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Public Library preps student readers for All-Star summer


For more than 40 years, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has engaged the community in its Summer Reading program. The tradition continues July 1-31, as individuals of all ages can participate — with prizes as incentive — to become All-Star Readers.
 
Not sure what to read? The library has prepared a list of reading recommendations in addition to a reading tracker and a list of available prizes.
 
“Research has shown for decades that children are susceptible to losing ground academically over the summer months,” says Diane Smiley, Youth Services and Program Coordinator. “Children from low-income homes can lose up to two months or more of reading and math skills unless they keep those skills sharp.”
 
The program is part of a comprehensive Summer Learning program that includes Brain Camps, Summer Lunches and Summer Camp Reading, a six-week one-on-one tutoring program for upcoming third-graders labeled “at risk” by their district.
 
“I saw an excitement for reading developing especially from some of the reluctant readers,” says Denise Bentley, Cincinnati Public Schools intervention specialist who worked with Summer Camp Reading last year. “They will just blossom with their reading skills and their love of reading.” 

Do Good: 

• Learn how to become an All-Star Reader.

• Feed your body and your brain at Summer Lunches, which are available for students 18 and under.

• Connect with the Public Library on Facebook.
 

OTR Foundation launches crowdfunding campaign to support Rothenberg rooftop garden


The Over-the-Rhine Foundation kicks off its crowdfunding campaign for the Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden with a happy hour at Goodfellas Pizzeria on Main Street Wednesday, May 20.
 
Tickets for the event are $20, include a slice of pizza and a beer and benefit the garden project, which is in need of everything from workstations and potting benches students can use during garden classes to mixing bowls and salad spinners for lessons on nutrition and food sources.
 
“The Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden is a transformational project that builds community by connecting students in OTR to the values of gardening in their school environment,” says Kevin Pape, president of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation. “The Foundation proudly supports Rothenberg’s students and the realization of the rooftop garden project.”
 
And it has done so loyally, raising more than $300,000 for the garden to date.
 
Nearly 450 students at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy engaged in a multitude of unique, hands-on learning opportunities afforded by the garden during the 2014-15 school year, but needs are ongoing.
 
Even if you’re unable to support the launch of the crowdfunding campaign this week, you can contribute online to help the OTR Foundation and the Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden reach its $5,000 goal.
 
For Bryna Bass, rooftop garden program manager, it’s a goal that will allow students the opportunity to further their application of gardening to real-world scenarios.
 
“They learn gardening, but that’s not the mission,” Bass says. “They get to garden — that’s icing on the cake — but it’s deepening their math skills, deepening their science skills, English, language arts, literacy, social studies. We get to use it in just about any curriculum.” 

Do Good: 

Contribute to the crowdfunding campaign and attend the May 20 happy hour launch.

• Connect with the Rooftop School Garden on Facebook.

• Share your time and materials as a volunteer. Contact Bryna Bass if you're available to help. 
 

Free public transit for riders on Bike to Work Day May 15


Whether or not you’re working on Friday, May 15, you’ll have the opportunity to commute between destinations for free on all Metro, Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) and Clermont Transportation Connection buses so long as you bring along a bicycle.
 
Vehicles are equipped with bike racks on the fronts of buses, so riders are encouraged to take advantage of environmentally friendly modes of transit in celebration of Bike to Work Day 2015.
 
“Biking and riding Metro is the perfect way to travel for those who want to bike for part of their commute and finish their trip on transit or just get to the top of one of Cincinnati's many hills,” says Brandy Jones, public relations manager for Cincinnati Metro. “It's also an environmentally responsible way to get around, which supports Metro's sustainability effort and encourages an overall healthier lifestyle.”
 
Since 2011, both Metro and TANK have been recognized as “bike friendly destinations” for riders, as the public transit authorities are not only advocates for biking and riding but also supporters of improvements for infrastructure.
 
If you have access to a bike and have somewhere to go but have never transported it via public transit, don’t let that stop you. Jones says it’s an easy process that your driver will be more than happy to help with should you need assistance.
 
“Bike to Work Day is a great way for anyone who's curious about combining the two transportation options to try it out risk free,” Jones says. “Our bike racks are fast and easy to use, and we hope bicycle commuters will take advantage of the free ride on May 15 and give biking and riding a try.”

Do Good: 

• Grab your bicycle and take advantage of free rides on public transit Friday, May 15.

• Celebrate National Bike Month throughout May by going for a ride.

• Connect with Metro on Facebook.
 

