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DePaul Cristo Rey's work study program allows students to excel at school and work

This year is already off to a great start for DePaul Cristo Rey High School, as its students are showing continued academic success while building connections within the local community.

For the third year, DePaul Cristo Rey seniors have achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Meanwhile, the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, which allows students to not only gain soft skills, experience and knowledge via a workplace setting and save their families money by earning funds that are applied to tuition — making private school affordable and accessible — is expanding.

Eight additional companies, including well recognized corporate entities and a minority-owned firm, recently joined the CWSP.

“Adding new partners to the CWSP allows DPCR to provide a private, college-prep, quality education to even more students in our community whose families can’t afford other private schools,” says Margee Garbsch, the school’s director of communications and marketing. “Because the CWSP is a fundamental part of a Cristo Rey education, we must have a job for every student, and since our enrollment continues to increase each year, we must add partners as we add students.”

According to Garbsch, adding more partners also adds a larger knowledge base for students with varying interests.

“New sectors like manufacturing, for example, as well as growth in sectors such as healthcare and banking continue to expand our students’ vision of what their future opportunities, careers and goals can be,” Garbsch says. “It also exposes them to professional role models, mentors and opportunities.”

It’s initiatives like the CWSP that play a role in DePaul Cristo Rey's students’ success and drive to continue education post-high school, evidenced by the placement of the school’s alumni from previous years.

“Most graduates of the classes of 2015 and 2016 are enrolled in colleges — some as close as the University of Cincinnati — some further away,” Garbsch says. “The list includes The Ohio State University, Loyola in Chicago and Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania.”

Do Good: 

•    Is your company interested in supporting DePaul Cristo Rey students? Become a corporate partner.

•    Give to DePaul Cristo Rey.

•    Support DePaul Cristo Rey students by volunteering.

LNGC aims to surpass last year's nearly $50k at 6th annual Handbags for Hope

On Feb. 23, the community is invited to celebrate literacy in Cincinnati as the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati hosts its sixth annual Handbags for Hope event.
Cocktails, dinner, raffles and a silent auction will enable not only an enjoyable “Girl’s Night Out” but an avenue for fundraising as well. Nearly $50,000 was raised at last year’s event, and LNGC is hoping to exceed that goal this year.
“Handbags for Hope is a wonderful example of the good things that happen when people come together to enrich our community,” says Michelle Otten Guenther, LNGC president.
Money raised enables LNGC to continue to offer and expand its programming and services. Currently, the Literacy Network operates a hotline that connects adults and their children with the appropriate resources, in addition to an array of programs, including the Adult Basic Reading Program and Winners Walk Tall — a program aimed at building character among youth.
New at this year’s event: a Louis Vuitton raffle where the prize is a handbag valued at $990, as well as a Golden Ticket raffle where an individual will have the opportunity to choose any handbag up for auction. The new raffle prizes are intended to help LNGC raise even more funds to assist the community.
“We could not accomplish all that we do without the incredibly generous support of our volunteers, board members, donors and community partners,” Otten Guenther says. “We can't wait to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of those who have made the past year so successful.”

Do Good: 

•    Purchase your ticket to Handbags for Hope before they sell out. 

•    Can't attend next month's event? Support the LNGC today.

•    Volunteer with the LNGC. The next training date takes place in early March.

Matilda Reading Challenge builds anticipation for upcoming Broadway production

Fans of Roald Dahl remember his beloved character Matilda Wormwood’s determined spirit. Perhaps, too, they recall her love of books.
In honor of Matilda's favorite hobby, there are currently some incentives offered to children who read three or more of Dahl’s books by March 17.
To participate in the Matilda Reading Challenge — a collaboration between Broadway in Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County — pick up a reading passport from the Aronoff Center ticket office or your local library, and stamp it after each book is completed.
The prizes?

One reader will win a family four-pack of tickets to Matilda the Musical during its April run, in addition to a copy of the book and gift cards, while 10 readers will receive a copy of the book signed by the musical’s lead actress.
“This musical is a tribute to those who love books,” says Genevieve Holt, general manager of Broadway in Cincinnati. “We are proud to work with the Library to create a fun reading challenge.”
Matilda the Musical runs April 4-16, and will close out Broadway in Cincinnati’s 2016-17 season. 

Do Good: 

•    Pick up your Matilda Reading Challenge passport today. 

