Impact 100 Wichita Falls announces winner of The Big Give

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Impact 100 Wichita Falls has announced the winner of The Big Give!

Of the four Texoma area nonprofits, First Step, Inc was chosen as the recipient of the $81,000 grant.

More information on all four finalists can be found below:

Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra - “Symphony Garden Project” (Arts and Culture Focus Area)

  • This project will commission local artists to build and install musical-themed playground areas, called “sound gardens,” at diverse locations in Wichita Falls. Community members and visitors will engage in musical play with specially designed musical instruments that encourage interaction with the arts, thus reaching a diverse patron base and creating a common bond through the universal language of music.
  • “I think right now, post pandemic, it’s a great time to be doing it because people have just missed connecting so much,” said Alicia Deges, WFSO executive director. “This would bring people into neighborhoods and parks to see each other again and have a chance to connect with music.”

Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra - “Make a Big Noise” (Education Focus Area)

  • This project would purchase percussion instrument equipment which will drastically expand the range of education for percussionists and the entire orchestra, expanding the repertoire and challenge of the student orchestra experience. The project also includes a faculty instructor for the percussion ensemble, protective cases and safe on-site storage and transportation to performance venues.
  • “But if you think to make a big noise is about noise made beating on drums, you might’ve missed the point,” said Jean Hall, executive director of Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra. “Because what we’re trying to do is let kids harness the power of music, experience excellence and learn to create something that people listen to so they can go out and lead lives that the whole world will have to listen to. That’s noise that we want to be part of.”

First Step, Inc - “Offender Accountability Program” (Health and Wellness Focus Area)

  • This project would fund the recruitment, training and expenses of facilitators for the accredited Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP). Working with the court system and law enforcement agencies, First Step estimates up to 100 offenders could enter this program every six months, which requires the completion of a 26-week course to teach and equip offenders better ways of navigating relationships. With a 60% success rate, this program has led to cultural change in domestic abuse and a reduction in violence against victims in other communities.
  • “And start to help offenders be able to have the tools they need to have healthy relationships,” said Michelle Turnbow, Executive director of First Step. “Which I think in the end helps our community be a safer place, which is what our mission is and also helps her children to have a safer environment. They deserve it.”

Child Care Partners - “After School Program Gym Renovation” (Family Focus Area)

  • This project provides for a gym renovation to create a safe, fun place for school age children at the center attached to the Family Services Center located in the Wichita Falls Housing Authority. This space will be ideal for after-school play, summer programs and field trips, allowing Child Care Partners to increase the number of children they can offer services in a safe place.
  • “Unfortunately that gym needs to be upgraded to be able to be of use,” said Keri Goins, director of Child Care Partners,” so our project this year is for renovations at the gym, at our new family service center so that we can serve more children in our community.”

Last year, a group of 59 women awarded a $59,000 grant to the Arc of Wichita County.

Impact 100 Wichita Falls is continuing plans to grow the membership to offer a $100,000 grant, with a goal of, one day, awarding multiple $100,000 grants in five focus areas of Arts & Culture; Education; Environment; Recreation & Preservation, Family; and Health and Wellness.

To learn more about Impact 100, click here.

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