Communities Foundation of Oklahoma Blog


Communities Foundation of Oklahoma

By Communities Foundation of Oklahoma / November 28, 2017

Thank you for helping the Regional Food Bank provide nutritious meals for hungry Oklahomans. Your support will ensure our community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors have access to vital, healthy food this fall and all year long.

And thanks to a special $600,000 holiday matching challenge from, the Cresap Family Foundation, and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, all gifts made to the Regional Food Bank between now and January 15 will DOUBLE to provide twice as many meals for our hungry neighbors, until we reach a matched total of $1.2 million. That’s enough to provide 6 million meals to our hungry neighbors!

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By Communities Foundation of Oklahoma / October 26, 2017

Our Mission:  Cultivating peace, healing and renewal in a contemplative, interspiritual environment.
Our Purpose:  Spreading peace, healing and renewal to all corners of the Earth.
For 30 years, the Forest of Peace has welcomed guests from all across the U.S. and other countries, offering a tranquil refuge for those seeking to go deeper into spirit, healing, and peace of mind and heart. Since 2010, the Forest has been governed by an interfaith board of directors to meet a compelling need for people to experience oneness, acceptance, and understanding. Marginalized people let go of trauma related to illness, religion or gender and find new ways of being through centering prayer and silent meditation. People who are content in their own faith traditions find depth, assurance, and peace within a diversity of beliefs. As visitors experience their own peace and healing, they take that back into the world as a model of how to live in sacred space amidst life’s turmoil.
The Forest of Peace has a long history, beginning in 1977, when a Benedictine nun from Oklahoma was inspired to search for the basic truths at the core of all religions. This quest took her to India, where she lived at an ashram, established by an English monk and known as a center of Hindu-Christian dialogue. In 1979 the Benedictine Sisters purchased 40 wooded acres in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and created a sacred place of prayer and meditation, which they named the Osage+Monastery Forest of Peace, reflecting deep respect for the Osage Indians of Oklahoma. Our small resident community continues to embody our founder’s original vision of hospitality and a simple lifestyle for all those who seek to deepen, renew and nurture their spiritual practice.
Five program areas include:

1. mindfulness education and contemplative practice
2. mental health and addiction
3. interfaith connection and dialogue
4. caretaker (therapists, clergy, nurses) support
5. veteran and family member support

Feedback over the years has reinforced how powerful even a two-day weekend can be in transforming lives. A participant in a 2013 Veterans’ Families Retreat writes: 
“This was an awesome experience. The introduction to self-care techniques was very helpful. I had heard of many of the techniques but had not truly experienced them. I loved the guided imagery, meditation and yoga. The healing touch made me feel better than I have in years - centered, calm and in control. We also learned that we are not alone, through telling our personal stories about the signs, symptoms and behaviors of PTSD--the reality of the disease. The kindness and sharing from these phenomenal people in itself was very beneficial. The Osage Forest of Peace is an ideal location, providing a sense of serenity, calmness and beauty many of us have forgotten. Walking the forest trails allowed me to be part of the God's portrait and enjoy the beauty of the world we live in. Thank you for being there and sharing such a beneficial healing journey.” 

Others write: “One of my most valued gifts during my chemotherapy was from a friend who suggested I visit the Forest of Peace. I spent two bright crisp fall days there; it was exactly what I needed. I walked for hours on the trails, sat in the Zen garden, attended a meditation session in the chapel and meandered through the outdoor labyrinth. I was invited to a wonderful lunch, perused the spiritual library, wrote in my journal and rocked in silence. The staff gave me the space I yearned for while simultaneously helping me feel welcome and safe. This was a place I could just "be" without the demands and interruptions of my everyday life. After hours of this peacefulness, I began to let go of the some of the stresses that I had been carrying. I literally felt a healing energy running through me. With a clearer head, I could deal with the realities of my situation with a new perspective.”  

