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For Good

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EXCEL grad displays leadership through Camp Joy scholarship creation

Gunner Blackmore, Camp Joy development manager, recently completed The Executive Curriculum for Emerging Leaders (EXCEL)—a program offered jointly by Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati and the Talbert House— and its impact on his ability to make a difference in the community was immediate.
 
He initiated a class-wide effort to raise money for a $500 scholarship that will allow a child to attend Camp Joy’s summer program for one week.
 
The organization partners with various nonprofits to bring children who are living with serious medical conditions, who are experiencing grief, who are living in poverty or who are in foster care, together for traditional camp activities that bring engagement and recreation into their lives.
 
“For example, we’ll partner with the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and they’ll come out all as a group,” Blackmore says. “So when a child is at school or just in a neighborhood, they might feel like an outsider, but when they come out to Camp Joy, they’re surrounded by hundreds of other kids with a chronic heart condition, and they’ll talk about what it’s like living with the illness. It provides them a tremendous amount of support.”
 
Since there’s typically no room in the budget for partnering agencies to afford a child the opportunity to go to summer camp, this is a way, Blackmore says, to allow an individual to realize the benefit of the experience, without economic crisis presenting yet another barrier.
 
“And a lot of them end up coming back year after year, because it’s that reinforcement experience that’s an added benefit,” Blackmore says.
 
“Oftentimes our counselors can really notice them growing and becoming leaders. Sometimes they’ll be shy the first couple days and they’ll get a lot of self esteem as the year goes on. Then the second year, they’ll really take charge and become a leader for the new campers. It’s really neat to see.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support other campers by giving to Camp Joy.

•    Support Talbert House by giving.

•    Support ESCC by giving.

Citizenship, opportunity through music at MYCincinnati

The ten hours a week MYCincinnati orchestra members spend together enables students to not only become talented musicians, but also increase self-confidence, build social skills, engage in citizenship, and express their creativity and passion.
 
Through participation in the orchestra, which is offered through Price Hill Will and modeled on El Sistema—a program that utilizes music as a vehicle for social change—residents of the area are provided with an instrument, high-quality instruction and an opportunity.
 
“Every family faces their own unique set of challenges, but they all want a better road to the future for their children,” says Laura Jekel, program director. “I believe MYCincinnati is that road.”
 
Since the program’s inception, one student has gone from having never touched a violin to being an accomplished instrumentalist who has worked her way into the School for Creative & Performing Arts’ top orchestra.

Another student turned down a free opportunity to go to Kings Island, because she didn’t want to miss a single day of camp this summer.
 
For Jekel, the program opens up “a world of potential” as soon as a student gets an instrument in his or her hand.
 
“We’re giving them the skills to transform their neighborhood,” Jekel says. “To forge relationships across barriers of race and language, and to lead their communities.” 

Do Good:

•    Support MYCincinnati.

•    Volunteer with MYCincinnati.

•    Enroll your child.

LNGC classes empower adults through free literacy classes

Sharon Johnson initially became involved with the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati when she made the decision to support her fiancé who had enrolled in classes through the nonprofit’s Adult Basic Literacy Program.
 
What she found, however, was that the content he was learning picked up where she had left off in her own studies.
 
“My story starts when I was little. I couldn’t pronounce words at all. I stuttered. My pronunciation was really bad,” Johnson says. “But my mom made it her business to find ways to teach me and to get me to programs like this one when I was a little girl.”
 
But at age 16, Johnson had to quit school to help raise her sisters and to care for her mother, who had become ill.
 
“I never went back. I tried two programs when I was about 19, and they didn’t help—they made me feel uncomfortable,” Johnson says. “At 35, my mom was getting sicker, my kids were growing up—I wanted her to be proud of me—I wanted them to be proud of me, and I wanted to be proud of myself.”
 
So Johnson worked to attain her GED, and she continues to further her knowledge through the LNGC’s classes.
 