•    Find ways to foster a love for reading among your children. 

•    Connect with Broadway in Cincinnati and the PLCHC on Facebook. 

Streetside Brewery serves as gathering spot for community to give back

Bartender, social media guru, events planner, daughter, sibling and professional equestrian — this is Erin Hickey.
Hickey’s parents and brother own Streetside Brewery in Columbia-Tusculum, and on Saturday, they’ll partner up with Save the Animals Foundation to raise money for the nonprofit via its Channel Your Flannel fundraiser.
“Our family is from Columbia-Tusculum, and we have great pride in our neighborhood and Cincinnati as a city,” Hickey says. “We think that giving back to the community is a necessity to help our neighborhood and city grow and develop.”
And STAF was a fitting choice for Streetside — given Hickey’s love of animals — in addition to the fact that her family owns a rescue dog. Streetside's staff is also composed of animal lovers and pet owners, and the nonprofit is a local establishment.
“We thought supporting our furry friends would be a great way to start 2017,” Hickey says.
At Saturday’s event, attendees can compete for “Best Flannel Outfit” and “Best Beard,” purchase raffle tickets for a variety of gift baskets and sample the brewery’s newest release — its French Toast Brown Ale.
“A portion of all beer sales from the event will go toward STAF, as well as the proceeds from the raffle,” Hickey says. “And of course, you are welcome to donate until your heart’s content!”

Do Good: 

•    Wear your flannel, and plan to attend Channel Your Flannel from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Streetside, 4003 Eastern Ave., 45226. 

•    Can't attend? Support STAF by donating now.

•    Connect with Streetside Brewery and STAF on Facebook.

The PLCHC invites you to share your neighborhood memories through "Our Cincinnati"

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is inviting patrons to share their personal stories as part of its “Our Cincinnati” project, which is a digital celebration of Hamilton County’s neighborhoods.

Patrons can scan their paper-based memorabilia — photos, letters, maps — at one of eight library locations from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoons, now through March.

“What we ultimately wanted out of the project was a collection that was built by the community,” says Chad Lewis, sorting and materials retrieval manager for the PLCHC.

The library is also encouraging patrons to educate themselves on how to preserve photos, documents, mementos and memorabilia. Representatives from the University of Cincinnati's Preservation Lab will be visiting the library locations to help with this portion of the project.

The next phase of “Our Cincinnati” includes oral and video recordings, and a third phase will include a printed book as well as a digital archive.

“The role of our library is changing in a lot of ways,” says Kelly Hartmann, library branch manager at the Mt. Healthy location. “It used to be that the traditional library service was one waychecking out items to patrons. Now, we have customers creating the content that will become part of the library, and the library will make that content available to the community. It’s a community curated collection.”

Do Good: 

•    Gather your photos, momentos and memorabilia that tell the story of your neighborhood. 

•    See a list of dates and library locations, and plan a visit to scan your memorabilia for "Our Cincinnati."

•    For more information about "Our Cincinnati," call 513-369-6900 or visit cincinnatilibrary.org.

Reforest Northern Kentucky celebrates 10 years of planting trees, educating community

It’s been 10 years since the Northern Kentucky Urban & Community Forestry Council started its annual tree planting event, Reforest NKY, and it doesn’t look like there are plans to stop anytime soon.

In the last decade, the volunteer-based project has planted more than 36 acres of trees all across Northern Kentucky. On March 25, Reforest NKY will head just north of Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County to the Piner property to continue to restore Kentucky's landscape.  

“Reforest NKY has become a stepping stone to restoring trees, and ultimately forests, into the landscape,” says Tara Sturgill, Reforest NKY secretary and public relations subcommittee chair. “Reforest NKY is increasing public awareness of the importance of trees, which will ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.”

The area where volunteers will be planting is on a stream restoration project site, which is being completed by Northern Kentucky University's Center for Environmental Restoration.

“At the source, this event is about the trees, but we are also hoping to create an atmosphere of awareness and education around reforestation and what it means to our communities, and to us as individuals," Sturgill says. "Cultivating a spirit of stewardship for our native forests amongst those that we influence through this event is paramount to our program.”
Do Good: 

•    Look out for Reforest NKY's 2017 volunteer registration, which will open in February.

•    Want to help in the planning process? Visit the website for committee meeting dates and times. 

