Despite Funding Challenges Kids On The Block’s Numbers Continue To Rise

Seeing A 17 Percent Increase In Children Served

Monday, January 9, 2017
Puppet kid Yasmin
Puppet kid Yasmin

Despite the unexpected loss of funding, Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block has performed a record number of programs as requested by schools and community organizations and has seen a 17 percent increase of children and adults served six months into their fiscal year.  

CKOB is a non-profit organization serving 16 counties in Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Northeast Alabama, using the power of puppetry to educate children about social concerns and differences, giving them the skills to stay safe and healthy. Over the past two years CKOB has suffered an expected loss of over $170,000 in funding beginning with the corporate relocation of a major donor and the total cut in funding through United Way of Greater Chattanooga. 

“The past two years have been challenging,” said Executive Director Kelly Williams, “starting with the corporate changes to the Southern Brewers Festival in 2014 and total funding cut for programs in Hamilton County by United Way of Greater Chattanooga in 2015, yet we are continuing to receive an increase in requests for our educational programs throughout our service area.”  

In 2016 CKOB realigned its partnership with the Craftworks Foundation and received 50 percent of the proceeds from the Southern Brewers Festival. “We were thrilled to partner with CraftWorks Foundation again and are looking forward to working with them in 2017, but we are still experiencing a hard loss of funding which has been slower to replace than anticipated,” said Ms. Williams. “We continue to seek out and establish funding sources and partner with community organizations in our efforts to provide our vital educational services free of charge to schools in our community.”  

During the first semester of the 2016-2017 school year, five new schools in the CKOB service area have requested educational programs focused on child abuse, bullying, stranger danger, gangs and violence, positive self-esteem, anger management, accepting differences and life lessons. With recent reports of bullying, sexting and gang violence making headlines, CKOB educational puppetry programs are become more vital in helping children understand what this means and how they can keep themselves safe from a situation that gives them that “Uh Oh” feeling, how to deal with sensitive issues and how to communicate effectively to get help if they or someone they know needs help, said officials.

For over 37 years, CKOB has used the nationally recognized Kids on the Block puppets and the nationally researched scripts to provide awareness and prevention programs on such topics as bullying, child abuse, childhood obesity, brain injury, accepting differences, gangs and violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, self-esteem, hygiene and mental health among other topics, to educate primarily elementary aged children in the community 

CKOB provides programs free of charge to schools and community organizations in the community in an effort to enhance the quality of life in the communities served and to empower children to become healthy, strong and resourceful community members and future leaders. “The need and requests for our educational programs continue to grown and our evaluations show the significant impact those programs make in our community,” said Ms. Williams.  

Following a CKOB program, children have the opportunity to talk directly with the puppets about the program they experienced.  As a licensed child abuse prevention agency, CKOB reports any disclosures of possible maltreatment to the Department of Children’s Services. Children and adults are provided with specific follow up materials at the end of each performance such as activity sheets, adult/parent and educator resource guides and classroom activities that reinforce the lessons of each educational topic.  

With cuts in funding threatening to reduce the number of CKOB programs provided free of charge to the schools in the Chattanooga area, CKOB continues to look for new partners and fundraising avenues to raise funds to provide programs to better serve children and families in the community. To make a donation to CKOB or would like more information please visit www.kidsontheblock.net or call 757-5259.



Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: U.S. 27 (I-124) widening from I-24/U.S. 27 interchange to north of the Olgiati Bridge over the Tennessee River, including widening the Olgiati Bridge:  Work on this project continues.  The speed limit on U.S. 27 in the construction zone is 45 MPH.  The contractor may have temporary lane or shoulder ... (click for more)

Greeneville And Hixson Post Offices To Host Passport Fairs

The Greeneville and Hixson Post Offices will hold Passport Fairs this Saturday for customers with international travel plans.  No appointments are necessary.  Fairs serve customers on a first-come, first-served basis.   Officials said if you’re planning to travel abroad, be aware:  • It may take six weeks for first-time passport applicants or for ... (click for more)

Public Markets To Manage And Operate Finley Stadium

The Stadium Corporation has selected Public Markets, Inc. as the primary management group for Finley Stadium/Davenport Field and the First Tennessee Pavilion. Public Markets, which stepped in as interim managers in April, will take on broader responsibilities and oversight moving forward. “We evaluated several strong candidates and management options, but ultimately felt ... (click for more)

UTC Tuition Increase Approved; 1.8 Percent Increase Is Lowest In More Than 30 Years

UTC students this fall will see the lowest tuition increase in more than 30 years. An increase of 1.8 percent marks the third consecutive year of record low tuition increases approved by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees for the system’s campuses. For 2017-18, an in-state, full-time UTC undergraduate student will pay combined tuition and fees of $4,332 per semester, ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Leaders Stand ‘Way Back’

Franklin McCallie, a former principal at Howard School and the maverick in one of Chattanooga’s finest families known for education, delivered an impassioned speech before the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday. Sadly, his remarks came after the commissioners had passed the FY2018 budget that has no financial methodology for the Department of Education, much maligned in the ... (click for more)