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Rock 'n Roll All Skate benefit to aid WordPlay's literacy mission


If you ever find yourself reminiscing about the days of roller rinks, rock & roll and swirling disco balls, Thursday evening’s Rock ‘n Roll All Skate is for you.
 
The 21-and-up event benefits WordPlay, the Northside-based nonprofit that provides tutoring, literacy and creative writing programs for students, including the recent Louder Than a Bomb high school spoken word program.
 
“WordPlay’s double approach — bolstering literacy along with guiding kids to tell their own stories — does more than give the kids knowledge and tools for lifelong personal enrichment,” says Laurie Pike, writer and digital consultant who serves as a tutor at WordPlay. “It also helps them address tough issues they face in their personal lives in school and out.”
 
That enrichment is so important, according to Pike, because it affords students the opportunity to articulate their experiences in a safe environment where they will receive constructive feedback.
 
“And getting constructive feedback on their artistry builds their self-confidence and self-knowledge,” she says. “I see kids developing a vision and capabilities for taking their lives in new, positive directions.”
 
Pike, who organized the skating event, says she’s fortunate to have grown up middle-class in Cincinnati with access to books and a wealth of literacy-building potential at her fingertips but that families with similar income levels today don’t have the same access.
 
“Today the 53 percent of Cincinnati school kids living below the poverty line deserve extra help to nurture their natural intelligence and love of learning. This is what WordPlay does,” Pike says. “I have seen time and again the power of story-telling and reading to uplift and transform a person.”  
 
Do Good: 

• Find your most fashionable retro attire and order your tickets for Rock 'n Roll All Skate 7:30-10 p.m. Thursday, April 23 at Norwood's Fun Factory.

• Spread the word about Rock 'n Roll All Skate by sharing the Facebook event page with your friends.

• Support WordPlay by donating.
 

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative to celebrate service during National Volunteer Week


Without volunteers — those who give freely of themselves to make a difference in the community — nonprofits would be considerably less impactful. Cincinnati Youth Collaborative recognizes that fact and will be finding different ways to honor those who have helped it change the lives of 160,000 students throughout the past 30 years.
 
CYC will “Celebrate Service” this week and kick off National Volunteer Week festivities Thursday with a Thank-A-Thon, in which every CYC volunteer will receive a phone call so they know their work is appreciated. And on Saturday, Global Youth Service Day, CYC’s AmeriCorps College Guide team will lead service projects at Oyler School while CYC staffers, mentors, mentees and community volunteers join together to clean up and beautify Lower Price Hill.
 
For mentors like Tim Clarke, who’s volunteered with CYC for the past 21 years, the mentoring experience has led to joy for both him and his wife Sue.
 
“I began this relationship selfishly,” Clarke says. “Our youngest child went to college, and I missed that involvement.”
 
Clarke mentored Lamont Watkins, a student who was just 13 when the mentor/mentee relationship began, and it was so impactful on both that Clarke served as Watkins’ best man when he got married last fall.
 
When it came time for speeches, Clarke was unable to give the one he initially prepared. As he sat at his table for dinner, he noticed that rather than wedding favors there was a card placed at each seat indicating that Watkins and his wife would instead provide a gift to CYC in honor of each guest.
 
“I just had to thank him,” Clarke says. “For him to want a gift to give to CYC for this to happen to someone else, I got emotional. It was a great day.”

Do Good:

Volunteer with Cincinnati Youth Collaborative.

Support vulnerable students by making a gift.

• Thank a volunteer.
 

NOH8 Campaign to shoot photos downtown Monday


The NOH8 Campaign will make its first-ever stop in Cincinnati Monday at The Westin Cincinnati Hotel, where people are encouraged to be photographed to show their support for the nonprofit’s stand against discrimination and bullying.
 
About 50,000 individuals from across the globe have been photographed to date sporting the signature NOH8 tattoo on their faces while duct-taping their mouths shut — a symbol initially intended to represent the voices silenced by California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state in 2008. A federal court eventually ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional.
 
