Cost of Poverty Experience

Every day people in our community struggle to meet basic needs and achieve financial stability. In order to have a better understanding of the challenges they face, the United Way and the Ottawa County Housing Collaborative is offering a special opportunity.

Cost of Poverty Experience (C.O.P.E.) is a poverty simulation exercise that allows participants to role play through various scenarios based on real life examples. By making choices and encountering barriers, participants gain a greater awareness of the daily realities for many low to moderate income families in our community.

United Way and the Ottawa County Housing Collaborative are hosting the event at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds on April 9 from 1-3 p.m.

The experience was created to inform and enlighten participants’ understanding of poverty with hopes of inspiring them to take action to help those who need it most. Network with donors, volunteers and community leaders and be part of the discussion on how we can become change agents to impact the community.

To RSPV to the event contact Kristen Gerwin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419-734-6645. For more information on the event or about the United Way, visit


Pop-Up Playground fundraiser to feature Pop-Up Talent of local celebrities

Tickets are on sale now for “Pop-Up Talent,” a fun-filled night showcasing local celebrity talent to support the United Way’s Pop-Up Adventure Playground Program. The event, featuring local politicos and others showing off their unique talents, will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Elks Lodge, 231 Buckeye Boulevard, in Port Clinton. 

“Pop-Up Talent” will include dinner, a silent auction, a cash bar and music by the Naked Bacon Band. The event is sponsored by the 2013-2014 Leadership Ottawa County class. Notable local celebrities participating include Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Sass, Victorian Inn owner Ann Duez, Beacon owner John Schaffner and more. 

“Some of the talent may be surprising,” said LOC member Diane Ball. “It’s going to be a fun evening, raising money for a great cause.” 

Tickets for “Pop-Up Talent” are $40 each, $70 per couple, and can be purchased at Mary’s Blossom Shoppe in Port Clinton, the Danbury Zoning Department in Marblehead, the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the Crafty Needle in Elmore. 

“Pop-Up Talent” will raise funds so the Pop-Up Adventure Playground Program can travel to kids countywide. The program encourages child-directed play that builds innovative and creative problem-solving skills. Kids use a variety of supplies such as fabric, paint, cardboard boxes, chalk, ribbons, feathers and other art supplies to create whatever they want and play however they want. The goal is to fire up their imaginations. 

“If we want our kids to be successful, we need to help them be innovative and creative,” said Chris Galvin, Area Director of United Way in Ottawa County. “Lots of children learn to problem-solve while playing-- building a fort, tearing it down and building it again.” 

The local Pop-Up Adventure Playground program was inspired by a New York Times editorial, “Crumbling American Dreams,” that Port Clinton native Robert Putnam wrote in August. The article examines the growing gap between rich and poor children and the shrinking middle class, and uses changes in Port Clinton as an example. After the editorial appeared, Galvin wrote an open letter to the community asking for suggestions to help enrich local children. The Pop-Up Adventure Playground program is a result. 

Members of the 2013-14 LOC class are Diane Ball, OSS Solid Waste District; Kathy Berger, Terra State Community College; Laurie Cleaver, Ottawa County Transportation Agency; Kathy Dale, Danbury Township; Steve Hall, First Energy; Steve Lange, Ottawa County Sanitary; Dawn Segaard, Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Vern Shepherd, Lakeside United Methodist Church; Amy Simkus, Stein Hospice; Becky Simpson, Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District; Kristen Trammel, Otterbein North Shore; Andrew Wells, Kroger.

Leadership Ottawa County is a nine month leadership development program that brings professionals together to learn about and explore the diversity of Ottawa County and increase personal leadership skills through experiential training. For more information on Leadership Ottawa County, visit


Kids, bring your adults to Adventure Play

Use recyclable materials to build your own adventure environments this Saturday, March 22, at United Way's Pop Up Adventure Playground, being held in the annex of St John's Church at the Corner of Adams and Second Streets. 

Children and adults of all ages are invited to come play, burn some energy and exercise creative muscle as we get messy and build whatever our hearts desire. The event is being held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

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