“What mama don’t know, mama can’t teach,” Johnson says. “I wanted my children to know that no matter what life throws at you, you can always go back and get your education. I’m very happy to have this program in my life.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the LNGC's programs by donating.

•    Volunteer for the LNGC.

•    Spread the word about the LNGC's services so more individuals like Johnson can become empowered.
 

Community Matters moves forward with Washing Well

The average middle class family spends less than one percent of its income on laundry, while residents of Lower Price Hill spend, on average, one-ninth of their income on laundry, according to Jen Walters, Community Matters’ president and founder.
 
“There’s about 600 families—over 90 percent of our neighbors are renters—and the vast majority rely on public transportation,” Walters says. “There’s a high percentage of female-headed households, and $9,600 is the average annual salary. Our community is full of strong hardworking people, but they don’t have access to things others sometimes take for granted.”
 
Currently there’s a lack of access to a local laundry facility, but that’s about to change, as the nonprofit gears up to implement plans for what will eventually become a worker-operated cooperative—the Washing Well project—which will “create a community laundromat to meet the severe need for access to safe, affordable and local laundry in the Lower Price Hill neighborhood.”
 
Now, rather than having to take two bus trips—potentially accompanied by children—and spend about five hours at a laundromat, residents will be able to access laundry facilities without having to leave the neighborhood.
 
After taking care of the barrier regarding access, Walters says the organization needed to address affordability.
 
“It will be priced below the market but [will] still [generate] enough to be sustainable,” Walters says. “We’ll sell detergent by the cup, because buying that detergent from the beginning was often a barrier, and they were trying to stretch it out as long as they could, which took away from the hygienic aspect for doing laundry in the first place.”
 
If the price point is still an issue, there will be nonmonetary options, like volunteering, which residents can engage in, so they can earn washes and dries; and the space itself will become more than just a laundromat.
 
Instead of sitting around waiting for clothes, residents will be able to work with an Americorps member, who will provide assistance in connecting them to jobs and resources—an added benefit, in addition to access to clean clothes.
 
“It may be the difference that stops people from thinking they can’t go for a job,” Walters says. “It can provide that confidence for kids at school and [instill a sense of] self-worth.” 

Do Good:

•    Volunteer with Community Matters.

•    Support Community Matters by donating.

•    Connect with Community Matters on Facebook.
 

Mercy Health physician hosts second annual health fair

For Kent Robinson, Mercy Health physician, it’s important that people begin to expand their notions of “wellness.” 

“It’s a very broad spectrum, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness,” Robinson says. “We have to really look at these areas and see where we could use some restoring of balance.” 

That’s the goal with A Day of Wellness, a free community health fair Robinson will host October 11.
 
“We bring together various experts and authorities, so people come and talk, and we teach people the principles of good living, and they can take that [knowledge] home to help them live better,” Robinson says.
 
A Mercy Health mobile mammogram van will be on site, and various physicians will present information on everything from diabetes to mental health.
 
“We do it in the community so people can come out and get themselves checked,” Robinson says. “So we always find people with diabetes who didn’t know it, with high blood pressure, who didn’t know it. So those people we’ve been able to bring into our practices and follow up.”
 
According to Robinson, the ultimate goal is that people will become more health conscious and learn to take better care of themselves so they have longer, more productive lives.
 
“We focus on nutrition. We have movement activities. We have elders come and talk about remaining physically active and socially engaged,” Robinson says. “We just make it a very full and interactive type of day for people so their lives become more full and more healthy.” 

Do Good:

•    Attend the event, which takes place October 11 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Keystone Parke.

•    Spread the word about the event, and encourage your friends and family to attend. 

•    Contact Nikki at 513-924-8118 if you're interested in volunteering.
 

UC Economics Center develops innovative professional development series

The Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati will launch its new professional development series, Cruisin’ through the Standards, beginning this November.
 