Photos are $40 per person for single photos or $25 per person for couple or group shots, and all funds generated are used to promote and raise awareness for human rights.
 
For the campaign’s founders, Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, it’s important to provide an opportunity that initiates dialogue.
 
“Coming from small towns ourselves, we know what it's like to grow up without an outlet to speak out,” Bouska and Parshley say. “We want to bring the message of NOH8 everywhere we can as a resource to give people a way to show support. Harvey Milk always said, ‘Visibility was the key way to opening hearts and minds,’ and that's what our mission is all about.”
 
Bouska, an award-winning celebrity and fashion photographer, and Parshley, executive producer for the campaign, are partners for whom the message of marriage equality hits particularly close to home.
 
“Whether you're directly or indirectly affected by discrimination and legislation like Prop 8, NOH8 photos are an easy way to broadcast your support and identify yourself as an ally of equality,” they say. “For nearly seven years, tens of thousands of supporters worldwide have been using NOH8 to keep the conversation about marriage equality in the mainstream. The message has grown to be about more than just equality; it's about building and supporting a sense of community and human rights for everybody.”

Do Good: 

• Check out the NOH8 event invite on Facebook and participate in the open shoot 5-8 p.m. Monday, April 13.

• Check out NOH8's BE HEARD Project and share your own story. 

• Support the NOH8 Campaign by donating.
 

ArtWorks restarts Saturday Mural Tours of OTR and downtown public art


ArtWorks, the local nonprofit that employs young people to create public art, is again offering its Saturday Mural Tours program.
 
Each 90-minute walk — one through Over-the-Rhine, one through Downtown — is approximately a mile long and features 7-10 murals created by ArtWorks artists. The OTR tour begins at Coffee Emporium at the corner of Walnut Street and Central Parkway at noon, while the Downtown walk begins on Fountain Square at 2 p.m. Two guides lead each tour.
 
The Spirit of OTR tour features “Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat,” “The Golden Muse” and “Strongman Henry Holtgrewe” among other murals. The Cincinnati Genius tour includes three works from the Cincinnati Master Artist series, including Charley Harper’s “Homecoming (Bluebirds),” Tom Wesselman’s Still Life #60” and John Ruthven’s “Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon.”
 
The tours help raise money for ArtWorks, which lured the then 88-year-old Ruthven to a scaffold at Eighth and Vine streets in the summer of 2013 to work with 15 apprentice artists on a massive rendition of his original “Martha” that covers the entire side of a downtown building.
 
The tours run every Saturday through November and are $20 for adults and free for children under 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Do Good:

• Join one of the mural tours by purchasing tickets in advance through the ArtWorks website, which also offers discounts and coupons to A Tavola in OTR’s Gateway Quarter following the tours.

• Find out about all 90 of ArtWorks’ public murals, located in numerous neighborhoods on both sides of the river, and do your own self-guided tour.

Support ArtWorks’ mission to employ, engage, create and transform the Greater Cincinnati region.
 

Cincy musician becomes national anti-bullying activist


When Cincinnati native Keenan West released an EP on iTunes a few years ago, the intent was solely to do what he loved: make music. He had no idea that upon its release he’d embark on a journey as an anti-bullying activist.
 
But when one of West’s friends heard the lyrics to his song “Never Ever,” she immediately associated its message of hope, support and friendship with victims of bullying.
 
“A friend of mine had the idea of taking those lyrics to the song and making a music video to help raise awareness and money for people in regard to bullying,” West says. “I really initially didn’t know anything about bullying prevention, but that kind of started to open my ears to know a little more about what kids were struggling with.”
 
So West collaborated with students from Sycamore Junior High School to shoot and release a music video, then partnered with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center — which receives 50 cents every time the song is downloaded — to learn more about bullying prevention.  
 
West says he saw the need for a different approach when it came to tackling the issue of bullying, so he started traveling the country, visiting about 100 schools per year, to deliver his anti-bullying campaign. His approach is unique, meshing pop culture with a positive message to reach students in a way that sticks.
 
