| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

For Good

615 Articles | Page: | Show All

Unique shopping model benefits nonprofits

Six local nonprofits will benefit from purchases made at Treasures 4 Charity, an upscale resale shop located in East Walnut Hills.
Store owner Valerie Duplain, a retiree who says she’s always been involved with charities, operates the shop five days a week on a completely volunteer basis so that 70 percent of an item’s selling price goes directly toward funds for the the six partners: Caracole, Faces Without Places, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Prospect House, Freestore Foodbank and the Walnut Hills Kitchen.
“The theory kind of is, if you go to Caracole and say you have a chair, they can’t do anything with it, but if you bring it here, I can sell it,” Duplain says. “Even if you get $100 dollars a month to some of these charities, it’s a huge thing for them.”
Duplain, who lives in the neighborhood, says she opened the shop because she saw it as the perfect opportunity to not only do something fun, but to also give back to small nonprofits who she says are having a difficult time, particularly now.

Her goal for 2015 is to provide each nonprofit with $5,000 dollars. 
“In this economy, it really is a good thing if you can help,” Duplain says. “And it’s a fun shop—95 percent of people who come in are repeat customers—and you don’t find something every time you come in, but you can look around and really see some unique things.” 

Do Good:

•    Support one of the six nonprofits on your own. 

•    Donate items to the shop, and go check out what's available. 

•    Contact Valerie if you're interested in volunteering.

Leadership training program grooms nonprofit leaders

Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati (ESCC) and Talbert House are continuing their partnership this year in offering a nine-month leadership and skills development training program, The Executive Curriculum for Emerging Leaders (EXCEL).

EXCEL provides local nonprofit organizations access to affordable leadership education and professional development. The program is targeted at executive directors and senior staff management of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.

The full-day workshops this year, which run October 2014 through May 2015, focus on networking, board development, fundraising, branding and marketing, as well as one-on-one coaching for each individual, says Darlyne Koretos, director of public relations.

The total cost for the program, including required reference materials, is $1,100. Funding comes from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Duke Energy Foundation and the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation

The EXCEL program aims to help nonprofit leaders to become more efficient and develop the skills needed to focus on fulfilling their mission.

“It’s gratifying to be able to help organizations that don’t have the money or resources,” Koretos says. “They have a passion for their mission and what they do, but they don’t have the business skills to do it.”

Do Good:

Smart Greater Cincinnati teaches financial literacy

Fidelity Investments recently launched Smart Greater Cincinnati, a financial education program for elementary and middle school teachers, through a partnership with the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Economic Education
Smart Greater Cincinnati is part of a nationwide movement to bring financial literacy to every grade level and help close the education gap. The program already exists in Texas and Tennessee; a pilot was brought to Ohio in 2013. The impact of Smart Greater Cincinnati reached 2,700 students in the classroom just this year.
“This is so invaluable for our teachers,” says Nicole Gordon, Fidelity Investments community relations manager. “It’s one thing to teach content, but how do you relate it to the future of your students?”
Fidelity Investments volunteers trained 60 local teachers, focusing on professional development and best practices for teaching personal finance education to their students.
Much of the program is activity-based, just like they would be in the classrooms, and focus on good decision-making; the heart of the lessons target savings, spending, money management and credit.
“This training is crucial,” Gordon says. “Making a budget and understanding credit cards is part of making smart financial decisions. Instilling this is so important.”

Do Good:
  • Spread the word about financial literacy.
  • For more information, contact Nicole Gordon
  • Follow Fidelity Investments on Twitter.

Bridges Job Readiness program receives $1,500 grant

The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation recently bestowed a $1,500 grant to the Bridges Job Readiness Program at Mercy Health-St. John.
The Bridges program helps those who are struggling with long-term unemployment by teaching them how to use common computer applications and develop professional correspondence skills. Whether it was an illness or family emergency that caused them to leave their jobs, many of them don’t have the marketable skills or experience when they go back to reapply.
“This program gives [students] the skills they need to re-enter the workforce and succeed in landing a job,” says Nannette Bentley, director of public relations. Students will learn based on real-world assignments and master much-needed skills.
But the program doesn’t stop at job readiness and professional development. Students are provided with referrals to the St. John’s medical clinic, vision exams, mental health counseling, food, personal care items, interview-appropriate clothing and transportation.
The 12-week job readiness program is flexible—students can attend classes that work best for them during mornings, afternoons and evenings throughout the spring, summer and winter.
Every student who graduates participates in an internship at a local nonprofit, giving back to the community and giving them some experience back on their resume at the same time. More than 70 percent of Bridges students land work, Bentley says. 

