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Kadish family remains hopeful with support of Team Ethan

The past year has been what Ethan Kadish’s mother, Alexia, calls “a tremendous rollercoaster ride.”
Last summer, Ethan was nearing the age of 13. He shared a love for sports and musical theater and was the type of boy who his mother says, “everyone considered a friend.”
At camp, however, he sustained a serious injury, as he was struck by lightning on a clear June day.
“We’re very hopeful for his future, but realize it is going to take a long, long time to know where we’re going,” Alexia says. “So we continue to push forward every single day.”
Since the time of his injury, Ethan has spent months in and out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and his family has incurred more than 1 million dollars in medical expenses for therapies not covered by insurance.
But since mid-April, Ethan has been able to remain at home, and this August, he returned to school, as the family hopes to provide him with as many opportunities to stimulate his brain as possible.
And every little bit helps.
“When he was in the hospital last summer, he was going through this neurological episode the doctors call ‘storming,’” Alexia says. “And it’s basically where one’s brain is just trying so hard to fire up and make connections, and what results is a lot of agitation, frustration, confusion; and for Ethan, that came out in a lot of kind of moaning and crying.”
But thanks to medical treatments, various therapies and a community of volunteers who have supported the family through their work with Team Ethan, Ethan is now in a much better state of being.
“Ethan’s movements aren’t would I would call yet deliberate. He has movements, but they’re more reflexive versus purposeful. But he’s working so hard, and he’s vocalizing,” Alexia says. “We feel like he’s working so hard at his first words, and we’re very anxious to hear what those are going to be.”
Ethan, now 14, celebrated his birthday this past July at the Cincinnati Pops’ Broadway Sing-Along, and for the Kadish family, it was a celebration that, like many other everyday moments, reaffirms their hope for continued improvement in their son’s health.
“It was so cool and so up his alley, and the emotion on his face was just tremendous,” Alexia says. “He would smile really big, and his eyes just sparkled. It’s times like that we really just feel connected with him.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Ethan by donating to his fund at HelpHOPELive.

•    Read about ways to Help Team Ethan.

•    Support the Kadish family by attending Penny Friedman's art show September 12 and 21 at A. Maris Design. Friedman, an energy healer, has spent hundreds of hours volunteering with Team Ethan, and 10 percent of each painting sold will be donated to Ethan's fund at HelpHOPELive. Keep up with Team Ethan's Facebook page for details.

Impact 100 member grows, spreads philanthropic values to young members

Emily Throckmorton learned the value of philanthropy at a young age.
At age 18, she’s the youngest member of Impact 100, a group of women who work collectively to make a difference in the community by pooling funds to award significant grants to nonprofits.
Last year, the organization was able to provide Crayons to Computers and Easter Seals TriState | Building Value with $108,000 grants; and this year, membership has grown, so three nonprofits will receive $109,000 grants.
“You’re basically putting your faith in these organizations and choosing who you want to help and how you want to help them, and the whole experience is amazing,” says Throckmorton, who’s received membership as a gift for the past two years.
Throckmorton just began her freshman year at Purdue University, so as a college freshman, and certainly as a high school student, contributing to a philanthropic organization isn’t always financially feasible. But in Throckmorton’s case, her membership has been a much better gift than any material possessions could have been.
“This is something I will continue, not just at school, but through the rest of my life,” Throckmorton says. “Seeing the money they had spent the whole year raising going toward these amazing causes—I really want to stay involved and help out doing something like this because I love helping others.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out this year's five grant finalists, and attend the Annual Awards Celebration September 16 when this year's recipients will be announced. 

•    Help Impact 100 continue to grow. The organization is always looking for new members, particularly young professionals, so it can sustain itself and further its community impact for years to come. Consider joining.

•    If you're a nonprofit, learn about how to apply for next year's grant, and stay connected with the organization through Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates.

