The 12-year run of the Ophelia Project of Warren County is coming to an end as the board of directors unanimously agreed to dissolve its Pennsylvania 501(c)(3) status.
According to the board, the decision also included the turn over of its assets, through the Community Foundation of Warren County, to A Safe Place and CASA with the remaining funds going to the House of Hope.
"We had a good run," said Diane Scarcella, coordinator of the Ophelia Project in Warren County. "We are most grateful for the support given by community organizations, churches, the Warren County School District, and the many dedicated volunteers."
The decision was ultimately based on the emergence of anti-bullying programs that have begun to develop within the schools. Successful implentation of the new programs, combined with the decision of critical volunteer members to move on, led board members to decide to hand over the reigns to the schools.
"I feel very positive about the influence that we've made in this community," said Scarcella. "All who enter this school will feel physically and emotionally safe. They will enter an environment where they are accepted, respected, and where people stand up for each other. Kids look forward to coming to school and are excited about learning. Everybody has a friend. In this school, tolerance and understanding are the norm and it's cool to be kind."
According to Scarcella, that had been the mantra that was the focus of all efforts for the Ophelia Project and was created during a workshop that included more than 100 members from each of the five high schools back in the first years of the program.
What started out as a project designed to train high school girls with the necessary skills to mentor middle school girls eventually turned into an outreach that inspired many other organizations.
Cool to Be Kind, How Kids Hurt/Help Each Other, Mother-Daughter Book Clubs, after-school programs, Mentors for Math, Parent Study Circles, Family Virtues Project, Community Speaker's Bureau, Applause for Dance, and Teacher-In-Services are just some of the ways that the Ophelia Project of Warren County extended its reach to help create a better culture for the youth.
Despite the end of both the local and the national Ophelia Project, the materials and resources provided will be available online starting Friday February 1.