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Health + Wellness : For Good

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Organizations strive to make Cincinnati area more walkable and bike-friendly


Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails Initiative and the OKI Regional Council of Governments have collaborated to put bicyclists and pedestrians at the forefront of the region’s transportation policy.
 
With an update to its 2040 Plan, OKI and its board of directors recently voted to unanimously increase the number of prioritized bike and pedestrian-related projects from just 3 to 17.
 
What was once a $2.5 million project has now become a $191 million project, which Frank Henson, chair of Tri-State Trails and president of Queen City Bike, says is well worth it, as it will help elevate the region as a more walkable and bike-friendly city.

“We applaud OKI for their leadership to include the voice of bicyclists and pedestrians in the 2040 Plan update,” Henson says.  “The Tri-State needs a comprehensive, active transportation network to remain economically competitive with peer regions.”
 
While the new plan is significantly more expensive, the cost of implementing new trails, protected bike lanes, and even sidewalks, pales in comparison to the cost of a highway, and it serves a more inclusive population.
 
“Our region needs more active transportation infrastructure to encourage new users to commute by walking or biking,” says Kristin Weiss, executive director at Green Umbrella. “Collectively, this can have a profound impact on air quality, congestion and public health.”

Interact for Health, which also weighed in on the matter, is excited to see the updated plan as well, as public health and the drive to make Greater Cincinnati one of the healthiest regions in the country is of prime focus.

“Physical activity is a key factor in a person’s overall health, and having access to a safe, robust trail system enables people to incorporate exercise into their daily routines,” says Megan Folkerth, program officer at Interact for Health. “Incorporating the trails system into OKI’s 2040 Plan paves the way for a healthier community for all of us in the future.”

Do Good:

• Go for a walk or bike ride to increase your activity level and overall health. 

• Support or join organizations like Green Umbrella that work to advocate for active transportation options.

• Connect with the organizations on Facebook: Green Umbrella, OKI, Interact for Health.
 

Local nonprofits work with housing needs for the disabled


For the past 20 years, Jim Steffey has worked to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.
 
It’s an important mission for him, he says, because he’s met so many people over the years who have experienced life within large, institutional settings.
 
“Abuse, neglect and isolation were common, heartbreaking themes,” Steffey says. “Often, they didn’t have the staff to help them get out and do things they wanted to do, and I saw the effect — low self esteem, not feeling safe, a lack of a sense of belonging.”
 
Now Steffey has made it his goal to help individuals find safety and comfort through a sense of place — a place where they’re able to feel empowered and independent. A place that reminds them of their vital presence within a neighborhood as part of a community.
 
“That’s what we do at the Housing Network of Hamilton County and Partnerships for Housing,” Steffey says. “We help people find a place they can call home.”
 
Steffey currently serves as executive director for both nonprofits. While the Housing Network services Hamilton County, Partnerships for Housing services Butler County, where the organization functions as property manager, ensuring its clients have access to safe, accessible and affordable homes.

The most rewarding aspect of the position?
 
“The smile on someone’s face the day they move into their new home, or after we complete a big renovation and they see their new bathroom or kitchen for the first time,” Steffey says. “Seeing them take pride in their home is the best part of my job.”
 
Do Good:

• The two nonprofits just joined social media. Welcome them to Facebook by liking their new pages: Housing Network of Hamilton County, Partnerships for Housing.

Contact Jim Steffey if you would like to support either organization by volunteering to do landscape work and other home-oriented tasks.  
 

Local musician uses his music to fuel anti-bullying initiative


Keenan West's life trajectory changed four years ago when he released a song titled "Never Ever." Without even knowing it, the Cincinnati musician started a wave of change.

A friend of West's wanted to take the lyrics to his song and make a music video to help raise awareness about bullying. He agreed and partnered with local high school students to release the video, and the rest was history. 

After an outpouring of support from the community and thousands of views on YouTube, West began his motivational speaking career and launched an anti-bullying campaign. Since then, he has had many different partnerships — with P&G, Warren County Violence Free Coalition, Pacer’s National Bully Prevention Center and Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Every year, schools across the country request for West to speak to their students about bullying. He started out visiting about 100 schools each year, and now plans to visit more than 300 schools during the 2016-17 academic year. 

His latest partnership resulted in a card game, Exposed, which challenges opinions on bullying by asking questions about the five main types of bullying: classroom, workplace, cyber, domestic and disabled. 