The courses will offer sample lesson plans and instruction to K-8 teachers who can then implement material into the classroom, without having to set aside separate instructional time that is needed for core subject matters.
 
“Our whole mission is about teaching economics and personal finance at an early age,” says Jaclyn Smith, marketing director at the Economics Center. “But teachers are so busy, because they have all these new assessments, and requirements getting thrown at them—especially this year—so we’re trying a new integration approach.”
 
According to Smith, though, this isn’t simply an education-related issue.
 
“What we’re really trying to do is combat the surveys—if you look at financial capability in the TriState region, we rank really low on the national average, so what we want to do is shift that trend,” Smith says.
 
The way to do that, she says, is by introducing young students to key concepts at a young age.
 
“So if you’re teaching language arts, why not do a book like Lawn Boy where you’re teaching these children in elementary school about reading, but at the same time, they’re reading a book about a 12 year-old who starts his own lawn mowing business,” Smith says. “You’re introducing them to all these broader concepts, and we’re thinking about how to bring that to life.” 

Do Good:

•    Sign up for the upcoming professional development courses. If you register for all four Cruisin' through the Standards courses, you'll receive 50 percent off registration with the code UCEC during checkout. 

•    Help the Economics Center further its mission by donating

•    Volunteer with the organization.
 

Impact 100 funds three grantees, enables transformation

At its annual awards ceremony last week, Impact 100 awarded $327,000 to three local nonprofits in the form of three $109,000 transformational grants—a record for the all-female philanthropic organization who awarded two $108,000 grants at last year’s event.  
 
The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, Price Hill Will’s MYCincinnati and Community Matters’ Washing Well project were this year’s recipients.
 
The funds will enable the LNGC to extend its reach by implementing its Adult and Children’s Basic Reading Programs in the Price Hill and Avondale Communities.
 
MYCincinnati (Music for Youth) will reach more students, as the organization can now double its hours of operation and expand its age-range offerings.
 
And Community Matters will now be able to implement its Washing Well project, which will enable the organization to build a laundromat to serve Lower Price Hill residents who currently have no easy access to laundry facilities.
 
“It's very amazing—humbling—to be part of it—inspiring—and just, wow,” says Lisa Kaminski, Impact 100 member and vice president. “I was part of the team that worked for years to break three grants and I'm a total jumble of emotions.”
 
Since its first grantee in 2002, Impact 100 has awarded $2.8 million to 25 nonprofits who are able to create “magic in their communities,” says Sharon Mitchell, Impact 100 president.
 
Cincinnati Community ToolBank and Welcome House of Northern Kentucky were this year’s other two finalists, and it’s always difficult, members say, to not be able to fund all five groups. But they aim to change that, as the organization continues to grow.
 
At the awards ceremony this year, enough pledges were made to enable Impact 100 to commit to again giving three grants next year, but the goal is to award four or even five, and certainly even more, in years to come.
 
“One of the someday-projects on my list is trying to capture the ripple effect of Impact 100,” Kaminski says. “The number of lives impacted by those who have received grants, and also the impact on those who were not granted one. We’ve already heard that Cincinnati ToolBank has gotten a 12-foot covered trailer donated—so, wow.” 

Do Good:

•    Join Impact 100 so you can help the organization further its reach in the community. 

•    If you're a nonprofit with a plan to transform lives through your work, check back Oct. 27 for information on how to apply for one of next year's grants

•    Spread the word about Impact 100 by connecting with the organization and sharing its Facebook page.
 

ATGScholars excel through citizenship, responsibility

Cleophis Carson, 16, was Michael Farrell Jr.’s inspiration for founding Against the Grain Scholars, he says.
 
“He’s hitting on all cylinders and is kind of our guinea pig for everything—he’s the oldest,” says Farrell, who came up with the concept of ATGScholars when he was teaching students who were at-risk, but who were excelling in the classroom, were respectful and essentially doing “everything they were supposed to be doing, despite the odds.”
 