He’s now partnered with Secret and its Mean Stinks program, which is dedicated to ending girl-to-girl bullying.
 
“With Mean Stinks, we’re all about putting the power back into the students’ hands,” West says.
 
One way that’s evident is through the most recent music video released, “Everybody Come On (It’s on Us),” which incorporates students’ advice — like complimenting a stranger — they’ve offered via social media.
 
“We inspire kids to show us how they’re doing nice acts of kindness at their school, and we have them share,” West says. “At our assemblies and through our campaign, we’re saying, ‘Let us equip you with how to respond, what to do, so you can take it upon yourself to step in.’” 

Do Good:

Bring Keenan West to your school. No school is ever turned down because of budget issues. 

• Connect with @MeanStinks on Twitter.

• Check out Girls Guide to End Bullying, a free resource created by a team of researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 
 

"Walking Cincinnati" launches Saturday in OTR and Covington


Walking Cincinnati, the book that takes readers on a journey through historical, architectural, culinary and socially relevant highlights in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, will be unveiled at two launch parties Saturday, April 11.
 
Written by Danny Korman, owner of Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine, and Katie Meyer, manager of Renaissance Covington, the launch party will start at noon at Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine with the authors signing copies. At 2 p.m., Korman and Meyer will put the spirit of the book into action by leading a hike to Roebling Point Books & Coffee in Covington, which is also the home of Keen Communications, publisher of the book. The festivities will continue there until 5 p.m.
 
Korman and Meyer worked for more than two years on the project, which is subtitled “An Insider’s Guide to 32 Historic Neighborhoods, Stunning Riverfront Quarters and Hidden Treasures in the Queen City.” The authors are experienced urban explorers who have a passion for those hidden treasures that lie just beneath the surface for people who might not get out of their cars often as they travel through the area.
 
Organized by neighborhoods, Walking Cincinnati travels from Sayler Park on the west side to Hyde Park on the east and beyond in addition to Newport, Covington and other areas south of the Ohio River.
 
“This is my first book, I’m super excited about it and I’m completely honored by it,” says Korman, who doesn’t own a car and travels the four miles from his home in Evanston to his store every day on foot or bicycle.
 
Walking Cincinnati arrives as more and more people are moving into the urban core of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The book shares observations and stories collected by Korman and Meyer, but the authors would say its true purpose is to encourage people to find their own paths through the neighborhoods that generations have walked before them.

Do Good:

• Attend the launch parties Saturday, April 11: 12 noon at Park + Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; and 3 p.m. at Roebling Point Books & Coffee, 306 Greenup St., Covington.

• Support local writers and local publishers by purchasing Walking Cincinnati.

• Walk your own neighborhood, then branch out and try walking everywhere.
 

The Women's Fund extends mini-grant deadline to Friday


The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has extended its application deadline for this year’s cycle of mini-grants to 5 p.m. Friday, April 10.
 
If you’re a nonprofit in the Cincinnati area that serves women and their families, you’re eligible to apply for the opportunity to receive anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to make programming and services more available and impactful to clients.
 
The Women’s Fund leads the community “in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region and igniting a shared desire to improve it.” By providing local organizations with the capacity to assist in that effort, women receive much-needed support.
 
“This issue of women in poverty is sort of a hidden issue in our community,” says Vanessa Freytag, executive director of The Women’s Fund. “Especially when we think about who’s poor, who’s struggling and, more importantly, who’s trying to reach self sufficiency.”
 
In an attempt to enable women to achieve self-sufficiency, programs and projects that receive funding should impact at least one of the following areas: childcare, employment, living wage or training and education.  
 
“Single moms, by far, make up the majority of the population that’s reaching for self sufficiency,” Freytag says. “As we resolve this, I think we lift our whole community.” 

Do Good: 

• Learn more about mini-grants, and download an application. Fill it out, and submit it by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline.

Contact Barb Linder to volunteer as a grant reviewer. The Women's Fund needs your help evaluating nonprofits' programs and projects. 

