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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Opportunity Neighborhood

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Senior Citizens Housing & Retirement Communities, Seniors, Unknown, Youth Development Programs

Mission:

Opportunity Neighborhood supports people and strengthens neighborhoods within affordable housing communities through cooperative partnerships. 

Results: 2017 Agency Accomplishments: Created a partnership with Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton to collaboratively organize the annual National Night Out celebration at Garden View Apartments which built community among 400 residents and the surrounding community. Created a literacy program within the out-of-school time program at Ames Lake Neighborhood to help struggling K-5th grade students achieve grade level reading or above. Additional funding from the Department of Public Safety’s Youth Intervention Program supports the program. 159 community events were provided at two affordable housing communities in order to build community and forge new positive relationships between residents. The average resident turnover at all service sites is 23% compared to the national average of 54% (National Apartment Association, 2014). Police Calls to Garden View Apartments in New Brighton are down 87% since the inception of the Courtesy Program. Began a new partnership with Hazelwood Apartments in West St. Paul to provide the Courtesy Program. For the fifth year, our agency has met the Charities Review Council’s Accountability Standards. (http://www.smartgivers.org/Charity/Review/opportunity_neighborhood)

Target demographics: Children and families be safe, have stable housing and have opportunities for family success programming.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 3,550 children and families living in affordable housing communities by providing programs and services that increase community safety, housing stability and opportunities for family success.

Geographic areas served: Affordable housing communities throughout the Twin Cities metro.

Programs: * Early Childhood Education: Early childhood family education classes, toddler playdates and clothes/toy exchanges for children 0-5 years old and their parents/caregivers in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. * Out-of- School Time/Youth Intervention: After-school, evening and summer opportunities for youth K-12th grade to engage in academic, recreation, life skills training and enrichment activities in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. * Safety Initiatives: Courtesy staff patrols the affordable housing community, addresses minor lease violations, builds relationships with residents, and partners with the housing management and local law enforcement to create a safe and stable community. Last year we provide 6,500 hours of Courtesy at 5 affordable housing communities. * Information and Referral Services: Residents can call, email or drop-in at the Resident Services office to obtain resources for food, clothing, transportation, employment, health, etc... In 2014, we provided 162 residents with information and referrals. * Community Events: Promoting social connectedness and building community, resident identified community events are held weekly in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. Examples of community events include: National Night Out, community dinners, BINGO, crafts, billiards, movie nights and holiday parties. * Special Initiatives: Programs created to meet a specific community need or short-term enrichment program provided through a community partnership. We currently have a literacy program for struggling K-2nd grade youth at Ames Lake Neighborhood provided through a partnership with the I.T.A Foundation and Police Activities League. We have also had healthy community dinners & nutritional education program at Garden View Apartments and University Dale Apartments provided through a partnership with Allina Health and the University of Minnesota Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Community Stories

74 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Opportunity Neighborhood was very positive! The staff treated one another-and students-with respect. The activities planned for students in summer programming were quite engaging for students. Weekly field trips allowed program participants to venture into the community and explore new locations. The programming was well thought-out and program themes were fun for students. The staff was always willing to support one another and ensure that the needs of students were met.

Thor W.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I absolutely loved working here no complaints was sad to leave and would gladly work here again !!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved my times at opportunity neighborhood. The kids are so easy to approach and the relationships you build with the kids are amazing. I enjoyed it because they had a set schedule. If the routine changed everyday, I think it would’ve been really unorganized, but it was always organized and the activities that were done always engaged the students. I enjoyed it so much that after my program with them ended, I went back to volunteer before school started.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I continue to be honored to serve as a Board Member for Opportunity Neighborhood, an organization that focuses on creating safe and stable neighborhoods through onsite programming and services such as onsite courtesy programs that focuses on solving problems within the community vs having escalated to police. In addition, safe and affordable housing communities are more likely to thrive when the families have access to out-of-school time/youth intervention, safety initiatives, information and referral, community events and special initiatives. All of which Opportunity Neighborhood has. I recently had the pleasure of attending one of their special events where children were exposed to both the history and art of break dancinng, including the children learning the dance moves themselves. It was pure joy to show how the children expressed themselves, had fun and most importantly, demonstrated self confidence and willingness to try new things. These type of programs instill life lessons that will carry forward for these children as they grow, creating a foundation for success. So proud of the work Opportunity Neighborhood does. Keep it up!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The after-school program gives kids great opportunities to express their creativity and to learn important lessons. This benefits from and contributes to the vibrant community life at Ames Lake.