To honor those students’ achievements and further their opportunities, Farrell came up with the concept for ATGScholars.
 
“We ended up going in the route of not only providing mentoring and support for the kids, but also facilitating unique volunteer opportunities, because we felt like, here we have this group of kids, always used to being the ones who are being helped, so put them in a position and give them the opportunity to be able to help other people,” Farrell said.
 
When students were first given the opportunity to pick a volunteer experience, they decided to help animals. Through Project Dog Rescue, the students chose one of the SPCA’s “old-timers”—the first time around, it was Zoey—who had been in the shelter for eight months, and found her a home.
 
For Carson, the enjoyment of knowing you helped someone feels good, he says.
 
“What I learned is that when you help and give a dog a home, it makes the dog feel very appreciated—not lonely,” Carson says. [And for those who take the dog in,] “they have added a new member to the family, which will strengthen the bonds between them. “
 
For the group of scholars, which has now grown to eight students, this is just one of the many volunteer experiences they engage in; and compassion for others and servitude are just a couple of the qualities they’re strengthening.
 
Carson, who received a full scholarship to Elder High School after graduating eighth grade at Over-the-Rhine’s St. Francis Seraph, goes to most every ATGScholars’ outing, maintains his GPA, is expected to log more than 150 volunteer hours by the time he graduates high school—about twice the number Elder requires—and he holds down a job at Kroger.
 
“A friend of mine has helped him with financial literacy, saving money, managing money, donating money,” Farrell says. “He donates 10 percent of every paycheck to his church.”  
 
“If you do it, it shows that you’re a nice guy and not selfish with your money and that you don’t spend it all in one place,” Carson says. 

Do Good: 

•    Support ATGScholars by donating.

•    Connect with ATGScholars on Facebook.

•    Contact Farrell if you're interested in mentoring or coming along on one of the ATGScholars' outing.
 

LADD, ReelPrograms to host award-winning photographer in preparation for ReelAbilities

World renowned former fashion photographer Rick Guidotti founded Positive Exposure in 1998 after he made it his mission to help others change the ways in which they see things, so in turn, they could begin to see change.
 
“As a fashion photographer, I was always told constantly who’s beautiful—who the model of the moment was—so I always stayed within those parameters of what was a restrictive beauty standard, and I was always told it was beautiful,” Guidotti says. “And as an artist, I don’t see beauty just on the covers of magazines. I see beauty everywhere.”
 
It was after leaving his studio that Guidotti says he saw a girl with albinism who was “just beautiful.” He had never met a model who looked like her, he says, so he began to research individuals with albinism to see what he could find.
 
“I found nothing but horrible images—kids in their underwear up against walls in doctors’ offices, images of just disease, sickness—I didn’t see any photographs of this gorgeous kid,” Guidotti says. “And it’s always ‘the evil albino’ that we see depicted in movies, in Hollywood—every representation I could find was a negative. And it was so upsetting and so eye opening.”
 
So Guidotti partnered with the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation to make something beautiful and show the world something different, he says.
 
“So this girl walks in the room and she was amazing—she was so beautiful, but she walked in with her shoulders all the way up, no eye contact—she had zero self esteem, and I can only imagine the abuse she had in school, the teasing” Guidotti says.
 
“I didn’t know what to do—she was so vulnerable—but just the day before, I had photographed Cindy Crawford, and I said out of respect for her, ‘I’m going to photograph her like I’d photograph anyone else,’ so the fan went on, the music went on, and I took a mirror and said, ‘Christine, look at you—you’re magnificent—and she looked in the mirror and she saw it. Her hands went on her hips, and she exploded with the smile that lit up New York City. It was incredible.”
 
It’s this beauty that Guidotti sees because of the shared humanity we all possess, he says, and it’s what’s inspired him to shift his lens from fashion photography to individuals who are portrayed as being diseased or disabled, but who are nothing short of amazing.
 