•    For more information on Reforest NKY and how you can help, contact Sturgill at 859-409-0791 or reforestnky@gmail.com.

Pops to host NYC jazz band for NYE speakeasy-themed concert

If you’ve yet to formulate plans for New Year's Eve, have no fear; the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has you covered.  
New York City-based jazz band, The Hot Sardines, will join the Pops at its Dec. 31 speakeasy-themed concert, which will feature old-time favorites from the likes of George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, in addition to some of The Hot Sardines’ originals.
“Sometimes life requires a party,” said Evan Palazzo, The Hot Sardines’ bandleader. “But one that conveys a rich emotional experience which people today sometimes need permission to feel, otherwise known as fun.”
And that’s what the two musical groups plan to bring to the Taft Theatre — perhaps the perfect setting for a speakeasy-themed event where patrons are encouraged to come dressed with their beads and boas.
“We love high-energy music from the first half of the 20th century,” Palazzo said. “Our mission is to show its relevance and power as we usher in 2017.”
Tickets are still available for the special New Year’s Eve performance, which begins at 8 p.m. 

Do Good: 

•    Purchase your concert tickets before they sell out. 

•    Check out a couple of The Hot Sardines' latest hits here and here

•    Connect with the Pops on Facebook.

More work to be done to ensure warmth, safety for local homeless population

December has ushered in colder weather than normal, and alongside the frigid temperatures comes the need to provide warmth and safety to the city's homeless population.
The Winter Shelter, which can house up to 200 individuals per night, opened its doors Dec. 8 and will remain open through February — a much-needed addition to the 675 beds available year-round that are already at or above capacity.
“We have been working to ensure that everyone who needs to come in off the streets has a warm place to sleep,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.  
The 2016-17 season marks the second year that the Winter Shelter will operate out of a permanent location — within the David and Rebecca Baron Center for Men.
Despite its name, the Winter Shelter houses both men and women and helps ensure no one is out on the street in the cold.
While the City of Cincinnati, Shelterhouse (formerly the Drop Inn Center) and Strategies to End Homelessness have all collaborated to make sure adequate funding is in place to operate the Winter Shelter, they are trying to do more, as the month of March is not currently funded.
“We’ve secured 90 percent of the funding needed to staff and operate the Winter Shelter through February,” Finn said. “Of course, it can still be very cold in March, and if the weather calls for the Winter Shelter to stay open longer, that requires even more resources.”

Do Good: 

•    Support the Winter Shelter by donating today.

•    If you encounter an individual cold and on the street, tell them about the Winter Shelter. 

•    Looking for a last-minute holiday gift? Purchase a $10 ornament now through Dec. 23, and feed 10 homeless individuals in the process. 

Eight schools and nonprofits receive 6k in books to enhance promotion of literacy

The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati recently distributed about 6,000 books to eight local schools and nonprofits as a result of its annual partnership with Our Lady of the Visitation and its annual Read-a-Thon.
The Read-a-Thon originated when Visitation’s Parent Teacher Organization launched a fundraiser aimed at promoting literacy.
Tasked with reading as many minutes possible per day, logging their hours and then finding sponsors from the community willing to invest in the students is just part of the initiative, as a “giving back” component was added as well.
For the past four years, students and their parents have been encouraged to bring new or gently used books in during the Read-a-Thon, and their efforts have proven significant.
“Throughout the last four years, Visitation has donated a total of 18,571 books to children in need,” said the school’s Curriculum Director, Terry Chapman. “The students enjoy the friendly competition and giving back to others.”
This year’s recipients included The Boys and Girls Club of Cincinnati, Mt. Airy Elementary School, Cheviot School, Oyler Elementary School, Rees E. Price Elementary School, Hays-Porter Elementary School, Resurrection School and St. William School.
According to LNGC President Michelle Otten Guenther, distributing the books was a “great day for our community.”  
“Due to the generosity of the students, families and staff at Our Lady of the Visitation, we were able to distribute thousands of wonderful books to schools and students in need,” she said. “Thank you for being so enthusiastic about reading and enabling others to succeed.” 

Do Good: 

•    Become an LNGC volunteer.

•    Support the LNGC's efforts by donating.

•    Check out LNGC's upcoming events, and plan to attend one.