Discounted CSO tix available with donation to Freestore Foodbank


The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) wraps up its 2014-15 season this weekend, so if you haven’t had the chance to visit Music Hall lately to take in classical music fare, there’s no time better than now.
 
Discounted tickets, priced at just $10, will be offered Friday to patrons who make a donation of a nonperishable food item, as this year’s closing weekend marks a community-wide initiative to combat hunger in the region.
 
“One of the CSO’s core values is to be Cincinnati’s Own,” says Megan Berneking, the CSO’s director of communications. “That means taking a leading role in the life of the Cincinnati community. One critical issue our community faces is hunger, and through this effort we can feed not only the souls of our audience members which we do every week but also help feed the hungry in Cincinnati through the partnership with Freestore Foodbank.”
 
The May 15 effort is part of Orchestras Feeding America, which has seen 425 U.S. orchestras collect and donate nearly 450,000 pounds of food over the past six years.
 
Though discounted tickets will only be offered for Friday evening’s performance, donations for the Freestore Foodbank will be accepted all weekend long. According to Berneking, it’s a way for patrons to support two organizations that fill a vital role in the community.
 
“The CSO would encourage the public to support both organizations through this partnership,” Berneking says. “The CSO elevates the cultural life of Cincinnati, while Freestore helps provide for the physical needs of our community. In supporting both of these efforts, audiences this weekend will make the Queen City an even more vibrant place to work, play and live.”
 
Do Good: 

• Donate a non-perishable food item at Music Hall and purchase your $10 ticket to Sheherazade at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15. Tickets for Saturday evening's performance (also at 8 p.m.) start at just $12. 

Support the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

Support the Freestore Foodbank.
 

"Bipolarized" screening generates funds for local mental illness agency


Though the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival has come to a close, impacts will be ongoing thanks to $40,000 in funding the screenings generated for 17 different partnering agencies.

One of those 17 nonprofit recipients, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Greater Cincinnati, gained $2,134 in proceeds from the festival screening of Bipolarized. 
 
The documentary film details Ross McKenzie’s journey toward wellness as he explored alternative treatments for his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, for which he was told lithium — which made him feel foggy — was the only way to control his symptoms. Instead, he made the decision to view his symptoms not as detriments that required prescription drugs to level out but instead as “gifts.”
 
“That’s when my transformation began,” McKenzie says. “That’s when healers and gifted therapists came into my life, and that’s when I began to uncover the trauma.”
 
Though prescription medication is beneficial and necessary for some, McKenzie was able to invest in nontraditional practices that allowed him to engage in self discovery and ultimately physical, mental and emotional healing.
 
“During this journey, I got to the root cause of my symptoms,” he says. “It confuses people when I say I don’t have a disease or disorder, because when you’re diagnosed you have that for life.
 
“But we’re all unique individuals. There’s so many different reasons people can experience these things, and if we could come together and work together we could actually create a new reality on this earth. And this is my mission moving forward — educating about mind, body, spirit and treating the whole person. It’s hard work, but when you make that choice miracles become possible.” 

Do Good: 

• Support NAMI Urban Greater Cincinnati’s work by donating.

• If you or someone you know — family, friends, whomever — is dealing with the impacts of mental illness, contact NAMI for support.

• Encourage and support loved ones to focus on mental, physical and emotional wellness.
 

Starfire members explore passions, engage with community


For Starfire members like Matt Weisshaar, working on a community project is an important responsibility prompted by passion and accompanied by the development of leadership skills and relationship building.
 
Starfire is focused on decreasing the social isolation felt by people with disabilities. The Madisonville-based nonprofit is a conduit to relationships for those with disabilities, family members and community residents looking to get involved, and its approach is “one family, one person at a time,” says Rachel Almendinger, director of donor relations.

“We have a brainstorming night for each member to discuss what they’re interested in, and we get people there that are interested in the same thing to help us connect, network and ideate,” she says. “Then they start a project, so Starfire facilitates it but it’s really about Matt.”
 
Weisshaar, whom Almendinger says “loves science, loves nature, loves animals,” is currently working with Cincinnati Nature Center to put together a Citizen’s Science Day, when community members will join together to bond over bird-watching and compete in a nature-related activity.
 
“Our hope with that is Matt will be able to find some more long-term friends and create deeper relationships, not based on his disability but based on his interests and passions,” Almendinger says.
 
It’s work like this that Starfire will showcase at its Annual Celebration, which for the first time will comprise not only the Evening Celebration but also a Breakfast Celebration for business professionals unable to attend the nighttime happenings.
 