NKCAC establishes new Head Start location

The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission recently received a $75,000 grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). The grant, which came from GCF’s Northern Kentucky Fund, will be used to remodel a former medical building at Scott Boulevard and Tenth Street in Covington into the new Eastside Child Development Center.
NKCAC serves all eight counties of Northern Kentucky, offering support to low-income families as well as individuals. The Eastside Child Development Center will be the home to a Head Start program, a pre-school program for young learners (ages three and four) that prepares them for transition into kindergarten. 
“Every child we can reach before kindergarten is a child who is more likely to be ready for school and more likely to become a life-long learner,” says Laurie Wolsing, NKCAC’s Head Start Director, “and to offer that service in places where working mothers and fathers can easily drop off their child on their way to work, like the new center in Covington, makes me very proud.”
The building will house Head Start classrooms as well as a daycare center. The program will also provide snacks and meals, health screenings, social services and many opportunities for parent involvement.
“This center, like all of our early childhood programs, is about creating community for the whole family,” says Florence Tandy, NKCAC Executive Director.  “We encourage parents to volunteer at our centers and to take an active role in their child’s education. We are proud to be partnering with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation toward this end.”
The development center is expected to be completed by the start of August enrollment.
Do Good:
  • Become NKCAC’s friend on Facebook.
  • Volunteer with NKCAC.
  • Donate money for a child's meal or transportation. 

Macy's Kids, Cultures, Critters and Crafts Festival offers $1 zoo admission

Local residents can enjoy the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for just $1 during the Macy’s Kids, Cultures, Critters and Crafts Festival this Wednesday. 

The summer festival, hosted by Learning Through Art (LTA), is returning for the ninth year in a row. LTA is an organization committed to increasing community participation in the arts and humanities as well as encouraging multicultural awareness and understanding. 

“We’re celebrating the mosaic beauty of those living in Cincinnati all day long,” says Kathy Wade, LTA co-founder and CEO. “We want to encourage people to meet their neighbors.” 

Performers this year range from DJ Pillo to Jesse Mooney-Bullock (puppeteer), Bing Yang Chinese Performing Arts Center, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and Robin Lacy and DeZydeco. Some performers, such as the Cincinnati Circus, Anaya Belly Dancing and Mariachi Band Zelaya, will be roaming and not on the main stage. 

LTA also has a new partner this year: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will introduce the Cincinnati Children’s Wellness Zone. The zone will feature hands-on activities and encourage children to experience the importance of health habits. 

Metro is offering 50 cents for a one-way bus trip or $1 round-trip bus fare from anywhere on Route 46, Wade says. 

Do Good:

•    Attend the festival and meet your neighbors. 

•    Check out the all-day event schedule

•    Follow LTA on Twitter for updates. 

Rothenberg rooftop garden will give OTR students new growth opportunities

Rothenberg Preparatory Academy will see the completion of its 8,500-square-foot rooftop teaching garden this year, thanks to many donations and supporters in the local community. 

Edwin “Pope” Coleman, rooftop project manager, has worked with the Over-The-Rhine Foundation for the past eight years to bring the rooftop garden to life

When Rothenberg was vacant and facing demolition, Coleman, as well as many residents of the community, approached Cincinnati Public Schools and asked for a renovation instead of a replacement.  

“[Rothenberg] was a flagship and point of pride for the neighborhood,” says Bryna Bass, full-time teacher and garden manager. “The community fought hard to prevent it from being torn down.” 

With the understanding that CPS wouldn’t be responsible for providing anything more than the space, the OTR Foundation took on fiscal responsibility and began restoring Rothenberg through Coleman’s vision. 

Fundraising for the rooftop garden began in late 2008, and more than $300,000 has been raised since then. The recent Midsummer Night’s Gala raised additional funding also need for construction and operation.

The teaching garden, which was once a playground, will allow students to explore science and nature. The developed curriculum uses garden-based lessons to deepen students' educational experience through hands-on problem-solving activities, Bass says.

The rooftop teaching garden educational program will launch at the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year. 