Eugene V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The kids are a cheerful bunch, always full of energy. The teenagers are always wanting to help and volunteer with the staff.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ames Lake Opportunity Neighborhood is a wonderful community with caring, kind, and thoughtful families. The birth to 5 montessori class at the community center is especially great and a fun place for people to get to know each other and for kids to play together!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so glad to be a part of a group at Christ the King Lutheran Church, New Brighton, who joined with Opportunity Neighborhood in sponsoring National Night Out. Our experience last August was so energizing! Opportunity Neighborhood provided the leadership and most of what was needed to put on the event. From our church we sponsored one of the bouncies, brought produce from our Community Garden, blood pressure checking by our parish nurses, music from two singing groups, representatives of our Latino ministry Cristo Rey, and several volunteers. We look forward again to jointly sponsoring with Opportunity Neighborhood next August's National Night Out with our neighborhood.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so glad to be a part of a group at Christ the King Lutheran Church, New Brighton, who joined with Opportunity Neighborhood in sponsoring National Night Out. Our experience last August was so energizing! Opportunity Neighborhood provided the leadership and most of what was needed to put on the event. From our church we sponsored one of the bouncies, brought produce from our Community Garden, blood pressure checking by our parish nurses, music from two singing groups, representatives of our Latino ministry Cristo Rey, and several volunteers. We look forward again to jointly sponsoring with Opportunity Neighborhood next August's National Night Out with our neighborhood.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We, SPPD, have been partners with this organization for many years and I can personally say for myself, the last five years have been very beneficial for both sides. Look forward to many more successful years.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand as a board member the positive impact opportunity neighborhood has on children and communities. The staff is deeply committed to their work and the mission. We benefit as a community in so many ways by the services provided by the group.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my previous work with Opportunity Neighborhood (ON), I've had the pleasure to see, first-hand, the success stories that have come to play through the mission and vision of ON. I've seen adolescents meet each other for the first time in the after-school program and become best friends and top students at their school, shy children become confident individuals throughout their participation in the after-school program, parents relieved of stress because of the resources and referrals provided, adults finding jobs through the residential assistance and computer access. I could go on but all of these are just a few minor examples of what ON has accomplished through their hard work and services in keeping families in affordable housing safe and supported.

If anyone were looking to donate and support an organization that was making a difference, I would highly recommend Opportunity Neighborhood for their establishment of quality programming and meeting the needs families.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Parents of low income families, especially single moms, rely heavily on programing that will help them be better parents. After school programs, academic and activities for children, family events are of tremendous support to struggling families. Children are happy to know they have a place to go and someone to interact with after school. Parents are able to stay at work and avoid loosing their jobs better. ONDC helps to make sure the pay checks are maximum. The best thing I have witnessed about ONDC programing is that staff is continually looking for better ways to bring stability to families at school, at work, and at home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood was a wonderful and diverse place to volunteer at. The children were very energetic and the staff members are very helpful. The staff members inform you about situations or upcoming events that are happening in the neighborhood.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I consider myself very lucky to be able to witness how this nonprofit organization works on a day to day basis. The employees of this organization make a huge difference on the children in the Ames Lake Neighbor Community located in East Saint Paul. The staff works so hard to educate the children and help them achieve in school with tutoring after school and a bookmobile that comes to the community.

Not only does this organization help the children in the community but also the adults that need help finding resources for food, furniture and access to a computer.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I really enjoy watching how involved ONDC is with the children of Ames Lake Neighborhood. I like how they keep the children involved and how they all participate one way or another in the program.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I reside at Ames Lake and I have resided here for two years. I love the program that Kacee Moua is in charge of here at Ames Lake neighborhood. It is a very positive program and she is a great leader. Kacee is in charge of resident services and she is always positive and energetic and she is a very sweet and endearing person. The resident services program is about families as well as individuals both of which I think is great. Kacee and Lee(Kacee's assistant) are always very helpful and patient and they are both dedicated and work hard to make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable and that is a very big plus for me.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The biggest contribution to increasing community safety at Garden View Apartments has been the community building. When people feel they are part of a community they take ownership of their community. As people take ownership they have a desire to be a contributing member to make their community better. As a result of the community building done by Opportunity Neighborhood people no longer become afraid to call the police when someone is behaving out of the norms of the community to they can preserve the safety and quality of their community.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The are a great organization that really makes a difference in the communities they serve. Their innovative programming is very effective in neighborhood stabilization. Their services improve those whom they are providing them for and allow for safe and secure living spaces.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work in social services and frequently refer parents to the Ames Opportunity Neighborhood for family support and high quality child care. The Ames Opportunity Neighborhood after school program is always seeking new ways to offer learning, engagement and caring to the youth they serve. Kacee Moua is a great leader who is really the driver for innovation and improvement at this program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Spending my Wednesday afternoons with these boys has been quite the pleasure . I admire all the staff and the way they lead , assist , and build with the children within the program . They were ALWAYS more than welcoming and forever pleasent with me and my experience! One of my all time favorite programs I have been involved with due to the relationships I was able to build . Thankful for Ames lake !