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21c Cincinnati to host international art competition's Pitch Night

Local individuals will have the unique opportunity to gain an advantage in the spotlight among international artists, as 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati will host ArtPrize’s Pitch Night next month.
 
The event is designed to give local artists a boost, while expanding the work of ArtPrize—a nonprofit venture and annual competition that takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich.
 
The goal of the competition is to bring more than 1,500 individuals together to expose and fund the work of emerging artists.
 
“In Cincinnati, there’s a wide range of talented artists working in all mediums—many of whom have been educated by the outstanding arts education institutions, and I feel certain there are a number of wonderful artists in Cincinnati who deserve to have broader exposure on a national stage,” says Alice Gray Stites, 21c’s chief curator and director of art programming.
 
Participation in ArtsPrize would afford local artists that opportunity, says Gray Stites, who wants to see all area artists submit proposals for Pitch Night, in which five chosen finalists will present their pitches to compete for a $5,000 grant to bring their ArtPrize idea to fruition and receive a guaranteed installment space within the competition’s 19-day, three-square-mile exhibition.
 
“ArtPrize shares our dedication to the art of today and especially that of emerging artists,” Gray Stites says. “So we hope all interested Cincinnati-based artists will participate, and we encourage the art community and public to come to the discussion.”
 
Do Good:

Contact ArtPrize for inquiries regarding the application process, and submit your proposal. 

• Attend Pitch Night Cincinnati May 22 at 21c. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the website for more details.

• Like ArtPrize on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


NKU students use grafitti as vehicle to fund nonprofits

For students like Jason Hulett, community-building events are invaluable when it comes to presenting ideas, raising awareness, sparking conversations and making a difference in the lives of others.
 
GraffitiFest, which took place last week, constitutes one of those events, says Hulett, a Northern Kentucky University senior entrepreneurship major and GraffitiFest lead organizer.
 
“I just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have graffiti on campus? And then, wouldn’t it be cool if we could provide graffiti to people on campus? And if we’re going to hold an event, we might as well do it for a good cause,'” Hulett says.
 
So likeminded students from an event planning class came together to bring graffiti artists, local musicians, vendors, teams of entrepreneurship students and the general public together to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits who provide relief to others.
 
“We wanted to show graffiti in a positive light because it gets a bad rep with vandalism and all that. But if we were going to raise money, we wanted to do it for social good and not just personal gain,” Hulett says. “So it goes toward artists and nonprofits—no CEOs—the university makes no money off this. So that was important to us.”
 
Proceeds from the event, in which graffiti artists’ work from the day was auctioned off, totaled about $1,500 dollars, which will be split down the middle to benefit artists as well as charities.
 
“It was a celebration of an artform that we think is underutilized and underappreciated, and it created an opportunity for something different to shine in a light that’s more positive,” Hulett says. “Some of the causes of the nonprofit—especially Revive the Heart with human trafficking—people don’t want to hear about that. But if you present it in that kind of format, you get a better response because people are more willing to participate.” 

Do Good:

• Like GraffitiFest's Facebook page, as the students plan to make this at least an annual event. 

• Follow GraffitiFest on Twitter.

• Support local artists and nonprofits you're passionate about.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Rooted communities at The Civic Garden Center

The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s annual plant sale is just two weeks away.
 
It’s the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event and brings plant lovers of all kinds together to talk, shop and have all their gardening questions answered by other likeminded individuals—all while helping The Civic Garden Center raise enough money to fund one of its programs for an entire calendar year.
 
“That allows us to do our youth education programming, or it allows us to do community gardens for another year. It’s substantial,” says Vickie Ciotti, executive director. “If we did not have this fundraiser, we would have to eliminate one of our programs, so that’s like saying, 'You can’t keep all your children.' How would you decide?”

For Ciotti, the gardening, education and environmental programs all build camaraderie; and everyone involved—whether it's one of the 500 volunteers who assist the nonprofit, or the visitor who happens upon the unlikely refuge nestled within the city—feels welcome.
 