And that’s the clientele that Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled works with everyday on the local level, as well as the mission of the ReelAbilities Film Festival, which the organization will present Feb. 27-March 7.
 
As part of the organization’s ReelPrograms leading up to the festival, Guidotti will speak to local schools, share his story, exhibit Positive Exposure, The Spirit of Difference at FotoFocus, and photograph local families with physical and mental disabilities to add to his collection, which will be displayed during ReelAbilities.
 
“It’s inclusion, and it’s happening concurrently, but it’s individuals everywhere in the world that don’t want to be seen as diseased or as a diagnosis,” Guidotti says. “We all want to be seen as human beings.” 

Do Good:

•    Hear Guidotti's story, and check out his work, as well as other events taking place through ReelProgram events. This Cincinnati tour of Rich Guidotti is presented by the Edwards Foundation managed by Crew Capital with support from Contemporary Cabinetry East.

•    Support Cincinnati ReelAbilities by donating.

•    Spread the word about ReelAbilities and all of the events coming up by volunteering.
 

Cincy Care to Share offers free dental care

Cincy Care to Share, now in its third year, will once again provide an opportunity for clients to receive free dental work Friday.
 
Scott Sayre, owner and dentist at Advance Dentistry, founded the event because he says the need for dental treatment in this country “goes largely under the wire.”
 
“There’s almost nobody that in their life escapes dental disease, and when you actually compound that to the really big problem—massive amounts of dental disease—it’s just horrendous,” Sayre says. “The need is huge.”
 
Clients over the age of 18 will be entitled to one free cleaning, filling or extraction. Last year, Sayre says about 300 individuals received these services, and this year, he says he hopes to serve even more.
 
“We had one mom that was going two weeks later to see her son graduate from the Marines’ boot camp,” Sayre says. “So we were able to do several extractions that day—a little more than we were supposed to—but we got her ready so she could get fitted for dentures and have her smile back before she went to see her son and all his friends.”
 
It’s stories like this, Sayre says, that prompt him to host the community-wide event, and that inspire him to build upon the event’s foundation in years to come.
 
“What I’d like to do in the future is have Cincy Care to Share where we’re doing dentistry here, maybe others are helping in their offices on the other side of town, we’ve got a general physician doing checkups, lawyers offering their services over here—I’d like to break the whole thing loose,” Sayre says.
 
“Patients are in pain. They don’t know where to turn, but they’re able to come here and get some care that day. So I think if we can help in our own backyard, it’s just a really important thing to do.” 

Do Good:

•    Spread the word about Cincy Care to Share

•    If you're interested in contributing services and growing the event next year, learn how you can help.

•    Connect with Cincy Care to Share on Facebook.

Multicultural Scholarship Fair eases financial burden for area students

Representatives from more than 20 national universities and colleges will convene at the Cincinnati Museum Center Thursday to provide local students with opportunities for financial assistance at the fifth annual Multicultural Scholarship Fair.
 
More than $1.3 million has been awarded at the scholarship fair in the past four years, and scholarships often are awarded on the spot.
 
“That’s what really sets us apart,” says Rico Rice, president of Rice Education Consulting, LLC and organizer of the fair. “We ask that the students come to us with their transcripts, résumé, letters of recommendation, and an essay on why they want to come to college, so they’re able to really have those conversations with representatives—some of whom are directors of financial aid or admissions.”
 
According to Rice, offering the fair for multicultural students is important, because historically, they haven’t had as many opportunities and are underrepresented on some of the bigger college campuses across the country.
 
“Colleges see the need for a diverse student body,” Rice says. “The second piece is a lack of resources. In certain pockets of the community, they don’t have the exposure and are dealing with a lot of first-generational college students.”
 
With so many talented young individuals in our community, Rice says it’s only fair to serve as a community resource for them so they can achieve success.
 