LaRosa's helping to reduce food insecurity via holiday Buddy Card sales

For Michael LaRosa, hunger as a perennial issue in Greater Cincinnati is devastating.
“It’s heartbreaking to see Cincinnati consistently ranked high on the list for the number of residents facing food insecurity,” LaRosa said.
As CEO of a popular and local restaurant, he says it’s empowering and important for him to be able to do his part in helping to make a change.
“It’s important for those who have the opportunity to help fight hunger in our community to do so because of the scope of the issue,” LaRosa said. “One in six people in the Tri-State are hungry, and more than 94,000 of them are children.”

To help remedy hunger, particularly around the holidays when families are even more strapped for cash, LaRosa’s Pizzeria launched its annual Feed Our Neighbors in Need program, during which it sells $10 Buddy Cards and donates $5 from each sale to the Freestore Foodbank.

Last year alone, LaRosa's donated nearly $40,000, enabling the Freestore Foodbank to provide 120,000 meals to those in need. 
“Hunger is not some distant issue that can be ignored; it’s pertinent in our own communities, from the child your daughter plays with at recess to the elderly man down the street,” LaRosa said.
Since November, the restaurant has been collecting half of its Buddy Card profits to donate at the culmination of the program on Dec. 31.
“Most of us would not hesitate to help a neighbor who we knew fell upon hard times,” LaRosa said. “But it’s often difficult for people to speak up and ask for help. By providing support this holiday season, we’re giving hope and nourishment to our neighbors who are silently struggling.” 

Do Good:

•    Purchase a Buddy Card at your local LaRosa's. You'll receive 14 buy one, get one free coupons for a large pizza and benefit the Freestore Foodbank in the process. 

•    Learn about other opportunities LaRosa's offers to the community with regard to giving back.

•    Support the Freestore Foodbank by donating today.

Tom + Chee to host gift drive for local children with autism

Tom + Chee’s downtown and Newport on the Levee locations will help make the lives of local children a bit brighter this holiday season.
The two restaurant locations are hosting a gift drive for Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers, which are support and resource groups for local families of children with autism.
“We think this gift drive will be a huge success,” said Jenn Quackenbush and Jenny Rachford, Tom+Chee co-founders. “And we are so excited to be able to work with both of these amazing organizations.”
The grilled cheese connoisseurs have hung gift tags at both store locations; inspired customers can claim a tag and return the wish-listed item to Tom + Chee by Dec. 9.
In return, customers will receive a gift card for a free classic grilled cheese.
It’s just one way the restaurants, which will distribute the toys on Dec. 17, say they can share their appreciation for customers who are willing to give back.
“Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers do a lot of good for the community,” Quackenbush and Rachford said. “And we want to be able to give back in whatever way we can.” 

Do Good: 

•    Grab a gift tag, purchase a gift and return it — unwrapped — to Tom + Chee's downtown or Newport on the Levee locations by Dec. 9.

•    Like Tom + Chee on Facebook.

•    Know of a family in need of resources or support? Let them know about the groups available to them. 

Celebrate the holidays at new Mt. Healthy maker space

If you’re looking for a day of unique activities and holiday cheer, Mt. Healthy businesses and community members are teaming up to make your Saturday a bit merrier.
Here is what the community has in store for Dec. 10:“We see that not only does Mt. Healthy have a lot of potential, but the neighborhood already has a lot to offer,” said Karen Arnett, Mt. Healthy Renaissance Project’s board president. “We see the community evolving by drawing new residents as more folks learn about the charms of the neighborhood and the values in housing.”
Some of that neighborhood charm comes from longstanding businesses like Hilltop Glass & Mirror, which hosted an open house this past October for its new maker space, Hilltop Glass Creations. The new space allows community members and visitors alike the opportunity to gather together, take classes, learn something new and be creative.
“It’s a bright spot of light in our business district — hopefully one of many to come,” Arnett said.
For Cindy Jurcenko, store and maker space owner, Hilltop Glass Creations allows her the chance to meet diverse groups of individuals.
“People from all walks of life have visited,” Jurcenko said. “I have met several different senior center stained glass members, local school teachers, a Girl Scouts’ leader, a dentist, contractors and remodelers and other small business owners.”
And she plans to meet even more individuals Saturday, as “Painting on Glass,” “Fused Glass” and “Stained Glass” opportunities for ornament-making will bring the crafty and the curious together.
“Everyone who stops in is thrilled to see a new storefront in town,” Jurcenko said. “We are going to be a great new community gathering spot. I couldn't be happier.” 