“You see people who you haven’t seen in a long time, and it’s the most enjoyable, relaxed fundraiser I’ve ever been a part of,” Ciotti says. “There’s just this spirit to the place—we see people as they are, meet people where they are—and it’s not a pretentious group of people at all.”

Do Good:

Register for the plant sale's preview party. 

• Attend the plant sale is May 3-4. View details here.

Volunteer with the Civic Garden Center.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


 

Local small biz owners launch app to increase charitable giving

When Daniel Graff, Giveunity co-founder, heard his friend’s—and now, business partner’s—story about how he tried to donate money to a homeless shelter, but couldn’t, he knew something needed to change.
 
“He had seen something downtown that triggered the idea of donating to this shelter,” Graff says.
 
“So by the time he got home and found the shelter on his laptop and he went to their little online website donation page, and it wouldn’t take some of his data, and he had to re-fill out the form, and as he tells it, the dog started barking, had to go out, and the wife came home—long story short—after an hour of trying to give them money and couldn’t, he just gave up.”
 
So Graff and his wife, designers and owners of Graff Designs Inc., and their two friends—both of MOBA Interactive—had dinner and put their heads together to come up with an idea for a smartphone app that allows individuals to donate to a local nonprofit in just three easy clicks.

With the Graffs' design skills and MOBA Interactive partners' technological expertise, the four were able to combine their knowledge to create and launch the app this past February. 

It's completely free for everyone to use, as the four app developers funded the project completely on their own, and within its first 50 days in the app store, it received 1,800 profile views. According to Graff, the top donation so far is $500 dollars, with the average contribution being about $38 dollars; and the money reaches the nonprofit instantly.

"What's been really fun for us is that we've had nonprofits showing up on the app that we didn't even know existed, and that's kind of the idea of the 'explore' section, but I've had my business now for 18 years and just wanted to do something to give back to Cincinnati," Graff says. "We don't always have the funds to donate to nonprofits, but we certainly have the time and talent to build this and give back."
 

Do Good:

Download the free app today.

• Like Giveunity's Facebook page, and tell your friends.

• If you're a nonprofit, register for free and create your profile and $GiveTag.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

UC promotes inventiveness, innovation among students

University of Cincinnati associate professor Catalin Macarie says he wants the next innovation like Google or Facebook to come from a UC student.
 
In order to help make that happen, he took on a leadership role in rebranding the Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch, which he expanded from last year to create a university-wide opportunity, open to all majors.
 
“My ultimate goal, and this is pretty much my dream: to stop the brain drain that happened for so many years in Cincinnati,” Macarie says. “And get all these students the opportunity to stick around and continue with their ideas to have support, money and a place to help make this a solid, thriving community for young entrepreneurs, innovators and young startups.”
 
Macarie put this year’s event together, as 113 registered teams of students were given 90 seconds to present their pitches to judges and potential investors from within the local entrepreneurship community.
 
Cash prizes of up to $1,000 dollars were awarded for the top three ideas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a separate award was set aside for a social enterprise.
 
The money is intended to help kick-start a plan of action, and in the case of this year’s winners, it covers everything from innovations with footwear to pharmaceuticals. 
 
“It’s all about the spirit and getting the confidence,” Macarie says. “It’s about carrying out the name of UC. It’s not inert—it’s an active, dynamic position for UC to work with the entrepreneurship community, with innovation—it’s a nice synergy going forward where every side is really helping each other.”
 
Do Good:

• Keep up with the event website, and get involved in next year's competition. 

• Spread the word. 

Connect with Catalin Macarie if you're interested in sponsoring a student or learning about a project.
 
By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Meet neighbors, fund community-based ideas at Cincinnati SOUP

The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission hosted its first Cincinnati SOUP event last month and awarded $132 dollars to Elevate Walnut Hills, which is a coalition of individuals working to ensure engagement and knowledge throughout the community’s revitalization efforts.
 
SOUP is a model based on something done in Detroit, where individuals join together over a potluck dinner to bond and share ideas, which they then vote on and fund something they care about by combining small donations.
 
