Regina Schatz credits Reaching Our City and OKDHS with saving the life of her son, Christian, 9.
"We just weren't making it," said Schatz, of Oklahoma City, who's divorced and attends college part-time while caring for her son, who has a form of muscular dystrophy. "He lost his SSI (Social Security disability benefits) and Medicaid. We stopped by the ROC for food, and they said they had an OKDHS worker there who could help us apply for services. The worker qualified us for food stamps and Medicaid right there."
Later that day, Christian choked and Schatz rushed him to the hospital.
Christian received the initial emergency treatment, but, most significant to Schatz, he has received continued care, including having a feeding tube inserted and his tonsils removed. Christian also receives diapers, formula and a device that helps him communicate.
"He's stronger and more alert," said Schatz. "Without ROC, I wouldn't have had Medicaid and wouldn't have what I need to get him what he needs."
Kathy Scott, social services specialist III, is housed at the ROC.
Reaching Our City, referred to as the ROC, began in mid 1999 as a combined effort of university, church and civic leaders. The ROC serves a racially-mixed urban population who identify themselves as "The Greenvale Community." The community is located within the city limits of Oklahoma City. The area, however, is not recognized as a named community by the thousands of people who pass through it on streets such as Rockwell or NW 10th each day. This community has high drug use, high crime and high poverty rates. Many of the children are from single or blended parent families. Many have a parent in prison. From time to time the community residents express the feeling that they live "in a war zone."
The ROC is located in a 28,240 square foot facility in the center of this community and has served more than 28,000 residents.
"Every wall was built by volunteers," said Jerry Appleby, executive director. "Each wall has a prayer written on the inside of it."
The ROC includes a food pantry, a free medical clinic, an immunization clinic, a two-star child development center, a free dental clinic, a pharmacy, a counseling center, legal aid, job training and family programs.
"The ROC is a gathering place for people in need," said Appleby.
The ROC employs 31 staff, and 235 regular volunteers donate hours every week. An OKDHS social services specialist works full-time at the site. Volunteers include six medical doctors, a physical therapist, a chiropractor and six attorneys. College professors offer weekly classes on finances, creative parenting, anger management or life skills.
Appleby and business, community and social service leaders, called the 10th Street Partners, meet monthly to discuss other ways to help the residents of the Greenvale Community.
"It takes an infrastructure change with a program structure in place to improve a community," said Appleby. "We work together to solve problems."
- A monthly average of 76,650 Oklahomans, who are elderly, blind or have a disability, received state supplemental payments during fiscal year 2005
- A monthly average of more than 535,000 Oklahomans qualified for Medicaid in fiscal year 2005
- A monthly average of 328,482 children were eligible to receive Medicaid benefits