"It's a great opportunity to bring families together and create a dialogue," West says. 

Another of West's products is a school safety app, NoXclusion, which allows students to anonymously report bullying or safety issues.

"There is a great need for our young people to have the courage to speak up and stand up," West says. "Sometimes they feel like they need to do it in an anonymous way."

West also recently partnered with FTS Works, which started an anti-bullying initiative by reaching out to more than 6,000 schools across the country. The schools that are chosen will receive $2,000 to use toward an anti-bullying campaign in their school. 

Most people assume West was either a bully or the bullied. But he was neither. 

"I was what most students are — a bystander," West says. "Most students see bullying or someone being mistreated and look the other way. When you act like that, you're just as bad as the person doing the bad behavior."

West thinks most students have the power to fix the problem, and he's dedicating his life to showing them how. 

"No one is standing up and saying anything," West says. "It's their responsibility to do something. Instead of breaking up fights, they are recording them and posting them to YouTube. Kids have lost their lives, and some have been bullied bad enough that they committed suicide. This isn't about putting guilt on the kids, but to celebrate the kids who are getting involved."

Do Good:

• Bring Keenan West to your school to speak about how to combat bullying by contacting 513-486-6320 or by emailing info@keenanwest.com.

• Connect with Keenan on Twitter

• Learn more about FTS Works.
 

Yoga with cats allows participants to unwind while benefiting Save the Animals Foundation


Yoga, cats ... dreams can now become a reality.
 
Modern Makers is partnering with Save the Animals Foundation and local instructors to host a part-yoga, part-art show, part-party June 21 for those interested in a good time or perhaps the opportunity to adopt a feline companion.
 
Modern Makers, whose mission is to “attract people to new and surprising experiences in unexpected environments and spaces,” joined forces with Uptown Consortium in 2012 in an effort to reimagine community spaces as transformative experiences.
 
“The wide variety of signature Uptown art experiences are always welcoming, immersive and surprising,” Uptown Consortium President and CEO Beth Robinson says.  
 
Since partnering with Uptown Consortium, Modern Makers has co-sponsored art experience events with a variety of local nonprofits to bring community members together to both learn and grow.  
 
According to Robinson, “placemaking” is key as it allows individuals to join together to experiment and explore.
 
“Experts know that art-making and exhibiting draw the community to spaces that are underutilized or are on the verge of being transformative,” she says. “It’s why the Consortium believes so strongly in the work of Modern Makers.”  

Do Good: 

Purchase your tickets to Yoga with Cats at 6:30-8 p.m. June 21.

Support Save the Animals Foundation by donating. 

Connect with the Uptown Consortium on Facebook.
 

NKU, Strategies to End Homelessness collaborate to launch unique app


There’s now a free, simple way to help the homeless, and it can be accomplished in a matter of seconds via a smartphone.
 
Students from Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Applied Informatics recently collaborated with Strategies to End Homelessness to develop and launch an application called Street Reach. It’s now available for download in both the Google Play and iOS Apple stores.
 
“People who are on the streets are very vulnerable, so it is important to provide them with services as quickly as possible,” says Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. “The Street Reach app allows anyone who is concerned about helping the homeless to connect them with assistance.”
 
The app is simple — users are able to identify a location where individuals are sleeping on the streets, then type in a few sentences or notes regarding the situation. Once the information is received, outreach workers can then follow-up with reports to make sure those who are homeless are receiving assistance and have a plan in place to attain housing.  
 
According to Rachael Winters, a social work professor at NKU, the app could potentially serve as a national model.
 
“Street Reach makes it possible for community members to provide help to the homeless,” she says. “It also educates the public about the resources available in our community.” 

Do Good: 

• Download the Street Reach app today. 

Support Strategies to End Homelessness. 

• Spread the word about Street Reach and encourage your friends to download it as well. 
 

Youth to judge history's most stunning automobiles as juvenile arthritis fundraiser


Calling all car enthusiasts! The Ault Park Concours d’Elegance will celebrate its 39th annual showcase of the most stunning automobiles and motorcycles throughout history on Sunday, June 12.
 
What began in 1978 as the brainchild of the late Helen Williams has transformed over the past six years. She began the event as a way to honor her friend Bill Rudd, who dealt with rheumatoid arthritis, and as a way to benefit the Ohio River Valley's chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

While the focus is still very much aimed at car enthusiasts, youth judging will occur.
 