“We were interested in how this initiative that was started by four or five people became a citywide movement that’s literally led to the funding of dozens of projects,” says Christina Brown, CHRC’s community outreach and engagement coordinator. “It’s a way to find unique projects that individuals can literally pay for themselves within their communities.”
 
The CHRC plans to host SOUP events bi-monthly to give individuals opportunities to find ways to fuel creativity and make a real difference within the City of Cincinnati.
 
And the best part, according to Brown, is that anyone can get involved.
 
“It can be startup funding. If you want to start a dads and donuts club where you have dads come together and give donuts to kids, you don’t need a nonprofit for that, but they need money to purchase the donuts,” Brown says. “You don’t have to be affiliated with a 501c3. You can just be a concerned citizen.” 

Do Good:

• Keep up with the CHRC website so you know when the next Cincinnati SOUP event will take place. Plan to attend or potentially present your idea.

• Get to know your neighbors.

• Like the CHRC's page on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.


Personal Guardianship Services connects with clients by taking family dogs on visits

Wanda Bevington founded Personal Guardianship Services in 2003, and since that time, the nonprofit has served the needs of its clients by helping them make integral financial and medical decisions.
 
“We’re court-appointed decision-makers,” Bevington says. “But we’re also that family member they don’t have.”
 
According to Bevington, no one wants to have a guardian, so it’s important to make the experience as meaningful as possible.
 
One way the guardians do that is by taking their personal pets, Haylee, Mocha, Sadie and Thor, respectively, along with them on nursing and group home visits.
 
“We had a client, and it initially seemed like there wasn’t anything we could do to connect with her,” Bevington says. “So we went to the nursing home, knocked on her door, and asked, ‘Do you like dogs?’ And the response was, 'No, I love dogs!’ And it’s that conversation piece—it calms people down—just being able to pet the dogs.”
 
Oftentimes, the visits from the guardians and their dogs are the only ones PGS clients have to look forward to; so the organization takes an initially difficult-to-accept situation for an individual and turns the experience into a positive one.
 
“We try to visit our clients every month, or someone from the office visits them every month. Even if it’s not a guardian, they really look forward to it,” Bevington says. “And once they begin to connect with us—most of our clients don’t have any visitors at all—it just really helps them.”

Do Good: 

Contact PGS if you're interested in becoming a board member, or if you would like to support the organization. 

• If you are a local groomer, contact Wanda if you would be interested in donating your services. Dogs require frequent grooming because of clients' fragile skin. 
 
• PGS just joined Facebook. Help welcome them to the social networking community by liking their page and sharing it with your friends.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Local teens play role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland

Jennifer Redmond’s a Cincinnatian with some Irish heritage, but until a couple years ago, she hadn’t heard about Ulster Project Cincinnati, which places teens from the Northern Irish town of Enniskillen with local teens and host families to engage in community service, relationship building and important dialogue.
 
“We had a young lady named Emma, and she taught us a lot about life,” says Redmond, Ulster Project Cincinnati’s host committee chair. “She’s very wise for being only 15 years old, and a lot of these kids are—which is why they’re chosen.”
 
The teens come here because they intend to become leaders, Redmond says.
 
Northern Ireland is a region divided because of religious differences and a struggle for power; but the goal of the Ulster Project is to bring both Protestant and Catholic teens together in a safe environment to discuss their differences and begin finding ways to connect.
 
“Even though there was a ceasefire there in the early 2000s, they really live in a very extreme society—there are peace walls to separate different neighborhoods—Catholics live in different neighborhoods; there are different sports teams, segregated schools, different flags,” Redmond says. “It’s a very separated society, but the U.S. is considered neutral ground, so they get to meet each other and leave as friends.”
 
According to Redmond, the neat part is getting to see the ways their work and fellowship in Cincinnati translate to life in Northern Ireland.
 
“Thanks to Facebook and social media, we can watch what happens when they go back, and it’s beautiful to see,” Redmond says.
 
“At one point, we had a Protestant teen and a Catholic teen stay with us, and they’ve gone back to their own country and made these arrangements online with each other. They go to each other’s sporting events, and the parents are starting to meet—and that’s what it’s all about. We set the foundation, and our kids act as conduits for peace.” 