Do Good: 

•    Share the Christmas in Mt. Healthy! Facebook event with your friends, and plan to attend.

•    Like Hilltop Glass Creations' page on Facebook, and plan to check out the new maker space. You can view a schedule of classes and events here.

•    Like Mt. Healthy Renaissance Project's page on Facebook, and become part of the city's revitalization.

Take time to pay it forward on #GivingTuesday

Happy #GivingTuesday!
Now in its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is the global day of giving that follows Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. It is intended to kick-start the charitable season by encouraging collective impact and generosity.
And according to research, giving has an impact not just on the recipient, but also on the one who gives.
The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey reports that people who give to charity are 43 percent more likely than those who do not to say they are “very happy” about their lives.
Curious about how you can make an impact?
More than 40,000 organizations in 71 countries are involved, but there are many local participants — some of which you can find on the #GivingTuesday database.
“The beauty of this campaign is that it has no boundaries,” said Marian Salzman, Havas PR CEO. “Even as it grows more massive, it remains easy to make it your own.”
Check out your favorite nonprofit’s website or social media page to see how they’ve put their own unique spin on #GivingTuesday, and make it a point to give today. 

Do Good: 

•    Take an #UNselfie after you've donated to show your generosity and prompt others to engage in #GivingTuesday as well. 

•    Even the smallest donation goes a long way. Tell your friends about #GivingTuesday, and encourage them to give. 

•    Check out what's happening near you. Learn more about what local organizations are doing, and lend them a helping hand. 

Career Online High School graduates 14 adults, furthers opportunity for advancement

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school graduates consistently earn more on average than do individuals with GEDs.
For those who perhaps did not finish high school but always wished they had, it’s still possible through the Career Online High School, which is offered by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Initiated in 2011 and accredited in 2012, the program has served 819 students with a retention rate of 73 percent. On Nov. 16, the Library recognized its most recent graduating class composed of 14 students.
“We applaud the hard work and dedication shown by the graduates of the program,” said Kimber Fender, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Library.
In addition to a high school diploma, graduates receive career certification in one of eight focus areas, including food service and customer service, homeland security and childcare. And, graduates are ready to apply to college, a tech or trade school — the most significant hang-up for those who possess a GED rather than a diploma.
“The Library is proud to be able to offer this educational opportunity for adults in the community," Fender said.

Do Good: 

•    Interested in the Career Online High School? The first step is to complete a self-assessment

•    Learn more about Career Online High School and how it works here.

•    Support the Library by donating today, and help Cincinnati avenge the Bengals' most recent loss by out-giving Baltimore's Pratt Library in a friendly #GivingTuesday challenge.

ChangingGears to receive $60k, SVP expertise over next three years

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati has invested in seven local nonprofits since 2007, providing professional consulting and funding to enable them to enhance their impact.
This year’s recipient, ChangingGears, will receive $60,000 over the next three years, as the nonprofit continues to further its mission of providing affordable vehicles to those working their way out of poverty.
According to Sandy Hughes, chair of SVP Cincinnati, it was ChangingGears’ vision and potential that piqued the interest of the engaged philanthropists.
“Innovation was our focus area this year, and ChangingGears’ approach to poverty in the Greater Cincinnati region is ambitious and necessary,” Hughes said. “We want to help ChangingGears bring its ideas to reality and scale.”
ChangingGears recognizes the difficulties that accompany a reliance on public transportation and believes that owning a car becomes empowering and helps individuals save time and money. For example, one can drop one’s child off at childcare, easily access the grocery store and make it out to a job that is not accessible by bus.
Therefore, the nonprofit restores cars and then sells them to clients at half-price with a zero-interest loan.
With leadership from SVP members who are experts in everything from marketing and finance to governance and management, ChangingGears will build the capacity to change more lives.
“ChangingGears is truly honored to be selected as the 2017 investee partner by Social Venture Partners,” said Joel Bokelman, ChangingGears’ president. “Both of our organizations focus on the betterment of our community and transforming the quality of lives in our region. We are ready to expand our impact with the support and expertise of SVP partners.”

Do Good: 

•    Connect with ChangingGears by liking its page on Facebook.

•    Connect with SVP Cincinnati on Facebook.

•    Learn more about how you can become a part of SVP Cincinnati.

973 Cincinnati Articles | Page: | Show All
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