Six weeks of fun for kids in Over-the-Rhine! Patchwork Kids serves over 200 children each summer. They learn about art, teamwork, and responsibility.
We have just finished our 9th successful year of Patchwork Kids. Around 286 enthusiastic children signed up this year. Every Friday morning we met at 9AM in the Pendleton street area of Over The Rhine. Mentors from Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati, other area art clubs, the community, and 32 parents were there to help the children draw as well as encourage them. Our structured program for the parent mentors means that they were given specific jobs to do, and they willing accepted the responsibility. We also had 15 student mentors who were terrific in helping the little ones draw. They were kids who had come up through the program and at 15 or 16 were ready to mentor. They received credit just as the younger participants did. We are seeing a tremendous thing happening with the program. The community is pulling together to help. It is wonderful to see this happening. We finished up the mentor program on August 6th by having a Mentor Appreciation Pot Luck picnic.
On 6 Friday mornings, after the children signed in, sidewalk chalk was distributed, a weekly theme discussed, and the children began designing their patches of sidewalk. In about an hour the artist judges went around to evaluate the patches and give out certificates which told each child what was outstanding about his work. At that point, the judges collected the name tags from the children who had finished a patch so that we could take attendance and reward those who had actually done the work. Each week the children finished a patch, they earned a point towards final awards in the form of gift cards from Meijer to be used for school clothes and supplies. We presented the program as their summer job of beautifying their neighborhood and their salary was the final award of gift cards. The more they attended, the more they earned. Those who came every time received $115, which is a meaningful amount to get what they need for school. Gift cards were given to 151 kids who had shown their dedication to the program by attending at least 3 times. They also received one free Patchwork Kids T-shirt for the summer and nutritious fruit and cheese snacks each week. Everyone had a wonderful time this summer, and the mentors enjoyed it as much as the children. On the last day we distributed the awards, some special awards for outstanding achievement, a thank you to the mothers who helped mentor, and had a pizza party Courtesy of Marvin Butts from Mr. Bubbles car detailing, and The Wiz radio station donated treats.
We were able to raise over $20,000 this year. After paying for the chalk, T-shirts, and snacks, the rest went for the gift cards which Meijer, Inc. generously supplemented, bringing the total up to $15,000.00 in gift cards. We are happy to report that we have some funds left to start next year. This is a program where all the money donated goes to the children. I wish to thank Barbara Kock for her tireless efforts in fund raising for this program
We are most grateful to our many donors: Members of Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati, and other area art clubs, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Fine Arts Fund, The Dater Foundation, Marge Schott Foundation, The Stillson Foundation at Fifth Third Bank, Barbara Kock, CPA and The Kennedy Charitable Trust. Without this generous support we could not have helped so many children this summer. The parents were so appreciative of this help in preparing their children for school. We received many notes of gratitude as well as hugs and smiles.
The original goals of this project were more than to just help the children get ready for school. They were to help bring unity to our city, give the children a worthwhile summer activity where they could learn a work ethic and at the same time have fun learning about art, help build their self worth, and teach them to respect their neighborhood by beautifying their sidewalks and keeping trash picked up. Again these goals have been met in a big way. Congratulations and thanks to the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati for sponsoring this wonderful children’s program!
Mary Jean Weber, Chairman