Do Good: 

• Consider being a host family.

Support Ulster Project Cincinnati. Business sponsorships are always welcome. 

• Learn about the history of Northern Ireland, and check out this video about Irish Reconiciliation.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Girls on the Run to celebrate 10 years and 10,000 girls

Girls on the Run Cincinnati will celebrate its 10-year anniversary May 10 as 104 teams of girls cross the finish line of what will be, for many of them, their first 5k

“We like to say it’s a party with a race at the end,” says Mary Gaertner, GotR senior program manager. 

And according to Gaertner, there’s a lot to celebrate this season. In addition to 10 years of inspiring third- through eighth-grade girls with self-confidence, the nonprofit will also celebrate coaching its 10,000th girl. 

“There’s definitely a few girls I can think of that this is maybe the first physical activity they’ve done, and they went on to run cross country in high school,” Gaertner says. “Or they credit it with giving them the confidence to stand up to bullies or to pursue other goals they have.” 

By the time the race occurs, the girls will have spent six hours a week for the past 12 weeks engaging in a lesson-based curriculum that incorporates running; so the event is a culmination of their hard work. 

“My favorite thing is to stand at the finish line, and when you see the girls coming and they see that finish line in site, they understand what they’ve done,” Gaertner says. “It’s a delayed gratification to work 12 weeks for something—it’s significant.” 

Do Good:

• Support GotR by registering for the 5k or by volunteering at the event. 

• If you are participating in a race with any organization, support GotR by joining the SoleMates program.

Register your girl for the fall session of GotR, or sign up to be a volunteer coach.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Poverty simulation provides deeper understanding of being poor

It’s one thing to read about and become knowledgeable about the culture of poverty, but for Joan Kaup, executive director of Social Venture Partners Cincinnati, it doesn’t compare to actually living the experience.
 
SVP Cincinnati is composed of engaged philanthropists who assist nonprofits in better achieving their missions; so for Kaup, truly understanding what it’s like to live in poverty will help SVP better serve its investees.
 
“I want the deeper understanding. I want the empathy,” Kaup says.
 
To gain that deeper understanding, SVP is producing a poverty simulation for its partner units and anyone else that wants to have a conversation about why 316,000 adults and 167,000 children from the Tri-State are living in poverty, and what can be done about it.
 
“We’ll come in and get our personalities, so maybe we’re paired with two other people—one of the kids is in sixth grade, one’s dropped out of high school, mom has a medical condition,” Kaup says.
 
“You’ll have 10-minute ‘days’ only to find that now here you are out of time, out of money—you used all your food stamps, public transportation is running late, you didn’t get to your job on time, didn’t get your children on time—it’s these kinds of things that happen with the lifestyle.”
 
The event will take place Thursday from 5:30-8 p.m. at The E.W. Scripps Company.
 
“In this country we now have a culture of poverty,” Kaup says. “You have families who are third-generation poverty—it’s a different mindset and culture—so how can we learn to respect and support each other from a cultural standpoint?” 

Do Good: 

RSVP to attend the poverty simulation.

• If you're interested in learning more about venture philanthropy, contact Joan Kaup. 

• Consider becoming a partner.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Singing with neighbors at Northside Tavern

A group of about 20 individuals, all who love to sing, join together once a month at Northside Tavern to bond with one another, learn a song, rehearse it and perform it—all in a matter of three hours.
 
Sing! Cincinnati is just one of Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati’s initiatives aimed at building a sense of community around shared interests.
 
“Inevitably, someone will always come to the back and talk about how back in college, they used to be involved in xyz choir or some choral group—something they had done previously—but then because of getting in a career, they put it by the wayside, but continue to miss it since they stopped doing it,” says Michael Heckmann, who serves as project manager for some of Starfire’s community-based initiatives, like Sing! Cincinnati.
 
“There’s not a lot of time pressure: You show up, you practice, you sing—it’s all in one night.”
 
The project just started a few months ago, but so far, the small group has performed “For the Longest Time,” “Pure Imagination” and “Happy.”
 
