Published: Friday, 28 April 2017 00:15
MOUNT VERNON – Sometimes all it takes is one idea, one spark of inspiration and the vision of someone who cares to bring a community together to help those in need.
In this case, the vision of David Daniels, 18, of Butler, coupled with the generous spirit of Knox County citizens, brought to fruition a service project creating comfort care packs for children in foster care.
The inspiration for this project came to Daniels after watching a YouTube video about a former foster child who described what it was like to be have all of his belongings placed in a trashcan to take with him to his foster home. Many years later, this former foster child became a foster parent and was surprised to see children still carrying their belongings in trash bags. This inspired the man to create comfort cases – backpacks or duffel bags with toothbrushes, shampoo, books, journals, or stuffed animals.
A senior at the Knox County Career Center, Daniels is a member of the National Honor Society at Fredericktown High School. As a member, he is required to organize and oversee a community service project. After seeing the video online, Daniels wondered if there was a need for comfort care packs for youths in Knox County. After reaching out to Kristin Seveigny, Foster/Adopt Coordinator with the Knox County Department of Job & Family Services, Daniels was assured that the agency could benefit from such a project and he set about collecting all he could to assemble the packs.
David Daniels, left, recently collected comfort care items including backpacks filled with blankets, journals and personal care items, for foster children in the care of the Knox County Department of Job & Family Services. Accepting the items on behalf of KCDJFS, is Kristin Seveigny, right, Foster/Adopt Coordinator for the agency. (Photo submitted)
Starting with his home high school, he arranged a contest during the month of March to have items donated by students, faculty and staff. A box was placed in each homeroom, and the homeroom with the most donations received a doughnut party. Next, Daniels contacted Fin, Feather, Fur Outfitters and Kokosing Construction, which generously donated backpacks and other goods toward the cause.
He posted a flier about the comfort cases on Facebook and the community really stepped up to help with donations. One person collected items at her Thirty-One party and another allowed Daniels to set up a table at the Nick Gaumer 5K. That’s not to mention all the donations from friends, family and his 4-H Club – Redbrush.
After March, Daniels figured out what was still needed to complete the comfort cases, and the National Honor Society purchased those things with the money he collected.
In all, Daniels was able to fill over 70 backpacks and 10 diaper bags. Three carloads of items, including the backpacks, pack-n-plays, books, toys and other items were recently delivered to Knox County Children Services.
“David’s ability to transform a post that he saw on social media into a widespread benefit for our foster children is as generous as it is remarkable,” said Scott Boone, Knox County Children Services Administrator. “His efforts afford us the ability to provide our kids with kindhearted gifts and essentials that they can call their own.”
The son of Chris and Laura Daniels, David is active not only in his 4-H Club, for which he is president, he is also Pork Ambassador for Knox County, runs cross country and track at Fredericktown High School, and is a camp counselor. He is planning to attend Ohio University in the fall, studying mechanical engineering.
When asked what he hoped would be the outcome of his project, Daniels simply said, “To help the kids.” And, indeed he will.
Published: Monday, 24 April 2017 22:28
By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — Jim Brown, chairman of the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, updated council members on the commission's recent and present activities during a Parks and Public Lands Committee meeting on Monday night.
In 2016, he and fellow commission member Kate Burley completed 50 hours of training through the Tree Commission Academy sponsored by the Ohio Division of Forestry. “It gave us a broader view,” he said. “We just wanted to plant trees, but we learned there is much more to it. We're managing our urban forest.”
Perhaps the biggest project in 2016 involved the tree inventory four volunteers compiled. “We have some excellent data because of [the inventory,]” said Brown. “Very few communities have this; we're ahead of the curve on that.”
The inventory identified 500 trees as either conflicting with utility lines, needing pruned or dead or dying. The city has only 30 to 40 ash trees, but is very heavy on maples. Brown said the commission will plant a wider variety of trees so that it will not be hit hard when parasites such as the emerald ash borer and the longhorn beetle, which affects maples, emerge. Trees to be planted in the downtown area include hydrangeas and choral bells.
Responding to a request from Councilwoman Nancy Vail to explain to constituents why trees on East Gambier Street are being removed, Brown said they are among those identified in the inventory that need to go. He said it is better to remove them than wait for Mother Nature bring them down. He acknowledged Vail's observation that current homeowners will probably not be around to see the young trees reach maturity.
Vail said that another constituent questioned the validity of the volunteers' knowledge and subjective assessment of which trees need removed. Brown replied that all four volunteers scored first or second in the state FFA competition for tree identification, health and assessment. “Yes, they are teenagers, but these kids know what they are going,” he said.
City Engineer Brian Ball added that he, Burley, Brown and a state forester spot checked the inventory results and also the 100 trees the city's removing this year. “The state forester made the exact same recommendations as the students,” he said.
The city will take care of the 100 worst trees this year. The commission also plans to plant about 40 trees in the west end this year and will again distribute 400 dogwood seedlings to elementary students.
Other 2016 activities included:
Planting 600 spruce trees on the west side of West Foundation Park in conjunction with the Scout Fest in May
Arbor Day observation
400 dogwood seedlings given to elementary students
67 tree pits, 3-by-5-foot and 5 feet deep, prepped and trees planted in the downtown area
35 trees removed on West High Street, 290 replanted including in Riverside Park
Five shade trees planted in the old football field on Fountain Street to provide shade for soccer participants
$1,000 from the commission to the street department to grind 60 stumps
Added 54 trees to Ariel-Foundation Park
In its legislative session, council appropriated $10,000 from the Ariel Foundation for 2016 snow removal on the sidewalks on Mount Vernon Avenue and Martinsburg Road, authorized Auditor Terry Scott to transfer funds and pay bills, and approved an ordinance allowing for the appointment of two alternate members to the Municipal Planning Commission. Council postponed an ordinance annexing 3.249 acres from Clinton Township in the area of Commerce Drive because the city is only supplying city services, not annexing it. The ordinance will be rewritten and returned to council at its May 8 meeting.
Council also authorized Safety-service Director Joel Daniels to bid and contract for street resurfacing. The city allocated $400,000 for 2017. Ball said the city cannot pave some of the streets most in need of resurfacing this year because Columbia Gas has not yet completed its work. Streets that have to be postponed to 2018 include Old Mansfield Road, Mulberry Street and others in the north end. Columbia Gas crews were pulled from the north end to Ohio 586 because the Ohio Department of Transportation is paving Ohio 586 this year.
Park Road is a priority for resurfacing this year. Ball said that before prioritizing the following list, he will do a drive-around to inspect the roads:
West Burgess Street
Cooper and Cottage streets
Wilson Street from Gambier Street to Howard Street