The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Possibilities, Inc., a nonprofit in Oklahoma City’s midtown area, hosted its annual “Power of Possibilities” fundraising luncheon at the St. Luke’s Methodist Church event center this week. Guests were treated to an entertaining program and given information regarding the many ways Possibilities improves neighborhoods and communities throughout the region.
“We were pleased to have so many smiling faces at our annual benefit luncheon. The event has grown exponentially over the last several years and it’s a testament to the support we receive from both the OKC community and our partnering agencies,” said Possibilities Board President Lucy Fritts.
Since 1995, Possibilities has built local initiatives and facilitated citizen-managed projects in challenged communities that address poverty, dependency, struggling schools, crime and the deterioration of neighborhoods. The nonprofit, a United Way of Central Oklahoma partner agency, accomplishes this by teaching citizens a core program of leadership and organizational skills, the “Possibilities Innovation Program,” that strengthens their ability to solve their own problems locally. Graduates of PIP are designated a Community Innovator and begin to organize, plan, and accomplish the community project they have designated for the benefit of their community, neighborhood, school or church.
“The Power of Possibilities luncheon has grown larger every year just like many of our other programs that continue to increase in participation as well. From our monthly People’s Network dinners to our annual Possibilities Innovation Program, the number of citizens involved, the number of citizen-driven community projects, and the impact those projects are having on neighborhoods, schools, places of worship, and business districts, never ceases to amaze,” said Executive Director Shannon Dennis.
With growth both in program participation and the size and scope of citizen-driven community projects, also comes the need for expanded resources and funding. As worthy nonprofits across the city and state continue to serve a multitude of needs, they must also continue to develop innovative ways themselves to attract much needed resources. The approach has been multi-faceted.
“We are so thankful for all of the support we receive from our investors. Possibilities is the program facilitator, but the real stars of the show have always been both our Community Innovator graduates and the investors who make it all possible,” said Dennis. “There are still a lot of neighborhoods throughout the region with citizens who are yearning to make a difference. The good news is that we hear from more and more of those people each day that want to learn the skills that will allow them to make a lasting and positive impact on their local community.”
The luncheon held Wednesday is just one way in which the Possibilities raises funds. Among the more traditional channels and the much-appreciated support of investors, the group has also launched a one-of-a-kind ballroom dancing event for Oklahoma City. The highly successful “In the Mood for Possibilities” event is held each May in the Meinders Hall of Mirrors at the OKC Civic Center.
Possibilities’ Community Innovators are dynamic grassroots leaders whose innovative efforts to transform their communities achieve safer neighborhoods, stronger families, community schools and economic growth throughout Oklahoma City and beyond. Countless projects and improvements have resulted from Possibilities’ Community Innovators’ work with some examples listed below:
· Volunteer and mentor students at local schools
· Volunteer at churches
· Offer truancy counseling for students and families
· Provide an after school program for teens
· Teach crafts and healthy lifestyle classes in the community
· Provide job training and life skills
· Volunteer to improve foster care and promote adoption
· Work to create and lead formal neighborhood associations
· Write and secure grants for community/neighborhood improvement
· Hold regular community building events
· Organize and carry out citizen crime patrols and neighborhood clean-ups
· Offer financial counseling for seniors
· Provide holiday baskets for isolated seniors and struggling families throughout the year
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