• Support the work of The Women's Fund by donating.
 

UC Economics Center honors those who promote financial literacy


UC’s Economics Center hosted its eighth annual awards luncheon two weeks ago to honor students, educators and sponsors making a difference in society’s understanding and implementation of financial literacy. More than 700 business leaders and educators joined together for the event, in which General Electric’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt addressed economic empowerment and “The Next Industrial Era.”
 
“I learned there are four things that competitive societies focus on: education, small business, the infrastructure and more competitiveness from government,” Immelt said. “We see those things in the state of Ohio.”
 
Because of support from local businesses and individuals who value the mission of the Economics Center, it’s able to offer programming and resources to schools and teachers who can empower students with the knowledge needed to be successful in a changing economy.
 
The Center, for example, works with schools to implement the Student Enterprise Program (StEP), in which students earn currency — for things like turning in homework or arriving to school on time — which they can later spend at the StEP store. It fosters critical thinking and an awareness of entrepreneurship, spending and saving. (See the StEP video shown at the awards event here.)
 
Immelt, who grew up in Cincinnati, is a model for success and what one can attain when knowledgeable about economics, and said he’s determined to make sure our youth “have the hunger, the discipline and the skills to continue to go out and face the world with confidence.”
 
“We need great people to help them do that,” Immelt said at the March 16 event. “That’s our job — to teach the next generation how to compete, how to make a difference in the world, the value of economic strength and how to be focused on innovation and humility, accountability and purpose. When we do well we win together, and that’s what’s happening here.”

Do Good:

• Make a difference by giving to the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati.

• Make a difference by volunteering.

• If you're interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, contact the Center.
 

Male joins lots of women leading girls to develop confidence through running


Steve Brandstetter was never much of a runner, but he discovered his passion for it about 15 years ago with a bit of help from his brother-in-law, a marathon runner who assisted Steve in preparing for his first-ever distance run.
 
So when traveling to Michigan, where his brother-in-law lives, it came as no surprise to Brandstetter that running would occupy at least a portion of the visit.
 
“That, coupled with a closeness to my nieces who shared a love of soccer and now this running thing which I had become enamored with, made for some great visits between our families,” Brandstetter says. “My daughters, about 13 and 17 at the time, had shared these loves to different degrees as well.”

At one point during the trip, Brandstetter says his niece mentioned Girls on the Run, an organization whose mission is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”
 
Brandstetter was sold. As someone who had coached soccer for years and who had recently found his own love for running, it was something he wanted his girls — his daughters as well as the girls on his team — to experience.
 
Upon returning home he looked around for information regarding the nonprofit but got busy with life, deciding Girls on the Run was simply something he wouldn't realistically be able to pursue at that point in his life.
 
“Then, some months later, as I'm devouring Bob Roncker’s Running Spot quarterly publication of ‘All Things Running,’ I happened upon this blurb on the back cover of the paper that, much to my disbelief, was calling for volunteers for this program, strangely enough called Girls on the Run,” Brandstetter says. “I had found it.”
 
Brandstetter has now been involved with the organization as a volunteer for 10 years. He can’t serve as a head coach, as that role is reserved for females who serve as role models for the girls, but says he’s valued every moment of time spent with the organization serving in various capacities — everything from assistant coaching to planning the two yearly 5k runs (the Spring run is May 9).
 
“Nearly every single young girl in that program just gravitated toward me, the only male in the coaching program at the time,” Brandstetter says. “They seemed so hungry for the love and attention that only a father can give. I got notes, pictures and thank yous from many of the families, and I did nothing more than be a guy who was there and present to deserve that.
 
“But the real impact comes from the consistent implementation and delivery of the message, values and beliefs of Girls on the Run delivered by caring and engaging women who understand the value of the program, who passionately bring that experience to each girl.”

Do Good:

• Join the team of Girls on the Run volunteers.

Register your girl for the program. The Spring 5k is scheduled for May 9.

