In 2012, the OMIA Foundation recommitted to the youth growing up in the deindustrialized cities and suburbs of Michigan. The film “OUR DREAMS” shows the perspective of scholar-athletes and the realistic opportunities for youth through sports.
The OMIA Foundation works to enhance the lives of students by expanding the scope of learning.
“The OMIA Foundation was incorporated in 2007 while I was taking masters classes at Central Michigan University. I believe in pragmatic learning, so I performed an exercise in non-profit administration by actually going through with forming a 501c3 organization. At first, I personally funded an effort to get more music into classrooms. I would take my guitar and play music for preK-12 classrooms and bring a lesson along with the music. It was fun, but other professional obligations pulled me in another direction. That’s when we turned the OMIA Foundation into a scholarship source.” – John Girdwood, Executive Director
In 2008, the OMIA Foundation gave out its first scholarship to Megan Root. The initial scholarship was in memory of Pamela Woll (Neuhauser) who was on the rowing team at the University of Michigan. Pam was studying to become a doctor and was attending medical school when she passed away unexpectedly. Megan Root went to study Pharmacology at Ohio Northern University. She and Pam were both from Kenton, Ohio.
During 2009 and 2010, the OMIA Foundation created some lesson plans and was engaged in a few activities inside public schools. Girdwood continued to personally funded the organization to keep it operating as he searched for ways to continue the mission of the agency: Outside Movement Inside Academics.
June 29, 2010
Tampa Police officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab were shot and killed while on duty the morning of Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Kocab left behind a wife, Sara, who was nine months pregnant at the time. Jeff waited tables at a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Holt, Michigan. He also taught kids math and science with a traveling troupe and coached young actors with the Children’s Theater of Florida.
The OMIA Foundation made a $1,000 donation to the family with the intent that it be used for the child’s education fund. The child, Lilly Nicole, was born in July but did not survive. [read the story here]
September 18, 2010
Craig Anderson, father to three Holt student-athlete alumni, passes away. Craig was a Lansing area resident all of his life. He graduated from Everett High School in 1970. Craig then attended MSU and received his Bachelors of Psychology degree. He was a member of the Cedar Street Church since 2002. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 30 years of service. Craig loved his family, sports, grandma and grandpa trips, camping and the beach. He was a MSU fanatic. A loving husband, father, son, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend will be dearly missed by all. [read the obituary here]
The OMIA Foundation reached out to the Anderson brothers and started a scholarship fund in memory of Craig. The golf outing was not planned until later that year.
January 30, 2011
Taylyr Cochran, who played baseball at Holt High School less than a year earlier, tragically dies in a car accident. Taylyr was known for his sense of humor and goofiness. He was a 2010 graduate of Holt High School, and currently attended Lansing Community College. Taylyr played for various baseball teams in the area, and enjoyed golfing, fishing, snowboarding and skateboarding. He loved spending time with his sisters and friends. [read the obituary here]
At Taylyr’s wake, donations were made to the Craig Anderson scholarship fund. Later that Spring, the Cochran’s were contacted about continuing Taylyr’s legacy with a scholarship in his name. The annual golf outing now funds two scholarships, one to each student in the memories of Craig Anderson and Taylyr Cochran.