Optimist Club donates to Care to Learn – Nixa

Posted on January 19th, 2017

Optimist Club donates to Care to Learn

Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:00 am

The Christian County Optimist Club recently donated $500 to the Nixa Care to Learn chapter for the 2016-17 school year. Pictured is Annie Zimmerman, Nixa Care to Learn liaison, and Tammy Gonzalez, Optimist Club president.

“The Optimists are honored to work with Care to Learn to provide immediate funding to meet emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs so every child can be successful in school,” a press release says.

To learn more about the Christian County Optimist Club, call (417) 714-0020 or visit www.ccoptimist.org.





Penguins Parade Perch raises $3,000 for Care to Learn

Posted on December 8th, 2016

Penguins Parade Perch raises $3,000 for Care to Learn

By: Amelia Wigton, Editor [email protected]@ameliawCCHN

Within the past month, Ozark Care to Learn has met many non-food emergency needs of students, including calling a taxi to transport a child to urgent care to have a bed bug removed from his ear, providing gas cards to travel to doctors appointments and purchasing much-needed medication.

And while Care to Learn helps with these non-food needs, it’s also seeing an increase in its primary focus of weekend food backpacks.

“This time last year we had about 190 students taking weekend food backpacks. Before Thanksgiving, 230 students picked up food bags,” Ozark Care to Learn Director Michelle Lindsey said. “This week alone, we’ve added an additional eight students.”

It’s for all these reasons and more that fundraisers like the Penguins Parade Perch are so vital.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are for the continued support of our donors,” Lindsey said. “For those of us on the front lines, knowing that we have the funds to immediately resolve an issue allows us to direct all of our focus on helping the student and provides much-needed encouragement on those emotionally-difficult days.”

The Penguins Parade Perch, which is where people watch the Ozark Christmas Parade from a loft overlooking the historic downtown Ozark square, raised $3,000 this year.

“We had a great turnout,” event organizer Shane Nelson said. “I think we had our largest crowed we’ve ever had. It’s an easy fundraiser because we have fun, get together and watch the parade.”

Todd Edwards, who serves on the Care to Learn advisory board, agreed.

“I got the chance to see a lot of friends I don’t normally see throughout the year and had a great time raising money for the kids,” he said.

But the adults weren’t the only ones having a good time raising money. Ozark sixth-grader Sophia Nelson and first-grader Mimi Orr were fundraising, as well. The girls sold Oreo balls for $1 each, raising $100 for Care to Learn.

“My mom and I made them,” Sophia said. “We sold all of them. I had fun with Mimi.”

When asked what she liked about selling the sweet treats, Mimi said “all of it.”

Lindsey said she enjoys seeing children get involved.

“Seeing young philanthropists like Sophia Nelson and Mimi Orr serve as advocates for their less fortunate peers helps to empower and excite others to become involved,” Lindsey said. “It is also a true testament to the parents who are encouraging the importance and impact of supporting Care to Learn to our community’s future leaders.”




Gainesville Care to Learn chapter holds first fundraiser aimed at supporting local students

Posted on December 8th, 2016

Gainesville Care to Learn chapter holds first fundraiser aimed at supporting local students

Gainesville Care to Learn chapter members are trying hard to reach their $5,000 end-of-year goal. With more than $3,000 already donated, they’re holding their first organized fundraiser to earn some extra dollars.

The local chapter is raffling a Browning SA Grade 1 .22 caliber rifle donated by Nash & Sons.  Tickets for the raffle may be purchased from Care to Learn committee members, at upcoming school events or at the Ozark County Times. The drawing will be Jan. 20 at the homecoming basketball game. All proceeds raised by the local chapter will be spent on Gainesville students to ease hunger, health and hygiene needs.

“Several students have already benefited from the program,” said Gainesville superintendent Joe Donley. “All the money raised will be spent right here on our kids in the Gainesville School District. “This is an opportunity for our community to make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.”

To make a donation, make checks payable to Care to Learn–Gainesville and drop them off at either school or  donate online at www.caretolearnfund.org. Click the green “donate” button and follow the instructions, being sure to select Gainesville under the Gift Designation tab.




CTL Giving Tuesday small

Care to Learn participating in #GivingTuesday

Posted on November 29th, 2016

11/29/2016 7:39am

Several local nonprofits are participating in the fifth-annual Giving Tuesday initiative today.