“Peace has always been an illusion to many, including myself. I have found, through my pain and suffering, an opportunity to engage in my journey in a deeper and more meaningful way, and discover that this peace we all desire is within us. The Forest of Peace, and her loving brothers and sisters, have been a part of that journey to healing and peace. I pray that you may experience the beauty, peace, meditation and love that the Forest offers as you travel on your journey of spiritual, physical, mental and emotional peace.”

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 The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa has been recognized nationally as a leader in primary care physician training. At a time when Oklahoma faces a severe shortage of primary care physicians, carrying out our mission of training tomorrow’s primary care physicians to serve rural areas of our state is more important than ever. Through the implementation of a cutting-edge care model -- Project ECHO OSU Specialty Clinics, OSU-CHS plans to revolutionize the delivery of specialty services to these rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma, helping to fill some of the gaps in care that have formed because of the physician shortage.

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an innovative care delivery model developed by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s ECHO Institute to expand access to specialty care to rural communities. Project ECHO trains and mentors primary care providers in the care of patients with complex conditions. The Project ECHO model is based on the principle of de-monopolizing medical knowledge, with specialists sharing their expertise and providing mentorship and guided practice to help primary care providers deliver high-quality specialized care to patients in their own communities through the creation of a network of Project ECHO OSU Specialty Clinics.

Project ECHO OSU Specialty Clinics are weekly videoconferences that take place between OSU-CHS’s clinical faculty and participating physicians in rural areas. The multidisciplinary care team at OSU-CHS will be comprised of specialists -- pharmacists, nurse practitioners, social workers and other healthcare professionals -- who are trained in treating a specific disease. During the videoconference, rural providers will present active, de-identified patient cases to the OSU-CHS care team. The OSU-CHS care team will review the cases and recommend treatment options. These discussions, along with educational presentations, will allow rural providers to manage complex patient care with the support of a team of multidisciplinary specialists at OSU-CHS.

Through Project ECHO, rural providers will begin to develop expertise in specialty care. Patients benefit, not only by avoiding long distance travel for treatment, but they can also be cared for by providers who they know and trust and in an environment that is familiar to them. Through Project ECHO OSU Specialty Clinics, OSU-CHS will help ensure that the right care is delivered by the right provider in the right place and at the right time.

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By Randy Macon / April 3, 2017

Over Spring Break, twenty-two campers, six counselors and several Cavett Kids volunteers and staff traveled to Colorado to attend the Ski Camp for teens disabled by cancer, either through amputation or by involvement of muscle tissue.  Each March, the campers receive special instruction and equipment for four days in Winter Park, Colorado, at one of the world’s largest programs for disabled skiers – National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD).  During this outing, Campers work together to overcome their physical disabilities.

Above and beyond our Ski Camp, we also know that summer camp season is just around the corner, and children in communities across Oklahoma gear up for fishing, swimming, sleepovers, and playing baseball.  In those same communities live hundreds of ordinary children living through extraordinary medical challenges; children who too often have to watch while others play, walk while others run, and hope for a time when illness no longer limits their opportunities to have a good time.

The Cavett Kids Foundation (CKF) was founded to ensure that Oklahoma’s chronically and seriously ill children have the same access to outdoor fun as healthy kids. Many children in treatment miss out on typical character-building opportunities - things like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, team sports, even after-school activities - due to illness.  CKF camps and events provide the opportunity to experience childhood the way it is supposed to be lived, with hands in the dirt, and a worm on the hook.  CKF camps and programs allow these kids to establish an identity away from the treatment room and hospital, to instill confidence while creating connections.  This is the Cavett Kids’ experience – reminding campers their illness does not have to limit their ability to have a full life.

It is the hard work of dedicated volunteers – from dialysis nurses that keep bedside vigil each night to the local fisherman who come back every year just for fun – that makes these camps happen, ensuring both a good time for the kids and a continuum of specialized care.  Knowing that their children are safe and happy, parents have the rare opportunity to relax and enjoy their temporary respite from daily caretaking duties.