“Talent doesn’t get you into college. You have to apply and learn the process,” Rice says. But when students receive assistance, he says it’s invaluable. “Obviously to know that a big burden has been lifted—it’s priceless.”

Do Good:

•    Spread the word about the Multicultural Scholarship Fair.

•    Learn about and get involved with Cincinnati Museum Center's Youth Programs.

•    Connect with the Cincinnati Museum Center and Rice Education Consulting, LLC on Facebook.

Zip-lining, canoeing, river swimming among free Great Outdoor Weekend events

The 11th annual Great Outdoor Weekend is upon us, and with 125 free events and programs at 42 locations in eight counties spanning the Tri-State, it’s an event that Brewster Rhoads, executive director of Green Umbrella, says is not to be missed.
 
“Cincinnati was ranked No. 1 in America by the Academy of Sports Medicine this past spring when it comes to outdoor recreational infrastructure—trails, parks, campgrounds, rivers—but the health condition of our citizenry was No. 38 out of 50,” Rhoads says.
 
“So part of what we’re about is connecting our citizens in the region to the recreational opportunities we have.”
 
The weekend’s events, taking place September 27-28, will feature opportunities for all. Zip-lining across our region’s tree canopy, canoeing, kayaking and even swimming across the Ohio River are just a few of the options offered.
 
“It has become one of the largest—if not the largest—outdoor education and recreation samplers in the country,” Rhoads says. “It’s a way to introduce people—parents with kids, millennials and others—to the critical recreational and nature education opportunities in the region.”
 
According to Rhoads, Greater Cincinnati’s vibrant outdoor culture is a benefit to all who inhabit the area, and it’s an asset to our city, in that it's an attractor of young talent.
 
“You don’t have to live in Portland to bike to work, for example,” Rhoads says.
 
And according to Rhoads, that’s evidenced by the fact that Cincinnati was listed, for the first-time ever, as one of the top-50 bike-friendly cities in America.
 
“We don’t claim that we make all this happen,” Rhoads says. “But we play a role in being a facilitator as a promoter of collaboration to move this area forward.” 

Do Good:

•    Attend one, or multiple events at Great Outdoor Weekend.

•    If you can't make it out to Great Outdoor Weekend, check out Meet Me Outdoors! for a listing of free outdoor activities to engage in on a more frequent basis.

•    Get involved with Green Umbrella.
 

Healthy Roots Foundation continues Bluegrass for Babies, rebrands to expand education and outreach

The Healthy Roots Foundation, formerly Bluegrass for Babies, will host its sixth annual benefit concert Saturday to support Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Perinatal Institute.
 
The nonprofit rebranded itself this year in an effort to better reflect its focus on educational outreach for familial health education.
 
“[The name] Bluegrass for Babies no longer made sense for everything we’re doing,” says Anne Schneider, who founded the organization with her husband, Matt, in 2009. “It made sense for one of our events. So basically, it’s grown so much—we thought that the Healthy Roots Foundation was a name that represents the true essence of trying to create healthy families and improve children’s health.”
 
Since 2009, Bluegrass for Babies has raised nearly $100,000 for Cincinnati Children’s, which Schneider says she’s “incredibly humbled and thrilled” to have accomplished, because the concert—now hosted at Sawyer Point—initially began as a backyard party.
 
As the event has grown, so has the nonprofit’s goals and outreach.
 
“We’ve realized there’s a big gap in education for families—health education in general—and people really aren’t getting the knowledge they need to make good decisions,” Schneider says.
 
So at this year’s concert, six interactive experiences—all aimed at empowering families with healthy decision-making capabilities—will complement the festivities.
 
The activities are similar in nature to some of the play-based activities the nonprofit has hosted at the Cincinnati Museum Center, for example.
 