Children's Home high school focuses efforts to assist young adults with autism

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati’s High School for Students with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders, now in its fourth year of operation, is open for registration.
The alternative education setting offered to students between the ages of 14 and 21 is unique, according to Principal Amanda Tipkemper, in that the placement is geared specifically toward the young adult population—a population, she says, that is not often the focus of autism-related programs.
“There are a lot of early intervention and school-age services, and not a lot of services out there for teens,” says Tipkemper, who came into her role as principal after having run some social groups and “teen night out” programs where individuals with Asperger’s would go on fun outings with one another.
“The people who were running the high school, when it first began, would call me, and we’d collaborate and talk about the population we were serving,” Tipkemper says. “So now, in this role, I’m focused on this specific population, and it’s nice because I get to focus my energy.”
In the mornings, students receive grade-level instruction, but in the afternoons, students are divided into upper- and lower-classmen and focus on foundational skills like advocacy, self-regulation and transitioning into adulthood.
“The goal of the program is to not only support the student, but to support the family in transitioning to adulthood and get them prepared and as independent as they can possibly be,” Tipkemper says.
“What I tell families is that the goal is for you not to be doing this for your kids. You shouldn’t have to advocate for them or regulate when they’re overwhelmed or under-stimulated. We need to teach them these tools so they can go into adulthood and start doing it for themselves, and that’s really empowering for the kids.” 

Do Good:

•    Learn about the high school, and consider enrollment. 

•    Support The Children's Home of Cincinnati by donating.

•    Contact Amanda Tipkemper if you'd like to get involved by volunteering. From pizza parties and community outings with the kids, to gardening clubs and engineering programs, there are various ways to help out, depending on your interests. 

Top female chefs, local creatives join forces to benefit YWCA

Frannie Kroner’s longtime dream has been to host a collaborative dinner with Greater Cincinnati’s top female chefs, and this Sunday, she’ll have that opportunity.
“There really aren’t that many in comparison to male chefs, and I’ve always really admired the lineup we’ve had in this city,” Kroner says. “And I wanted to be more of a part of that community and try to bring everyone together, because this doesn’t happen very often.”
Kroner serves as executive chef at Sleepy Bee Café, where the event Showcase: Dinner for a Cause, which will benefit the YWCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter, will take place.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind to try to do more philanthropic things with food, because on a day-to-day basis, in a restaurant setting, you’re usually catering to people that can afford to come to the restaurant,” Kroner says. “So it’s nice to feel like you can give back to the community in a way that it’s still done through your craft.”
Ten chefs will collaborate on Sunday’s multi-course dinner, while female performing artists will provide entertainment. The evening’s table centerpieces— sculptures created through a collaborative effort with Brazee Street Studios’ C-LINK Presents: Showcase: Female Artists for a Cause—will be auctioned off as well.
Though proceeds from the event will benefit the YWCA, Kroner says she is looking forward to the event because it won’t necessarily feel like a fundraiser so much as it will be a celebration of the local talent that female creatives have to offer.
“Just bringing the female creative force all in one room—that’s always been something that in theory sounds super inspirational—and I can’t wait to be part of that group and feel the energy,” Kroner says. “We’re all going to be orchestrating together in the back as we prepare, and there aren’t that many female chefs, but I think that in general, it’s an underutilized group of people.” 

Do Good:

•    Reserve your spot at Showcase: Dinner for a Cause.

•    Support the YWCA by donating.

•    Volunteer with the YWCA.


Invisible Kids Project commits to improving lives of kids in foster care

After raising four children of her own, Deena Maley made the decision to become a foster parent. She’s currently on her second placement.
Maley is also committed to improving the lives of those in the system who are repeatedly left voiceless. She serves as director of operations for the Invisible Kids Project, a new nonprofit that launched this past Saturday.
Its mission: “To ensure and support the development and maintenance of a healthy, loving relationship for every child in the child protection system.”
According to Maley, the transition for children in foster care—if there is a transition at all—is a tough one.
“A lot of times they just pick them up, take them to this new home without maybe having even met this person—they maybe have never been to their house before,” Maley says. “It’s just a total switch of everything in their lives at a moment’s notice, and it’s hard on kids.”
To minimize traumatic changes—like abrupt moves and frequent switching of placements—is a huge goal the organization would like to accomplish, Maley says.
And though there are flaws within the system, the plan is to advocate for change in a positive and engaging way. According to Maley, it takes a community of individuals to make that happen.
“We’re not pointing fingers, and we’re not blaming anybody,” Maley says. “If they’re in the system, you pay for them to be there. So they’re your children too, and we all need to take care of them.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out IKP's website, and learn about ways you can help.