• Help make the program possible for all girls by donating
 

NKU professor to publish findings on long-term impacts of service learning


When Julie Olberding first began her career at Northern Kentucky University, she knew she would need to find a nonprofit to partner with for her Resource Acquisition and Management course. After browsing the newspaper, she came upon The Inner City Tennis Project, whose aim is to provide low-cost and high-quality tennis instruction to inner-city students.
 
“I felt compelled to work with them,” says Olberding, who currently serves as director of NKU’s Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management graduate certificate programs.

“It was run by two people who had worked for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission who weren’t millionaires, who weren’t loaded with resources,” she says, “but the story went on to talk about how each of them contributed something like $10,000 of their own money to pay for renting courts and vans for their teams to participate in matches. They were basically pooling money from their pockets, from their retirement, to pay for it.”
 
Both her Resource Acquisition and Management course and her Volunteer Management course engaged in service learning projects with the Inner City Tennis Project, and in the 10 years since, Olberding’s classes have continued to engage in projects that have long-lasting impacts.
 
“I had a student who went on to do an internship for them and then became a board member and ultimately their president,” Olberding says, “and he invited me to one of their special events called the Sneaker Ball, which is a gala where everybody dresses up and they wear tennis shoes, and there’s a silent auction. ... It was an idea that was created, or further developed, by the original Resource Management class.”
 
Unsure of what to expect, Olberding attended the event and was “blown away,” she says, at its success.
 
“It opened my eyes and my imagination — or interest — in terms of wondering what happened to other organizations, but I hadn’t had or taken the time to follow up with them to see what these long term impacts were,” she says.
 
So she worked with a graduate student to follow up with community partners and conduct surveys years after projects took place.
 
“In looking at the literature on service learning and even student philanthropy, which is part of that, there didn’t seem to be a lot on how these projects can have longer term impacts,” Olberding says. “We kind of assume they are, because in our classes in particular we focus on things like nonprofit strategic planning, program evaluation, fundraising, volunteer management — all things that have that potential.”
 
So Olberding and a former student compiled data to co-author a piece that speaks to the long-term impacts of service learning, which will be published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership later this year.
 
“I think sometimes when people think about service learning,” Olberding says, “they think of the undergraduate class maybe going to a food pantry or homeless shelter — providing hours of service in a way that’s very helpful but is somewhat contained to that moment of providing direct services — versus a graduate-level class like the ones we have where students are professionals themselves, bringing different content that really is designed to have longer term impacts.
 
“The most common comment or theme that the nonprofits I’ve been involved with have said are, ‘I haven’t thought about that’ or ‘I haven’t had time to think about it,’ and once they have information and a plan in front of them hopefully they can find a group of volunteers or a committee or board members to take the lead on helping them implement the ideas students brought to the table.” 

Do Good:

Contact NKU's Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement with a service learning idea.

Learn more about NKU's Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management certificate programs.

• Follow the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement on Facebook.
 

Deadline for Public Library Comic Con drawing contest entries is March 31


The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Comic Con 2015 Drawing Contest is underway with one week remaining for children ages 5 and above, teens and adults to submit their artwork.
 
“It’s unique in that it gives people the opportunity to show their work and be recognized for their talents by everyone who attends Cincinnati Library Comic Con,” says LeeAnn McNabb, reference librarian in the downtown branch's popular department. 
 
Awards will be presented at the Comic Con's Main Event on Saturday, May 16, which will feature creator and partner booths, gaming areas, free comics and more.
 
In its third year, the Cincinnati Library Comic Con provides fans, creators and aspiring creators with a venue and an opportunity to come together “in a fun, friendly, cooperative environment where they can access the tools and information they need to entertain or educate themselves about the world of comics,” says McNabb, who initiated the idea.
 
For McNabb, it’s important that comic books, graphic novels and manga are incorporated into our understanding of literacy because they’re generally familiar, fun and not intimidating,, serving as a “gateway to reading.”
 
“People read and absorb information in different ways, and it’s important for us to acknowledge that,” McNabb says. “Some readers connect better with contextual imagery that accompanies text rather than narratives told solely through the written word. For example, some students who are struggling readers, no matter what age they are, can use the sequential art as a sort of road map that can provide clues to understanding words they are not familiar with.”

Do Good: 

• Download your drawing contest entry form here. Entry deadline is March 31.

• Check out the Cincinnati Library Comic Con Main Event schedule here.

• Connect with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on Facebook.
 

The Women's Fund hosts Lisa Ling appearance to fund 2015 grants


It’s not too late to purchase tickets to The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s “A Conversation with Lisa Ling” Wednesday, March 25 at Memorial Hall.
 
The evening commences at 5:30 p.m. with drinks and appetizers, followed by Ling’s speech. Tickets are $40, and proceeds enable the organization to add to the $1 million it’s granted since 2004 to nonprofits supporting female self sufficiency and empowerment.

Ling is executive producer and host of This Is Life on CNN and previously hosted Our America on the Oprah Winfrey Network and co-hosted ABC's hit show The View. She is also an author and co-founder of the website SecretSocietyofWomen.com.
 
“Lisa often tells the stories of people whose lives are often misunderstood or overlooked and finds not only the beauty but also the hope that lies within them,” says Vanessa Freytag, executive director of The Women’s Fund. “What a beautiful lens for our community to adopt as we learn about women and their families who are struggling right here at home.”
 
In addition to awarding grants to nonprofits and offering events that spark community dialogue, The Women’s Fund also commissions research.
 
In its most recent Pulse report, “2020 Jobs and Gender Outlook,” findings indicate that by 2020 four out of every seven jobs held by females will not provide enough income for her to cover the basic needs of herself and one child.
 
“When you take that in context with the fact that two-thirds of children in poverty are in female-headed households, you start to see why it is important for the entire community to work on strategies that can help hard working moms reach self-sufficiency,” Freytag says. “There is no more important challenge to creating a thriving region than addressing this issue.”

Do Good: 

Buy tickets for "A Conversation with Lisa Ling."

• Support The Women's Fund by giving.

• Learn about The Women's Fund 2015 grant cycle and consider applying for a mini-grant or signing up as a volunteer to review them. 
 

Cincinnati native launches Queen City Crowdfunding to tap into the region's generosity


For Jim Cunningham, primary founder, funder and general manager of Queen City Crowdfunding, improving the Greater Cincinnati region is a primary aim.
 
“My family and my wife’s (family) have lived here almost since the Civil War, and both of our children have stayed here, so we are totally committed to this region,” Cunningham says. “Fortunately it’s one of the best and most affordable places in the world to live. The people here are generous, as shown by the large United Way and other charitable and arts-related support.”
 
Because of that generosity, it’s important to raise awareness about crowdfunding as an asset for both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, Cunningham says.
 
Cunningham managed operations at Queen City Angels, the startup investor group, and following his recent retirement he launched QCC, a free service that allows entrepreneurs to create or publicize their already-live campaigns.
 
Many people are familiar with global platforms like Kickstarter, for example, but QCC will highlight all local ventures, attracting contributors who are perhaps outside the circles of those launching campaigns.
 
“A lot of the campaigns we support are for-profit businesses that create jobs and enrich the local business community and consumers’ choices,” Cunningham says. “But The Gallery Project is a nonprofit that I found especially appealing because it is in an urban area, on Woodburn Avenue (in Walnut Hills), that will benefit from this arts incubator for its youth. It can enrich the lives of people through exposure to the arts and hands-on mentoring in a field that is not the focus of schools.”
 
The Gallery Project raised $2,865 during its two-month long campaign, and though it didn’t reach its goal of $10,000 Cunningham says a few thousand dollars can certainly help it move forward.
 
“It’s a worthy social venture in a part of town that would not normally attract a lot of funding, but it could advertise itself to the broad Cincinnati community,” Cunningham says. “Increasing the entire region’s awareness of crowdfunding is a long-term project, and we’re in this for the long haul.” 

Do Good:

• Explore local campaigns at Queen City Crowdfunding and consider contributing.

• Join QCC and publicize your own crowdfunding campaign. It's completely free.

• Learn more about how QCC works and help the site launch by sharing it with your friends.
 

Help OTR Brewery District put Cincy on map with heritage trail


Nonprofits, small business owners and residents all came together two weekends ago in Over-the-Rhine to make Bockfest successful in its 23rd year, but there's more to look forward to given what Cincinnati’s Brewery District has in store.
 
“Bockfest is a celebration of beer, the coming of spring, but also a celebration of the neighborhood and a particular place,” says Steven Hampton, executive director of the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. “This neighborhood is the key.”
 
And it’s that notion of “neighborhood” and a sense of place that's driving the nonprofit’s mission to make the Brewery District “the place to live, work and play.” Through festivals like Bockfest, the OTR Biergarten, historic brewery tours and most recently its work to create the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail, the Brewery District is making strides in putting historic OTR on the map.
 
“We get a lot of folks that say, ‘I’m not a museum folk or wouldn’t normally come down here, but beer history, I’m all aboard,’” Hampton says. “We joke we can tell anybody’s story in history and intertwine it with beer. There are so many facts about how much we drank and produced, but how it was intertwined with stories of how this city grew, that’s the fun thing.”
 
To share those stories and to create interactive ways for neighbors and visitors to grow the city further, the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail — a project Hampton says will come completely to fruition in the next four years or so — will showcase Cincinnati’s unique history while revitalizing the northern Over-the-Rhine district and generating tourism.
 
“It really has the potential to be a world class neighborhood,” Hampton says. “Boston is known worldwide for the Freedom Trail, Kentucky for the Bourbon Trail. Cincinnati’s going to be known for this.

“Most cities would kill to have this amazing collection of history and architecture, all these different cultural assets in one amazing, walkable neighborhood. So we’re going to capitalize on and focus on what we have — these amazing assets left to us — and continue to build those and share them with folks locally and the world to make this a better place.”

Do Good 

Learn about the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail.

• Take a tour and experience Cincinnati's brewing history for yourself. 

• Help build the trail by donating
 

Pedaling 4 Paddy to generate support, awareness for Wasson Way


Pedaling 4 Paddy has become an annual tradition since it kicked off in 2011 when bike enthusiast Maggie Brennan told a group of friends they should initiate a community ride in March to celebrate community, cycling and one of her favorite holidays,  St. Patrick’s Day.
 
“I wanted to keep it grassroots,” Brennan says. “Ride your bike and have drinks and food after.”

The 2015 event happens Saturday, March 21, starting at Fifty West Brewing Company and offers trail options for cyclists and non-cyclists alike — hop-on and hop-off options for the leisurely in addition to a 52-mile trek to Morrow and back for the more avid riders.
 
The event is free, though participants are encouraged to donate $20 to benefit Wasson Way, a project Brennan learned about just prior to the inaugural Pedaling 4 Paddy.
 
“I had just learned of their volunteer efforts to build a bike trail connecting several neighborhoods in the city,” Brennan says “It’s a 7.6-mile trail starting at Victory Parkway near Walnut Hills High School and eventually connecting to the Little Miami Bike Trail in Mariemont and is going to be a huge asset for the community — especially students from Xavier, UC, Withrow and Walnut Hills.”
 
A dedicated team of volunteers, like Brennan, hope to take their vision for Wasson Way and make it a reality, but they need support to make it happen.
 
“We're looking forward to the day when we can have Pedaling 4 Paddy on the Wasson Way,” Brennan says. “It’s a fun event, bringing together cyclists and non-cyclists to raise money for it.”  

Do Good:

• Learn about how you can get involved with Wasson Way.

• Support Wasson Way by donating.

• Join the fun by participating in Pedaling 4 Paddy on Saturday, March 21.

• Read about Wasson Way as one of Soapbox's top 10 transportation stories to follow in 2015.
 
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