“At first it was a way to celebrate members, but people started loving the stories so much that more and more started coming who wanted to live a more inclusive life,” Almendinger says. “It’s meant to inspire that. Our goal is to help people make friends.” 

Do Good: 

• Kick off the work day by supporting Starfire and purchasing seats for the Breakfast Celebration, June 24 at 7:30 a.m. at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.

• Celebrate the work and passions of Starfire members at the Evening Celebration June 24 at 6:30 p.m., also at the 20th Century Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Contact Starfire if you're interested in partnering with the organization. Members would love to visit your business and explore potential opportunities and career paths. 
 

Washing Well project expands, plans to launch in September


As Lower Price Hill’s Community Matters moves forward with its Washing Well project, which is set to open in September, the nonprofit seeks support from local businesses, corporations and individuals who are able to help.
 
The project aims to provide affordable access to a safe, local Laundromat for neighborhood residents, kicked off by a $109,000 grant from Impact 100 in addition to funding from Procter & Gamble. But since Community Matters located the original funds, the project’s parameters have grown.
 
“We realized there was an even greater need and have purchased a new, larger space,” says Jen Walters, Community Matters President and CEO. “We now need to purchase additional machines, 10 sets of machines at $13,000 per set.”
 
The machines are durable and will allow for a sustainable solution for Lower Price Hill residents who will transition into roles as workers throughout the next five years, as the Washing Well is intended to become a worker-owned cooperative.
 
The community would be meeting its own needs — a goal valued by Community Matters, which operates in a manner “that all people can thrive when positive opportunities exist within their community.”
 
“It is unacceptable that there was not access to safe, affordable laundry in one of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods,” Walters says. “We at Community Matters saw a clear, manageable solution.” 

Do Good: 

Contact Jen Walters if you're interested in helping the Lower Price Hill community by engaging in a corporate sponsorship to help fund washing machines. 

• The nonprofit is also in need of product donations, so if you can help supply things like detergent, fabric sheets and/or hangers, contact Patty Lee or call 513-244-2214 (ext 211).

• Support Community Matters' work by donating.
 

Pay It Forward Cincinnati inspires more than 2,000 acts of kindness among local schoolkids


Kindergarten through sixth-grade students from 14 different area schools recently wrapped up Kindness Chain Reaction, a 10-day program initiated by Pay It Forward Cincinnati in which children were encouraged to perform kind acts, then document them visually by creating paper chains in their classrooms.
 
Throughout the 10 days, the students documented 2,061 total acts of kindness.
 
Ideas like being “extra kind to your bus driver” and helping “the teacher clean up the classroom” were provided to students, but Joslyn Havel, a second-grade student at New Haven Elementary School in Union, Ky., had an idea of her own.
 
She decided to cut her hair and donate more than 8 inches of her brown locks to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an initiative to provide wigs to women with cancer.
 
“She really is one awesome little girl with a huge, giving heart,” says Jessica Wells, Joslyn’s teacher.
 
As a result of her kind act, Pay It Forward Cincinnati awarded Joslyn with a $250 check for her classroom to spend in whatever way they want, as her gesture was deemed “The Most Inspiring Act.”
 
While the students will use part of the money for an end-of-the-year classroom party, they’ll also use a portion of the funds to continue giving back.
 
“The students voted and decided to make a donation of canned goods and non-perishable food items to our school's program that helps provide food for those who need it,” Wells says. “I'm so proud of them.” 

Do Good: 

• Register to download the Kindness Chain Reaction packet. Though the contest is now finished, acts of kindness are timeless and can be performed by individuals of all ages. 

• Support Pay It Forward Cincinnati by donating.

• Connect with Pay It Forward Cincinnati on Facebook.
 

Former NKU hoops star encourages father/child relationships with camp benefitting Kicks for Kids


Former Northern Kentucky University basketball star Shannon Minor will once again host the Pete Minor Father/Child Basketball Camp in honor of his late father, who was struck by a drunk driver in 2011 while changing a tire along I-75.
 
Shannon and his father possessed a strong bond that Shannon values and wants to pass along to others.
 
“He wants to encourage dads to put down their cell phones, roll up their sleeves and be 100 percent present in their kids’ lives,” says Christine Sebastian, program director at Kicks for Kids.
 
Kicks for Kids, a nonprofit whose mission is to level the playing field for at-risk children, will receive proceeds from the half-day basketball camp June 20, when campers will learn basketball fundamentals, participate in a question and answer session with Shannon and receive a T-shirt, dinner, basketball and photo with their father figures. Most of all, though, they’ll spend quality time playing a game and being active with that older male figure who’s making a difference in their life.
 
Proceeds will enable Kicks for Kids to continue and improve upon its programming — things like sports camps, circus camps and an annual Christmas Celebration — that impacts the lives of children who may otherwise be without those experiences.
 
“All through Shannon’s life, Pete was a supportive dad, always rebounding for Shannon, going to every one of his games,” Sebastian says. “Shannon always appreciated how his dad took an active interest in his life — how, no matter what, Pete cleared his schedule and never missed a game.” 

Do Good: 

Contact Christine Sebastian by e-mail or call 859-331-8484 to register for camp. Admission is $60 per child/father-figure combination. Each extra child is $25. Proceeds benefit Kicks for Kids. 

• Support Kicks for Kids by signing up for the 19th annual RGI River Run, a 5k taking place May 23. Details can be found here

• Support Kicks for Kids by donating.
 

From athlete to activist, Kevin Pearce an inspiration for those with traumatic brain injury


New Year’s Eve 2009 didn't end in celebration for Kevin Pearce, who was training for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics when a cab double cork on the half-pipe ended his career as a professional snowboarder and initiated his journey of recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
 
He’s now raising awareness and funds to improve the life quality of individuals impacted by traumatic brain injury through the LoveYourBrain Foundation.
 
When Pearce was severely injured, he says he’d been concussed a week and a half prior but was ultimately able to continue snowboarding with symptoms unnoticeable to those watching.
 
“My brain was not healed, and I was not in any kind of form to get that kind of hit to my head,” Pearce says.
 
But when he did, his life changed forever. He spent nearly the entire month of January 2010 on a critical care unit, and his future quality of life was unknown.
 
“They tell me I would have died without a helmet on,” Pearce says — one reason why he now travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging others to take care of and love their brains.
 
There’s more to be done than practice physical safety habits, though.
 
“Loving your brain can be very healing. What is so bad, so damaging for us, is to have the ANTs, so what I ask all of you to do is kill the ANTs — automatic, negative thoughts — that come into our head, and that’s what is so damaging to us,” says Pearce, who experienced “ANTs” as he went from a top-notch snowboarder to realizing that his career was over and that his brain simply didn’t function the way that it did prior to his injury.
 
“I spent a lot of time rehabbing and a lot of time recovering,” Pearce says. “I’m getting back to this life I lived before that — and in no way is it the same — but there are some very cool important things. Maybe I do have some differences. Maybe I don’t remember where I parked my car. I struggle with a lot of things on a daily basis, but I don’t allow them into my brain.

“I look at everything going so great and everything I have, and I try to build on that instead of feeling bad about myself. Look at all these amazing people. We’re so lucky we’re able to be here.” 

Do Good: 

• Support organizations like Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD), a nonprofit that "facilitates the education of adults with disabilities to realize their aspirations." LADD, which presented the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival, hosted Pearce after the screening of Crash Reel, a documentary film detailing his crash and recovery that generated more than $1,200 for the nonprofit.

Get involved with the LoveYourBrain Foundation by starting a fundraising campaign.

• Protect your brain by wearing a helmet. Rest your brain. Kill the ANTs.
 

Derby party to benefit Special Olympics equestrian training program


Gather your fancy clothes, find your big hat and prepare your palette for a Kentucky Hot Brown and, of course, some Mint Juleps.
 
Derby Day is upon us, and Parkers Blue Ash Tavern is hosting a party for the second year to benefit the Winton Woods Riding Center (WWRC) Special Olympics Hamilton County equestrian training program.

Admission to the party is just $10 and includes finger foods and derby staples like pimento cheese and cucumber sandwiches, specially-priced Mint Juleps in commemorative Derby glasses and a variety of prize opportunities. The grand prize, a limited edition framed print commemorating the 141st Kentucky Derby (pictured above), will be awarded at 7 p.m.
 
Last year’s event generated about $1,000 for the Special Olympics Equestrian Team, which Rachel Neumann, manager of the WWRC, says enabled the team to pay its entry fees for both the Ohio and Kentucky State Equestrian Competitions.
 
Neumann, who also coaches six of the WWRC’s Special Olympics Equestrian competitors, says the program instills confidence and independence in its riders.
 
“Some of my athletes have been training with us for 10-plus years, and we’ve watched them grow up and learn independence on horseback,” she says. “One of my riders rode for five years without being able to handle without his dad being more than 10 feet away at any time, because of his anxiety. He is now riding independently at our highest level of competition. Such an achievement!”
 
Neumann’s goal, however, is to see that sort of impact in more riders. But more volunteers are required for that to occur.
 
“Our therapeutic riding program (Special Riders’ Program), which feeds into our Special Olympics program, has a waiting list several years long,” Neumann says. “We are only limited by the number of volunteers willing to be trained and make a weekly commitment. New volunteers would allow us to bring new riders into the program who have been waiting three, four, five, sometimes six years.” 

Do Good: 

Contact the Winton Woods Riding Center if you're interested in volunteering. No experience required. 

• Attend the Kentucky Derby Party at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern 3:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Tickets must be purchased in person, either in advance or on the day of the event. The Kentucky Derby itself is run at 6:24 p.m.

Support the WWRC by donating to the Great Parks Foundation. 
 

Local consulting firm inspires others to Pay It Forward


Individuals from 70 countries came together for Pay It Forward Day last year. This Thursday, the 2015 aim will be to “inspire 3 million acts of kindness around the world.”
 
For one local business, the holiday is observed in the same way that a holiday like Christmas would be observed.
 
“You have the day off, and we spend it as a group,” says Blake Eve, marketing, recruiting and community engagement manager for Ingage Partners. “This year, there’s 80 of us participating by making boxes for A Child’s Hope International.”
 
Ingage Partners, a Hyde Park-based management and technology consulting firm run as a B Corp to “inspire and engage” while serving as a powerful force for good in the community, consists of 38 individual consultants. So to have 80 volunteers assembling food, water and life packs for the Hands Against Hunger program is special, Eve says, because it means clients are behind Ingage Partners’ mission as well.
 
“It’s great as an organization. Not only does it bond us together, but it allows us time to step back and see how we can help, and it allows us that time off to go out and volunteer,” Eve says. “And then involving our clients, it’s the way we look at things. We want to influence others to look at business in a different manner.” 
 
The international holiday falls on Thursday, April 30 this year. If your business or organization has no plans, there are plenty of ways to get involved as an individual. The act can be as simple as purchasing a cup of coffee for a stranger, who can then continue the ripple effect, making someone’s day a bit brighter. 

Do Good: 

• Participate in Pay It Forward Day Thursday by doing something kind or helpful for someone. 

• Connect with the Pay It Forward Foundation to start a ripple effect of positive actions year-round. 

• Encourage your business or organization to do something for Pay It Forward Day. Here are some options for giving back.
 

Warm-weather health and safety tips for Flying Pig participants


Runners, walkers, supporters, sponsors and nonprofits will join together Sunday, May 3 for one of the biggest events in town, the 2015 Flying Pig Marathon. Individuals have been training for months, but with weekend weather forecasts nearing the 80-degree mark this year’s race has the potential to be one of the warmest in years.
 
For Flying Pig Assistant Medical Director Matthew Daggy, who also serves as medical director of sports medicine for McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital and team doctor for the University of Cincinnati’s track & field and cross country programs, increased temperatures require increased precautions and care.
 
“The weather this upcoming week will be cooler than expected on race day, so runners won't have very much time to acclimate to the warmer weather,” Daggy says. “A critical issue this weekend will be hydration. Runners need to add 2-4 more liters of fluid daily this week in order to be sure that they’re well hydrated prior to starting the race.”
 
It’s incredibly important, according to Daggy, because participants shouldn’t drink so much fluid during the race if they’re unaccustomed to doing so otherwise.
 
“The weather this weekend will provide the perfect storm for exercise  — induced hyponatremia — and if a runner overdrinks on the course the result will not only be a loss of fun, it could be fatal,” Daggy says. “Runners should be advised to follow the drinking patterns they used during their training.”
 
So long as participants are aware of health and safety tips prior to running the race, Daggy says it should be a fruitful and fulfilling experience. It certainly has been for him through his 10 years of involvement with the Flying Pig, as running is a passion, he says, making this a perfect way for Daggy to give back to the community.
 
For those not participating in Sunday’s festivities, you can and should make physical activity a priority, as it’s important to our general health, preventing heart disease and a variety of other conditions such as diabetes.
 
“The American College of sports medicine recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week,” Daggy says. “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.”  

Do Good: 

• Participate in one of this weekend’s many activities under the Flying Pig Marathon umbrella; find details and registration deadlines here.

