Northern Kentucky is filled with folks making a difference in their communities. Here are five local orgs working to make the region a better place.
Clovernook is the largest manufacturer of braille—roughly 30 million pages per year, mostly transcriptions of books and magazines. Over half of the Clovernook team is blind or visually impaired, and recently, the organization has been working with Northern Kentucky University’s Build a Better Book course to remediate global inequalities in braille access through a tactile literacy initiative for schools in East Africa. “Every student, we believe, has the same right to access information and to access learning,” says Samuel Foulkes, director of braille production and accessible innovation.
These two local charities merged in the summer of 2022 to expand their reach in the tri-state area. With a new breadth of expertise in workforce inclusion and therapy services, the shift aims to adapt these services to help individuals with disabilities, veterans, and those facing economic hardship. “We are trying, as a collaborative organization, to find a way to bring those special services to the other side of the bridge, so that the bridge can actually be a bridge and not a barrier,” says Danielle Gentry-Barth, VP of agency advancement and veteran services.
The Point/Arc serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through personalized case management that invests time and care in realizing a plan to help people reach their full potential. The organization has built a collection of social enterprises that create a variety of workforce opportunities like embroidery, coffeemaking, cleaning services, and as of the new year, pretzels. The Point/Arc purchased Yankee Doodle Deli in January—home of ZELS gourmet pretzels. The Point/Arc will continue to produce ZELS and anticipates a grand opening this spring, according to president Judi Gerding.
Through a bevy of resources and programs—residential treatment, targeted case management, independent living, and outpatient therapy—DCCH maintains trauma-informed care for our communities. DCCH brings treatment and refuge for people at any stage of life to a single place with therapeutic foster care. As of February, more than 8,000 children in the Kentucky are in the out-of-home care system, and about 1,200 of them are in the Northern Kentucky area. “These kids need a place to go…we’re serving that need,” says Development and Marketing Director Amy Pelicano.
PWC is an initiative aimed at providing home repair services to individuals and families with low income, disability, or other circumstances. “We don’t talk enough about the preservation of existing housing.… This is the first and easiest step,” says PWC President Jock Pitts. Now based in Cincinnati, PWC got its start in Covington in 1975 and still helps NKY meet housing needs—they serves 297 households there last year. The team of more than 100 licensed professionals and over 3,500 volunteers focuses on critical services, like emergency repairs, mobility modifications, and energy-saving plans.