Do Good:
  • Visit Rothenberg and go on a tour of the garden. 
  • “Like” the rooftop garden progress on Facebook. 
  • Make a donation to the OTR Foundation

Taking Root offers $5 trees to home and land owners

The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD) has sold more than 43,000 trees to Hamilton County residents as a result of joining a local campaign, Taking Root.

Taking Root, which kicked off in September 2013, is a collaborative effort of eight counties in the tri-state area working to raise citizens’ awareness of our region’s tree canopy crisis. The campaign is educating the public on the value and need for trees and how to care for them with a goal of planting 2 million trees by 2020—one tree for each resident in the tri-state region. 

The program allows homeowners and landowners to purchase a tree for $5 in an effort to reduce the threat of the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle and bush honeysuckle as well as many other tree-destroying culprits. American Elm, Ohio Buckeye, Allegheny Serviceberry, Hardy Pecan, Black Gum and Swamp White Oak are the trees available to be purchased and planted.

The deadline to order trees is Sept. 25, 2014; trees will be available for pick-up in October. The district is also asking residents to send in a photo to make sure the trees are planted correctly and maintained. 

But it doesn’t stop with just buying and planting trees. John Nelson, HCSWCD public relations specialist, says there are also ways citizens can protect and maintain existing trees.

“It’s very important to make sure you’re not a victim of these invasive species,” Nelson says. “Inspecting your existing trees is a great way to prevent and control the problem before it worsens.”

Do Good:

•    Buy a tree from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.

•    Sign the Taking Root pledge

•    Maintain existing trees in the community. 

Cincinnati Youth 2 Work recruits local teens

More than 600 local teens have been recruited and employed in various organizations throughout the city as part of the Youth 2 Work (Y2WK) program. Y2WK provides City departments and the local business community with an ongoing talent pool and improves workforce resources in our region.  

The program, which runs from June through August, employs youths between the ages of 14 and 18 (and up to 21) in part-time and full-time jobs for eight weeks throughout the summer. 

Seven partners in the area provide opportunities for participants to gain job experience as well as a paycheck. The paid positions start out at $7.85/hour and fall in a variety of roles, ranging from lifeguarding to lawn service.  

The program identifies and works with children who need jobs the most, based on income requirements. Most applicants come from situations where their families are asset poor. Nearly half of them are at the lowest level of poverty, with a total family income of $21,000 or less, says Yvette Simpson, Cincinnati City councilmember.

“It breaks your heart when you hear a 15-year-old say he is the only one in his family who is working,” Simpson says. “But what we do is meaningful. We’re watching these kids blossom, grow up and out of those situations.” 

The program doesn’t just provide a paycheck. Teens also receive training in financial literacy and college preparation. In addition to life skills training, Y2WK teaches teens about needs versus wants and how to save an emergency fund by encouraging them to sign a savings pledge.

“These kids have critical needs. They start to understand that if you want to eat, you work,” Simpson says. “And they feel the pride of when you work, you get paid.”

Graduation and an annual celebration of this summer’s program will take place July 24. 

Construction and design professionals go to camp

Construction and design firm professionals recently left their job sites for a day to join Stepping Stones’ day camp for children, teens and young adults with disabilities, as part of Construction Come Together Day.

Stepping Stones’ summer day camps serve more than 425 children, teens and young adults. On average, more than 175 are served on a daily basis. Stepping Stones, a United Way partner agency, runs programs at its locations in Indian Hill, Batavia and Norwood.

More than 30 volunteers came from six different companies: Jostin Construction in Walnut Hills, Dugan & Myers Construction in Blue Ash, Messer Construction in Bond Hill, Danis in Dayton, Ohio, and Valley Interior Systems and Turner Construction, both in downtown Cincinnati. 

“Whether it’s lending a steadying hand or helping engage in craft projects,” says Peggy Kreimer, communication and grants director, “our volunteers are an extra friend—a camp buddy—who make camp more safe and fun.”

Volunteers went boating and fishing with campers, danced, kicked and tossed huge balls, and created “monsters” with paint, glitter and colored paper.

Construction Come Together Day was sponsored by Jostin Construction as a result of Whitney Eckert, Jostin vice president of finance. Eckert was inspired by last summer’s impact when health care workers volunteered at United Way agencies in the Greater Cincinnati area.

