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Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative receives national support to further learning

The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative (GCSC) is one of just 27 organizations nationwide chosen to pilot the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, a project more than 10 years in the making that’s funded by the STEM Funders Network. The project seeks to “nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities for all young people.”
The GCSC has made it its mission to facilitate partnerships that afford students increased learning opportunities such as the STEM Bicycle Club, a cross-sector collaboration that models the innovative approach the STEM Ecosystems Initiative hopes to foster.
“Through innovative programs like the STEM Bicycle Club, we’re bringing together partners from across the region for the good of students and their futures,” says Mary Adams, program manager for the GCSC. “Support of the STEM Funders Network and collaboration with colleagues across the United States will accelerate progress against our mission to create a robust STEM pipeline of talent to meet the accelerating demand for STEM jobs in our region.”
The 27 groups piloting the STEM Ecosystems Initiative will convene at the White House in November to share ideas with one another and to receive support and coaching from leaders in education, science and industry. The overall goal is to find a way to move beyond gender, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic barriers that sometimes stand in the way of young people, preventing them access to rigorous learning opportunities that extend beyond the classroom.
For STEM Funders Network Co-Chairs Gerald Solomon, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Executive Director of the Noyce Foundation, the design of STEM Ecosystems Initiative will allow for a more immersive educational experience for all.
“It is an initiative to design the kind of infrastructure that ensures that STEM learning is truly ‘everywhere’ and is a top priority for communities supporting youth to develop the skills and knowledge they need for success in a global workforce,” Solomon and Ottinger said in a joint statement.

Do Good:

Support the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative.

• If you're an educator, learn how you can do your part in facilitating STEM learning opportunities.

• Like the GCSC on Facebook.

Local salon owner wants to do Kim Davis' hair, address differences

For local salon owner Jim Brofft, compassion and open lines of communication are key when it comes to addressing differences. That’s why he’s made an offer to Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses and is now serving time in jail for contempt of court.
Brofft, who owns Salon Central in Over-the-Rhine, wants to meet Davis to cut, color and style her hair free of charge.
"Maybe after a hour with me in her jail cell, she will see that homosexuals are just like everyone else," Brofft says.

It’s an approach that Brofft says is non-confrontational and fosters shared experiences and openness toward those who are different.

Brofft, an openly gay Cincinnati native, has successfully owned and operated his salon since 2009 and has trained at seminars across the world — Vienna, Prague, London, Montreal, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. He is experienced when it comes to hair, but he’s also experienced when it comes to providing clients with a relaxing experience that leaves them feeling refreshed and confident with a look that suits their features and lifestyle, he says.

"I believe in the transformative power of great style," Brofft says. "Kim will look in the mirror after a hair makeover and see not only a more beautiful woman but perhaps one who can open her heart and accept that gay people deserve to love and marry.”

Do Good: 

• Visit the Gay & Lesbian Community Care Center to learn about and access local resources. 

• Support the GLBTQ Center by purchasing your ticket to Pride Night 2015 Sept. 11 at Kings Island.

• Make an effort to talk to someone unlike yourself. 

Pets in Need provides low-cost care for pet owners living in poverty

Whether clients visit Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. for affordable vaccinations and quality care or to grab food from the pantry for a furry friend, they are consistently grateful for the services they receive.
Take Antonio, for example. He and his mother worked together to create colorful bandanas for dogs, then donated them to Pets In Need (PIN) so the organization could sell the product in their storefront shop in Lockland, which offers discounted items like collars and leashes to its clients.
“They have limited means but wanted to give back,” says Julie Berthoud-Jury, director of development at PIN. “It’s just really heartwarming.”
Clients like Antonio and his mother are afforded access to PIN, which makes a world of difference in their lives as pet owners.
High-quality veterinary care is expensive, so for a pet owner living in poverty it’s empowering to be proactive and take one’s animal to a licensed veterinarian and pay a $10 copay for needed vaccines, flea/heartworm prevention and treatments as well as other minor skin, ear and eye issues.
Just days ago, the nonprofit served its 4,000th client, but there is a need to serve more.
“A lot of our clients have adopted these pets or rescued them,” Berthoud-Jury says.
One client found a cat during the winter months after discovering it had fallen out of a neighbor’s van, where it was hiding to try to stay warm. After the engine started, the cat was burned and presumed dead.
“But he had taken it to the vet and it was actually still alive, so they were able to nurse it back to health,” Berthoud-Jury says. “He’s been bringing it here ever since. He just loves that cat dearly.”

