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Talent : For Good

363 Talent Articles | Page: | Show All

Students work creatively with glass, learn and grow through art


If you missed the opening for Brazee Street Studios’ fifth annual Kids Exhibition, 513 Penguins, you’ll have a second chance to view students’ work at a reception taking place July 10 at C-LINK Gallery.
 
Students from 13 local schools worked to create more than 500 glass penguins — an activity made possible by the staff at Brazee along with 13 teachers who learned the project and then taught it remotely at their respective schools. Bullseye Glass Co. donated all of the glass.
 
According to Chelsea Borgman, C-LINK gallery coordinator and communications specialist, one of Brazee’s core missions is to help children not only express themselves through art but also appreciate the art-making experience.
 
“The annual children's exhibition is not only about the end result — it’s just as much, if not more, about the process,” Borgman says. “Children get to experiment with a material they may not otherwise have an opportunity to use, see how the glass transforms through the firing process, then have their work on display, realizing their connectedness to the smaller community of the classroom and the larger community of Cincinnati.”
 
The process also teaches students trust, Borgman says, as glass is oftentimes viewed as dangerous.
 
“When we trust the children to handle the glass safely, it helps them to trust themselves and take ownership over the responsibility to use this ‘dangerous’ material,” she says.
 
Perhaps most importantly, the program provides an opportunity for children to express their uniqueness without fear of judgment, as no two penguins are crafted the same.
 
“Each one has its own personality, which is a reflection of the choices made by the child during the creation process,” Borgman says. “We hope we have provided an opportunity for children to express themselves without the worry of finding the ‘wrong’ answer. There is no ‘wrong’ way to make their penguin, which I think can be quite liberating.”
 
Do Good: 

• Attend the second reception for 513 Penguins at 6-9 p.m. July 10 at Brazee's C-LINK Gallery in Oakley. Live penguins from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will be on site. Guests will also have the opportunity to create a penguin of their own.

• If you can't make the reception, show your appreciation for students' creations by viewing the exhibition, which is on display through Aug. 6. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays; 12-8 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. 

• Check out Brazee's class offerings for students of all ages and abilities. 
 

Envision Children delivers interactive learning experiences to local kids


About 100 children between the ages of 4 and 10 just finished learning about the Greek alphabet and will continue their Summer Academic Enrichment program, offered through Envision Children, as they acquire knowledge about the origins of things like fire, medicine and the telephone.
 
This year’s “Great Inventions, Great Discoveries II” theme is designed to elevate students’ math and reading levels by at least 11 percent as they participate in hands-on learning and attend weekly field trips.
 
“Our summer program is meant to engage students in such a way that they become more excited than their parents about their own future, because they will see possibilities in many career fields,” says Sheryl McClung McConney, president and founder of Envision Children.
 
McConney saw a need for educational assistance — particularly among middle-class working families as well as those living in poverty — after running a for-profit tutoring center that provided federally funded tutoring under the No Child Left Behind initiative.
 
When Ohio was approved for the No Child Left Behind waiver, families were still in need of educational assistance, McConney says, so she converted the facility into a nonprofit to continue serving their needs.
 
In addition to Academic Summer Enrichment, Envision Children also offers tutoring and activities throughout the year: ACT Bootcamp, Power Saturdays and Academic Showdown, where fourth-grade students recently competed in an academic game show with support from some of their favorite Bengals players.
 
It’s all designed to fulfill Envision Children’s mission, which is to produce measurable results by engaging youth “in real life learning, where students see how their education benefits them through interactive and fun activities.”
 
“I love children, and I recognize their importance in the future of our communities locally and globally,” McConney says. “My life's work has been to help maximize the potential of children to excel academically and to succeed as adults as responsible, contributing citizens, whatever career field they pursue.”

Do Good: 

Learn more about the ways in which Envision Children works to bring education to life for children.

• Connect with Envision Children on Facebook.

Contact Envision Children to volunteer, enroll your child or support its mission.
 

Stages for Youth seeks funding to create year-round filmmaking program for teens


For Frank O’Farrell, the ways in which society traditionally measures educational success can sometimes be limiting.
 
“It sets boundaries and expectations that some kids just cannot understand or relate to,” he says.
 
O’Farrell experienced this frustration personally raising his now 17-year-old son and as a result founded Stages for Youth, whose mission is twofold: to help youth find their voice and express their individuality through digital and performance arts and to change the trajectory of their own lives, those around them and their community.
 