“We are very much indebted to every volunteer who comes and helps the children,” Kreimer says. “We want to give each child a personal camp experience.”

Do Good:

•    Interested in volunteering? Call volunteer coordinator Beverly Fenton at 513-831-4660.

•    Donate to support Stepping Stones’ ongoing programs. 

•    Donate a much-needed item from Stepping Stones’ Wish List.

United Coalition for Animals opens new spay and neuter clinic

After outgrowing its downtown facility, The United Coalition for Animals (UCAN) recently opened a fully equipped spay and neuter clinic in Camp Washington. The 12,600-square-foot clinic, with more operating rooms and recovery areas, will serve the community’s high demand for affordable spay and neuter services.

UCAN’s relocation was made possible thanks to a grant from The Joanie Bernard Foundation (JBF), a private foundation established to decrease the death of cats in shelters. 

“[JBF] looks to fulfill the mission of creating a no-kill cat nation,” says Deborah Cribbs, chair of JBF board. “Our primary focus is to give access to low-cost spay and neuter services to the community at large.”

The new facility, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will provide low-cost spay/neuter services to the community to prevent the over burdening of shelters and unnecessary cat and dog deaths. 

UCAN purchased the new facility, as well as new surgery tables, and will add of one or two more veterinarians, resulting in more surgeries, says Melanie Corwin, UCAN executive director.

UCAN, founded in 2001, has completed more than 60,000 surgeries since its inception. A large part of why people don’t spay or neuter their pets is because of the cost, or they don’t have access to services. Unwanted or unexpected births result in abused, neglected and homeless pets, which increases shelter intake and usually results in euthanasia. 

Do Good:

•    “Like” UCAN on Facebook.

•    Follow Scooter the Neutered Cat on Twitter. 

•    Make a tax-deducible donation to UCAN.

I CAN SWIM! teaches swimming lessons, promotes water safety

Local children and adults have been learning the importance of water safety and being able to swim as part of the “I CAN SWIM!” project. 

More than 10 people die every single day from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission, along with many city officials, is hoping to lower that number and decrease the number of water-related deaths and injuries through “I CAN SWIM!”

“I CAN SWIM!” started in dedication to Bryce and Cameron Jeff, ages 8 and 10, who drowned in a neighbor's backyard pool in June 2011.

The series of lessons are instructed by The American Red Cross and help swimmers develop and refine their swimming skills as well as teaching them water safety.

Councilmember Yvette Simpson, who never learned to swim, began the second round of this summer’s swim lessons this week at Lincoln Pool. Simpson will continue her lessons on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. until the end of the month.

“We’re committed to raising awareness and making people feel comfortable,” Simpson says. “If we can learn to swim together and move the dial on that number, it’s going to feel worth it.”

The “I CAN SWIM!” project concludes the week of July 28, with the last swim lesson on July 30. But Simpson still urges citizens of all ages to make the commitment any time of year and reduce the risk of drowning.

“You never know when you’re going to need it,” Simpson says. “If you don’t understand the fundamentals, you can’t save yourself [or others].”

Do Good: 

•    Follow Yvette’s experience on Twitter using #swimwithsimpson

•    Take a swim lesson at one of the CRC pools.

•    Inquire about volunteer opportunities

Cradle Cincinnati receives funding, battles infant mortality

Cradle Cincinnati received more than $1 million in funding in an effort to reduce the infant mortality rate in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  

Cradle Cincinnati, which recently celebrated it’s one year anniversary, is a collective impact collaborative made up of political, hospital, health and community leaders who have a vision that every child born in Hamilton County will live to see his or her first birthday. 

Funding for Cradle Cincinnati came from various organizations in the community: UC Health, Hamilton County, The City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s, TriHealth, The Christ Hospital, Interact for Health, United Way, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Elise Brown Family Foundation and Eat Play Give

Hamilton County lost 543 babies during the past five years, and the city of Cincinnati’s infant mortality rate during these five years was two times higher than the national average. However, Cradle Cincinnati has a plan to reduce that number moving forward by focusing on women’s health in general, in hopes that pregnancy health and infant health will also improve.  

There are many indicators that affect infant mortality, but Cradle Cincinnati has a strategic plan to battle infant mortality through three of them: spacing, smoking and sleep. The collective aims to encourage more spacing time between pregnancies and reduce tobacco use to decrease premature birth while also reminding women about safer sleep practices for infants.