“It infuses new energy into the show and engages the next generation of car enthusiasts,” says Elysa Hamlin, communications representative for the event. “They will have the opportunity to participate in an informative session on basic judging skills and will then put their skills to the test, awarding three top finishers from a pre-selected group of automobiles displayed.”
 
Although the Arthritis Foundation is still the beneficiary, the proceeds now go specifically toward juvenile arthritis.
 
Mila, who is just 8 years old, knows all too well what it means to be affected by arthritis and also understands what it means to have support. She will participate in this year’s judging competition and will present the awards at the culmination of the spectacle.
 
“Event proceeds over the years have significantly grown the services available to children in Greater Cincinnati who are suffering from the disease, and their families,” Hamlin says. “Proceeds have supported Juvenile Arthritis Camps and Juvenile Arthritis Power Packs — kits with useful information and tools to assist newly diagnosed children and teens, as well as their parents. It’s a great event to attend because it supports a great cause.” 

Do Good: 

• Purchase tickets at the gate for Sunday's show at Ault Park. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students with IDs and free for children 12 and under. There will also be free shuttle service provided. Check here for information regarding parking. 

• While the judging won't occur until Sunday, there are events going on all weekend. Here is the complete schedule. 

• If you can't attend Sunday's festivities, support the Arthritis Foundation by donating online. 
 

Healthy Roots Foundation's Midsummer Harvest to benefit Cincy Children's Integrative Care Team


The Healthy Roots Foundation will host its fourth annual Midsummer Harvest, “a picnic experience featuring a local, organic and sustainably raised feast” prepared by some of the region’s best chefs, June 12 in Covington's MainStrasse Village.
 
This year’s event will benefit the advancement of integrative, holistic care and nutrition programming — like Build-It-Bites, a weekly cooking workshop for patients and their families — at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
 
“We’re thrilled that the money from this year’s Midsummer Harvest is going to the Integrative Care Team for this new program,” Healthy Roots Foundation founder Anne Schneider says. “Build-it-Bites is a unique way to help families in the hospital, and it’s a great fit for our mission.”
 
The Healthy Roots Foundation aims to create and support prenatal and pediatric health research, education and events, and the Midsummer Harvest fits into the nonprofit’s mission as it seeks to raise awareness regarding sustainably raised foods and the link to children’s health.
 
Dr. Carina Braeutigam, Medical Director, Integrative Services and Staff Physician at Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, will serve as guest speaker at the picnic lunch, with music to be provided by The Tillers.
 
Tickets for this year’s Midsummer Harvest are available online

Do Good: 

• Connect with the Healthy Roots Foundation on Facebook.

• Check out Midsummer Harvest's featured chefs and drink artisans, and get your tickets today.

• If you're unable to attend Midsummer Harvest, learn how you can support the Healthy Roots Foundation.
 

Cancer Support Community to host Wine, Women & Shoes benefit May 26


Cancer Support Community (CSC) will host the Wine, Women & Shoes benefit event May 26 to help celebrate 25 years of hope throughout 2016. Money raised will help the organization fund its mission of ensuring “all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.”
 
For Julie Wogenstahl, who began her work with CSC as a volunteer prior to transitioning into her current role as Development Associate, the organization’s work is helpful to those who like herself (she finished chemotherapy a year ago and is a cancer survivor) appreciate joy and a sense of belonging during an otherwise difficult time.
 
“CSC offers something for everyone — support groups, programs about topics such as clinical trials and spirituality, guided imagery, cooking programs, social events and so much more,” Wogenstahl says. “Everyone’s cancer journey is different … but Cancer Support Community is a place of happiness and joy, even through a cancer diagnosis.”
 
The community-building that occurs through involvement with CSC is particularly important to so many because it offers them someone not only to listen but who is familiar with what they’re going through because they’ve experienced it themselves.
 
Charlene Mecklenburg has been attending a CSC support group since 2013, and her group members have provided support, she says, “through all the ups and downs.”
 
“Our current group has become a close knit community of friends,” Mecklenburg says. “It is good to have friends who truly understand — when I’m in the group, I’m not ‘alone’ and not the ‘one with cancer.’ We laugh together and cry together. The support group has saved me.” 

Do Good: 

• Join the fun and support the Cancer Support Community by purchasing tickets to attend Wine, Women & Shoes 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at The Transept in Over-the-Rhine.