Among them is the Least of These food pantry in Nixa. The nonprofit is seeking money donations, according to KY3.

Last night, the Neighbor’s Mill restaurant hosted a Care to Learn night that raised $750 to help local students with their health, hunger and hygiene needs, according to a news release. Karma Salon and Ozark Mountain Yoga also are helping the nonprofit.

In 2012, the 92nd Street Y, a New York City nonprofit, started a global initiative called #GivingTuesday.The partnership with the United Nations Foundation is a social media-driven donation day, according to USA Today.

Read more from KY3.




New program helps with Gainesville students’ emergency needs

Posted on November 7th, 2016



Posted: Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 am

by Norene Prososki [email protected]

For some kids in Ozark County, the pain of poverty is overwhelming.

What if a student doesn’t have a coat for winter? What if they need transportation to a doctor’s appointment? What if they need hygiene products or underwear and socks? What if they get head lice or don’t have a way to do laundry?

Those are problems that can stand in the way of a student’s success at school, and to address those needs, teachers, school administrators and parents have started a Gainesville chapter of the Springfield-based foundation Care to Learn.

“Our school and community are going to be working together to fundraise and help those students,” said Gainesville superintendent Joe Donley. “All the money raised will be spent right here on our kids in the Gainesville School District. “This is an opportunity for our community to make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.”

Missouri businessman Doug Pitt founded Care to Learn in 2008 to immediately fund students’ emergency needs in the areas of health, hunger and hygiene. In just eight years, Care to Learn has fulfilled over 600,000 needs in the 32 Care to Learn chapters throughout Missouri. From items as small as toothbrushes and toothpaste to clothing and shoes, coats and backpacks filled with nutritional food, eyeglasses and hearing aids or transportation and wheelchairs, Care to Learn meets the needs of students so they can be successful in school.

Gainesville kindergarten teacher Kris Ledbetter was named the liaison for the Care to Learn Gainesville chapter and serves on the allocations committee. Once the program is in place, when teachers and other staff members see student needs relating to hunger, health and hygiene, they’ll submit it to the allocations committee for review.   Ledbetter will then write a voucher, and funds will be made immediately available to meet the need.

Care to Learn works closely with school district personnel to address the needs of students. Donations allow Care to Learn to provide immediate funding so that the problem is usually solved before the end of the school day. “Right now, we have to work at starting to get in some revenue, because there’s going to be lots going out,” Ledbetter said. “We’ll be trying to spread the word to the community, churches and individuals. One of the things I’d like to stress to potential donors is that, in addition to the money going directly to help our local kids, we’re also going to do our best to spend the money locally as much as we can.”

Ledbetter, who worked as a resource coordinator for Family Services before beginning her teaching career, acknowledged that “there are a few resources out there like the Lions Club, Ministerial Alliance and some others, but the Care to Learn Gainesville chapter will help fill the gaps that the other organizations can’t.”

“The Gainesville Schools have energetic leadership and a caring community. We were impressed to see nearly 30 community and staff members attend our initial meeting,” said Sara Lampe, deputy director for Care to Learn. “We look forward to working with the Gainesville School District to address the health, hunger and hygiene needs of their students.”

Century Bank of the Ozarks kicked off the Care to Learn fundraising efforts by donating the chapter registration fee of $1 per student. There are 630 students in the district. The chapter’s initial goal is $5,000 to meet general needs by the end of this year, but the needs are great, said committee member Holly Strain, who helped organize the chapter. “There will be fundraisers and events to attend and support, and the local chapter will be working directly with some of our local businesses, but there is also the opportunity for donors to go ahead and give. We know donors want to see the money stay right here in Ozark County and go directly to our students for emergent needs as soon as possible,” said Strain. “Five thousand dollars is a very attainable goal if just a few donors would be willing to step up with larger amounts, perhaps by the end of the year for tax purposes, to meet our goal. If you are reading this and feel led to get involved, please contact us directly to ask any questions you might have about Care to Learn!”

“As teachers, these kids are our passion; we want to do whatever we can to help them be successful in school and life,” Ledbetter said. “If a kid is worried about their food or where they’re going to lay their head at night, until those needs are met, learning their ABCs and 123s isn’t a priority. Basic needs have to be met before a student can be expected to be academically successful.”


