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For Good

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UWGC announces $62.1 million goal at 2016 Campaign Kickoff


The United Way of Greater Cincinnati has amped up efforts to improve our community more than ever with its goal of raising $62.1 million during its 2016 campaign.
 
Last year’s Centennial Campaign generated $62 million, enabling the region to continue achieving its Bold Goals, which help children and their families receive the education and skills needed to move out of poverty.
 
“I’m so impressed with the rigorous, disciplined approach of our United Way,” says this year’s campaign chair, Ted Torbeck, president and CEO of Cincinnati Bell — a United Way partner. “They are tremendous stewards of the community’s generous contributions, and they and their partner organizations consistently show they are driving positive results every day.”
 
Some of those positive results: an 8 percent increase over the past 10 years in the number of children within the Cincinnati Public Schools’ district attending preschool, and more than 10,000 individuals trained for in-demand jobs.
 
The reality, however, is that half of incoming kindergartners still lack preschool experience, which impacts both kindergarten readiness and third grade reading rates, and 30 percent of our region’s residents are unable to make ends meet.
 
Reaching its campaign goal will be crucial when it comes to improving those statistics further, which is just what the United Way and its partners intend to do.
 
“United Way creates life changing moments in our community,” Torbeck says. “But it will take everyone in our community connecting and coming together to make a difference and meet this goal.”   

Do Good: 

•    Contribute to the 2016 Campaign, which concludes Oct. 28, by donating.

•    Advance the common good by becoming an advocate.

•    Learn about the many ways you can engage as a volunteer.
 

The Carnegie presents affordable, engaging workshops for kids


Registration is now open for The Carnegie’s fall and early-winter ArtStop Artist Series workshops, which are aimed at kids ages 7-12 who want to engage in creative learning opportunities.
 
Dance and drama, in addition to both 2- and 3-dimensional art are all realms of exploration at the workshops.
 
“These programs offer students opportunities to wonder, create, communicate, problem solve and more,” says Alissa Paasch, education director at The Carnegie. “Problem solving and innovation can be developed if students are given opportunities to make decisions and learn through exploration. Too often, students are presented with step-by-step instruction, which is wonderful for developing technique, but not as successful in developing creativity and problem-solving skills.”
 
Take for example “Tiny Town,” a 3-D visual arts offering where students dream up their ideal city and then build it.
 
“Our programs are very student-driven, allowing them to freely create and reflect upon their work in a safe environment,” Paasch says. “On top of that, they are taught by top-notch teaching artists — two instructors are in the room at all times — for a very low cost.”
 
It’s a way to immerse students in all that The Carnegie offers — visuals, theater and education — as it “inspires creativity for all.”
 
“It is important to us that we engage students in all forms of expression, from visual arts to dance to theater to creative writing and more,” Paasch says. “Our goals are to help students find their voice and their mode of expression.”

Do Good: 

•    Register your child for one or more workshops. Details regarding fees and class offerings can be found here.

•    Visit The Carnegie.

•    Learn more about The Carnegie by connecting on Facebook.
 

The Center celebrates 40 years with grand opening of new facility


The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington is celebrating its 40th anniversary by welcoming the public into its new home at The Hellmann Creative Center. Formerly the Hellmann Lumber Mill, the building is a historic staple within the West Covington community that has sat vacant for the past 20 years.
 
“The Hellmann Creative Center is a great place for The Center to continue our work in Covington,” says Shannon Ratterman, program manager of community development at The Center. “We see the Hellmann Creative Center as an opportunity for us to bring together people from all walks of life to interact with artists, have creative experiences, improve their own lives, and participate in meaningful community improvement projects.”
 
The new facility will house eight artist studios and two community event spaces, in addition to The Center’s offices.
 
Grand opening festivities will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 15, as Covington neighbors and friends will get the chance to take a look at The Center’s accomplishments in creative placemaking over the past 40 years, while also looking ahead to what’s in store for the future.
 