“I've thoroughly enjoyed helping take familiar songs and bring them to life with the amazing people that come to the events,” says Ali Marvin, one of Sing! Cincinnati’s directors. “I can't express how overwhelmed I am by the response from those who have come and can’t wait to see more of Cincinnati start singing together.”
 
Any individual who enjoys meeting neighbors and singing is encouraged to join in, as it helps Starfire to fulfill its mission of bringing people together.
 
“We want to make sure that everyone in the community is seen for their gifts and talents and the contributions they can make to society,” Heckmann says. “Those contributions lead to the building of relationships and growing of respect for all people.”

Do Good:

• Like Sing! Cincinnati on Facebook.

• Attend the next Sing! Cincinnati gathering at Northside Tavern April 23 from 6-9 p.m.

• Bring a friend. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Join in effort to reforest NKY

More than 300 volunteers will join together to plant 2,500 trees this Saturday at Northern Kentucky Urban Forestry Council’s annual project, Reforest Northern Kentucky.
 
NKYUFC tree leaders will spend the morning educating volunteers and showing them where to go onsite to plant the proper tree in the proper place.
 
“There’s different trees that need to be planted in different areas,” says Tara Sturgill, environmental specialist at the Northern Kentucky University Center for Environmental Restoration and PR chair for Reforest NKY.
 
“We want people to know where to plant to get the right species. We want them to grow and stay in the ground and not be cut down, so we’re really trying to educate people on right tree, right place.”
 
One of NKYUFC’s goals is to educate the public about community trees, which is important because when a non-native tree is growing in an area, it creates an unstable environment and must be cut down.
 
City of Covington Urban Forester Crystal Courtney has recently been working to cut down Bradford Pear Trees, for example, which Sturgill says the neighborhood is upset about because the trees are so big and have been there for so long.
 
“But they’re not the proper trees for that place—they’re invasive species,” Sturgill says. “So she’s spent a lot of time cutting those downs, and they’re taking a weekend where people can come out and plant a native tree. But had that education been there years ago, there would be no need for that; so that’s what we’re trying to do with Reforest Northern Kentucky—educate.” 

Do Good:

• Pre-registration for Reforest NKY is closed, but you can still volunteer to plant trees. Get the event details here. If you volunteer, consider carpooling. 

Volunteer April 5-6 to replace the Bradford Pear Trees by planting native trees in Covington.

Contact the NKYUFC to learn proper tree planting techniques, in addition to what types of trees should be planted in particular areas. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Philanthropic biz recognized for creating positive social and environmental impact

A 17-year long career in consulting wasn’t enough for Kelly Dolan, co-founder and CEO of Ingage Partners. There was something missing.
 
“Myself and my business partner Michael Kroeger got to the point in our careers where we felt like there was something different we could be doing that’s more purposeful and more fulfilling,” Dolan says.
 
“So we decided to start up Ingage Partners with the prospect of leveraging what we know—the consulting industry—to create a company that thinks differently, and hopefully inspires and engages people to think differently.”
 
After just three years of being in business, Ingage Partners has already etched its place in the B Corp (benefit corporation) community, as it was recently recognized for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact by nonprofit B Lab, with the release of its B Corp Best for the World list.
 
“The model that B Corp is trying to present is this idea that, ‘No, my company’s not best in the world. We’re trying to be the best for the word,’” Dolan says.
 
Ingage is one of 92 businesses worldwide recognized, which puts it in the top 10 percent of the 990 total B Corporations nationally.
 
According to Dolan, when she and Kroeger started Ingage, they knew they wanted a strong focus on giving back to the community.
 
So, each year, the company gives 25 percent of its profits to charity. Ingage employees are also given four hours per month for paid volunteer time off. And there’s a program in place where Ingage matches donations of its employees when they give to an organization or cause they’re particularly passionate about.
 
“What we’re trying to do is inspire and engage people to do things differently—try to give back more to the community so that our business can be used for that force for good,” Dolan says. “It’s about modeling that. It’s about our employees giving of their talents, giving of their time, as well as building some momentum around this idea of using business for good.” 