Do Good: 

• Support Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati by attending its annual fundraising art show and sale, Petcasso. Purchase your ticket for the preview party Saturday, Oct. 17. Proceeds will enable PIN to work toward its goal of expanding clinic hours to its growing base of clients. 

• Like PIN on Facebook and share the Petcasso invite with your friends.

• Tell someone about PIN, because many pet owners who qualify for care don’t know PIN exists. The nonprofit provides vouchers for low-cost spay/neuter and provides care that could otherwise be disregarded for an inability to pay. 

Coalition Academy unites community members together against substance abuse

Community members and public health professionals are joining forces to battle substance abuse at the 2015 Coalition Academy on Sept. 30. 
The annual all-day conference, hosted by PreventionFIRST! at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, will feature Ann Barnum, Vice President of Community Strategies at Interact for Health, as its keynote speaker. She will speak on opioid prevention and its impact on coalitions and local communities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

The academy is an opportunity for people in the community and coalition leaders to learn more about substance abuse prevention and public health. There will also be a heavy emphasis on coalition development and what those coalitions can do within their communities, such as changing policies and norms.

There will be three different presentation tracks for attendees: media and promotion of prevention, coalition development and the public impact of substance abuse prevention. Local speakers and leaders will share the effective strategies they're using in their communities.

“Effective prevention is always what we are trying to strive for,” says PreventionFIRST! Executive Director Mary Haag. “Substance abuse has been around for a long time, but it has to hit home before someone will want to take action. We want to make sure we make this applicable so people can go back and use these strategies in their communities.”
The 2015 Coalition Academy will take place 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30. A continental breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee.
Do Good:

• There is still time to register for the 2015 Coalition Academy. Tickets are $50 for the general public.

• Join a coalition in your own community and help prevent substance abuse.

• Support PreventionFIRST! by making a donation

Rain Pryor's "That Daughter's Crazy" to open 2015 Cincinnati Film Festival

The Cincinnati Film Festival begins Sept. 10 with That Daughter’s Crazy as its opener. The documentary, directed by Elzbieta Szoka, explores the life of actress and comedienne Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor, through footage, photos, press clipping and various interviews.

“This year we have another amazing line up of over 100 films from all over the world, and many from our own backyard,” says Kat Steele, director of the Cincinnati Film Festival. “We’re honored to be able to bring Rain and Daryl (Sledge, the film’s producer) here to Cincinnati for this special opening night premiere event.”

A stand-up comedy show featuring a few Queen City natives will precede the film screening. Ally Bruener, Kelly Collette, Teri Foltz, Kristen Lundberg and Ky Platt will take the stage with Pryor headlining the show.

Bruener, who hails from Alexandria, Ky., was born with muscular dystrophy and uses dark humor in her cynical bit, “I Laughed at the Crippled Girl.”

"I'm amazed by the amount of diversity, with regard to both personal backgrounds and comedic stylings, that this lineup has to offer,” Bruener says.

That Daughter's Crazy will be screened at The Carnegie in Covington at 9 p.m. Sept. 10, preceded by the comedy show at 7:30. Tickets to both the comedy show and film are $20. The VIP meet-and-greet package, which includes cocktails prior to the show and film, is $40.

The Cincinnati Film Festival recently received a micro-grant from Fuel Cincinnati to support the 2015 schedule running Sept. 10-20 at various venues.

Do Good:

Purchase your tickets to the comedy show and film screening online.

• For more information about That Daughter’s Crazy, visit the film's website.

• Check out the full schedule of film screenings on Cincinnati Film Festival’s Facebook page.  

The Nutrition Council relocates to Children's Home of Cincinnati, expands healthy eating programs

The Nutrition Council recently became a program of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, changing its address from downtown to Madisonville while its name, community programs, services and partnerships remain the same.
“Our goal is to focus on integrating nutrition services to the families served by the Children’s Home and continuing and strengthening nutrition education in the community,” says Lauren Niemes, director of nutrition services at the Children’s Home.
The new partnership between the two organizations will allow each to have a bigger impact on the needs of local children and their families who are at risk. 

“We have been providing programs at the Children’s Home for the last year,” Niemes says. “The children and their families have many needs, and healthy eating often does not rise to the top of the list. This partnership will enable us to take a more comprehensive approach to health and nutrition.”

Do Good:

• Volunteer in a group with some friends at the Children's Home.

Donate to help support the Nutrition Council's mission. 

• For more information about the Children's Home, call 513-272-2800.

Cincinnati Zoo promotes Go Bananas! Challenge to recycle old cell phones

Cell phone users can recycle their old phones and save endangered gorilla habitats thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The zoo’s recycling program, Project Saving Species, is part of a national competition, the Go Bananas! Challenge. Coltan, a metallic ore used in cell phones, is mined in endangered habitats in Africa, which causes gorillas to be displaced or poached due to the destruction of their homes.

