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Talent : For Good

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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.
 

Derby party to benefit Special Olympics equestrian training program


Gather your fancy clothes, find your big hat and prepare your palette for a Kentucky Hot Brown and, of course, some Mint Juleps.
 
Derby Day is upon us, and Parkers Blue Ash Tavern is hosting a party for the second year to benefit the Winton Woods Riding Center (WWRC) Special Olympics Hamilton County equestrian training program.

Admission to the party is just $10 and includes finger foods and derby staples like pimento cheese and cucumber sandwiches, specially-priced Mint Juleps in commemorative Derby glasses and a variety of prize opportunities. The grand prize, a limited edition framed print commemorating the 141st Kentucky Derby (pictured above), will be awarded at 7 p.m.
 
Last year’s event generated about $1,000 for the Special Olympics Equestrian Team, which Rachel Neumann, manager of the WWRC, says enabled the team to pay its entry fees for both the Ohio and Kentucky State Equestrian Competitions.
 
Neumann, who also coaches six of the WWRC’s Special Olympics Equestrian competitors, says the program instills confidence and independence in its riders.
 
“Some of my athletes have been training with us for 10-plus years, and we’ve watched them grow up and learn independence on horseback,” she says. “One of my riders rode for five years without being able to handle without his dad being more than 10 feet away at any time, because of his anxiety. He is now riding independently at our highest level of competition. Such an achievement!”
 
Neumann’s goal, however, is to see that sort of impact in more riders. But more volunteers are required for that to occur.
 
“Our therapeutic riding program (Special Riders’ Program), which feeds into our Special Olympics program, has a waiting list several years long,” Neumann says. “We are only limited by the number of volunteers willing to be trained and make a weekly commitment. New volunteers would allow us to bring new riders into the program who have been waiting three, four, five, sometimes six years.” 

Do Good: 

Contact the Winton Woods Riding Center if you're interested in volunteering. No experience required. 

• Attend the Kentucky Derby Party at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern 3:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Tickets must be purchased in person, either in advance or on the day of the event. The Kentucky Derby itself is run at 6:24 p.m.

Support the WWRC by donating to the Great Parks Foundation. 
 

Local consulting firm inspires others to Pay It Forward


Individuals from 70 countries came together for Pay It Forward Day last year. This Thursday, the 2015 aim will be to “inspire 3 million acts of kindness around the world.”
 
For one local business, the holiday is observed in the same way that a holiday like Christmas would be observed.
 
“You have the day off, and we spend it as a group,” says Blake Eve, marketing, recruiting and community engagement manager for Ingage Partners. “This year, there’s 80 of us participating by making boxes for A Child’s Hope International.”
 
Ingage Partners, a Hyde Park-based management and technology consulting firm run as a B Corp to “inspire and engage” while serving as a powerful force for good in the community, consists of 38 individual consultants. So to have 80 volunteers assembling food, water and life packs for the Hands Against Hunger program is special, Eve says, because it means clients are behind Ingage Partners’ mission as well.
 
“It’s great as an organization. Not only does it bond us together, but it allows us time to step back and see how we can help, and it allows us that time off to go out and volunteer,” Eve says. “And then involving our clients, it’s the way we look at things. We want to influence others to look at business in a different manner.” 
 
The international holiday falls on Thursday, April 30 this year. If your business or organization has no plans, there are plenty of ways to get involved as an individual. The act can be as simple as purchasing a cup of coffee for a stranger, who can then continue the ripple effect, making someone’s day a bit brighter. 

Do Good: 

• Participate in Pay It Forward Day Thursday by doing something kind or helpful for someone. 

• Connect with the Pay It Forward Foundation to start a ripple effect of positive actions year-round. 

• Encourage your business or organization to do something for Pay It Forward Day. Here are some options for giving back.
 

Warm-weather health and safety tips for Flying Pig participants


Runners, walkers, supporters, sponsors and nonprofits will join together Sunday, May 3 for one of the biggest events in town, the 2015 Flying Pig Marathon. Individuals have been training for months, but with weekend weather forecasts nearing the 80-degree mark this year’s race has the potential to be one of the warmest in years.
 
For Flying Pig Assistant Medical Director Matthew Daggy, who also serves as medical director of sports medicine for McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital and team doctor for the University of Cincinnati’s track & field and cross country programs, increased temperatures require increased precautions and care.
 