•    Support IKP by donating.

•    Use your skills to help a foster family by cooking a meal or mowing the lawn, for example.

Women's Crisis Center calls on community's help in Purple Purse Challenge

The Women's Crisis Center is one of 200 agencies nationwide competing for a $100,000 grant in the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge.
“Purple is the color for domestic violence, and the purse represents a financial domain,” says Victoria Parks, WCC development director. “And for somebody coming out of shelter, they don’t have anything. In order to stay out of an abusive situation, you need a sense of security.”
For five weeks, beginning September 2, the WCC will aim to raise as much money as possible, and if it is the winning agency at the culmination of the contest, it will receive the $100,000 grant.
“We happen to live in one of the most generous communities in this country, and I’m confident that the community will support us,” Parks says.
According to Parks, the grant money, in addition to the weekly prize money given out for things like being the first agency to raise $5,000, would allow the nonprofit to shelter more women and finance programs like Fresh Starts for many years to come.
“These women come to us with only the clothes on their back because they’re fleeing from their lives, so when they come out of shelter, we are able to help them with an apartment down payment, a deposit for their utilities, help them with gas—that kind of thing,” Parks says. “This is one of my favorite programs, and it is so relevant.”
The reason so many women are trapped in abusive situations, according to Parks, is due to a lack of funds; so if the agency receives assistance through the Purple Purse Challenge, it will be able to extend its reach and further its mission of leading our community “in the social change needed to end domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.” 

Do Good:

•    Beginning September 2, support the WCC by donating through the Purple Purse Challenge Crowdrise site. 

•    Fundraise for the WCC by setting up your own Crowdrise account during the contest.

•    Volunteer with the WCC by contacting Kelly Rose.

Tire Discounters' reTire your Kicks provides for thousands

In its first-ever all-company effort, Tire Discounters, headquartered in Cincinnati, collected more than 18,000 pairs of shoes for international nonprofit Soles4Souls and donated $10,000 to help fund distribution.
Greater Cincinnati, which is the company’s largest market, collected 9,400 pairs of shoes alone—an effort that Tire Discounters’ Chief Marketing Officer Crissy Niese says goes to show how many “good hearts we have in the Cincinnati area.”
“We had quite a few customers taking their own shoes off their feet like, ‘Sweet, I’ll donate these right now and get $25 off a tire,’ so we got pictures from our staff of people standing there in their socks because they were excited to participate,” Niese says.
The promotion, called reTire your Kicks, took place last month and fostered a sense of community for not only the customers who were able to receive a discount for donating shoes, but also for the employees who had never been part of such a large initiative, Niese says.
“They were so proud of it, and so proud that their company they work for would do something like this,” Niese says. “A lot of people tend to think of car salesmen, tire salesmen, shoe salesmen—with not always the best reputation. People tend to have a stereotype in mind, but that’s not who we are as an organization.”
Soles4Souls will distribute the shoes to individuals facing poverty across the sea, but also stateside, as it focuses on disaster relief and also easing the burden of those facing difficult situations on a daily basis. Locally, it partners with Bethany House Services.
“It’s a way to make sure we have a balance and are able to assist people in our own backyards,” Niese says. “And it’s a great opportunity to know your items are going to people who you’ve heard their stories on the news. It’s self-assuring to all the people participating.” 

Do Good:

•    Host your own shoe drive for Soles4Souls.

•    Support Soles4Souls by volunteering.

•    Support Soles4Souls by fundraising.

FNC recognizes Champions for Change, calls for community effort

The Family Nurturing Center will celebrate 20 years of August Affairs this Friday as the organization will raise awareness and funds for child abuse treatment, prevention and education.
In Northern Kentucky and Hamilton County alone, there are more than 10,000 reports of child abuse or neglect each year—a statistic FNC is working to change.
“Child abuse is not a topic that most folks want to talk about,” says Tracy Fuchs, FNC’s director of marketing and special events.
It’s uncomfortable for many, but unless others start acknowledging the issue, learning and talking about it, and advocating for a change in society’s view and response to the act, change will never occur.
That’s why FNC is honoring 20 Champions for Change at this year’s event. It’s a group composed of 20 individuals, organizations and corporations who are committed to creating “a culture of change for how we react, respond to and prevent child abuse,” Fuchs says.
It’s important to recognize their efforts because, according to the FNC, a community-wide effort is required, and an important piece of the equation is to not be silent regarding the issue.
“It makes us uncomfortable to even say words like ‘sexual abuse,’” Fuchs says. “But sexual abuse thrives in our discomfort in naming it, and the culture of silence gives power to the perpetrators. Ninety percent of children who are sexually abused are done so by someone they know or trust. It’s not stranger danger.”

Do Good:

•    Support FNC by ordering your tickets now for Friday's August Affair. 

•    Consider being a 2014 August Affair corporate sponsor

•    Contact the FNC to learn more about child abuse prevention, treatment and education, and be a champion for change.

Rosie's Girls empowers girls with STEM-related skills

For Sandra Ramirez Pvac, a freshman at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati’s program Rosie’s Girls provided her not only with a fun and engaging summer experience, but also a sense of empowerment.
“We made lamps, cut the pieces, sanded it and painted it,” Ramirez Pvac says. “Then we also got it to work through the electricity that we did. We also made our own toolbox—it was just cool.”
Rosie’s Girls is a program for girls between the ages of 11 and 13 that introduces STEM-related careers through hands-on training in carpentry and other technical trades.
“The part that excited me was going through carpentry, because usually when I hear about Messer and Turner Construction sites, usually men do it,” Ramirez Pvac says. “You see guys outside putting concrete on the streets, so I thought it would be interesting to go and experience that and see how it is.”
Ramirez Pvac actually graduated from the program in 2012, but this past summer, she returned as a counselor in training.
“I was excited because my younger sister was going this year, and she also was excited because she saw the stuff I had brought home,” Ramirez Pvac says.
Since her time in the program, Ramirez Pvac has been able to put her skills to use. When her bed broke, she fixed it. And when she was on a mission trip working in the garden of an older couple, she noticed a broken bench that was going to be thrown away.
“It was a pretty bench,” Ramirez Pvac says. “And they said they just hadn’t found someone who could fix it, so I got the opportunity to get the tools and fix it.”
Rosie’s Girls fostered a sense of independence in Ramirez Pvac, and it’s one she says she noticed with the other girls who participated in the program this past July.
“They were able to do the stuff themselves. They were able to have confidence by being able to do stuff that you wouldn’t see a young girl doing at this age,” Ramirez Pvac says. “And I feel like some girls actually felt like they wanted to take a career that has to do with that, with carpentry.”

Do Good:

•    Learn about Rosie's Girls, and encourage young girls to apply for next year's program. 

•    Support the YWCA by donating.

•    Connect with Rosie's Girls on Facebook.

Roofing company invests in early childhood education

Cincinnati Early Learning Centers' Harrison location—the largest of its six Hamilton County centers—received a new roof this summer, which was donated by Feazel, Inc. and valued at more than $23,000 dollars.
“One of the things that’s a challenge nationally and for our community is how to support quality early-childhood education,” says Patricia Gleason, president of CELC. “Because it’s an investment and a challenge for young parents.”
For Feazel to recognize that investment is huge, Gleason says, because it enables the CELC, a United Way community partner, to provide quality education and interaction with about 650 children each year.
“It allows us to use that money to support a ratio of less children to teachers, and to be able to support degreed teachers,” Gleason says.
It’s not just the parents and CELC staffers who appreciate the investment, though. CELC children served lemonade to the Feazel volunteers during construction and also had the chance to learn about the roofing process.
“Feazel spent time and talked to them about safety, and the children were just so ecstatic that they saw all of these men working on their building, fixing it and talking about how important the roof was—the children really grasped it,” Gleason says.
“They allowed them to get in their boots, put the goggles on and the hard helmets—they really got it and have just been so charming—and it’s such a big gift. They made it seem like we were doing them a favor.”

Do Good:

•    Support the United Way by giving.

•    Volunteer with one of the United Way's community partners.

•    Be an advocate for early childhood education.

Local man leads nation in library service advancements for blind

Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Chris Mundy joins the ranks of individuals like text-to-speech innovator Ray Kurzweil as the 48th recipient of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award.
The award recognizes institutions or individuals who have made “an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library service for the blind and physically handicapped.”
Mundy serves as quality assurance specialist for network-produced recordings at Mutlistate Center East, a division of Clovernook, as he works to improve the quality of—and expand upon the availability of—audio materials available to library patrons who cannot read print.
“My position’s unique, and it’s the only one in the U.S. that works directly with volunteer programs to get the material to a particular quality level,” Mundy says. “And what’s really cool is all the people that get involved—a lot of them are retirees with a background in dramatic arts or broadcasting and are capable of handling really difficult material.”
As Mundy travels around the country to the National Library Service volunteer studios, he assists in the behind-the-scenes production that allows for continuity of sound and quality for the various materials available.
“There’s a revolving door of volunteers—maybe 10 narrators involved in a typical issue of Smithsonian magazine, for example—and the whole key is, over time, the staff and volunteers involved with it are constantly changing,” Mundy says. “Plus, the technology changes. I learn it and impart some of that knowledge to them.”
Mundy says he’s humbled to be a recipient of the award, but he’d like for more individuals to take advantage of the resources he helps make available.
“At any given moment, 900,000-1 million people are currently using it (the Braille and Audio Reading service), but there are 3 million who are eligible for it,” Mundy says. “So roughly 2 million don’t know they can access it with a doctor’s note. There’s just so many people in everyday life who might really benefit from knowing about it.”

Do Good: 

•    Connect with Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Facebook.

•    If you know someone who could benefit from services offered through the BARD, help them apply.

•    Support Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

CYC grad shows fortitude through adverse situations

Withrow International High School graduate Niyubahwe Dieudonne is familiar with transitions.
He’ll begin his studies at the University of Cincinnati in August, and in early October, at the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative’s 11th annual Dream Makers Celebration, he’ll find out whether or not he’s the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Dieudonne was nominated for the award because of his success and perseverance through a time in his life that was by no means easy.
“I moved from East Africa from a small country called Burundi in 2007,” Dieudonne says. “It was really hard for me, because I didn’t know any English when I came, so it was really hard going to school here.”
In the sixth grade, Dieudonne enrolled at the Academy of World Languages, where he participated in English as a Second Language classes; and during his freshman year of high school, he became involved with the CYC.
“It was good because it gave me the experience of having a mentor,” Dieudonne says. “And the mentor would always stay in touch with us, help us with our school work—whatever we needed, they were there for us—they’d always make sure we were doing the best we can.”
Coming to a new country that he knew nothing about and essentially having to “start over” was the hardest thing Dieudonne says he’s ever experienced. And though he’s overcome that obstacle, he says he still struggles.
“Especially when I’m starting college right now,” Dieudonne says. “But I’m planning on going to UC to study biology. But moving here has inspired me to do my best and to not be afraid of challenges that life gives me.” 

Do Good:

•    Connect with CYC on Facebook, and attend the Dream Makers Celebration October 2 at Music Hall

•    Volunteer as a CYC mentor.

•    Support the CYC by making a gift.