“We’re excited to be a part of the resurgence of Covington’s Westside neighborhood," says Tom DiBello, executive director of The Center. "So much of our housing development and creative placemaking work has been targeted to this neighborhood, and that it’s an intentional next step to make it home to our offices and our first commercial endeavor. With the opening of the Hellmann Creative Center, we hope to continue to activate this important corridor by bringing in more artists, businesses and residents to the neighborhood.” 

Do Good: 

•    Learn about The Center's programs, including creative placemaking, and find out how you can get involved.  

•    Mark your calendar for Sept. 15, and plan to attend The Hellmann Creative Center's Grand Opening celebration. 

•    Keep up with The Center's latest happenings by connecting on Facebook.
 

NKU student to gain hands-on business startup experience through funded UpTech internship


Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics will produce a funded intern who will gain experience in the business startup world, thanks to sponsorship from Frank Caccamo of UpTech.
 
Caccamo serves on UpTech’s Board of Directors, and was a founding chairman of the College of Informatics’ Dean’s Advisory Board. 
 
“For over a decade, Frank Caccamo has been a leading force in shaping NKU’s College of Informatics and connecting it to the business community,” says Kevin Kirby, dean of the college and UpTech board member. “His work has led to countless great opportunities for students to engage in meaningful projects, and his generous support of the UpTech-NKU relationship will benefit both students and our startups."
 
UpTech offers a six-month accelerator program for startups that want to gain traction via marketing, fundraising, engaging in market research and excelling when it comes to pitching ideas.
 
Through its work with other businesses, hands-on experience will be provided to a student studying data analytics — fully immersing them in the field, while also allowing them to further his or her education.
 
“Through thick and thin, good and bad, ups and downs, Frank’s commitment to both of these institutions is unwavering and just remarkable,” says UpTech Board Chair Tom Prewitt. “He has given of himself in terms of time and talent, and now he has followed with his treasure.”
 
Do Good: 

•    Learn more about program offerings within NKU's College of Informatics.

•    Interested in becoming an UpTech mentor? Connect with the accelerator so you can begin utilizing your knowledge and skills to help startups. 

•    Consider ways in which you or your business could assist students.
 

Bluegrass for Babies aims to raise additional funds for Cincinnati Children's


Since its inception, The Healthy Roots Foundation has donated more than $150,000 to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the nonprofit aims to add to that tally with its eighth annual Bluegrass for Babies event on Sept. 17.  
 
Bluegrass for Babies originally started in 2009 as a backyard get-together and way to give back to Cincinnati Children’s Perinatal Institute. It has grown steadily over the years to reach more individuals — it now fills larger venues and has become its own organization aimed not only at raising money, but also at educating families about healthy lifestyles.
 
This year, the family-friendly event returns to Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park.
 
“We’re thrilled to return to Seasongood Pavilion, the original home of Bluegrass for Babies, for a more intimate event,” says Anne Schneider, founder of The Healthy Roots Foundation. “We wanted to keep the focus on the wonderful bluegrass music and the work we’re doing for Children’s Hospital.”
 
Some of that work includes educational outreach via workshops and programming that teaches families the tools and resources they need in order to provide the healthiest and most fulfilling lives possible for their children.
 
“The physicians at Cincinnati Children’s and the care they provided made a huge difference in our lives,” Schneider says. “We created Bluegrass for Babies to not only give back and raise funds for the hospital, but to also help provide health education tools to parents in order to help empower families.”

Do Good: 

•    Mark your calendars for 3 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 17, and plan to enjoy food and drink, live bluegrass music, family-friendly activities and learning experiences. A schedule of events is posted here.

•    Support The Healthy Roots Foundation by purchasing admission or raffle tickets

•    Is infant health and wellness a cause for which you're passionate? If so, contact Anne Schneider to see how you can get involved.  
 


 

Kickin' for a Cause to help make a dent in childhood poverty


The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Young Adult Division is doing its part to reduce childhood poverty while raising awareness regarding the issue.
 
