Messages from the Chair
Narendra P. Sharma, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors
Board Chair Reports on NOC’s Accomplishments To Date
NOC’s mission is to fight poverty by helping those who are in need to achieve the “American Dream.”
The Neighborhood Outreach Connection (NOC), a non-profit (501 c 3) organization, which is now in its fourth year of existence, has entered 2012 with significant accomplishments, a proven development approach and business model, and financial integrity, according to Board Chair, Dr. Narendra Sharma.
In keeping with its underlying development approach, NOC is taking assistance directly into low-income neighborhoods (presently 5 neighborhoods in Hilton Head Island and 5 in Greater Bluffton), supporting some 10,000 people. NOC is creating bottom-up solutions in partnership with other service providers and with individuals in low-income neighborborhoods, where poverty is widespread. NOC’s programs focus on the development of the individual, the family, and the community by implementing small, low-cost neighborhood projects relating to education (including youth activities), health screenings, and workforce development. NOC continues to play an important role as a “connector” by bringing in human service providers to deliver assistance more directly in low-income neighborhoods and by providing information to people in these neighborhoods through its referral services. Through its presence in these neighborhoods, NOC has established trust and respect with individuals and families in the neighborhoods in which it operates.
NOC works closely with faith-based organizations (All Saints Episcopal Church, Saint Francis Catholic Church, First Baptist Church of HHI, First Presbyterian Church, Life Oaks Christian Church), health service providers (Beaufort Memorial Hospital and Volunteers in Medicine), and public and private agencies through Beaufort County’s Alliance for Human Services. NOC has comprehensive agreements with the Beaufort County School District (BCSD), the Beaufort County Library, the Workforce Investment Board, Beaufort County’s Housing Authority, and Adult Education of Beaufort County to implement outreach programs in target neighborhoods.
NOC has established a solid track recordin implementing its mission and outreach programs with help from volunteers and service-provider partners. The most important accomplishments in the past twelve months have been: (a) expanding NOC’s education outreach programs in partnership with the BCSD and local schools to help more than 200 minority students, mainly African Americans and Hispanics; (b) opening a program center in Bluffton; expanding its program center at Oaks Apartments in HHI; and using the community center at Simmons Cay Apartments to serve low-income neighborhoods there; (c) implementing periodic health screenings in target neighborhoods in partnership with VIM, BJHCHS, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and the Lions Club to address health issues related to hypertension, diabetes, PSA, vision, hearing, and HIV, benefiting more than 500 people; and (d) supporting of a neighborhood soccer league and other youth activities such as girl scouts, a book club, social events, and music and arts, involving more than 400 children.
In education, NOC’s program is focusing on helping children (pre-K through Grade 8) improve academic performance in schools, as well as helping children below the age of 4 (pre-school) master basic skills before entering school. NOC is working in partnership with the BCSD, local schools, and parents to provide tutoring, homework support, and commuter-based learning programs at its program centers in HHI and Bluffton so that students will improve performance on standardized tests, meet school standards, and graduate on time. Through this partnership, NOC and BCSD maintain a database and monitoring system to track student progress over time.
In the summer of 2011, 43 students successfully completed the virtual learning program in HHI and Bluffton, thus reducing learning loss during the summer period. More than 100 families in HHI and 120 families in Bluffton applied to enroll their children in this program, but there was space for only 43 students. There is now a culture of continuous learning and participants are dedicated and committed. Clearly, technology is becoming an important factor in helping students improve their academic performance in language arts and math.
The 2011 fall program of tutoring, homework support and computer-based learning had more than 100 students in Hilton Head and Bluffton enrolled in this program designed to improve academic performance and encourage students to excel in schools. NOC’s pre-school program, launched in 2011 in partnership with the School Readiness Department of the Beaufort County School District (BCSD), the Beaufort County Library, and the HHI Lions Club, has more than 50 students participating, along with their mothers. The demand for this program is high (more than 200 children) as more parents from low income neighborhoods recognize the importance of preparing their children for school entry.
NOC’s neighborhood soccer program has been highly successful in HHI, with more than 75 children participating, along with parents who manage and run the program weekly. Social programs, designed to foster better relationships among people in neighborhoods, have been highly successful. The 2011 Christmas celebration in HHI and Bluffton drew more than 400 people from low-income neighborhoods, including nearly 250 children who received gifts from Santa Claus.
NOC has a lean business model that places emphasis on frontline results that benefit people directly. NOC relies on a proactive Board of Directors and until recently on a small cadre of part-time employees and volunteers to keep its central administrative costs exceedingly low, channeling a high proportion (more than 90% ) of its resources to the frontline to benefit the poor and those in need. For its frontline work, NOC relies heavily on volunteers (more than 150 individuals, including students from local high schools such as HH High, HH Prep, and HH Christian Academy, as well as USCB) and a small number of part-time paid workers. NOC has no full time staff members and has only recently hired a part-time Executive Director and a part-time Office Manager.
Finally, to maintain its integrity, NOC has engaged independent auditors to review its accounts. This auditing firm has completed three reviews of past years and has recently completed a review of NOC’s FY2010-2011 finance and accounting. The report confirms NOC’s adherence to its fiduciary responsibilities, effective internal control, and financial integrity. These reports are available for public review.
For further details, please visit NOC’s website (www.neighborhoodoc.wpengine.com), or call at 843-681-4100.
Together we can make a difference by empowering people and building stronger communities