“I felt strongly that I just needed to give my son, and kids like him, an alternative avenue for self expression, another way to experience success,” O’Farrell says.
 
So he spent his vacation days from work planning and developing a pilot program, bringing in mentors and volunteers, hiring staff and fundraising — all for the purpose of teaching kids video production.
 
Twenty-four teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 came together to create, shoot, edit and produce six films in five days last summer. The free film camp’s success has become apparent, as the group won an honorable mention at The White House Student Film Festival for I Am Urban Art, two Golden Lion awards and an $8,000 scholarship.
 
But the story doesn’t stop there, as O’Farrell is committed to making sure other students receive similar opportunities.
 
“The skills these kids learn through the film production discipline include creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, project management, collaboration, thinking on their feet, working against deadlines,” O’Farrell says. “These are 21st-Century skills that our young people will need in order to be successful. Employers are demanding it (but) schools are not teaching it, and the result is a ‘skills gap’ which is limiting our kids’ opportunities when they do enter the workforce.”
 
These skills don’t come naturally for all, but it’s these types of skills that do seem to be more innate in those who don’t relate to a more traditional educational setting, O’Farrell says, so he wants to build Stages for Youth into a year-round after-school program to “level the playing field” for all students.
 
“Kids will walk away with a finished project, a digital portfolio for their resume, awards, 21st-Century skills in creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, a network of industry professionals and a more clearly defined career roadmap,” he says. “And as these kids write a story for their film, they are also writing their own personal story, and that's what can change their lives.”

Do Good: 

• Help Stages for Youth expand to a year-round after-school model by donating.

• Connect with Stages for Youth on Facebook.

• Check out students' films by clicking "Summer Camp Productions" at the top of the page.
 

World Refugee Day celebrated with companionship, resources and fun


The Junior League of Cincinnati’s RefugeeConnect program, in collaboration with the Red Cross, hosted its second annual World Refugee Day Cup Soccer Tournament recently as a way to welcome our region’s newest neighbors.
 
According to the JLC, there are 12,000-25,000 refugees living in Greater Cincinnati at any given time, so RefugeeConnect works to “unite and engage” the community for the purpose of assisting newcomers with a smooth transition as they get acclimated to a new culture and a new home.
 
“We are a nation of immigrants,” says Robyn Brown, co-chair of RefugeeConnect, which constructs a sustainable system of support for those making their way out of countries in turmoil.
 
About 600 individuals attended the June 13 soccer tournament, which, in addition to fun and gameplay, matched resettling refugees with various resources in the community — everything from free dental screenings on-site to valued connections with job training services. These are the types of connections that RefugeeConnect works to create on a yearly basis.
 
This past Saturday on World Refugee Day, for example, cyclists participated in a charity ride to fund the Dean Razzak RefugeeConnect Scholarship, which provides those entering higher education with a means of “finding meaningful employment as contributory members of our community and adopted country.”
 
And RefugeeConnect makes education a priority, as ESOL training courses are offered throughout the summer as a way to mitigate the language barrier.
 
“While many of our ancestors came to America generations ago,” Brown says, “others arrived more recently to seek a better life in this country,” and it’s RefugeeConnect’s mission to assist them in doing so. 

Do Good: 

• Support the educational and career goals of young refugees by contributing to the Dean Razzak RefugeeConnect Scholarship.

• Learn more about how to help refugees adjust to a new community by attending the next Refugee Empowerment Initiative meeting, July 17 at 3 p.m. at Xavier University's Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue.

• Connect with the Junior League of Cincinnati on Facebook.
 

Deadline extended for Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire applications


Want to show off your latest DIY project? Perhaps lead a hands-on demonstration or teach others how to make a gadget? If so, the Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire is for you.
 
It’s once again being hosted at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the application deadline has been extended until June 30, so there’s still time to submit your proposal.
 
According to Cincinnati Museum Center President Elizabeth Pierce, local makers are encouraged to take advantage of the extension so they can showcase the great ideas our region has to offer.
 
“Since we opened the application, we have received an outpouring of interest from makers around the Cincinnati area who want to be a part of this year's Mini Maker Faire,” Pierce says. “We've extended the deadline to ensure that all makers have an opportunity to show off the creativity and ingenuity that this region has to offer.”
 
This year’s Mini Maker Faire — affiliated with the global Maker Faire network created by MAKE magazine — will take place Aug. 29-30.
 