“Cincinnati has an abysmal ranking — it is ranked in the top-five major cities in childhood poverty year after year,” says Brooke Guigui, chair of the Federation’s Young Adult Division. “It is a horrible statistic, brought home even more when we stop and sit with the fact that these kids and these families are our neighbors.”
 
The Young Adult Division refuses to just do nothing. Instead, they’ve organized a kickball tournament for Sunday, Aug. 21, in which all proceeds from the event will benefit three local organizations that provide relief and opportunities to children living in poverty.
 
The Reds Community Fund, which supports the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn Park, in addition to Mayerson JCC’s need-based financial aid program, and the Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati’s Bigs and Littles program, are all beneficiaries.
 
The tournament — “Kickin’ for a Cause” — will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Roselawn Park. If you are interested in playing or hope to put together a team, there’s still time.
 
“Our young adults realize Cincinnati’s childhood poverty problem is everyone’s problem,” says Jeff Blumental, director of the Federation’s Young Adult Division. “They’re personally committed to finding innovative ways to create a brighter future for Cincinnati’s kids, and this is a prime example of that.”

Do Good: 

•    Contact Jeff Blumental if you're a young adult who would like to participate in Kickin' for a Cause. 

•    Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati's Young Adult Division.

•    Be proactive when it comes to reducing childhood poverty. Support local organizations, and find ways to give back.
 

Mechanical Optimizers delivers cost-effective maintenance to nonprofits in need


The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati now has an updated heating, ventilating and air conditioning system — a $200,000 project that was generously funded through grants, and installed by Mechanical Optimizers.
 
Mechanical Optimizers — a nonprofit alliance of eight local contractors — was formed in 2014 when its co-founder Jeff Wilmink realized his talents could be put to use in helping other nonprofits that lack funds and expertise in properly maintaining their facilities.
 
“Mechanical Optimizers is committed to giving back because there is a huge need to help social service and nonprofit organizations,” Wilmink says. “We focus on putting together a long-term mechanical plan, then help fund and execute that plan.”
 
Because of its execution of the new HVAC system, Mechanical Optimizers saved the Interfaith Hospitality Network about 35 percent of its annual heating and cooling expenses, according to MerryBeth McKee, director of operations at Interfaith.
 
“In some rooms, the system functioned poorly, or not at all,” McKee says. “We spent a little over $81,000 to stay on top of maintenance and repairs over the last five years. It was a short-term solution that would have continued to be costly and potentially disruptive to services.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support organizations like the Interfaith Hospitality Center, which provides emergency shelter to families in need.

•    If you're a nonprofit in need of services, contact Mechanical Optimizers. 

•    If you'd like to support Mechanical Optimizers as a sponsor, or perhaps join its team of contractors, contact the organization. 
 

Cincy set to host 28th annual Black Family Reunion


The 28th annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion — the only Black Family Reunion in the U.S. — will draw individuals together for a time of celebration and togetherness this weekend.
 
This year’s theme “The Family: Strong and United” is fitting, as the accomplishments of those who are working to improve our community will receive recognition. But also because events such as a job fair and free health screenings will be offered, providing those in attendance with further opportunities for growth. 
 
“Besides the annual parade and live music draw, many people don’t realize we host Health, Arts and Spirituality Pavilions,” says Tracey Artis, Black Family Reunion event producer.
 
It’s a way to bring communities, consumers, corporations and nonprofits together to connect with one another in engaging and beneficial ways.
 
The celebration kicks off Friday and extends through Sunday, with events taking place at Sawyer Point, Yeatman’s Cove, Sharonville Convention Center and other sites throughout the city.
 
“This three-day, fun-filled weekend brings people together to honor historic strengths and values of the black family,” Artis says. “We provide a safe, positive environment emotionally and physically. The event celebrates and unifies the African American family.”

Do Good: 

•    Check out the full schedule of events here.

•    Want to get involved? Consider volunteering.

•    Invite a friend, and plan to attend this weekend's celebration.
 

ReelAbilities Cincy presents creative opportunity to local filmmakers


Attention, filmmakers: the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival is now accepting entries from local videographers — professionals and students alike —who are interested in highlighting the lives and stories of individuals with disabilities.
 
Organized by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, Cincinnati RAFF is now in its third year; however, it’s the first year the festival has conducted an open call for local submissions.
 
“We are so excited to open this call for entries to local filmmakers,” says Debra Pinger, director of ReelAbilities in Cincinnati. “Cincinnati and our region is home to so many artists, story tellers, musicians, actors and filmmakers, and RAFF gives them an important place to showcase their talents. It’s the creatives in our community who will help draw the world’s attention to Cincinnati as a forward-thinking, diverse and inclusive culture.”
 
Cincinnati RAFF is the region’s largest film festival aimed at exploring our differences while recognizing our shared humanity.
 
Anyone living or working within 100 miles of Cincinnati is welcome to submit an entry. Short films 40 minutes or less will be accepted, but films that are 20 minutes or less are preferred. There is no cost to enter.
 
November 1 marks the deadline for submission. Selected films will be screened March 9-12 and highlighted on Local Night, March 12, at the culmination of the festival.
 
“Local stories are at the heart of ReelAbilities because they are the catalyst for community dialogue,” says April Kerley, organizer of Local Night. “Local films are like a familiar homecoming that transforms your experience from virtual reality to reality. It's like being a tourist in your hometown and seeing people and places you recognize in a whole new light.”

Do Good: 

•    Read the Call for Entry to learn more about guidelines for submission.

•    Submit your film. The deadline is November 1.

•    Connect with ReelAbilities Cincinnati by getting involved. 
 

Culinary and musical pairings to support Hospice of Cincinnati


Hospice of Cincinnati — the only nonprofit hospice within Cincinnati and the fourth oldest in the nation — offers services like grief support, massage, art, music and pet therapy to deliver meaningful, end-of-life care to clients and their families.
 
If the nonprofit’s services are close to your heart, you have the opportunity to show your support Aug. 13 at Gourmet Melodies — a fundraiser organized by the Bethesda Foundation. Food and music pairings will begin at 7 p.m.
 
It’s one of the Bethesda Foundation’s biggest fundraising events.
 
“Gourmet Melodies helps Hospice of Cincinnati continue to provide superior end-of-life care for those who need support in our community,” says Andy Swallow, president and CEO of the Bethesda Foundation. “Funds raised from this event help Hospice of Cincinnati continue to provide comfort and a higher quality of patient and family engagement.”
 
Hospice of Cincinnati offers both in-home and in-patient care and support during a time when it’s needed the most.
 
According to Hospice of Cincinnati's Chief Marketing Officer Janet Montgomery, terminal or life-threatening illnesses create feelings of isolation and helplessness.
 
“When this happens, a care team can be there to support you along the way, helping make today the best it can be,” Montgomery says. “Hospice is about living — and creating the best day today. Most of us want to die at home. Hospice provides the care, medicine, equipment and services you need to stay at home — surrounded by people and things you love.”

Do Good: 

•    Support Hospice of Cincinnati by purchasing your ticket to Gourmet Melodies on Aug. 13. 

•    Stop by the silent auction table on Aug. 13 at the Anderson Pavilion in Smale Riverfront Park. 

•    Support programs that are benefitted by the Bethesda Foundation, such as Hospice of Cincinnati
 

Wave Pool merges art with community, hosts 2nd annual pool party fundraiser


August is just as good a time as any for a pool party, and if you’ve ever wanted to attend one that merges barbecue, beverages, a pool installation, swimwear, art, dancing and a dunking booth, then Wave Pool: A Contemporary Art Fulfillment Center’s second-annual fundraiser and art auction is for you.
 
“It’s by far our least serious and most welcoming event of the year,” says Cal Cullen, executive director of Wave Pool. “Even though it's our ‘fundraiser,’ it's really more of a block party than anything. Whether you love contemporary art or not, you'll have a good time at this party.”
 
Proceeds from the Aug. 13 event supports Wave Pool’s mission, which is to serve as “a dynamic place where art intersects with community,” and to function as a “catalyst for social engagement” while cultivating artistic development.
 
Some of the ways Wave Pool accomplishes its mission: Its Artists in Residence program; and Art Space is Your Space — a competitive program that allows socially engaged artists to reside at Wave Pool for about a month while they’re given the space and freedom to “conduct programs, experiences and experiments with community members in and around Camp Washington,” Cullen says.
 
The nonprofit also houses artist studios with a multitude of artist-generated programming — everything from film screenings to dark asana yoga — in addition to partnerships with other local organizations, such as Camp Washington Urban Farm and its mobile produce cart, and Heartfelt Tidbits through its work with refugees.
 
“In short, Wave Pool is a contemporary art space, but we really see the potential for what contemporary, experimental art can achieve in our neighborhood as truly limitless,” Cullen says. “We're all about being radically inclusive and engaging in both our process and our programs, and hope that Camp Washington (and beyond) continues to embrace and steer the evolution of what we do.”  

Do Good: 

•    Mark your calendars for 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, for the Wave Pool Pool Party. 

•    Interested in volunteering by helping to serve drinks Saturday? Contact Wave Pool. 

•    Interested in submitting a proposal for Art Space is Your Space? Keep your eyes peeled, as proposals for 2017 will open next month.
 

Experience life as an individual with Alzheimer's via the Virtual Dementia Tour


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States — the only one among the top-10 causes that can’t be prevented, cured or slowed.
 
It’s both a heart-wrenching disease to watch, and to experience, as one’s memory fades and day-to-day tasks and actions progressively become more difficult.
 
To increase knowledge and awareness of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s and dementia, The Kenwood by Senior Star and Second Wind Dreams are joining forces to provide a mobile version of the Virtual Dementia Tour to the public now through the end of August.
 
“While many family members and caregivers feel compassionate toward a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may not fully understand the struggles and challenges associated with the disease,” says Tom Rotz, executive director of The Kenwood by Senior Star. “It is difficult to fully imagine what your loved one is experiencing and how their cognition is impacted.”
 
The VDT will allow caregivers, family members and friends to put themselves in the shoes of their loved ones in order to understand the ways that the disease alters cognition. By using everyday objects like thick gloves and dark glasses, the VDT — through a scientifically proven method — mimics life with the disease.
 
According to Rotz, it’s important for the individuals to experience the VDT so they can empathize, become more patient, and ultimately provide better care to those around them who might be suffering.
 
“Those who take the tour develop a deeper understanding of why their loved one may be frustrated and get angry, or shut down while talking," Rotz says. "If a loved one refuses to walk, perhaps they aren’t just stubborn, but might actually be in pain and have no idea how to express it. If a loved one shuts down, they might be frustrated, confused or distracted in their own thoughts. This helps our staff realize that there might be a deeper-rooted cause for the way someone is behaving, and if they take the time to ask questions and probe, they might be able to help.”

Do Good: 

•    Contact The Kenwood by Senior Star at 513-258-2815 to schedule a tour of the VDT.

•    Help fight Alzheimer's disease by making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association.

•    Learn more about the mobile VDT by following Second Wind Dreams' Facebook page.

 

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful does its part to spread One Bag of Trash Challenge


It’s been a little more than a week since Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Smitherman launched the One Bag of Trash Challenge. The campaign is reminiscent of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but instead of dumping ice on people to raise money for ALS, the One Bag of Trash campaign encourages others to do their part in changing the world by picking up litter within their communities.
 
The challenge is gaining traction, as Keep Cincinnati Beautiful has accepted the challenge and now wants to spread it across the country.
 
“Last year, over 10,000 KCB volunteers and staff collected over 760 tons of litter, or 1.5 million pounds — that’s the equivalent to 300 new hippopotamuses at the Cincinnati Zoo,” says Mary Huttlinger, executive director for KCB. “The KCB team enthusiastically accepts the Councilman’s challenge and plans to not only jump on board locally, but send the challenge up to Connecticut — the home of our national office, Keep America Beautiful.”
 