• Help CSC celebrate National Survivors' Day at its family-friendly Backyard Bash June 5.

• If you or your family is affected by cancer, learn more about CSC and the free programming it offers.
 

The Children's Home of Cincinnati expands early childhood mental health programming


With an expansion of the Early Childhood Day Treatment program, The Children’s Home of Cincinnati is now equipped to serve 120 children who are experiencing difficulty functioning — whether emotionally, developmentally, psychologically or behaviorally — in their homes, schools and communities.
 
With two new classrooms, The Children’s Home will now be able to start assisting families whose children have been wait-listed, as there will be space to host two additional morning and two additional afternoon sessions throughout the year.
 
While The Children’s Home offers Day Treatment for children ages 3-18, the Early Childhood Day Treatment focuses specifically on those between the ages of 3 and 8 and is the most intensive mental health program offered among that population.
 
According to The Children’s Home, the region is experiencing an increase in the number of young children with mental illness, so it’s important to ensure they receive the care and interventions needed for success and coping early on.
 
“The expansion of our Early Childhood Day Treatment program allows us to serve more children, support more families and meet more community needs,” says Adrienne James, a board member for The Children’s Home.
 
While the Early Childhood Day Treatment will allow more individuals to receive expressive and interactive behavioral therapy while also engaging in cooperative learning, the program — even with the two additional classrooms — is at capacity with more than 20 families remaining on the waitlist.
 
To fulfill its mission of transforming “the lives of vulnerable children by caring for their mental, physical and social wellbeing,” however, The Children’s Home will continue finding ways to support unmet needs.
 
The Children’s Home has plans to add a full-day integrated classroom — serving educational and mental health-related needs — slated to launch this fall and hopes to serve more than 200 children between the ages of 3-8 this year. 

Do Good: 

Support programs and services offered by The Children's Home of Cincinnati. 

Volunteer at The Children's Home. 

Connect with The Children's Home on Facebook.
 

People Working Cooperatively seeks skilled volunteers for 34th annual Repair Affair


People Working Cooperatively needs the help of skilled volunteers to ensure success at its 34th annual Repair Affair May 14.
 
Repair Affair assists homeowners — elderly and low-income populations in addition to individuals with disabilities — with needed improvements or modifications so they can safely inhabit their living quarters.
 
“Repair Affair is a terrific opportunity to make a big impact in our community each spring,” says Aaron Grant, PWC’s Volunteer Program Manager. “And this year we hope to make necessary home repairs for 50 of our low-income neighbors during this event.”
 
Projects consist of everything from fixing leaks and repairing things like drywall or steps to installing handrails. Volunteers who can bring their own tools and who have experience with plumbing, roofing, carpentry or electrical knowledge are encouraged to donate their time.
 
More than 400 individuals, families, corporations and community groups joined together last year to improve the livelihood of 60 homeowners and their families, and PWC aims to do its part yet again. But the nonprofit can’t do it alone.
 
“In order to reach our goal, we need the community’s help,” Grant says. “If you are skilled and able, please consider donating your time to this important cause.”

Do Good: 

Register to help out at Saturday's Repair Affair. Projects begin at 8:30 a.m., culminating about four hours later with a volunteer luncheon to celebrate. 

• Spread the word. Gather a team together, and you'll be matched with a fitting project. 

• Even if you aren't available May 14, your help is still needed and always appreciated. Contact Aaron Grant, and sign up to work on a different day. 
 

Block the Sun Run 5k furthers late Glendale native's mission to eradicate melanoma


Andy Caress endured 22 months of ups and downs — doctor visits, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, new drugs that for some time had seemingly miraculous effects on his body — but took his final breath eight days before his 25th birthday.
 
Melanoma is the fastest growing skin cancer in the world, particularly among young people, and it’s also the deadliest.
 
Caress wanted more people to learn about it and become more aware of its devastating potential, which is why he founded Mela-KNOW-More prior to his death. The nonprofit is now known as the Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation (ACMF), whose volunteers are dedicated to furthering his mission.
 
“My goal is that melanoma will never impact any person the way it has impacted me,” Caress said in 2010. “And I will achieve my goal by educating the world about how melanoma may be prevented and identified.”
 
To commemorate Caress’ life, the ACMF hosts an annual fundraiser, the Block the Sun Run. Now in its sixth year, the 5k takes place in Caress’ hometown of Glendale.
 