According to its website, Maker Faire is “the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth,” mashing up everything from art and science to technology and engineering. Amateurs and professionals of all ages are encouraged to participate.
 
“Cincinnati Museum Center is constantly striving to develop inquisitive minds and serve as a vehicle for creativity,” Pierce says.
 
Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire will be included in the cost of daily Museum Center admission Aug. 29-30 and be free to museum members.  

Do Good: 

Apply by June 30 to participate in the 2015 Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire.

• Connect with Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire on Facebook.

• Mark your calendars for Aug. 29-30, then visit the Cincinnati Museum Center to view local makers' creations.
 

Local AIA chapter sponsors photo contest to benefit Little League team for kids with disabilities


Major League Baseball's 2015 All-Star Game is little more than a month away, but don’t wait until July to share your love of the game with others.
 
The American Institute of Architects’ Cincinnati chapter (AIA) is sponsoring a competition titled "Fields of Dreams" so baseball fans can highlight their own stories through photos that showcase the built environment surrounding the game. Photos can range in composition — everything from the design of professional stadiums to the dugouts at local parks.
 
Contest submissions are $10 each and benefit Butler County Challenger Baseball, a league designed to “meet the needs of children and young adults from 5 to 22 years of age with special needs.”
 
If you’re not submitting a photo but just want to support your favorite entry, each vote will cost you $1 and also benefit the Challenger league.
 
For Butler County Challenger President Alan Lakamp, whose son has Down syndrome, the league is particularly special because it enables kids to live out their dreams.
 
“It’s every child's dream to be a able to play the great game of baseball,” Lakamp says. “When these kids come out to our baseball fields, they are baseball players and have no disability.”
 
Voting ends June 15 at 11:59 p.m. Winning photographers receive cash prizes and a chance to be featured in a public exhibition during All-Star Weekend in July.

Do Good:

• Enter your photos in the "Fields of Dreams" contest.

• View entries and vote for your favorite photo prior to 11:59 p.m. June 15.

• Support Butler County Challenger Baseball by donating.
 

Anonymous grant enables 15 vets to graduate debt-free from Union Institute


Union Institute & University has launched the Veterans in Union program to assist underemployed or low-income Pell-eligible military vets complete college or further their education with a master’s or doctoral degree, thanks to an anonymous grant of $293,000. The grant will allow for 15 initial recipients to receive a three-term $7,500 stipend for living expenses, though university officials say they hope to reach more vets in the near future.
 
For Geri Maples, program coordinator and wife of a disabled veteran, the program is particularly special because it’s a way to give back to those who have already given of themselves.
 
“When I think about the sacrifice our vets make, I think mainly of the fact that for the most part they’re putting their lives on hold,” Maples says. “The pursuit of their dreams is another sacrifice made. One of the biggest reasons soldiers join the Armed Forces is not only to serve their country but also to receive the educational benefits. These benefits make the pursuit of their dreams possible.”
 
Walnut Hills-based Union Institute offers both online and low-residency programs to enable students to pursue education without interrupting other obligations like careers and family. Veterans in Union will offer a seven-step approach aimed at making sure individualized needs are met educationally, emotionally and socially.
 
“The ultimate goal is to provide personal academic and career coaching services along with employment opportunities,” Maples says. “In addition, we want these students to have all the tools necessary to be successful beyond graduation. We personalize the process for each veteran from the initial response to their interest inquiries, admission and enrollment, tutoring, wellness seminars for healthy lifestyle success, career coaching and employment exploration.”

Do Good: 

• Veterans in Union grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Apply by July 1 for consideration.

• Check out other Union Institute & University scholarship opportunities for veterans and active duty military.

• Support the university and its students by giving.
 

Shriners Hospital committed to physical, mental and emotional healing


When he was just 7 months old, Kaj was involved in a car accident that resulted in third-degree burns covering 30 percent of his body. He was life-flighted to Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati, which specializes in burn care and cleft lip and palate.
 
Shriners is committed to “Care beyond cost,” as no family is ever turned down because of finances, and it’s this sort of generosity that extends into all measures of a patient’s life when in the hospital’s care.
 
“What stood out to me the most was the genuine compassion of our social worker,” says Amanda Shrode, Kaj’s mother. “Immediately she helped me cope with what had just happened to my son, in the most comprehensive and sensitive way. She provided our family with everything we needed and answered questions I hadn't even thought to ask. For the rest of my life, I will never be able to express how much this meant to me, and still does.”
 