Care to Learn adds Monett as 27th Chapter

Posted on June 8th, 2016





Care to Learn kickoff set for Thursday


Community leaders invited to learn about not-for-profit

Residents and Monett school district patrons interested in learning more about the Care to Learn program will have a chance to do so this week, as there will be a kickoff meeting with the Care to Learn organization at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Monett High School Performing Arts Center.

Care to Learn is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founder by Springfield native Doug Pitt. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the district will implement a $15,000 grant to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in health, hunger and hygiene. The goal is to enable every child to be successful in school.

Care to Learn offers the mechanics of how to respond to a community need without laboring through the reinvention of a response network.

Funds for the grant came from a donation by Nadia Cavner, a strong supporter of Care to Learn, a longtime Springfield financial advisor and owner of the Nadia Cavner Group. Cavner made her gift in honor of Tristen Ferdig, the son of Gary Ferdig of Monett. The grant will require a local match, as well as additional funding for future efforts. The public meeting is being held to provide more information on how people may assist the effort.

“We hope you, or a representative from your business, will be able to attend to learn more about how we can all partner together to ensure that each student’s basic needs of health, hunger, and hygiene are met on a daily basis,” said Superintendent Brad Hanson, in a letter inviting community members to the event.

“There are a lot of needs in the community,” said Sarah Garner, Monett Elementary School assistant principal who has been selected as coordinator to work with Care to Learn. “At certain times of the year, families experience stress. This helps. I’m so excited to be able to make a difference in the lives of children. We’ll be glad to work with you and share all the success.”

Interested persons are also welcome to attend the session.

The Monett Times
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
By Murray Bishoff [email protected]


Give Ozarks Day

Posted on April 20th, 2015

Give-Ozarks-LogoCare to Learn is excited to participate in the Second annual

Give Ozarks Day

Give Ozarks is a one-day, online fundraising event for Agency Partners of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Visit www.giveozarks.org on May 3

Today, we have a matching grant from People Centric Consulting Group for the first $5,000 donated. That means your donation does twice as much good. Your $50 gift = $100.


Your gift will make an immediate impact:

  • $100 will provide an eye exam and glasses.
  • $40 will feed a child every weekend for a month.
  • $20 will buy a child a new pair of shoes.

And remember, each donation is doubled TODAY ONLY, for the first $5,000 thanks to People Centric Consulting Group.


- See more at: https://giveozarks.org/2016/care-to-learn#sthash.Uv5r0z2H.dpuf


Former News-Leader publisher to head Care to Learn

Posted on October 21st, 2015

Care to Learn founder Doug Pitt announced Tuesday that former News-Leader publisher Linda Ramey-Greiwe has been named the new executive director for the organization.

Morey Mechlin, who has filled that position since shortly after the nonprofit was formed in 2008, decided to retire but will stay through the end of the month to aid in the transition.

“There is a huge need in this community. We have more and more children living in poverty,” Ramey-Greiwe said. “Having served on other committees including the Mayor’s Commission (for Children) and Impacting Poverty, I see it and I hear it. I know there is a great need. I am excited about the opportunity to help.”

Ramey-Greiwe has also served as board chair for the United Way and was involved with the News-Leader’s Every Child series, a public-service journalism project to focus public attention on critical challenges facing children.

Through her work with Every Child, Ramey-Greiwe said she came to understand the prevalence of under-resourced families in the Springfield area and the critical need for programs such as Care to Learn.

“It’s important that the community work on getting upstream on preventing poverty,” she said. “But I also think every day, while we are trying to do that, we have to help these kids get to school and stay in school.”

Care to Learn provides funds to meet emergent health, hunger and hygiene needs for children so they can be successful in school.

As of July 2015, more than 500,000 requests from students, items ranging from toothbrushes to hearing aids, have been fulfilled.

“If I have a toothache, if I can’t see the board, if I can’t hear, if I’m feeling hungry — my mind is not on math,” Pitt said. “That is where Care to Learn comes in. We fill those emergent health and hygiene needs.

“There’s no red tape, no forms to fill out,” he added. “If they’re hungry, let’s feed them. If they need clothes, let’s give it to them.”