In an effort to reduce the need for coltan, the zoo is collaborating with The Gorilla Glue Company and Eco-Cell for the fourth year in a row to ask organizations, schools and community youth groups to create to collect and recycle cell phones to help save gorillas.

Cincinnati Zoo Project Manager Molly Szabo says the previous campaign recycled 8,096 devices and raised $5,848.60 between Aug. 1, 2014 and April 14, 2015.

The Go Bananas! Challenge is pretty simple: Collect old phones and turn them into the zoo. The school, business or scout group that collects the most phones wins $4,000. Once a group is registered, it will be provided cell phone collection bins and postage labels or pick-up service.

All phones must be received by April 3, 2016. The winner will be announced April 24, 2016, Szabo says.

Do Good:

• Join the Go Bananas! Challenge and register your group online. 

• Don’t want to participate but have an old phone to recycle? Take it to the Cincinnati Zoo or one of the specified partner drop-off locations.

• For more information on how you can help, contact Molly Szabo.

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic returns with another star-studded collection of chefs

Washington Park becomes one big kitchen for the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic throughout the weekend of Sept. 11-13, the event's second year of hosting the best food and beverage flavors in the Midwest. Locals can enjoy culinary demonstrations, chef competitions and wine, beer and spirit tastings right on the park's event lawn across from Music Hall.

Not only will you be able to sample incredible food and drink, but CF+WC is partnering with Findlay Market and Freestore FoodBank to provide more than 14,000 meals to locals in need.

Cincinnati was recently called out as the next big food city in the U.S. by Keith Pandolfi, a Cincinnati native and freelance writer for Saveur magazine. Pandolfi — who served as a judge last year for CF+WC's Pork Chopped competition — shined a light on the restaurant scene in Cincinnati and the Midwest with good reason.

“This is the kind of thing we want to stand for,” says Courtney Tsitouris, CF+WC co-founder. “Never again and never before have you seen this particular collection of talent together. We've pulled people from the Midwest and all over the country.”

Do Good:

Register for tickets to the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Sept. 11-13 at Washington Park. Ticket packages are available for each day as well as for the full weekend.

• Lend a hand and volunteer your time for the weekend.

• Check out the full list of this year’s participating culinary talent.

Party like a rock star at Music Resource Center fundraiser

The Music Resource Center (MRC) in Walnut Hills is hosting its annual Party Like a Rockstar fundraiser Aug. 29 to raise funds to support the after-school program, which hosts kids learning to play guitar, singing opera, rapping and playing jazz under one roof.

The benefit will feature a performance from MRC students, a silent auction and an open bar featuring craft beer, draft beer, liquor and wine, says Executive Director Karen D'Agostino.

The MRC provides recording and performing equipment to local teens between the grades of 7 and 12 for $2 a month. Kids can take private lessons, train in rehearsal rooms and record music in the multi-track recording studio.

MRC recently launched a low-frequency radio station, 95.7-FM, that features original content recorded at the studio, ranging from music to talk shows and public service announcements.

But the organization is more than just about recording music and performing arts. Mentors use life skills to create a sense of empowerment for the kids who spend their afternoons at the MRC.

“Some of them have very low confidence and struggle at school,” D’Agostino says. “But that kid who can’t concentrate comes in and sits in a studio for three hours straight. He’s found a passion he hasn’t had the opportunity to explore elsewhere.”

Do Good:

• Register to attend the Party Like a Rockstar benefit event on Saturday, Aug. 29 at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout. Tickets are $65 for one person and $120 for two.

• The Music Resource Center depends on volunteer teachers, so please donate your time for a good cause.

• For more information about MRC’s radio station, 95.7, visit their website. 

Metro, CincyYP collaborate to host Saturday night entertainment bus for new riders

For those looking for a fun way to socialize and navigate city streets via public transportation, Cincinnati Metro and CincyYP are collaborating to once again host “Take a TrYP on the Metro” from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.
The entertainment bus will travel along a special route through downtown, Over-the-Rhine, East Walnut Hills, O’Bryonville, Oakley, Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout, stopping at nearly 20 different bars and restaurants along the way. According to Metro’s Outreach and Sustainability Manager Kim Lahman, the event is a fun way to introduce young professionals to Metro’s services.

“I believe most participants will feel more comfortable giving Metro a try after they experience just how easy and convenient public transit can be,” she says.

Each of the participating venues along the route will offer special promotions to riders, and they’ll learn trip-planning logistics like reading a schedule and making use of Metro’s real-time apps along the way.