NKY veteran to receive free home repairs

For 75-year old veteran Raymond Muench, climbing a ladder to engage in activities like painting and caulking around the outside windows is not as simple of a task as it once was.
He says he’s grateful for those in his life—like the individuals at People Working Cooperatively and the volunteers from Home Depot’s Repair Affair—who are able to provide him help when it’s needed.
Muench was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Northern Kentucky before spending four years in active duty with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Though never stationed in Asia, the whole time he was gone, Muench says he was eagerly anticipating his return to his hometown that he had come to appreciate for its cultural diversity and attitude of goodwill toward others.
“What was really a shock and an eye opener for me was they sent me to Donaldson Air Force Base for the first year I was in the service in late 1961, and I remember when I got off the airplane down there and went into the local airport terminal, I saw where there were signs at water fountains for ‘colored only’ or ‘white only,’” Muench says. “And I couldn’t believe what in the world I was looking at.”
Serving others and approaching all individuals as equally important is just second nature for Muench.
So when PWC approached him with the news that his home would be one of 11 projects this summer serviced by Home Depot employees taking the day to volunteer with the Repair Affair program, he was nothing but gracious.
“I mentioned to the fellow who was here from PWC, that the way I look at this—my perspective on the matter—it’s that the turnabout’s fair play, so to speak,” Muench says. “And when they come here, it’s not a case of people just thanking me for my service. I will definitely be thanking them wholeheartedly as well for their service.”

Do Good:

•    Help others like Muench by volunteering with PWC.

•    If you or someone you know might qualify for PWC's services, apply.

•    Support PWC by donating.

Price Hill sports painter assists nonprofits by donating artwork

It was around the age of 7 that local artist Chris Felix says he drew a picture of his dog that impressed his mother and others.
“This sparked my interest in drawing more,” Felix says. “And I started taking some lessons from a cousin of mine who was an art teacher.”
Felix’s work has evolved over the years, and a primary area of focus for him now is sports paintings—everything from portraits of Reds players to landscapes of golf courses.
“As projects arise, I research my subjects by scouring books in the library, images on Google, and asking around at memorabilia shops for pertinent material relating to my subject,” Felix says.
He photographs his subjects and backgrounds for points of reference then gets to work, but the process doesn’t stop there.
Felix, who grew up in Price Hill and who has lived in Cincinnati his entire life, has a passion not only for art, but also for his city and those who inhabit it.
So he makes it a point to use his paintings and prints to give back.
Since the late '90s, Felix has donated an original and more than 20 prints per year, on average, to organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Reid Rizzo Foundation, the Bethany House Shelter and others, to assist with nonprofits’ missions of propelling the community forward.
“Helping others is something I love to do,” Felix says. “The impact is nothing but positive. I believe that we get back more than what we ever give.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Felix by checking out his art and sharing it with others. 

•    Connect with Felix on Facebook.

•    Look for Felix's art around town at places like the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Muesum, Art on the Levee, the Cincinnati Mueseum Center and Heirloom Framing Co.


Bengals tailgating sparks idea for new nonprofit

Jason Chapman says he remembers tailgating at the Bengals-Steelers Monday Night Football matchup last September like it was yesterday—and not just because it was a Cincinnati win against a top-rival.
He remembers it because it was the start of something bigger and more meaningful than he says he’d ever imagined.
“It just so happened that all day that day, I wound up helping people in small ways—giving money here and there— and I didn’t put two and two together,” Chapman says.
“But before the game, as we were tailgating, we saw onlookers outside the gate, and some people looked like they could have been less fortunate than myself and some of the other partygoers.”
So Chapman and his friends offered food to those who stood outside, and his act of kindness soon became contagious.
The desire to help others spread not only to the other tailgaters that evening, but also to Chapman’s friends and followers across social networks and across the country.
“We had enormous support from friends and followers who were willing to donate the next time we were downtown tailgating—or just anything we were willing to do—they were ready and willing to give,” Chapman says.
So The Midwest Project, a nonprofit for which Chapman is president and co-founder, was born.
The organization works by utilizing social media to raise awareness and funds for things like education, health and wellness, and nonviolence.
“It made me think about how I have a tremendous support team and some influence in my city and community,” Chapman says. “So why don’t we start a nonprofit so we can build on that, and that’s kind of how it started.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out The Midwest Project's website, and tell your friends.

•    Connect with the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

•    Support The Midwest Project by donating or volunteering.

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