Grantee Updates–The Ojai Valley Youth Foundation 

Feb 29, 2024 | 0 comments

In this ongoing series, we bring you news about how our grant funds are being put to work in our community. As we continue interviewing our grantee leaders, we’re reminded how much talent, passion, and cooperation exists among our grantee organizations – past and present.

A peek at the calendar on the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation’s website reveals the broad range of interests among our valley’s youth. Horseback riding and cooking classes always have a waitlist. Marine robotics and underwater exploration? Sure! Want to design your dream car? Just sign up! Want to write rock’ n roll music and form a band? Ojai’s community of talented musicians is ready to coach you. Are you interested in learning to play the Taiko drums on Ojai Day? You can! Confused about going to college? OVYF will take you on campus tours.

The best part? All courses are free to any middle or high school-age student in the Ojai Valley. How is this possible? Grants like the one from the Ojai Women’s Fund and gifts from businesses and individuals help power these programs. Collaborations with other organizations and individuals expand the offerings.

Jamie Fleming, Executive Director, is the force driving the program. Many know Jamie from the Ojai Chamber of Commerce. As CEO in 2018, he injected his enthusiasm and skills to help pull the Ojai business community together after the Thomas fire. Before that, he was an executive at Disney and Universal Studios, running national promotions for motion picture releases. Simultaneously, he helped turn around significant museums and institutions nationwide that needed to refresh their relationships with donors and audiences.

Jamie’s creative mind and marketing magic are a perfect fit to capture the imagination of young people in our community. He knows people – literally and figuratively. He instinctively knows what kids like and the people who want to share their talent and expertise. He also knows many leaders in government and non-profit communities, including many former OWF grantees. These relationships have helped him build an exciting and diverse program that exposes our youth to occupations and hobbies they might never have considered, or that were beyond their reach.

Do you have a skill or talent to share with kids? Do you have time to chaperone groups of kids? The Ojai Valley Youth Foundation welcomes your participation!

Photo captions:

  1. OVYF field trip to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to study environmental issues along the Santa Barbara Coastline
  2. Popular OVYF after-school cooking class at Nordhoff High School
  3. Jamie Fleming presenting at OWF Grant Celebration