All proceeds from the race are used to support Caress’ wish of increasing awareness of the cancer and supporting research to eliminate it. Last year, the ACMF raised $35,000 for the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, which is engaged in groundbreaking melanoma research.   
 
The Block the Sun Run takes place at 5 p.m. May 14, with an after-party to follow.  

Do Good: 

• Pre-register by 6 p.m. Thursday for the Block the Sun Run, or register in-person Friday 12-7 p.m. or Saturday 2-4:30 p.m. at Bob Roncker's Running Spot in Glendale.

• Interested in volunteering at Saturday's 5k? If so, contact the ACMF.

• Can't make it out Saturday? Support the ACMF by making a donation.
 

Boost local economy by shifting your buying habits


Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team, the Central Ohio River Valley Local Food Guide and Northside Farmers Market have teamed up to inspire individuals to eat local, an idea the community will both promote and celebrate at “Eat, Shift, Party LOCAL” April 20.
 
Green Umbrella will launch a campaign at the free event encouraging individuals to pledge a 10 percent shift in their food budgets.
 
“If 10 percent of our Greater Cincinnati population pledges to shift just 10 percent of their food budget to locally produced food, it will infuse over $52 million into our local economy,” Green Umbrella Executive Director Kristin Weiss says.
 
In addition to building the local economy, eating local promotes good health, tastes better, allows local families to feel and be supported and preserves open green space, according to Green Umbrella’s Top 5 Reasons to Eat Local. It’s also affordable and more doable than you might think.
 
“For the average family, taking the shift means spending only $12 a week on local food,” says Marian Dickinson, local food advocate with Green Umbrella.
 
The Central Ohio River Valley Local Food Guide will release its 2016 publication of local food directories at the event, educating eaters and growers on how to promote a more vibrant local food economy, and festivities will take place within the setting of the Northside Famers Market at North Presbyterian Church, so individuals know of at least one place to return to for local products after pledging their 10 percent shifts.
 
In 2016, specifically, the Farmers Market — a year-round effort — is promoting its Get Local Food Challenge, which features a different local item each month. Cooking classes for both children and adults are also offered throughout the year to encourage patrons to buy local but to also feel empowered when preparing food.
 
All parties involved are working collectively to direct people’s attention toward locally sourced products, and Green Umbrella is making it easy to follow-through after pledging by distributing a monthly newsletter with tips, recipes and updates on the local scene.
 
“It’s a decision you can feel good about,” Dickinson says. 

Do Good: 

• Plan to attend Eat, Shift, Party, LOCAL at 5-7 p.m. April 20 at North Presbyterian Church

• Make the pledge.

• Check out other available resources for eating local
 

Brazee Street Studios looking for artists to join Mini Bead Marathon and Art Supply Swap April 23


Brazee Street Studios will host its first-ever Mini Bead Marathon April 23 to back Beads of Courage, a national arts-in-medicine program that supports children coping with serious medical issues.
 
Artists gather at Brazee every September for National Bead Challenge Day, when they create glasswork that enables children to record and share their own stories of hope through jewelry creation. The Oakley-based studio is extending its support for Beads of Courage, however, by asking skilled volunteers to stop by for a two-hour shift April 23 to utilize their talents for good.
 
Volunteers will work specifically on birthday beads, beads for the upcoming holidays, transportation beads and dream beads.
 
“These beads are tangible signs of hope and progress for the kids who receive them,” says Chelsea Borgman, Brazee’s gallery coordinator. “They show the kids, their families and the world just how much they’ve overcome.”
 
The event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Food and non-glass bead making activities will be provided by Brazee, which is also supplying glass artists with free torch time and, of course, glass.
 
In addition to creating beads, the new Beads of Courage Volunteers Superstars program will be introduced. The goal is to foster skill building and community not only among bead makers in the studio but also between bead makers and bead recipients.
 
“We’re proud to work with Beads of Courage each year to brighten the days of brave children undergoing difficult medical treatments,” Borgman says.
 
In conjunction with the Mini Bead Marathon, Brazee will also host its fifth annual Art Supply Swap, in which creatives can drop off unwanted supplies in exchange for useable materials. Drop-off begins at 9:30 a.m., and leftover supplies will be donated to Indigo Hippo, which makes art more accessible to children and other local artists in need of added support when it comes to obtaining supplies.