“The weather this upcoming week will be cooler than expected on race day, so runners won't have very much time to acclimate to the warmer weather,” Daggy says. “A critical issue this weekend will be hydration. Runners need to add 2-4 more liters of fluid daily this week in order to be sure that they’re well hydrated prior to starting the race.”
 
It’s incredibly important, according to Daggy, because participants shouldn’t drink so much fluid during the race if they’re unaccustomed to doing so otherwise.
 
“The weather this weekend will provide the perfect storm for exercise  — induced hyponatremia — and if a runner overdrinks on the course the result will not only be a loss of fun, it could be fatal,” Daggy says. “Runners should be advised to follow the drinking patterns they used during their training.”
 
So long as participants are aware of health and safety tips prior to running the race, Daggy says it should be a fruitful and fulfilling experience. It certainly has been for him through his 10 years of involvement with the Flying Pig, as running is a passion, he says, making this a perfect way for Daggy to give back to the community.
 
For those not participating in Sunday’s festivities, you can and should make physical activity a priority, as it’s important to our general health, preventing heart disease and a variety of other conditions such as diabetes.
 
“The American College of sports medicine recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week,” Daggy says. “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.”  

Do Good: 

• Participate in one of this weekend’s many activities under the Flying Pig Marathon umbrella; find details and registration deadlines here.

• Support a Flying Pig partner charity by adopting a pig in the PIGGEST Raffle Ever.

• Take proper precautions prior to your involvement in the weekend's festivities so you can maintain your health and safety. 

• Drink added amounts of water this week to prepare for the added intake needed this weekend. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are preferred forms of hydration in warm weather and endurance-testing activities. 
 

NOH8 Campaign to shoot photos downtown Monday


The NOH8 Campaign will make its first-ever stop in Cincinnati Monday at The Westin Cincinnati Hotel, where people are encouraged to be photographed to show their support for the nonprofit’s stand against discrimination and bullying.
 
About 50,000 individuals from across the globe have been photographed to date sporting the signature NOH8 tattoo on their faces while duct-taping their mouths shut — a symbol initially intended to represent the voices silenced by California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state in 2008. A federal court eventually ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional.
 
Photos are $40 per person for single photos or $25 per person for couple or group shots, and all funds generated are used to promote and raise awareness for human rights.
 
For the campaign’s founders, Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, it’s important to provide an opportunity that initiates dialogue.
 
“Coming from small towns ourselves, we know what it's like to grow up without an outlet to speak out,” Bouska and Parshley say. “We want to bring the message of NOH8 everywhere we can as a resource to give people a way to show support. Harvey Milk always said, ‘Visibility was the key way to opening hearts and minds,’ and that's what our mission is all about.”
 
Bouska, an award-winning celebrity and fashion photographer, and Parshley, executive producer for the campaign, are partners for whom the message of marriage equality hits particularly close to home.
 
“Whether you're directly or indirectly affected by discrimination and legislation like Prop 8, NOH8 photos are an easy way to broadcast your support and identify yourself as an ally of equality,” they say. “For nearly seven years, tens of thousands of supporters worldwide have been using NOH8 to keep the conversation about marriage equality in the mainstream. The message has grown to be about more than just equality; it's about building and supporting a sense of community and human rights for everybody.”

Do Good: 

• Check out the NOH8 event invite on Facebook and participate in the open shoot 5-8 p.m. Monday, April 13.

• Check out NOH8's BE HEARD Project and share your own story. 

• Support the NOH8 Campaign by donating.
 

ArtWorks restarts Saturday Mural Tours of OTR and downtown public art


ArtWorks, the local nonprofit that employs young people to create public art, is again offering its Saturday Mural Tours program.
 
Each 90-minute walk — one through Over-the-Rhine, one through Downtown — is approximately a mile long and features 7-10 murals created by ArtWorks artists. The OTR tour begins at Coffee Emporium at the corner of Walnut Street and Central Parkway at noon, while the Downtown walk begins on Fountain Square at 2 p.m. Two guides lead each tour.
 
The Spirit of OTR tour features “Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat,” “The Golden Muse” and “Strongman Henry Holtgrewe” among other murals. The Cincinnati Genius tour includes three works from the Cincinnati Master Artist series, including Charley Harper’s “Homecoming (Bluebirds),” Tom Wesselman’s Still Life #60” and John Ruthven’s “Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon.”
 
