In a move to bring greater awareness to the plight of many Oklahomans and to be a better community partner, OPEA’s board of directors is taking a path less traveled.
“For the first time in the history of the association, we have voted to give up the trinkets, stress balls and other bling that our membership representatives have used at meetings,” said President Connie Stockton. “We think OPEA has a moral obligation in these economic times to use the money that would have been spent on these items that don’t necessarily enhance state employee’s lives, to help eradicate poverty and pain by helping a local charity that works side by side with state employees.”
OPEA is asking its members to vote during upcoming meetings for the charity they would like to see the money directed to. OPEA members will choose from the following charities:
1. Smart Start: Smart Start is Oklahoma’s statewide early childhood initiative. Through a shared commitment, active collaboration and innovative leadership, Smart Start Oklahoma seeks to provide better opportunities to the children and families in our state.
2. Thunderbird Youth Academy The primary mission of the Thunderbird Youth Academy (TYA) is to intervene in the lives of at-risk youth. Specifically, TYA targets 16 to 19 year old (male or female) high school dropouts giving them the opportunity to gain control over their lives by increasing academic performance; improving self esteem; and teaching essential life skills enabling them to compete in the work place and manage a healthy family environment.
3. The Infant Crisis Center With the help of the community, Infant Crisis Services supplies life-sustaining formula and food as well as diapers and clothing for babies and toddlers in times of crisis.
Infant Crisis Services is bridging the gap in current services. Government programs like WIC and DHS often require waiting periods of up to several weeks during a critical time in a baby’s development and don’t provide diapers or certain medically prescribed formulas.
4. OPEA Benevolent Foundation: The OPEA Benevolent Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization created by OPEA. Its primary function is to preserve and support of state employees who may be killed in the line of duty, experience a qualifying catastrophic event and to promote a positive image of state employment as a profession.
“OPEA will then divide the money we would have spent on the trinkets among the charities based on the votes by our members,” said Stockton. “OPEA loves to give back to the community and charitable giving is just one route we will pursue with our members.”