Do Good: 

• If you're a skilled glassworker, contact Brazee Street Studios to volunteer at the Mini Bead Marathon April 23.

• Even if you're not a glassworker yourself, the event is family-friendly. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to join in festivities and watch the artists in action. 

• Bring any unneeded art supplies to swap out for materials that may be of use to you. Drop-offs begin at 9:30 a.m.
 

CSO engages community in Orchestras Feeding America fight to address food insecurity


It’s an exciting weekend at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as the ensemble will perform an all-Spanish program while also collecting non-perishable food and hygiene-related items Friday and Saturday in an effort to support the Freestore Foodbank.

One in six Tristate individuals are at risk of facing food insecurity, a prime reason why the CSO participates in the national Orchestras Feeding America (OFA) initiative to fight hunger across the U.S. The CSO is one of more than 450 orchestras working hard to engage the community to show they’re more than just a musical group. 

Since OFA’s inception, 475,000 pounds of food have been collected and distributed to those in need. Here at home, the CSO also provides further incentive for its patrons to donate. 

“Offering discounted tickets ($10) with a canned food donation at Friday’s concert is a way to make a world-class, live performance as accessible as possible while at the same time supporting the work of the Freestore and helping neighbors in need,” CSO Vice President of Communications Chris Pinelo says. 

And the world-class live performance is not one to be missed, as Latin Passion features not only the CSO but also partial staging, a full chorus, a multitude of vocal soloists, a Spanish guitarist and flamenco dancing and singing. 

“The CSO really brings the world to Cincinnati each season, engaging a diverse array of artists from around the globe and exploring different repertoire,” Pinelo says. “The music for this ‘Latin Passion’ program is lush, exciting and beautiful, sure to thrill any audience.”

Do Good: 

• Support the Cincinnati Symphony and Orchestras Feeding America by donating a non-perishable food item or hygiene product at a performance this weekend (8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Music Hall). With a donation, $10 tickets are available for Friday's performance. 

• If you can't donate this weekend, support the Freestore Foodbank any day of the week.

Support the CSO and plan to attend an upcoming performance. 
 

Crossroads' Beans and Rice week raises nearly $259,000 for 8 organizations


Crossroads members recently committed to collectively give nearly $89 million throughout the next three years as a part of the “I’m In” campaign, so when its annual Beans and Rice week approached last month the church was hesitant to ask for added contributions.

“We wondered whether Beans and Rice was too big of an ‘ask’ this year coming out of the campaign,” says Jennifer Sperry, Crossroads’ manager of client services and media relations. 

The goal of Beans and Rice is to eat cheaply for one week, save the money one would have spent at the grocery store or restaurants and instead put it toward a cause — in this case, toward a few different causes — to benefit organizations outside of the church.

In spite of initial hesitation, Crossroads decided to proceed with Beans and Rice for the fourth year. The result was nearly $259,000 raised for eight organizations both locally and across the world. 

The Cincinnati Recreation Foundation and Talawanda Recreation Incorporated will receive $50,000 to provide free swim lessons to 2,500 kids this summer at 25 local pools. According to Crossroads, it’s important — particularly among minority communities — as 30 percent of Caucasians don’t know how to swim while 60 percent of Hispanics and more than 70 percent of African Americans are also without the skills needed to stay afloat.

Other local organizations to benefit from the funds include those working to address the heroin epidemic: Teen Challenge Cincinnati, Teen Challenge KY, Prospect House and Heroin HopeLine

“We tend to choose organizations and funds each year based on what we're passionate about and what we know will make the biggest impact,” Sperry says. 

Nationally, the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, which supports both short- and long-term needs of children exposed to lead, is the recipient of $30,000, while internationally the church’s partner Amigos for Christ will receive more than $58,000 to bring clean water to children in Nicaragua. 

“The money going to fund a water system in Nicaragua is already at work, as we broke ground on the project last Monday. Talk about return on investment,” Sperry says. “We are so encouraged not only by the campaign and the fulfillment we've seen thus far, but that people stepped up to do Beans and Rice in the midst of so much sacrifice already happening. There is power when thousands of us come together to commit and focus on one goal.”

Do Good: 

• Even though Beans and Rice week has culminated, it's never too late to practice sacrificial giving on your own. Even if you don't normally have time to prepare food on your own, a meal of beans and rice at Chipotle costs $1.80. 

• Support organizations working to make our city, nation and world a better place. 

Learn more about Crossroads.
 
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