About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

ABOUT US:

 

O.C.A.R.E. Inc., stands for Owsley County Alliance for Recreation & Entertainment Incorporated. 

Our mission is to improve our county by bringing new social, cultural, educational and economic opportunities to our small, yet wonderful community.

O.C.A.R.E. INC., became a 501(c)3 not for profit organization in October of 2014.  Our group provides recreation, entertainment and educational opportunities in Owsley County through the work of our sub-groups the Owsley County Parent Task-force, Seale Theater Project and Booneville Entertainment Center. 

The members of OCARE partner with the Owsley County School District, the City of Booneville, Owsley County Fiscal Court and others to support enriching activities, programs and events to our community.   Our organization wants to improve the lives of the families of Owsley County.

 

Check out Information about the Subcommittees and Projects of O.C.A.R.E. Inc.

  

Come see our unique county and experience what we have to experience #OnlyInOwsley 

OCARE and these subcommittees and projects hold quarterly meetings on the 2nd Thursday of January, April, July and October at the Owsley County Action Team starting at 5:30 p.m. 

Our Story

Owsley County Alliance for Recreation and Entertainment 

Booneville?  Bypass or destination?

When you look around Owsley, you probably see beautiful fields, mountains, a few pristine places on the river and a place we call home.  Sadly, we also homelessness, addiction, trash, blight and hopelessness. Regardless of that, there is hope, good people and a place we get up to fight a battle against drug addiction, poverty and despair.  

In October of 2014, Owsley County Alliance for Recreation and Entertainment Incorporated became a federally recognized 501C3 non-profit organizations. The work that we are currently doing started in 2010 with a place-based education school project.  The goal was to see if there was a possibility of restoring the old theater.  A place for positive recreation for at risk youth and families. There are many different layers to OCARE. Much like an onion.

Since our inception, we have delivered programming to our community in multiple different ways.  Let me also clarify, that we have done this with no paid staff but only with a dedicated group of volunteers.  OCARE has two subcommittees.  One is the Parent Taskforce (which we adopted in order to become their fiscal agent) and we provide mentoring for at-risk youth (most especially middle school boys).  That is when most youth begin to develop a sense of self & we try to help them understand behavior is a choice.  Good and bad.  Another program that we offer is supporting Adults Raising Other’s Children. Or AROC.  It was started in 2012 because 21.6% of our children were being raised by someone other than a parent.  Thankfully that number has decreased by almost half, but we still have work to do. However, the main purpose we started OCARE was because of the Seale Theater Project. Since 2014, we began the process of finding ways to buy & restore the old theater.  In December 2015, the Owsley County Action Team graciously donated space for us to open The BEC to show pre-released & licensed movies to the public & to write & produce original plays.  At first, things were a little slow, but we began building momentum & our movies drew people from Wolfe, Lee, Breathitt & Perry Counties.  Many of our customers would mention that they came & made an evening of it.  They would eat at Bus Stop & or Spencer’s & enjoy our little facility.  We began getting reservations for fields trips from Highland Turner, Lee County Head Start, Dessie Scott Children’s Home, Buckhorn’s Childrens Home & Save the Children as well as some others.  Still our dilemma was being able to afford the Seale until a good friend spoke on our behalf & we were able to purchase the Seale in December of 2018 for a much better price. 

By the time COVID hit, we had a patronage growth of 440%.  Our Community Theater Group - which consists of roughly 12-14 actors & actresses ranging from 13-70+) does plays that are popular and we sell out the house at almost every showing.

When the governor shut facilities like ours down in 2020, we had no source of income & things were looking about as dim as the marquee on the Seale.  We didn’t know how we were going to make our mortgage payments and other bills.  Non-profits were hit especially hard (refer to the documentation about non-profits statistics during COVID) We weren’t eligible for traditional CARES funding.  After many attempts at finding ways to make it until things eased up, we did yard sales.  During that time,we were reapplying for the EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant to abate the hazardous materials in the building.  It is critical to the building’s redevelopment.  Regardless of the situation, we still had to make payments in order to have a building to clean.  Then along came the 2nd Chance Thrift Store idea. 

We co-op’d our facility into a thrift store.  It was slow at first but it has always been gaining momentum.  The greatest growth that we’ve had though is to provide a place to some young mom’s (soon to be five of them) as they serve on the Ready to Work program & go to school.  We provide them a non-profit place to serve where they are learning skills such as media, store, administrative & soon to be website management.  We haven’t gone back to movies yet, but we have plays.  One in June and an upcoming one in October. However, COVID hampered out ability to keep on our trajected fundraising path.  But it did and we find ourselves at the cusp of something major. 

As many know, we won our very competitive EPA Grant Award for 305,844.00 in 2021 & as of Friday, September 9, 2022 we sent out a bid advertisement to hire a remediation contractor by possibly November.  You see, we got into this for the long haul.  This isn’t something we were flighty about & wasn’t willing to put some skin in the game over.  We are still standing.  Through obstacles, challenges, lack of funds & a bounty of naysayers.  But that’s okay.  Sometimes you have to go on, no matter who is willing to go with you. 

Our project, when completed will increase visitors & revenue at our gas stations & local restaurants.  There will be roughly seven new jobs created by opening the building.  There will be two businesses in the Seale. It will not only fulfill our original intent, but we will continue plays, show pre-released movies and a venue for local and traveling musicians & performers to come & perform.  Much like at the Mountain Arts Center. 

Within the last six months our organization has been accepted into a pilot program with Mountain Association (formerly MACED ). In this program we have learned about money that non-profit arts organizations like ours can legitimately have access to.  We are here today to request financial support from the ARPA funds that our county received.  Without our ability to fundraise successfully because of the lockdowns, we are financially behind in order to be able to afford to replace our roof and repair the outer foundational wall where it has crumbled.  The structural engineer has deemed it sound but suggests that we address these issues quickly.  We learned through NACO about the amounts each county and city received. Our quote is roughly $_______ to repair that. Tragically, our grant won’t fix these two things & what good is a clean building without a roof.  We have received & estimate of 33, 458.00 to replace the roof and _____ to fix the foundation outer wall.  We are going to apply for an Endowment for the Humanities Capital grant that we’re hoping to get in the spring but our roof & foundation cannot wait until then...even if we get it this time.  We are asking that the county help us with the cost of these two items.  I understand that it may not seem like a normal ask but arts organizations are a big draw for an economy & we are optimistically ambitious that we will be able (with help) to possibly re-open the Seale by her 75th birthday in August.  We thank you for listening & we hope that we can count on you during this very pivotal moment in our progress.  We have stood through a lot on our own but we need your help and the help from the ARPA funds that are for helping non-profits like ours to get back on track with helping community health and our economy.  Thank you!

Meet The Board