Do Good: 

• Use the #bthechange hashtag to show how you're using business as a force for good. 

• Consider ways you can begin to use business for good. It starts with an individual. 

• Like Ingage Partners on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Local twins found nonprofit, collect books for kids in need

For 11-year old twins Hannah and Alex Laman, reading books is a shared passion.
 
“It gives you a chance to visualize everything in your head—like movies—you just see it when you read,” Hannah says. “I go to the bookstore a lot—and I just can’t imagine not reading or having books to read.”
 
So in 2011, when Hannah and Alex’s parents shared a newspaper article about students at Quebec Heights Elementary School who were without books, the seed for Adopt A Book was planted.
 
“We wanted to be able to help them, because it didn’t seem like any other people were, and we felt like we needed to,” Hannah says.
 
So Hannah and Alex collected their first book donation to deliver to the school. But their efforts to help others didn’t stop there.
 
“They really wanted it to be an organization they could be responsible for, and [through which they could] provide even more,” says Angela Laman, Hannah and Alex’s mother.
 
So they formed the nonprofit Adopt A Book, and since November of 2011, they’ve delivered more than 37,000 books to students who are at-risk or in need.
 
The nonprofit operates out of the Laman residence, and Angela and her husband take Hannah and Alex on book runs, where they deliver about 800 books at a time.
 
“My husband and I both work full-time, so we have other commitments, and they have other things going on with their sports and extracurriculars, and we never thought, ‘OK, let’s carve out 10-20 more hours a week toward this venture, which wasn’t something we ever expected,” Laman says. “But we’ve just supported their efforts, and we’re glad that we did. It’s been an eye opening experience for all of us.”
 
Laman says the twins don’t truly understand why there’s such a need and that it’s disheartening that the need is so high (they’ve delivered books to 47 different places), but it’s important to her children to continue collecting books and taking them to children who are less privileged than themselves.
 
“It’s so important that people donate books, because if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have any books,” Alex says. “And we need books to donate because they help kids learn to say more words—they know more, they can learn in books.” 

Do Good:

Support Adopt A Book by helping the Lamans purchase a laptop or tablet for their work. 

Support Adopt A Book by donating new or used books, in addition to things like office supplies and gas cards to help with deliveries.

• Like Adopt A Book on Facebook, and contact the Lamans if you would like to volunteer with deliveries or offer space as a book collection/storage site. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


 

Fidelity mentors CPS students through JA's Economics for Success

About 100 students from Western Hills University High School gathered at Fidelity Investments last week for a daylong session of Junior Achievement’s Economics for Success.
 
At the workshop, which was led by Fidelity employees volunteering with the program, students learned various concepts, such as economic self-awareness, budgeting, and the advantages and disadvantages of using credit and debit cards.
 
“One student said he learned it’s very important to stay within your budget; and for kids nowadays, they don’t have a clue on that, because everybody spends everything they’ve got,” says Carol Burns, vice president of education at Junior Achievement of OKI Partners, Inc.
 
In addition to the valuable takeaways, students ate lunch with Fidelity employees who served as mentors and were able to have real conversations with students about things like career aspirations.
 
“They got to ask questions about that person’s job and things like that, so that was a real important part,” Burns says. “Then they did a tour at Fidelity so they could witness and see people at work, so that’s good so that they see a variety of jobs and that certain jobs take a higher level of education, while some are at a more basic level of education.”
 
Burns says it was evident that the lunch session played an impactful role in students’ lives. For example, one student told her he learned it’s important to have a backup plan.
 
“I thought that was good terminology because he wanted to be an NFL football star,” Burns says.
 
“So he says, ‘If that doesn’t work, I’ll be a chef’—a little different end of the spectrum—but at least he understood the concept, because I have people that say they’re going to be an NBA star, and the new things for girls—it used to be a model—but now they want to be a reality star. So it tells us, ‘I need a backup plan,’ and that’s a great message.” 

Do Good:

• Sign up to volunteer with JA.

Support JA by sponsoring a student.

• Like JA on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 
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