“National trends are telling us that millennials value and want access to robust public transportation (and) want to live in a community where owning a car is optional,” says Brandy Jones, Metro’s public relations manager. “Metro is working to better understand and meet the transit needs of our future riders, as events like this one help us engage with potential riders and discover just how Metro can be what they need and want it to be as we work to reinvent our service.”

Do Good: 

• Purchase a single rider pass for just $7 or gather your friends and purchase a four-rider pass for $20 here.

• Take a look at the bars and restaurants participating in Saturday's promotion and contact Kaitlyn Kappesser if you're a restaurant or bar owner who'd like to join the fun.

• Watch this quick video to see how riding the Metro works.

Clovernook Center's manufacturing prowess featured on "Home Factory" TV show

More than 5 million biodegradable and compostable cups were produced last year right here in Cincinnati at the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Two million of those cups went to the U.S. Navy, and the remaining 3 million were sold through third party sales at local stores like Target, Party City and Whole Foods.  
Clovernook was recently featured on an episode of "Home Factory," an FYI Network TV show that tours production facilities in North America and reveals how everyday household objects are made.
The cups are available in 10 oz. or 16 oz. sizes in various patterns and colors and can be custom printed.

“People have seen these cups and don’t even realize they were made right here in North College Hill,” says Coral Dill, manager of communications & development.  

Clovernook, whose mission is to provide life-enriching opportunities to people who are blind and visually impaired, employed approximately 70 blind or visually impaired employees last year.

“A lot of people underestimate the power of people who are blind or visually impaired,” Dill says, “but the sense of community here is the most fulfilling. There’s such a sense of comraderie and self-empowerment.”

Clovernook is also one of the top two largest braille printing houses in the U.S., producing 40 million pages on an annual basis.

Do Good:

• Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is always looking for volunteers.

• Help support Clovernook's mission by giving.

• “Like” Clovernook on Facebook and stay up to date on fundraisers and events. 

Local glassworkers join forces to celebrate National Bead Challenge Day

Beads of Courage has worked for the past 10 years to provide a unique and innovative approach to help children who are dealing with serious illnesses find ways to cope.
To back the organization in its mission of providing arts-in-medicine programming, Tristate artists will gather at Brazee Street Studios Sept. 19 for National Bead Challenge Day. The event — hosted at 20 art studios across the country — is intended to encourage artists to produce one-of-a-kind designs that children who are coping with cancer and blood disorders, cardiac conditions, burn injuries and chronic illness, in addition to families with children in neonatal intensive care, can add to their collections.
“We’re proud to host this event each year and to know that the beads created make a difference to children undergoing difficult medical treatments and bring a smile to their faces,” says Chelsea Borgman, Brazee’s gallery coordinator.
The Beads of Courage program begins when a child receives a string in addition to alphabet beads to spell out his or her first name and continues as health care providers give him or her colorful new beads to mark treatment milestones.
Beads crafted at National Bead Challenge Day serve as particularly special additions to children’s beaded creations, as they’re reminders of their courage and perseverance throughout the coping process.
“These beads mean the world to children who receive them,” Borgman says. “It’s a way for these kids to show their strength and say to the world and themselves, ‘I did it!’”

Do Good: 

• Support Beads of Courage by donating.

• Attend National Bead Challenge Day at Brazee Street Studios in Oakley 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 19. There will be activities for children in addition to opportunities to write letters to children in the Beads of Courage program. 

• Connect with Beads of Courage on Facebook.

Union Institute aims to educate public about human trafficking in our own backyards

Last month, Union Institute & University Professor Eric Higgins and Enrollment Counselor Sarah Kolks presented “From Victim to Offender: The Response to Human Trafficking in Probation and Parole” at the American Probation and Parole Association’s 40th Anniversary Training Institute in Los Angeles.
As subject matter experts, Higgins and Kolks are certainly knowledgeable about the issue of human trafficking, but they’re also passionate about getting word out — not just nationally but also locally.
“When the majority of people think about human trafficking, it is what they see from mainstream media like the scenario in the movie Taken, where a young woman gets kidnapped, drugged, taken to a faraway place and put on display for wealthy men to bid on,” says Higgins, who also serves as a detective in the Covington Police Department.  “But the grim reality is human trafficking is happening everywhere.”
According to Higgins, sex trafficking is an estimated $87 million a day business, and 3,000 youth from Ohio and Northern Kentucky are at risk of being exploited each year.
“It is happening everywhere. These victims are afraid to speak to us,” Higgins says. “They don’t want to approach law enforcement or someone who the rest of the community believes would be able to help them. They’ve been conditioned to believe that we are the bad guys and we are only going to throw them in jail. They’re also afraid that their trafficker will kill them or maybe their family.”
Victims typically begin getting trafficked between the ages of 11 and 13, Higgins says, and while the victims are mostly women, it happens to young boys and men as well.  
“Education is key,” Higgins says. “Community members, criminal justice agencies, and public policy makers should never be afraid to ask the important questions and address cultural and peer pressures that might influence the acceptance of treating our women and children as a commodity.” 