“There is no silver bullet when it comes to infant mortality,” says Elizabeth Kelly, MD, co-founder and physician lead. “These are the three indicators that can have the greatest impact in a shorter amount of time.”

Do Good:
•    Send your love. Write a letter to a mom in the city. 

•    Join in the citywide fight against infant mortality by educating yourself and friends about spacing, smoking and sleep.

•    Share Cradle Cincinnati’s story with a friend. Let them know the state of our community. 

United Way joins national network to fight poverty

United Way of Greater Cincinnati was recently chosen to join the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a group of leading organizations seeking to lift struggling families out of poverty through a two-generational approach. 

UWGC will receive a $25,000 grant and work through Partners for a Competitive Workforce to develop a program targeted to increase the number of women working in advanced manufacturing careers and involve their children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning. 

“One of the principles of the Ascend Network is to create an environment where family self-sufficiency becomes tradition,” says Janice Urbanik, Partners for a Competitive Workforce executive director. “The focus they’re taking is to help provide services to both the parent and child instead of having more focus on one than the other.” 

Only 35 percent of Americans would encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing, despite the benefits, according to surveys by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. Also, just 20 percent of women who work in manufacturing think enough is being done to promote work to women and girls, particularly K-12.

UWGC is looking to build awareness for mothers and expand their skill sets to be eligible for better-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry by giving them basic career awareness where they can learn about the types of skills needed to be successful. Mothers can then go through a series of assessments that identifies their cognitive skills in math and reading. If they meet the minimum criteria, they can enroll in a nationally recognized certified technician program and pursue a job upon completion. 

Children will be educated on the pathways they can take and experience Gateway programs and partnerships. Students will see what the manufacturing industry is like and experience the possibilities of a career in that field, and there are a series of camps that will engage students in hands-on, authentic programs. UWGC plans to test whether a child’s interest and participation in STEM-related programs are affected by their mother’s career in that field. 

“The ability for children to witness their parents engaging in new learning impacts their ability to connect and learn,” says Melissa Sommer, the Brighton Center’s workforce development director. “The impact of [the two-generational approach] is far-reaching and one of the best opportunities they have to change their family tree.”

UWGC, along with more than 50 other organizations, plans to assist both generations to move forward and break the poverty cycle.

“What we’re working to do is create experiences where the community comes together to create and support the type of education we need,” says Kathie Maynard, Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative co-convener.

Do Good:

•    ‘Like’ UWGC on Facebook.
•    Follow Ascend at the Aspen Institute on Twitter. 
•    See the complete list of Ascend Network members.

World's best pianists compete in Cincinnati

Cincinnati welcomes 22 of the world’s greatest pianists to compete in the World Piano Competition (WPC) this week. The annual competition has featured top performers from across the globe for the past 58 years.

The WPC promotes and celebrates classical piano as an artistic form by providing exposure for artists and building new audiences, ranging from children to senior citizens. The WPC expanded this year to collaborate with the world-renowned Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

After many months of rehearsing and practicing, WPC competitors traveled from seven different countries—including China, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Macedonia, Canada and the United States—to compete for more than $45,000 in prize money as well as a debut recital in New York. 

“Of course there is a competitive aspect, and people want to win,” says Awadagin Pratt, WPC’s artistic director. “But, for the audience, it’s a great thing to watch emerging young talent make a really strong connection to the audience.”

The competition will take place at Corbett Auditorium in CCM Village on UC’s campus. The preliminary rounds, which take place June 23 and 24, will determine the six semifinalists. During the semifinalist rounds, June 25 and 26, those six semifinalists will perform a 60-minute solo of their choosing. The semifinalists will then be cut down to three.

Those three will rehearse with the CSO in preparation for the final round, in which they will perform a full concerto under conductor William Eddins to compete for first, second and third prize. The 2014 WPC winner will be announced during an awards ceremony following the final performances.

“The judges are looking for the best pianist,” Pratt says. “We're hoping it's someone with a great connection to the composers they play and who is passionate about communicating that to the audience."

Do Good:

•    Purchase tickets by visiting the CSO website or calling the CSO box office at 513-381-3300.
•    Donate to the WPC.
•    For volunteer opportunities, contact Mary Jo Barnett.
615 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts