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For Good

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SparkRecipes gives back, fights hunger with recipe contest

SparkPeople wants you to be inspired to live a healthier and happier life, and with the re-launch of its SparkRecipes website, you can do just that while finding nearly 600,000 quick, tasty and nutritious options to incorporate into your meal preparing routine.
To celebrate health and fitness site’s re-launch and to give back to its community of members, as well as the communities in which its members reside, the company is hosting the $10,000 Split-the-Pot Recipe Contest.
The aim is to find the best slow cooker recipe in the country, while also providing assistance to individuals who are facing issues of food insecurity.
“Slow cooking is a style that’s very popular with our members—it’s usually pretty vegetable heavy, it’s healthy, it’s easy,” says Joe Robb, SparkPeople’s digital marketing manager. “But we also wanted to make this a contest with a social component. So we came up with a split-the-pot idea where the grand prize is $10,000 dollars split down the middle—half to the winner and the other half to the soup kitchen or charity of their choice.”
According to Robb, it’s important for SparkPeople to give back because it’s the site’s community of members that makes SparkPeople “America’s largest diet and healthy living website.”
“We believe the reason our site does so well is not just because we have tools to measure exercise and goals, but a big portion is the community aspect,” Robb says. “It’s a reflection of what we see in our daily lives—if someone is having trouble getting those last few pounds, they get positive motivation to get them to their goal—and in Cincinnati and all across the world, they’re part of a community. So this is a way to help out our online community while also taking half that prize money to help out their local community.” 

Do Good: 

• Vote for your favorite recipe daily, and if you come across a local member's recipe, vote to support a close-to-home nonprofit. 

• Browse SparkRecipes to find healthy eating options.

• Volunteer and support nonprofits in your local community. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Girls on the Run inspires physical, social, emotional confidence

When Girls on the Run Cincinnati launched nearly a decade ago, the organization served about 12 girls. But this spring, when it celebrates its 10-year anniversary, the nonprofit will reach its 10,000th girl.
GOTR Cincinnati offers a semester-long program to girls in third through eighth grade that provides a running-based curriculum that inspires confidence, healthy living and happiness with an end goal for participants to complete their first 5k.
“If you’re ever there to see them cross the finish line, the expression on their face—you can’t put that into words,” says Jo Craven, GOTR Cincinnati’s new Executive Director. “It gives them the sense that, if I can do this—set this goal and train and meet this goal—I can do anything, because for them—8- or 9-year olds—to run 3.1 miles, it seems like probably quite a daunting task when they first start training, and many don’t even understand the concept of how far that is.”
Craven began her work with GOTR Cincinnati in 2009 as a volunteer coach; and now, as a retired school principal, the nonprofit has become her priority.
“When I first heard about Girls on the Run, my daughter was in fifth grade, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’d be so great—not only for my school and the girls, but also for my daughter,” Craven says. “So I became a volunteer—a head coach—and started a team in our school last spring.”
Although running is a central component to the curriculum, Craven says it’s “the whole social, emotional, self-confidence piece” that’s incredibly powerful for the girls.
After spending 31 years in Northern Kentucky school systems, Craven says she had the advantage of watching girls grow up, and she saw first-hand the ways the program positively influenced the girls who took part.
“We had a little girl who was very shy and who lacked confidence in and out of the classroom; so in fifth grade, she participated, and it made just a huge difference in the way she carried herself,” Craven says. “She’d walk down the hall and have her hair over her face, not make eye contact with anyone—she didn’t really participate in class—but we saw quite a transformation in her socially and academically. And if you talk to coaches and parents across the country, you’d hear that same story over and over again. It really impacts the whole girl—socially, emotionally, and physically.” 

Do Good:

• Register to participate in GOTR Cincinnati's Fall 5k to support the organization's scholarship fund. 

• Register your girl for an upcoming session of Girls on the Run. 

• Support the organization by volunteering.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

Lighthouse Youth Services simplifies adoption process for foster parents

November is National Adoption Month, and Lighthouse Youth Services is celebrating by working with families to provide an easier transition into parenthood with its recent certification as a foster-to-adopt agency.
“For our current foster families, we’re dually certifying them as foster to adopt—that way, when a child becomes available to adopt, it lessens the length of time they have to wait,” says Jami Clarke, who serves as program director for Lighthouse Foster Care and Adoption. “There’s a six-month waiting period once a child’s been placed in the home, but if they’ve already been certified, they can go ahead and match. It speeds up the process.”
For children looking for a place they can finally call home, this new certification can make all the difference. “We’re helping children get out of the system at a quicker pace,” Clarke says.
Since the certification took effect, Clarke says 10 families have been approved for adoption. Ten more are in the process, and14 more finalizations will occur in the next couple months.
“Prior to the certification—from May to May of last year—we had 26 adoptions,” Clarke says.  “But for this year, we’re expecting that number to double. There are so many kids awaiting permanency, and we don’t want them just hanging out there.”

Do Good: 

• Support Lighthouse by giving.

• Learn about becoming a foster-to-adopt parent.

• Contact Jami Clarke if you're interested in mentoring or signing up for foster-to-adopt classes.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


One City, One Symphony connects community through music

For Sylvia Samis, 40-year veteran violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the One City, One Symphony initiative has provided the opportunity to share stories of the personal connections she has with the music she plays.  
“I think so many times, when people come see us on stage, the guys wear tuxedos and we’re formal. So this is an opportunity to have a more close-up relationship and be able to talk to each other and have a discussion and maybe to see that the people involved are just the same as the people in the audience—that we’re together on this,” Samis says. “And I think the idea is just to make the music as important to the community and worthwhile so that they see it as part of their everyday lives.”
For the two years One City, One Symphony has been in existence, Samis has participated as a speaker in various listening parties across the city, where community members come together to listen to recordings of the pieces the CSO will play at the One City, One Symphony culminating performances November 14 and 16.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Mozart’s David Penitente are the focus pieces for this year’s initiative, so the CSO will explore themes of love, fate and redemption.
“I knew right away what I wanted to talk about,” says Samis, who says she connects closely to themes of fate and destiny.
“As it turned out, my husband and I—his mother and my father were next door neighbors in Poland before the war in the 1930s,” says Samis, who did not meet her husband Charles until 1969 when they both took jobs in New Orleans, arriving just three weeks apart from each another.
“From being possibly boy and girl next door had the war not come, we still wound up together all those miles and years later,” Samis says. “And at the listening parties, many times they want to know more personal things. So once I’ve opened up my life to them, they’re really very interested in hearing more and I’m happy to share that with them—they ask almost anything—and I think they’re just glad to know the people on the stage.” 

Do Good:

• Purchase tickets to the One City, One Symphony performances November 14 and 16 at Music Hall.

• Learn about CSO Parties of Note, and attend an event. All proceeds directly benefit the CSO. 

• Support the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra by donating. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Cincinnati Youth Collaborative takes interest in student success

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative alumni Chloe Nared began her involvement with CYC when she was in the third grade, and she continued with the organization through her senior year of high school.
“I’ve been in it almost all of my life, and can definitely say they’ve been a great support system for myself in trying to make it through personal hardships,” Nared says.

CYC makes a difference in the lives of young people in second grade through college by providing mentoring, dropout prevention, high school success, college readiness and college success services. The organization brings together more than 1,700 volunteers and 100 local businesses and organizations to help young people graduate from high school and successfully make the leap forward into college and career.
Nared’s first CYC experience was with the mentoring program, which she entered into after her aunt, who worked at the organization, enrolled her.
“She decided it’d be good for me to have a mentor—who turned out to be her—but I didn’t know what the program was until fifth or sixth grade. I just knew I was hanging out with my aunt/mentor,” Nared says. “But it was good for me because it got me out of the house and away from situations. Everything was going into a downward spiral as I got older—things became harder, I was less focused in school—that’s something the program definitely helped with.”
Nared, who is now a freshman at the University of Rio Grande, says had it not been for the mentoring program, she wouldn’t be where she is today.
“She pushed me, practically shoved me through the door to get me from middle school to high school, high school to college,” Nared says. “She’s definitely been a positive motivator in my life.”
College Access’ Talent Search and Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates are two other CYC programs that Nared took part in—both of which eased her transition from high school to college.
“My career specialist was definitely interested in keeping me in school—I can’t even explain it. I don’t know if it’s that she took a personal interest in me or just all of her students period, but just making sure that they had something to do after high school, whether they enlisted in the military, enrolled in college or just simply being employed after high school,” Nared says.
“I love to give back as much as I’ve received, and I feel like because I’ve been given that chance—an opportunity—I feel like it would be great for me to do the same thing as someone else and just help guide them the way that I was guided by my mentor, my college advisor from CYC and my career specialist from JCG.” 

Do Good: 

• Volunteer with CYC as a mentor or tutor.

• Support CYC by donating.

• Connect with CYC by liking the nonprofit's page on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Random Snacks of Kindness benefits nonprofit community

If you’re in need of a locally made $10 dollar holiday gift, Random Snacks of Kindness is now available, and 100 percent of the profits will benefit ArtWorks, a nonprofit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: public art, art therapy and entrepreneurship.
The snack mix is the first of what local chef Frances Kroner hopes will be many productions in her philanthropic line.
“My parents are in social work and nursing, and I always felt a little guilty—like I didn’t give back as much as I’d like to in my life or my career,” says Kroner of Feast and Sleepy Bee Café, which is her newest venture, set to open next month in Oakley.
Random Snacks of Kindness is what Kroner calls “a sort of merging of a lot of different things in life all at once.”
In addition to being a way to give back, the idea for the first project came as a response to her experience in ArtWorks’ SpringBoard business development program.
“I got to know them better and how they work with apprentices and thought it was a really cool organization,” Kroner says. “I had seen the murals and heard of them, but I got a glimpse into the back end of things once I went through SpringBoard, and after I finished, I wanted to stay connected.”
So Kroner pitched an idea to the organization that would take the apprenticeships the organization already had in place, and expand them from mural-based art to food-based design and entrepreneurial skills.
“I didn’t realize how big an impact it was going to have on them, but you can tell already that it was such an eye opener to them to see how much work goes into a product—how much work goes into a business,” Kroner says. “I think they’ll probably retain that knowledge—they’ll remember for a long time.”

Watch a video introducing Random Snacks of Kindness to learn more.

Do Good:

• Support ArtWorks by purchasing the apprentices' Ginger Coconut Snack Mix. 

• If your nonprofit would like to partner with Random Snacks of Kindness to create a mix in the future, contact Frances Kroner.

• Like Random Snacks of Kindness on Facebook, and share the page with your friends.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Band of Helping Hands enables children to pursue life goals

Chelsea Piper, who works at a mental health agency that services children with special needs and who are in need of foster care, saw a need for more activities and extracurricular opportunities in the lives of those she encounters on a daily basis.   

So she and a co-worker founded Band of Helping Hands.

“We realized how many of the kids don’t have access to services like dancing or computers or art lessons or karate—stuff that a lot of kids get to do but they don’t,” Piper says. “So we started it as a way to find activities for them.”

Band of Helping Hands is now in its second year of operation, and since last August, the nonprofit has helped about 75 young individuals further explore their passions.

“There are a few kids we’ve had that just have such a talent for art but who haven’t had a chance to express themselves,” Piper says. “They didn’t have supplies at home or anything, so we’ve given supplies, and kids have entered them in contests because they want to grow up to be artists. And we’ve had some phenomenal dancers who haven’t had lessons from a professional, but it gives them an outlet and something to look forward to in a safe place."

The nonprofit has also purchased a computer for the children to use to complete homework and conduct job searches, and has set up a space with equipment like a pool table and a basketball hoop for students to utilize.

“I have a letter from one little boy who wanted to play baseball, but he didn’t have a glove or uniform, so we purchased him a baseball and bat and glove to practice with, and he wrote us just the sweetest letter thanking us and telling how he was able to play in his first game,” Piper says. “And I was in tears—he was just so appreciative and excited to be able to do something he hasn’t been able to do for 12 years.”

Do Good:

• Support Band of Helping Hands by donating.

Contact the organization if you'd like to volunteer teaching a class or extracurricular activity.

• Connect with the nonprofit on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

OVRS executive director's reach extends beyond one nonprofit

For more than 20 years, Jamie Steele has worked to provide residential services for individuals with developmental disabilities; but his passion and drive to help others reach their full potential has been strong since the age of 4.
“My little brother Andy was born with developmental disabilities—he could never walk or talk throughout his life—and he passed away at age 30,” Steele says. “He and I were close in age and pretty good friends, and all the activities he went to, I then would go to, too, and volunteer, then become staff, so he was definitely the most influential person on me.”
Steele has now accepted the role of executive director of Ohio Valley Residential Services, a nonprofit that differs from other residential service providers in that it allows individuals to engage in independent living, as opposed to the group home model.
“They can be in their apartment and thus feel more independent,” Steele says. “A number of people with disabilities are like you and me. They want to have their own space and participate in activities of daily living—bathing, dressing cooking—so it’s our job environmentally to provide an atmosphere where they can reach their individual potential.”
In addition to heading a nonprofit, Steele makes it a priority to help other organizations fulfill their own missions. As an avid music lover, he’s formed a rock band called The Code, which donates its proceeds back to the nonprofit community.
“It’s always been engrained in me that this is a community,” Steele says. “And if I want to ask the general community to accept people with disabilities, then I have to be willing to also give back.”  

Do Good: 

• Connect with Ohio Valley Residential Services on Facebook.

• Support OVRS by donating.

• Contact OVRS if you are interested in becoming a board member.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Autumn Air Art Fair prioritizes art education

When fiber artist Pam Irvin traveled to Tennessee one weekend for an art show that she says ended up being more of an outdoor street market, she was prompted to do something different, and on a local level, to help support artists by putting their work at the center.
“I wanted a focused target audience—one that wanted to buy art and not elephant ears and pizza and stuff like that,” Irvin says.
So five years ago, Irvin founded the Autumn Air Art Fair, which she hosted in her backyard as a way for 13 artists to gather together to showcase and sell their work.
“We had a great turnout, and the next year we took it to the next level; and since I live in Clifton, I wanted to support the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, so we decided to rent the facility and have the show there,” Irvin says.
The show is now in its fifth year, and it’s grown steadily since 2009. For the first few years, Irvin saved proceeds from the event, which she donated to the Art Academy of Cincinnati last year to provide scholarships for four individuals.
This year’s show, which took place this past Saturday, generated revenue for what Irvin hopes will be enough to provide 10 scholarships toward art education.
“The Art Academy has a portfolio prep class geared toward sophomores and juniors in high school who want to go on and pursue a career in art and who need a portfolio for college admissions, so that’s a three-week intensive thing over the summer, and I’m hoping we can award at least two of those this year,” Irvin says. “That one that makes the biggest impact, because obviously some kids have the talent but don’t necessarily know what they need for the application or don’t have the materials.” 

Do Good:

• Follow the Autumn Air Art Fair's blog to keep up with the event's artists throughout the year. 

• Support art education in your local schools or at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

• Support the Clifton Cultural Arts Center by donating.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


ReSource offers free shredding for nonprofits

Kevin Torch, senior transaction manager at CBRE, has served on the board for ReSource for the past three years now, and he’s passionate about it because it’s a way to help hundreds of nonprofits at once.
“You’re not really working for just one nonprofit—you’re really working for like 400,” Torch says. “We’ve been involved in the community for over 20 years, and to date have saved nonprofit members about $36 million dollars. We’ve served over 1,400 nonprofits, and we continue to redirect hundreds of tons of useable products from local landfills.”
ReSource distributes corporate donations like office furniture and supplies to member nonprofits that can then shop at the organization’s warehouse for pennies on the dollar.
As a way to raise awareness about ReSource and what it offers to the local nonprofit community, Torch is heading up Shred Week, sponsored by CBRE and Cintas, which will take place at the organization’s Sharonville office November 4–8.
“Most nonprofits are all required to shred their documents, but they don’t necessarily have the resources to do so, so it allows a company like ReSource to help them out in that capacity,” Torch says. “The goal, though, is to generate more community awareness and in turn hopefully drive more potential nonprofits to join the warehouse as they learn about who we are. There’s so many, and as you go around and talk to people, a lot of them don’t know who ReSource is. Hopefully it gets more people to understand the green use of ReSource.” 

Do Good:
• Contact Molly Lohr of ReSource if you'd like to volunteer during Shred Week. 

• Bring your nonprofit's documents to ReSource, along with proof of your 501(c)(3) status November 4–8 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for Shred Week, and join together with community members for food and entertainment between 12 and 2 p.m. November 8.

• If you're a nonprofit, consider becoming a member of ReSource. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Library adds to digital collection, streams film and TV

Watching television shows and movies online just became even easier—and free—as a result of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s recent addition of streaming services like Hoopla and Freegal Movies into its collection.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while with Netflix and Hulu and all those other products out there that consumers are used to seeing,” says Holly Varley, PLCHC’s material selection and acquisitions manager. “We definitely wanted to stay up to date with that digital content. That’s a goal of ours with the community—to make sure we’ve got digital content for e-books and audio books—and streaming and movies was the next piece of the puzzle.”
Hoopla offers library cardholders the opportunity to stream up to eight movies or television shows per month, while Freegal Movies enables users to view as many as three movies or television shows every 48 hours.
Both services eliminate any worries of damaged or lost materials and late fees, which makes borrowing and loaning materials easier and more convenient for all parties involved.
“There’s nothing to break, nothing to melt in your car, to get peanut butter on—it’s all just going to be there on your device,” Varley says. “And we just thought with as many people out there in the world who have tablets and smartphones, and as that gets more prolific, people expect to be able to use things on their device. We want it to be right there in terms of technology needs.” 

Do Good:
• Familiarize yourself with the library's digital material, and begin to use it. 

• Support the library by volunteering.

• Connect with the library through Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

OpenDataCincy hopes to improve Cincinnati by collecting and publishing information

OpenDataCincy’s goal is to improve the region by publishing various data sets from the local government and the civic sector.
It has proven successful in other regions. In Boston, for example, the police and fire departments were asked to release the latitude and longitude of each fire hydrant throughout the city.
“They were spending significant time shoveling out snow each winter to make sure they weren’t concealed in case of an emergency, so to take the truck out, manpower it and shovel it out was time-consuming and taxing,” says Erin Kidwell, OpenDataCincy’s program manager. “They could have been focusing on other things. So they published locations of all the fire hydrants, and citizens and community councils took it upon themselves to adopt fire hydrants so that when there was heavy snow, they’d go shovel it themselves. The community made sure the focus for firefighters could be on community safety.”
In an effort to make more data sets available to the public and to put them in the hands of organizations that can make use of them, OpenDataCincy is engaging community members in the Nonprofit Data Challenge.
“Nonprofits are in a tough position and, in most cases, they’re reliant on donations or grant dollars, and a lot of those requests come with a desire for quantifiable evidence as to what their mission and vision is set out to achieve,” Kidwell says. “Not having that sometimes can make it difficult to meet fundraising goals.”
So nonprofits are encouraged to identify data sets they could make use of, submit their ideas to OpenDataCincy, and the public will then have a chance to vote for their favorite nonprofit so that the data can be processed and used to help solve a problem.
Open data policies in other cities have enabled “citizens to be more highly engaged, created economic development, and have allowed technologists to create web apps and sites that have generated betterment to the region,” Kidwell says. “It’s something we’re pretty excited about here.”  

Read more about OpenDataCincy in our four-part Demand Better series.

Do Good:
• Participate in the Nonprofit Data Challenge by nominating data.

• Begin casting your vote in the Nonprofit Data Challenge November 1. 

• Share OpenDataCincy's website with others, and contact the organization to be added to the newsletter and learn more.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


soHza connects women, customer becomes agent of change

Empowering women to make positive change is Debbie Lupariello’s goal—not only for herself and her new business venture soHza—but for the women locally and globally who come together to help make the company a success.  
Lupariello co-founded soHza and launched the company in April. The concept is to employ global women who create fair trade jewelry, then sell the pieces online with proceeds benefitting local nonprofits serving women in similar capacities.
“Some of the jewelry is made from melted down bullet casings or weapons—where HIV women in Ethiopia took something that was horrible in their lives and made it something beautiful,” Lupariello says. “So you pick up a necklace and hold it in your hand, it’s made with weapons, and then a percentage of those sales help victims of domestic violence here locally with Women Helping Women.”
According to Lupariello, the United States is almost “like an island,” but women across the country have so much in common, she says, and bridging the gap is important.
“We’re not like Europe. People aren’t traveling through,” Lupariello says. “It’s hard for us to even relate to people in the next neighborhood.”
But by partnering local women with women across the country, then putting customers at the center of that connection, Lupariello says a bond is created with an incredibly real connection.
“The most amazing thing about it is how strong that bond happens,” Lupariello says. “We believe that when women are at the center of change, anything is possible.” 

Do Good:

• Contact soHza or visit the website to sign up for the newsletter. 

• Support women by purchasing a piece of jewelry. 

• Learn about the women involved, and help share their stories. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.

Local nonprofit to win $10,000 social media makeover

Connecting with the public is a must for nonprofits, and in a day and age where social media is continuously evolving and becoming more relevant, maximizing one’s presence online can make a huge difference in the way an organization fulfills its mission.
“If you think of any businesses out there with a really touching story to share, it’s often nonprofits who are challenged with limited resources,” says Kirsten Lecky, client strategy director at dooley media.
For Lecky and dooley media CEO Matthew Dooley—both of whom have backgrounds working with nonprofits—helping a local organization share its story is an important opportunity that can’t be bypassed.
“They rely so much on having to connect with people emotionally first, and they have to get passionate about their cause and their mission. And then often once you’ve made that connection with someone, it leads to them donating their time or their money or volunteering,” Lecky says.
So dooley media, in conjunction with Mark Bowen MediaSpotted Yeti MediaRockIt Copywriting and Brian Arnberg, is hosting a contest that will award a $10,000 social media makeover to one local group.
The makeover will include a social media strategy session and audit, training, an on-site photography session, a half-day video shoot, a logo redesign, a Facebook page and various other social media tips and resources.
“It’s important because you need a platform—a way to be able to reach more people and share and connect with them,” Lecky says. “They need a way to be able to just get them talking to each other. Once there’s more word of mouth and that buzz, it builds that awareness.”  

Do Good: 

• If you're a nonprofit in need of a social media makeover, enter to win prior to October 31.

• Like dooley media on Facebook, and keep up with the contest results so you can vote for your favorite nonprofit November 1–15.

• Support your local nonprofits and engage with them through social media platforms.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Metro bus stop shelters transform into public art

For individuals waiting to catch the bus throughout the downtown and Over-the-Rhine communities, painted depictions of scenes from popular novels will now help them pass the time.
Characters like Harry Potter, Willy Wonka and even Dorothy and Toto now enliven the shelters of 24 Metro bus stops.
“For our customers, the experience of waiting on a bus is now enhanced by beautiful artwork—it’s the talking piece when they’re sitting next to someone or just something to capture their attention to make their wait more enjoyable,” says Brandy Jones, Metro’s communications coordinator.
Metro and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County partnered with ArtWorks to put six of the nonprofit’s apprentices to work by showcasing their talents while brightening the city. ArtWorks connects artists of all ages with opportunities in the arts through inspiring apprenticeships, community partnerships and public art.
“The students put in a lot of work and creativity, and it’s so interesting from an entire novel to see what they pulled out of it for an art theme,” Jones says.
Inspired designs came from a public vote the library hosted to gain information regarding the community’s favorite settings and characters. And at the end of September, the apprentices’ works were showcased and viewed by participants in a walking tour.
“We talked about what it means for our community to see art in everyday settings,” Jones says. “And it was a good experience for them to show off their hard work, and a good experience for the community to appreciate the youth and their positivity.” 

Do Good:
• Support ArtWorks by donating.

• Ride the Metro and view apprentices' art while waiting. There is a map located within each shelter which tells the locations for each design. 

• Support the PLCHC by signing up for a library card

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

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