PIP was founded in 1986 Sr. Judy Tensing, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and Sr. Barbara Wheeler, a Dominican Sister of Hope, when a group of women in the West End community of Cincinnati wanted to be more independent of welfare assistance. These women were determined to make a better life and see that their children stayed in school. Meeting on a regular basis opened up their lives to new opportunities and was PIP's grassroots beginning.
Over the years, PIP has built a variety of employment opportunities through small businesses, including catering, sewing, screen printing; light carpentry in our office in the West End Center. In 1990, PIP was offered the opportunity to buy Venice Pizza, an old pizza parlor on Marshall and McMicken. We bought the business and equipment for $950 and, with help from several business partners, set out to learn to make pizza. Our catering business continued in the West End, serving churches and schools. The two programs served different customers, needs, and trainees. 1990 also began PIP's Annual All You Can Eat Brunch, held each year in September.
In 2003, we added a job coach to our staff and began to add more inservice trainings.In 2004, our Venice building was sold and we decided to move to Over-the-Rhine. It took $250,000 two years, and the work of many volunteers including students and faculty of the University of Cincinnati and Miami University to renovate a vacant store front into a friendly restaurant.We had special assistance from Roy Kaiser, who supervised all the construction, and Ruth Cronenburg who ran the capital campaign. In 2005 the Board determined the need for an Executive Director to stabilize and build on the wonderful programs initiated by Sr. Barbara and Sr. Judy. Rina Saperstein was hired as director in December 2006.
In September 2006, PIP moved to its current location; the first new restaurant/low skill employer on Vine Street in a decade. The move consolidated our operations in one location, increased our visibility as a community organization and put us into an area where demand for our services has increased dramatically.
In May 2007, Sr. Barbara Wheeler, one of the two founders, retired. She remains involved as a volunteer. We also began our successful annual "Sweetheart Raffle" chaired by Ruth Ann Ravenna and offered each year in February. In 2008, we added Lunch and Learn increased focus on academic tutoring to the program because we see math, English, computers and the GED as major keys to successful employment. Tutoring compliments the teamwork, problem solving, attendance, cooking, cleaning and cash management skills taught on the job. Sales in our restaurant and catering programs continue to increase, and our training program is growing to serve trainees in a more structured way.
Hundreds of Cincinnatians have found work and a supportive community at Venice throughout the years, as trainees, volunteers, teachers, donors and more. A HUGE PIP thanks to everyone who helped us out along the way.
PIP was founded in 1986 Sr. Judy Tensing, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and Sr. Barbara Wheeler, a Dominican Sister of Hope, when a group of women in the West End community of Cincinnati wanted to be more independent of welfare assistance. These…