“We have a make-your-own pizza garden, so it’s a gardening activity where kids learn how it’s made,” Schneider says. “And then once it’s made or taken home and planted, we give them basil seeds, and we give them recipes to make their own pizza with it—so they’re looking at where it’s coming from, how it’s made, and then that’s your food—so it impacts your nutrition and healthy choices.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the organization in its efforts to raise funds for Cincinnati Children's Perinatal Institute by purchasing a ticket to attend Bluegrass for Babies. One-hundred percent of proceeds from food purchased at the event, from both Green BEAN Delivery and Mama Mimi's, will also benefit the Perinatal Institute. 

•    Support the Healthy Roots Foundation by giving.

•    Connect with the nonprofit on Facebook.
 

HOME encourages dialogue, shares best practices for stronger communities

Housing Opportunities Made Equal will host a forum next month to generate discussions about best practices for community building.
 
Hello Neighbor: Using the Power of Connection to Strengthen Your Community will focus on what it means to be a resident of a changing neighborhood and how to turn the concept of “us vs. them” into “us and them” so individuals can work collectively to make neighbors feel welcome.  
 
For Lisa Auciello, Northside resident and active member of Community Council, sharing best practices within communities is a great way to initiate discussions that call upon all voices to speak up.
 
“The intent is to bring different neighborhood people together, and not just the same ones who are the regular outspoken activist people, but to bring a different group of people together to talk about ideas, techniques and strategies they can use to build community in their own neighborhoods,” Auciello says.
 
Teens and adults are encouraged to attend the forum, and it’s important that teens offer their own insights as well, Auciello says, because they should be engaged and feel a part of their neighborhoods just as much as anyone else.
 
“I think it’s important to just be friendly and withhold judgment,” Auciello says. “I think a lot of times we walk around a neighborhood and automatically make assumptions about what a person does.”
 
With regard to youth, one of the most beneficial things people can do is “to just stop looking at them like they’re up to something bad,” Auciello says.
 
“Instead, go up to them and say, ‘Hey, where do you guys go to school? What’s your name? How’s it going?’ I think that’s a huge thing to being a neighbor.” 

Do Good: 

•    Contact Myra Calder to reserve your spot at the roundtable discussion Oct. 2 from 6-8 p.m.

•    Reach out to your neighbors. Introduce yourself, and be a resource to one another.

•    Support HOME by becoming a member.
 

Library's summer learning program a success

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County saw an increased level of engagement and completion with participants involved in its summer learning program this year.
 
The program was expanded to bring a variety of programs under the same umbrella, while also offering more opportunities to community members at every branch.
 
Brain camps, for example, were offered at each branch, and the focus was shifted specifically to struggling readers.
 
“We especially focused on third graders who aren’t reading on grade level,” says Diane Smiley, PLCHC youth services and programming coordinator. “It’s such a watershed point—if they’re not reading on grade level at third grade, they’re much less stable, so that was really our focus.”
 
A new component was added to the program this year—Summer Camp Reading experience.
 
“We did that in association with a small nonprofit called Summer Camp Reading, which originated in Cincinnati in 2010, but it’s grown over time and essentially is a very intensive six-week intervention program for a targeted number of children,” Smiley says.
 
Ninety students were identified and recruited by teachers and administrators from neighborhood schools serving children where there is a large population of third graders performing below grade level.
 
“The program was really focused on literacy skills to bump those children up and make sure they had some continuous improvement experience and reading skills improvement over the summer months,” Smiley says.
 
In addition to small and large group activities, each student received 30 minutes a day of individual tutoring with a reading specialist, and according to Smiley, preliminary feedback indicates the program was a huge success.
 
“There was a pre- and post-test as well as intermittent testing, and of the 90 children at those seven branches, all but one experienced definite improvement over the course of the sessions,” Smiley says. “But we were really pleased that 99 percent had demonstrated improvement with their reading skills.”

Do Good:

•    Support the PLCHC. 

•    Voluteer with the PLCHC.

•    Connect with the PLCHC on Facebook.

 
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