Over the years, donors have generously given of their time in a plethora of activities such as  taking kids fishing and tubing during Camp Cavett (children with a variety of life-threatening illness), white water rafting at Heart Camp (teens with congenital heart disease), skiing at Ski Camp (campers affected by muscle loss or amputations due to cancer), shooting clay pigeons at Leadership Camp (campers with exceptional leadership qualities), leading archery at Camp Wildfire (spina bifida, cerebral palsy and PKU patients), dancing the night away at Kamp Courage (kidney/spina bifida/diabetes), and teaching older campers life lessons at Transitions Camp (campers striving to succeed at adult life)  These camps have significantly contributed to making a life changing impact on these campers’ lives. 


“Camp Cavett has allowed me to finally put the puzzle pieces together.  Going through chemotherapy and experiencing cancer leaves us all confused – with a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends.  At camp, we relate to each other – and we are the only people in the world that can improve each other based on each individual’s personal struggles and experiences.  We live such different lives from the rest of the world.  When we come to camp, for once, we’re normal.”  - Paige (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). 

 Outside of volunteering time, others have generously given and raised thousands of dollars so that these special children can enjoy camps free of charge. These camps and events are not possible without the extreme generosity of private donations. The Oklahoma community has become a mountain of support for Cavett Kids Foundation and its many campers.  

  Cavett Kids Foundation - Three C’s:

  1.  Teach Coping Skills in a nurturing, fun environment;
  2.  Build Character by reinforcing positive expectations and encouraging personal growth;
  3.  Establish meaningful Connections between children who often feel isolated from their peers.

 These are the “Three C’s” that the Cavett Kids Foundation strives to instill in every camper – the cornerstone of the Cavett Kids’ philosophy, and the main reason that Cavett Kids’ events so often become a transformative experience for both campers and volunteers. 

 What started with one camp and a dream has now become six camps serving over 400 children with various life-threatening and chronic illnesses each year.  The diagnoses may differ – leukemia, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease to name just a few – and the treatments and outcomes may vary, but a common experience links all campers, creating a unique environment where children hear stories that sound remarkably like their own.  For many, camp is the only place where these children feel truly understood, where they never feel left out.   Cavett Kids also helps over 12,000 children and their families through a partnership with University of Oklahoma Physicians called Diversionary Play. 

 Camp fosters independence and self-sufficiency; it creates a sense of being able to do normal things while dealing with extraordinary challenges.  In the process, support systems are formed, friendships that campers can rely on long after camp is over and the hardships of normal life have resumed.  Children feel it and parents see it.  Children come home, tired but happy, fortified by fun and sunshine, excited about the challenges they faced and the friendships they made, instilled with newfound feelings of independence, and – most important of all – proud of themselves and all that they accomplished.  When Cavett Kids go back to school in the fall, they’ll have their own camp stories to tell - just another ordinary summer camp experience in the Oklahoma sunshine.  Isn’t that extraordinary?

             Cavett Kids Foundation: "Where illness does not define the child."  

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Oklahoma City Harvest is an educational program of OKC Beautiful. The program is committed to providing and supporting gardens in school yards within at-risk communities. 

We currently have 24 gardens growing in schoolyards across the metro area. These gardens serve as outdoor classrooms, teaching gardens, work spaces, and art studios. We emphasize that the school garden is a beautiful, quiet, and healthy outdoor space in which to learn. With all of the funding challenges facing our public schools, we believe that visits to the school garden can function as an “in-school field trips”. 


We continue to support our school gardens with ongoing plantings, seeds, soil amendments and curriculum support. In our next phase, we will begin focusing on programming and helping new and veteran teachers to cultivate lots of great learning opportunities that expand beyond the scope of classroom learning. We know that classroom innovators can find ways to utilize garden produce in culinary lessons, nutrition learning, and healthier living lessons.  We know that children are more likely to sample veggies that they’ve helped grow. We know that a fresh air gardening adventure enhances student learning, improves classroom behavior and can even impact teacher morale. 

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P.O. Box 21210, Oklahoma City, OK 73156   (405) 488-1450   Email us

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