Anyone interested in participating in the challenge can pick up heavy-duty trash bags, gloves and water at KCB's office, as the nonprofit has decided to provide materials to those who are willing to sign-up and make a change.
 
“If all 300,000 Cincinnatians picked up just one bag of trash, over 3,000 tons of litter would be collected off Cincinnati streets and sidewalks,” says Megan Beck, volunteer programs manager for KCB.
 
Councilman Smitherman and KCB encourage the public to nominate their friends and be proactive to make their homes and communities clean and vibrant spaces. 

Do Good: 

•    Complete the challenge, and encourage your friends to do the same. Use #onebagoftrash to share your story on social media. 

•    Follow KCB's Facebook page to keep up with the latest challenges. 

•    Pick up your supplies from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1115 Bates Ave., 45225. 
 

Clovernook Center set to unveil Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation's 4th free clinic


Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired will unveil the Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation’s fourth free eye clinic on Aug. 4. The clinic will serve individuals who are over the age of 18, and will provide comprehensive exams to adults lacking eye insurance. 
 
“We couldn’t be more pleased, and look forward to the opportunity to serve the residents of North College Hill and Greater Cincinnati in this way,” says Christopher Faust, president and CEO of Clovernook Center.
 
The public is invited to mingle over refreshments, tour Clovernook’s Procter Center (where the clinic will be housed), and speak to Richard Kerstine, ophthalmologist and founder of the CEI, who will help staff the clinic. 
 
Aug. 5 marks the first day of appointments, as the clinic will be open on the first Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
 
In addition to determining patients’ needs with regard to vision and providing prescription vouchers for free glasses when needed, physicians will also be on the lookout for diseases that could lead to blindness.
 
Since the CEI’s first clinic opened in 2008, 6,000 patients have been served. Seventy-eight percent have received glasses, and 10 percent have been diagnosed with eye diseases that require scheduled follow-up visits, and in some cases, surgery.
 
According to Faust, Clovernook Center is looking forward to building on the CEI’s work from other neighborhoods.
 
“This is an essential service,” he says. “And through this partnership with the Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation, we will be able to extend these services to a community that may not otherwise have access to them.” 

Do Good: 

•    Schedule a free eye exam by calling 513-207-6140.

•    Attend the grand opening at the Clovernook Center, located at 7000 Hamilton Ave., at 10 a.m. on Aug. 4.

•    Support the work of the CEI Foundation and Clovernook Center by donating.

 

Only NKY homeless shelter keeping families together reopens


Family Promise of Northern Kentucky — the only shelter program in the state that is able to keep entire families together as they experience homelessness — has reopened.
 
Since 2014, the nonprofit has been closed, but thanks to the generosity of 35 local churches and volunteers willing to provide emergency service to families overnight, in addition to an executive director and case manager who have implemented plans to collaborate with Northern Kentucky University and University of Cincinnati student interns, the program is able to relaunch.
 
FPNKY has a permanent facility in Newport where families can go to receive case management services.
 
”Unfortunately, there are many families in Northern Kentucky who are in crisis,” says Amanda Speier, FPNKY’s executive director. “We need to make sure that more of the families in need of shelter and assistance can access such services.” 
 
It’s a crisis many local individuals and groups intend to address, but it requires collaboration and an understanding of families’ situations in order to help meet their needs so they can get back on their feet and on the road to financial stability.
 
“While overall homelessness in Greater Cincinnati has remained stable over the past few years, family homelessness has been on the rise”, says Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. “Family Promise will help us meet the need in a coordinated, regional way, making sure Kentucky families receive the assistance they need in Kentucky.”

Do Good: 

•    Support Strategies to End Homeless by donating

•    If you can't provide financial support, FPNKY is in need of various necessities. Contact Amanda Speier or by calling 859-308-8005. 

•    If you are passionate about helping to solve the crisis of homelessness, volunteer. Contact Speier to get connected. 

 
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