Starting out working with Springfield Public Schools in 2008, Pitt’s Care to Learn “business model” was easily replicated by other districts. In 2009, Care to Learn chapters were formed in Bolivar, Ozark, Nixa and Ozarks Technical Community College.

Today, there are 24 chapters throughout the state with more in the planning stages.

“We are at a pivotal role where we spent the last eight years with some accelerated growth. We are probably one of the fastest-growing charities in the state of Missouri. But it’s been calculated growth,” Pitt said. “We need someone who is good at X’s and O’s, who is going to be disciplined. And we felt Linda was a great candidate.”

Care to Learn also hired Sara Lampe as deputy director, a new position charged with connecting with schools throughout the state.

Lampe is a four-term former state legislator and longtime advocate for children and education. She led the gifted program in Springfield Public Schools and was an advocate for equitable education for all children, according to a news release.

Mechlin said she is looking forward to retirement, traveling and becoming a reading buddy for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I’m so appreciative to all our donors,” she said. “They have been so generous. They have shared the mission and taken it seriously.

“Everyone has realized they can be part of a child’s success and education.”


, News-Leader6:25 a.m. CDT October 7, 2015



Posted on April 1st, 2015

click here to view Care to Learn’s Newsletter, issue 5

click here to view Care to Learn’s Newsletter, issue 4

click here to view Care to Learn’s Newsletter, issue 3

click here to view Care to Learn’s Newsletter, issue 2

click here to view Care to Learn’s Newsletter, issue 1


Care to Learn Partners with Community Blood Center

Posted on January 20th, 2015

New program helps blood center stretch donations further

Harrison Keegan, Springfield News-Leader

For Renee Stoll of Nixa, her twice-a-month visit to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks location on Plainview Road in Springfield is about carrying on a family tradition.

Stoll’s father was a regular donor. And when he died a few years ago, she took up the cause in his honor.

“I do it because it feels good,” Stoll said. “It stays in the community, and I get a good feeling from it.”

Stoll made it out despite some cold, rainy conditions on Saturday morning to keep her first appointment of 2015 with the platelet donation machine. But blood center administrators said getting those January donations is not always easy.

Chris Pilgrim, marketing manager for the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, said the local organization collects between 4,200 and 5,000 whole blood donations a month, but meeting those numbers in January can be tough because of sickness and winter weather canceling blood drives.

Pilgrim said, however, that the blood center is taking action to combat this slow time and help some other charities in the process.

The blood center has a rewards program called LifePoints, which allows donors to rack up points which they can then redeem for things like gift cards and T-shirts. Pilgrim said those points can now be donated to local nonprofits.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is unveiling a new LifePoints Lift program which allows blood donors to give up their points in return for a cash donation to one of 10 local charities: Ozarks Food Harvest, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, CASA, the Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and Care to Learn.

“It’s a way we can make those donations go a little further,” Pilgrim said.

The Community Blood Center issued a Code Yellow Alert for all negative blood types last week, meaning there was less than a two-day reserve supply of blood for use by area patients. Pilgrim also said O-positive blood reserves were also approaching Code Yellow status.

Pilgrim said the blood center is in need of donations this month, but administrators also want to take time to say thank you to donors, since January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.

“For us, this is a time to say thanks,” Pilgrim said. “And we remind ourselves that it is a good thing to do not only in January, but year round.”

Christine Garrett of Springfield is one of those year-round donors. She donated platelets 21 times in 2014, and she made her first donation of this year on Saturday morning.

Garrett said she donated platelets for the first time about five years ago and she has been hooked ever since.

“It’s something I can do that doesn’t require just throwing money at a cause,” Garrett said. “And I happen to have O-positive blood, which is the most common.”

Danielle Ray, external communications manager with the American Red Cross, said in a news release that the Red Cross encourages people to make donating blood one of their New Year’s resolutions. Ray said the Red Cross is hosting 20 blood drives in southwest Missouri this month.


Community Blood Center of the Ozarks

Website: CBCO.org

Phone: 417-227-5000

Springfield locations: 220 W. Plainview Road and 2230 S. Glenstone Ave.

Red Cross Blood Donation Center

Website: RedCrossBlood.org

Phone: 417-823-4000

Springfield location: 313 E. Battlefield Road, Suite B



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