Kaj is now a healthy 3-year-old boy, though he will most likely require follow-up surgeries  — as do most burn victims — to ensure his future ease of mobility. And Shriners will provide services to him until adulthood.
 
At Shriners, however, services consist of more than quality medical treatment. Staffers are committed to nurturing the physical, mental and emotional healing of individuals and their families.
 
Camp Ytiliba (Ability spelled backwards), for example, is a three-night camping trip sponsored by the hospital to inspire confidence and connection among children with similar medical issues. Children return from the 26th annual outing Wednesday, June 3.
 
For Shrode, the care provided from Shriners is meaningful, as the staff works to create a warm atmosphere by building relationships.
 
“The staff at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital feels like family to me and Kaj,” Shrode says. “It’s about making sure your kids feel comfortable in their own skin.”

Do Good: 

• Support Shriners Hospitals for Children by donating.

Volunteer at Shriners.

• Connect with the Shriners Cincinnati on Facebook, where you can see photos of kids enjoying Camp Ytiliba.
 

Cincinnati filmmakers prep for 48 Hour Film Project weekend


Novices, professionals and filmmakers of all levels in between will gather together Friday to kick off the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) in Cincinnati.
 
Participants will be given a genre, character, line of dialogue and prop that must be worked into each film and then have 48 hours to write, cast, shoot and edit it. The rest of the creative process comes about through teamwork, which Kat Steele, Cincinnati city producer for the 48HFP, says is an integral part of the weekend.
 
“The competition challenges filmmakers of all abilities and ages to think outside of the box in a team environment,” Steele says. “From high school students to hobbyists to full time media professionals, all are challenged by incredible time limitations to create a film.”
 
The mission of the 48HFP, which tours more than 130 cities worldwide each year, is to advance and promote filmmaking, filmmakers and teamwork.
 
All local films received by Sunday evening’s deadline will premiere June 7 at the Thompson House in Newport. An awards ceremony will be held in July when a filmmaking prize package will be awarded to winners of the area’s “best film,” which will be screened at Filmapalooza in Hollywood next March and have a shot at a screening at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
 
While the 48HFP is certainly focused on filmmakers, it’s the community, Steele says, that plays an integral and supportive role.
 
“It’s not just filmmakers that participate,” she says. “This is a community effort, as each film can take dozens of people to make. It’s a fantastic experience for anyone who will be involved.”

Do Good: 

Register for Cincinnati’s version of the 48 Hour Film Project.

• Support local filmmakers by purchasing tickets to the 48HFP Festival June 7 at the Thompson House.

• Connect with the 48HFP on Facebook.
 

People Working Cooperatively volunteers make 33rd annual Repair Affair a success


Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, People Working Cooperatively recently completed its 33rd annual Repair Affair by fixing 40 homes for individuals who were unable to either afford or complete the repairs themselves.
 
Roofing, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing comprised the skill sets of more than 300 volunteers who came together to make this year’s outing a success. Porches were rebuilt, doorbells fixed and ramps installed — projects ranging widely in size and scope — in order to make more livable, safer homes for elderly individuals, individuals with disabilities and individuals struggling to make ends meet.
 
According to Kim Sullivan, PWC’s marketing and communications manager, the repairs offered were “life-saving.”
 
“From ramps to handrails to replaced porches, they (volunteers) kept our clients safe and independent in their homes,” Sullivan says.
 
Repair Affair, presented by the city of Cincinnati and The Home Depot, is just one of the many initiatives offered by PWC and its volunteer base, which works year-round to repair homes, to conserve energy through weatherization and to modify aspects within the home's interior and exterior to allow for increased mobility.
 
“We always need donations to support these services,” Sullivan says. “We need volunteers year-round.” 

Do Good:

• Support the work of People Working Cooperatively by donating.

• If you're interested in volunteering with PWC, contact Aaron Grant at 513-351-7921.

• Connect with PWC on Facebook.
 

OTR Foundation launches crowdfunding campaign to support Rothenberg rooftop garden


The Over-the-Rhine Foundation kicks off its crowdfunding campaign for the Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden with a happy hour at Goodfellas Pizzeria on Main Street Wednesday, May 20.
 
Tickets for the event are $20, include a slice of pizza and a beer and benefit the garden project, which is in need of everything from workstations and potting benches students can use during garden classes to mixing bowls and salad spinners for lessons on nutrition and food sources.
 
“The Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden is a transformational project that builds community by connecting students in OTR to the values of gardening in their school environment,” says Kevin Pape, president of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation. “The Foundation proudly supports Rothenberg’s students and the realization of the rooftop garden project.”
 
And it has done so loyally, raising more than $300,000 for the garden to date.
 
Nearly 450 students at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy engaged in a multitude of unique, hands-on learning opportunities afforded by the garden during the 2014-15 school year, but needs are ongoing.
 
Even if you’re unable to support the launch of the crowdfunding campaign this week, you can contribute online to help the OTR Foundation and the Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden reach its $5,000 goal.
 
For Bryna Bass, rooftop garden program manager, it’s a goal that will allow students the opportunity to further their application of gardening to real-world scenarios.
 
“They learn gardening, but that’s not the mission,” Bass says. “They get to garden — that’s icing on the cake — but it’s deepening their math skills, deepening their science skills, English, language arts, literacy, social studies. We get to use it in just about any curriculum.” 

Do Good: 

Contribute to the crowdfunding campaign and attend the May 20 happy hour launch.

• Connect with the Rooftop School Garden on Facebook.

• Share your time and materials as a volunteer. Contact Bryna Bass if you're available to help. 
 

Discounted CSO tix available with donation to Freestore Foodbank


The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) wraps up its 2014-15 season this weekend, so if you haven’t had the chance to visit Music Hall lately to take in classical music fare, there’s no time better than now.
 
Discounted tickets, priced at just $10, will be offered Friday to patrons who make a donation of a nonperishable food item, as this year’s closing weekend marks a community-wide initiative to combat hunger in the region.
 
“One of the CSO’s core values is to be Cincinnati’s Own,” says Megan Berneking, the CSO’s director of communications. “That means taking a leading role in the life of the Cincinnati community. One critical issue our community faces is hunger, and through this effort we can feed not only the souls of our audience members which we do every week but also help feed the hungry in Cincinnati through the partnership with Freestore Foodbank.”
 
The May 15 effort is part of Orchestras Feeding America, which has seen 425 U.S. orchestras collect and donate nearly 450,000 pounds of food over the past six years.
 
Though discounted tickets will only be offered for Friday evening’s performance, donations for the Freestore Foodbank will be accepted all weekend long. According to Berneking, it’s a way for patrons to support two organizations that fill a vital role in the community.
 
“The CSO would encourage the public to support both organizations through this partnership,” Berneking says. “The CSO elevates the cultural life of Cincinnati, while Freestore helps provide for the physical needs of our community. In supporting both of these efforts, audiences this weekend will make the Queen City an even more vibrant place to work, play and live.”
 
Do Good: 

• Donate a non-perishable food item at Music Hall and purchase your $10 ticket to Sheherazade at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15. Tickets for Saturday evening's performance (also at 8 p.m.) start at just $12. 

Support the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

Support the Freestore Foodbank.
 

Starfire members explore passions, engage with community


For Starfire members like Matt Weisshaar, working on a community project is an important responsibility prompted by passion and accompanied by the development of leadership skills and relationship building.
 
Starfire is focused on decreasing the social isolation felt by people with disabilities. The Madisonville-based nonprofit is a conduit to relationships for those with disabilities, family members and community residents looking to get involved, and its approach is “one family, one person at a time,” says Rachel Almendinger, director of donor relations.

“We have a brainstorming night for each member to discuss what they’re interested in, and we get people there that are interested in the same thing to help us connect, network and ideate,” she says. “Then they start a project, so Starfire facilitates it but it’s really about Matt.”
 
Weisshaar, whom Almendinger says “loves science, loves nature, loves animals,” is currently working with Cincinnati Nature Center to put together a Citizen’s Science Day, when community members will join together to bond over bird-watching and compete in a nature-related activity.
 
“Our hope with that is Matt will be able to find some more long-term friends and create deeper relationships, not based on his disability but based on his interests and passions,” Almendinger says.
 
It’s work like this that Starfire will showcase at its Annual Celebration, which for the first time will comprise not only the Evening Celebration but also a Breakfast Celebration for business professionals unable to attend the nighttime happenings.
 
“At first it was a way to celebrate members, but people started loving the stories so much that more and more started coming who wanted to live a more inclusive life,” Almendinger says. “It’s meant to inspire that. Our goal is to help people make friends.” 

Do Good: 

• Kick off the work day by supporting Starfire and purchasing seats for the Breakfast Celebration, June 24 at 7:30 a.m. at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.

• Celebrate the work and passions of Starfire members at the Evening Celebration June 24 at 6:30 p.m., also at the 20th Century Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Contact Starfire if you're interested in partnering with the organization. Members would love to visit your business and explore potential opportunities and career paths. 
 

Former NKU hoops star encourages father/child relationships with camp benefitting Kicks for Kids


Former Northern Kentucky University basketball star Shannon Minor will once again host the Pete Minor Father/Child Basketball Camp in honor of his late father, who was struck by a drunk driver in 2011 while changing a tire along I-75.
 
Shannon and his father possessed a strong bond that Shannon values and wants to pass along to others.
 
“He wants to encourage dads to put down their cell phones, roll up their sleeves and be 100 percent present in their kids’ lives,” says Christine Sebastian, program director at Kicks for Kids.
 
Kicks for Kids, a nonprofit whose mission is to level the playing field for at-risk children, will receive proceeds from the half-day basketball camp June 20, when campers will learn basketball fundamentals, participate in a question and answer session with Shannon and receive a T-shirt, dinner, basketball and photo with their father figures. Most of all, though, they’ll spend quality time playing a game and being active with that older male figure who’s making a difference in their life.
 
Proceeds will enable Kicks for Kids to continue and improve upon its programming — things like sports camps, circus camps and an annual Christmas Celebration — that impacts the lives of children who may otherwise be without those experiences.
 
“All through Shannon’s life, Pete was a supportive dad, always rebounding for Shannon, going to every one of his games,” Sebastian says. “Shannon always appreciated how his dad took an active interest in his life — how, no matter what, Pete cleared his schedule and never missed a game.” 

Do Good: 

Contact Christine Sebastian by e-mail or call 859-331-8484 to register for camp. Admission is $60 per child/father-figure combination. Each extra child is $25. Proceeds benefit Kicks for Kids. 

• Support Kicks for Kids by signing up for the 19th annual RGI River Run, a 5k taking place May 23. Details can be found here

• Support Kicks for Kids by donating.
 

From athlete to activist, Kevin Pearce an inspiration for those with traumatic brain injury


New Year’s Eve 2009 didn't end in celebration for Kevin Pearce, who was training for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics when a cab double cork on the half-pipe ended his career as a professional snowboarder and initiated his journey of recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
 
He’s now raising awareness and funds to improve the life quality of individuals impacted by traumatic brain injury through the LoveYourBrain Foundation.
 
When Pearce was severely injured, he says he’d been concussed a week and a half prior but was ultimately able to continue snowboarding with symptoms unnoticeable to those watching.
 
“My brain was not healed, and I was not in any kind of form to get that kind of hit to my head,” Pearce says.
 
But when he did, his life changed forever. He spent nearly the entire month of January 2010 on a critical care unit, and his future quality of life was unknown.
 
“They tell me I would have died without a helmet on,” Pearce says — one reason why he now travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging others to take care of and love their brains.
 
There’s more to be done than practice physical safety habits, though.
 
“Loving your brain can be very healing. What is so bad, so damaging for us, is to have the ANTs, so what I ask all of you to do is kill the ANTs — automatic, negative thoughts — that come into our head, and that’s what is so damaging to us,” says Pearce, who experienced “ANTs” as he went from a top-notch snowboarder to realizing that his career was over and that his brain simply didn’t function the way that it did prior to his injury.
 
“I spent a lot of time rehabbing and a lot of time recovering,” Pearce says. “I’m getting back to this life I lived before that — and in no way is it the same — but there are some very cool important things. Maybe I do have some differences. Maybe I don’t remember where I parked my car. I struggle with a lot of things on a daily basis, but I don’t allow them into my brain.

“I look at everything going so great and everything I have, and I try to build on that instead of feeling bad about myself. Look at all these amazing people. We’re so lucky we’re able to be here.” 

Do Good: 

• Support organizations like Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD), a nonprofit that "facilitates the education of adults with disabilities to realize their aspirations." LADD, which presented the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival, hosted Pearce after the screening of Crash Reel, a documentary film detailing his crash and recovery that generated more than $1,200 for the nonprofit.

Get involved with the LoveYourBrain Foundation by starting a fundraising campaign.

• Protect your brain by wearing a helmet. Rest your brain. Kill the ANTs.
 
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