• Support a Flying Pig partner charity by adopting a pig in the PIGGEST Raffle Ever.

• Take proper precautions prior to your involvement in the weekend's festivities so you can maintain your health and safety. 

• Drink added amounts of water this week to prepare for the added intake needed this weekend. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are preferred forms of hydration in warm weather and endurance-testing activities. 
 

St. Joseph Orphanage celebrates 185 years of community support, stability for children


Cincinnati’s oldest social services agency, St. Joseph Orphanage, will celebrate its 185th anniversary April 30 at its Spring for the Stars Gala.
 
The organization’s longevity, according to Executive Director Eric Cummins, can be attributed to its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
 
“We started as a traditional orphanage that took care of kids when their parents died,” Cummins says. “And then in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, we worked with families when they could not take care of their kids and helped get them back on their feet so the kids could go home.”
 
During that time, Cummins says the nonprofit also helped children find their “forever homes,” as the orphanage began morphing into more of a residential facility that provided a home for older adolescents with nowhere to go.
 
“St Joseph’s role is vital in that we truly embrace working with those who have nowhere else to turn,” he says. “We’re one of the only local agencies that continues to serve youth after they turn 18 years old, as we believe they are still too young to be out on their own.”
 
St. Joseph Orphanage began operating as a mental health residential treatment facility in the 1980s, and since that time it’s grown into a “community-based mental health, education and foster care provider,” Cummins says, with a recently developed special education class geared toward helping children with autism.

“We strive to continuously grow and adapt to meet the needs of those we serve today and into the future,” he says.
 
It’s an important mission, according to Cummins, because St. Joseph Orphanage provides critical services to the most at-risk youth in the community.
 
Though it’s hard to choose just one impactful moment, Cummins says something that stuck with him this past year is an e-mail he received from one of the Orphanage’s case managers.
 
“She emailed me just to say how thankful she is to work for St Joe’s, as we — through the generous donations of the community — make sure every child has a Christmas gift,” he says. “She went on to tell me that these siblings — 12, 11, 9 and 8 (years-old) — had never before opened a Christmas gift and this was the first time in their life that they had been able to celebrate Christmas.”
 
Prior to their first Christmas, the children had spent their time living with severe trauma, locked in a room with a bucket to tend to personal needs.
 
“They are now living in and being loved in a St. Joseph Orphanage foster home, getting case management and therapy services,” Cummins says. “I was truly thankful that not only could we make sure they had a Christmas present one day a year but that St. Joseph is there to help them every week of the year going forward.”

Do Good: 

• Support St. Joseph Orphanage by registering for the Spring Gala, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel downtown.

• If you can't attend Thursday's celebration, you can still donate here

• If you're unable to financially support St. Joseph, contact the organization to share your time and talents as a volunteer.
 

Metro adds five new mini-hybrids in celebration of Earth Day


Metro will celebrate Earth Day by adding five new mini-hybrids to its 365-bus fleet, bringing the mini-hybrid total to 115 along with 27 traditional hybrid vehicles also in service.
 
Despite the name, mini-hybrids aren't actually miniature in size. Rather, they're equipped with advanced thermal cooling systems that allow for a cost savings of about $240,000 per bus as compared to traditional hybrid vehicles.
 
With reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved fuel economy, Metro — a member organization of Green Umbrella — is doing its part to “meet the environmental, social and economic needs of today while preserving the ability of future generations to do the same" with the addition of more mini-hybrids.
 
In addition to the new vehicles that begin serving riders Wednesday, April 22, Metro will celebrate Mother Nature by participating in a variety of Earth Day events around the city, encouraging community members to learn more about going green.
 
"Metro is a member of the community, and we take our environmental responsibility seriously,” Metro CEO Dwight Ferrell says.
 
By using rainwater to wash buses and burning waste oil to heat garages, the public transit system is modeling a standard for what green living can look like. Similarly, by educating community members on hybrid technology and the reduced impact it has on our environment, Metro hopes to encourage more individuals to do their part as well.
 
“We're proud to promote green practices both in our facilities and with our bus fleet," Ferrell says. "To be able to provide the community with an environmentally responsible way to travel throughout Cincinnati benefits us all."

Do Good: 

• Visit Metro and learn about mini-hybrid technology and going green at local Earth Day events. You can celebrate at The Christ Hospital 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday April 21, at Horseshoe Casino 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday April 22 or at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College's Earth Jam 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Thursday April 23.

• Connect with Metro on Facebook.

• Promote "green" practices in your own lifestyle.
 
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