible for helping individuals who never completed high school for any reason to gain a GED diploma. These classes focus on preparing an individual to take the national high school equivalent tests in Writing, Social Studies, Science, Literature, Arts and Math. Computer training at the Carlisle OIC helps prepare individuals to need to use computers in the workplace. This training includes basic computer literacy as well as compute software training. The Wilson reading program offered at the OIC is designed to strengthen both adults and youth often with reading challenges to overcome their complications. The English for foreign speakers is one of the largest program at the Carlisle OIC. This program called ESOL has three levels of classes to ready individuals for the workplace. Through tutoring, class instruction and workplace help, non English speakers overcome this hurdle. The Survival Skills classes is a practical application class that helps individuals get control of their lives and their futures. Skills in this class include, improving family relationships, money management, communication, self advocacy, planning and goals and decision making just to name a few.
Without the proper funding the Carlisle OIC would be unable to continue the programs that it offers to individuals in the Carlisle community. Brian and I played an important role in not only keeping these programs themselves running but also keeping the Carlisle OIC in operation. Although the Carlisle OIC receives both state and government grants, it would be impossible for the organization to continue without funding from outside sources. Although these foundations make up a small percentage of the overall fiscal funding of the Carlisle OIC, they are absolutely imperative. Although we did not personally work in close contact with any staff or participants of the programs that the OIC offers, without us the programs and organization would not exist. Brian and I worked hard and in the end found three organizations that will most likely fund the Carlisle OIC in the coming years. In order for us to locate potential foundations to target for future grants we had to understand the inner workings of the organizations and truly understand the mission and vision of the Carlisle OIC. So although personally we didn’t work hand in hand with any staff or clients of the organization we understand the beliefs and mission of the organization and completed an important task for the organization that if not completed would have been very detrimental.
Due to the specific and distinct project that the Carlisle OIC Executive Director, Dale Cross presented us with, our project only connects with a few areas of Non Profit that we learned in class. Although we did inadvertently see many aspects of non profit class that we discussed in class such as strategy and leadership. The area in which the most obvious connection between class and the service learning project is in financial management. Understanding where the money comes from that help fund the non profit and for which programs they fund was an important aspect of my work with the Carlisle OIC. The foundations that donate money to the Carlisle OIC only make up a small part of the overall funding of the agency. But this small portion of funding is absolutely necessary for the survival of the agency. We were successful in locating several serious prospective foundations whose mission matched with that of the Carlisle OIC. Hopefully in the future these organizations will donate money to the agency in order to help create new programs and expand existing ones in order to help maximize its wonderful services to help more individuals in the Carlisle community.

Mr. Cross gave us two weeks until our next meeting with him. During this time he had some fairly direct and objective goals for Brian and I to complete. The first one was to meet with someone in the Dickinson College Development office to discuss possible foundations for the OIC as well as getting the OIC’s grants and letters critiqued. Mr. Cross also wanted us to meet with someone in the Dickinson College library to find hardcopies of lists of potential foundations. We first met with someone in the development office that was informative but not very helpful. He wasn’t in charge of grants for the development office but as a result, pointed us in the right direction by giving us the name of someone else in the office. After finally getting a hold of the next individual a week later because he was out of town on vacation, the meeting proved to be slightly more successful. He showed us how to use an online foundation database system that had a massive listing of potential databases. He also put us in touch with an individual he worked with from his last job that might be able to help. After contacting this individual named Mr. Condon, he provided us with another online database but also mentioned how difficult it is to find potential foundations in our specific geographical location. Also in our meeting in the development office, we dropped off the OIC’s grants and letters to be looked at and critiqued. While waiting to pick up the critiqued grants Brian and I went to the library and met with a staff member who directed us to the massive books of foundations. These thousand page books listed all the foundations in the country. After spending several hours flipping pages and doing research, we found about seven previously undiscovered foundations in Pennsylvania that tentatively met the OIC’s mission. One Thursday May 4, 2006, we meet with Mr. Cross for the last time to show him the work we had done in the past week.
This weeks research for Mr. Cross was by the hardest in comparison to any previous weeks. It was difficult for Brian and I to meet due to both of our very busy schedules. We also seemed to have less energy due to our lack of success thus far. Meeting with the wo individuals in the development office was a breath of fresh air because it got us excited to tackle the project again. The first meeting wasn’t very successful but it was good practice as a professional meeting or conference. The second meeting was much more successful and it was really good to have someone look at the OIC’s grants and letters. At this point we felt relieved because we knew that at our next meeting, we would have at least one successful thing to show Mr. Cross. The books that the library staff showed us were absolutely massive. After researching these thousand page books, we were happy to find some new Pennsylvania foundations that we had not run across in our research before. But this excitement was short lived as these foundations were not qualified because they didn’t meet with the OIC’s mission criteria. Although none of the research from the thick books helped us find any new foundations, we did do research on IBM which has an adult education grant which has serious potential. Going into our meeting on Thursday, Brian and I felt worried because we had not really been as successful as we had hoped but at the same time felt relieved that the project was finally finished. After presenting our findings, Mr. Cross was pleased with what we had done for him over the semester and thanked us for our hard work. This made Brian and I feel good that he appreciated what we had done even though in our heads we felt that we hadn’t been as successful as we had hoped.
I think that the best way to connect this weeks work with our reading and class discussions is through all the help we had to receive this semester. Even though Brian and I were directed to start and finish this project, we were unable to do it by ourselves. We had to branch out and try and find people to help. I feel that this is the same at many Non Profits because people often have such specific job training and expertise in one area. It is important to work together as a unit and branch out when necessary to complete a task. Working together and meeting with other to get new opinions and gain help from someone who has more experience that you do is an important part of how non profits work.

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