Do Good: 

• Call the Greater Cincinnati Human Trafficking Hotline at 513-800-1863 to report a situation, connect with referrals or if you’re in need of crisis intervention. If you are outside of the immediate area, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888. 

• Pay attention to your surroundings and learn to recognize the behavior of victims: anxiousness, lack of eye contact, etc. Educate yourself further about the issue by visiting the End Slavery Cincinnati website for resources. 

• Connect with End Slavery Cincinnati on Twitter and Facebook for important updates and resources.

Arts Center ready to "Raise the Heights" with grand opening of new space

Currently the Kennedy Heights Arts Center serves about 5,000 people a year, but according to Ellen Muse-Lindeman, the nonprofit’s executive director, that number is expected to double with the grand opening of its Lindner Annex.
The new space, which allows the Center to quadruple in size, is already home to local artists — including the Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild — who are using studio space to develop their craft. It will soon play host to a variety of performing arts, public and private events and classes ranging in subject matter — everything from photography to graphic design in its new state-of-the-art Scripps Howard Media Center.
“We find that digital art forms are really popular,” Muse-Lindeman says, “Kids and young adults have lots of interests, so we want to help harness that activity and provide ways for young people to learn how to develop their own content and develop their own voices through that content.”
The Center, as it’s done for years, will continue its inclusion policy, so classes will be accessible to all.
“We don’t turn anyone away for inability to pay,” Muse-Lindeman says. “We have a sliding scale for tuition, so people pay what they’re able to afford. We have a real core concentration of participants from the area.”
And the hope is for that core to continue to expand, bringing more children, teens and adults — novices and already-established artists — into a space that fosters creativity and collaboration, while enhancing the region as a whole.
“There are so many benefits to bringing more artists to urban communities,” Muse-Lindeman says. “It brings more vitality and excitement, and when artists invest their time and their talents in this neighborhood, it attracts more types of activity and leads to positive revitalization.” 

Do Good: 

• Help celebrate the grand opening of the new space by attending Raise the Heights, an art parade and festival 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 29. The official ribbon cutting is planned for 10 a.m. Aug. 28. 

•  The Lindner Annex, in addition to the Kennedy Heights Montessori Center, make up what will now be known as the  Kennedy Heights Cultural Campus, but they're looking for a third partner to move in and complete the campus. The partner can be either a nonprofit or for-profit venture but should align with the education/arts theme. Contact Ellen Muse-Lindeman if you’re interested. 

• Connect with the Kennedy Heights Arts Center on Facebook, and stay tuned for information on events, space rental and fall programming, which begins enrollment in September.

Businesses, residents, community groups transform vacant Walnut Hills lot into community garden

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful kicked off a transformative project last week to turn a vacant Walnut Hills lot into a community garden, thanks to help from more than 20 Lowe’s Heroes and volunteers from the Health & Wellness Walnut Hills initiative.
The endeavor includes plans for raised vegetable beds, an art and journaling area and a walking meditation pathway and will be completed in three to four weeks, with measures in place to ensure sustainability for years to come.
“We are continuing to build a strong team of dedicated neighborhood volunteers,” says Gary Dangel, community activist and co-founder of Elevate Walnut Hills. “With the ongoing support of local businesses and organizations such as Lowe’s and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, we will create a fun, interactive place that encourages kids to explore and discover the wonders of nature.”
Dangel led the creative process for the garden’s design on Park Avenue, just one project in the neighborhood’s push for community health and wellness.

Longtime residents like Cecil Evans, who has lived in Walnut Hills for nearly 40 years, are excited to witness the transformation and to put the renovated space to use.
“It’s been a nuisance. I can’t understand why people litter the Earth,” Evans says. “I lived off a farm most of my life and plan to grow vegetables here next year.”

Do Good:

• Support Keep Cincinnati Beautiful by donating.

• Learn about ways you can get involved with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful by volunteering.

• Join Keep Cincinnati Beautiful as the organization launches a crowdfunding campaign for Over-the-Rhine's Grant Park at the Christian Moerlein Brewery Taproom 5-7 p.m. Aug. 19.
804 Articles | Page: | Show All
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