WOOSTER — The new women’s advisory council for The Village Network recently held a second meeting to consider its contribution to helping serve a female population living at three different TVN sites across the state. “We’re here to empower women,” said TVN regional director Danielle McCoy at a luncheon held at TVN’s headquarters on Noble Drive in Wooster. Everything from “hanging out with them … (to) doing their nails” and providing them with someone “to turn to” is within the group’s purview, McCoy said. The goal is “to make an impact in their lives.”
Board member Glenda Lehman asked how female residents are selected. Tim Homan, vice president of advancement, said placements are sought by county courts across the state and noted TVN is one of the few organizations offering residential services for females. “Once counties heard about us, referrals began coming fast and furious,” Homan said, adding, “We’re working on a fourth (location).”
Primary referrals come from Youngstown, Cleveland and Columbus, McCoy said. McCoy discussed with the fledgling board members customized therapy and a sense of belonging established for the female residents at various sites and sought ideas for holiday parties and get-togethers for them. Many ideas were put on the table for consideration, starting with pumpkin decorating at Halloween and cookie-decorating at Christmas.
“We are also opening an entrepreneurship center,” McCoy said, which will be available to all youth served by TVN. It was made possible by seed money from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, according to information from TVN. Located in the old school building, it is comprised of classrooms and three labs — design, model building and production, Homan said, providing youth served by TVN the opportunity to build employment skills.
“The most successful foster kids are self-employed,” he said. “Essentially, what we’re doing is teaching our kids to be independent, instilling in them the fact that they can be financially independent,” by starting their own business or being creative in some other way, rather than needing to rely on other people or the government, Dave Paxton, vice president of strategy and innovation, said on Celebration Day in the summer.
Almost completed in the former service building on campus is the Welker Smucker Culinary Arts Center, funded by United Titanium and the J.M. Smucker Company in Orrville. In addition to renovating the kitchen, former office space has been opened up to make room for classrooms, Homan said. Also upcoming on the capital improvements agenda is a new gym to replace the existing one in the campus’s old school building.
By Linda Hall Staff Writer, The Daily Record.
Linda can be reached at 330-264-1125, ext. 2230, or firstname.lastname@example.org.