The tours help raise money for ArtWorks, which lured the then 88-year-old Ruthven to a scaffold at Eighth and Vine streets in the summer of 2013 to work with 15 apprentice artists on a massive rendition of his original “Martha” that covers the entire side of a downtown building.
 
The tours run every Saturday through November and are $20 for adults and free for children under 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Do Good:

• Join one of the mural tours by purchasing tickets in advance through the ArtWorks website, which also offers discounts and coupons to A Tavola in OTR’s Gateway Quarter following the tours.

• Find out about all 90 of ArtWorks’ public murals, located in numerous neighborhoods on both sides of the river, and do your own self-guided tour.

Support ArtWorks’ mission to employ, engage, create and transform the Greater Cincinnati region.
 

Cincy musician becomes national anti-bullying activist


When Cincinnati native Keenan West released an EP on iTunes a few years ago, the intent was solely to do what he loved: make music. He had no idea that upon its release he’d embark on a journey as an anti-bullying activist.
 
But when one of West’s friends heard the lyrics to his song “Never Ever,” she immediately associated its message of hope, support and friendship with victims of bullying.
 
“A friend of mine had the idea of taking those lyrics to the song and making a music video to help raise awareness and money for people in regard to bullying,” West says. “I really initially didn’t know anything about bullying prevention, but that kind of started to open my ears to know a little more about what kids were struggling with.”
 
So West collaborated with students from Sycamore Junior High School to shoot and release a music video, then partnered with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center — which receives 50 cents every time the song is downloaded — to learn more about bullying prevention.  
 
West says he saw the need for a different approach when it came to tackling the issue of bullying, so he started traveling the country, visiting about 100 schools per year, to deliver his anti-bullying campaign. His approach is unique, meshing pop culture with a positive message to reach students in a way that sticks.
 
He’s now partnered with Secret and its Mean Stinks program, which is dedicated to ending girl-to-girl bullying.
 
“With Mean Stinks, we’re all about putting the power back into the students’ hands,” West says.
 
One way that’s evident is through the most recent music video released, “Everybody Come On (It’s on Us),” which incorporates students’ advice — like complimenting a stranger — they’ve offered via social media.
 
“We inspire kids to show us how they’re doing nice acts of kindness at their school, and we have them share,” West says. “At our assemblies and through our campaign, we’re saying, ‘Let us equip you with how to respond, what to do, so you can take it upon yourself to step in.’” 

Do Good:

Bring Keenan West to your school. No school is ever turned down because of budget issues. 

• Connect with @MeanStinks on Twitter.

• Check out Girls Guide to End Bullying, a free resource created by a team of researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 
 

"Walking Cincinnati" launches Saturday in OTR and Covington


Walking Cincinnati, the book that takes readers on a journey through historical, architectural, culinary and socially relevant highlights in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, will be unveiled at two launch parties Saturday, April 11.
 
Written by Danny Korman, owner of Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine, and Katie Meyer, manager of Renaissance Covington, the launch party will start at noon at Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine with the authors signing copies. At 2 p.m., Korman and Meyer will put the spirit of the book into action by leading a hike to Roebling Point Books & Coffee in Covington, which is also the home of Keen Communications, publisher of the book. The festivities will continue there until 5 p.m.
 
Korman and Meyer worked for more than two years on the project, which is subtitled “An Insider’s Guide to 32 Historic Neighborhoods, Stunning Riverfront Quarters and Hidden Treasures in the Queen City.” The authors are experienced urban explorers who have a passion for those hidden treasures that lie just beneath the surface for people who might not get out of their cars often as they travel through the area.
 
Organized by neighborhoods, Walking Cincinnati travels from Sayler Park on the west side to Hyde Park on the east and beyond in addition to Newport, Covington and other areas south of the Ohio River.
 
“This is my first book, I’m super excited about it and I’m completely honored by it,” says Korman, who doesn’t own a car and travels the four miles from his home in Evanston to his store every day on foot or bicycle.
 
Walking Cincinnati arrives as more and more people are moving into the urban core of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The book shares observations and stories collected by Korman and Meyer, but the authors would say its true purpose is to encourage people to find their own paths through the neighborhoods that generations have walked before them.

Do Good:

• Attend the launch parties Saturday, April 11: 12 noon at Park + Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; and 3 p.m. at Roebling Point Books & Coffee, 306 Greenup St., Covington.

• Support local writers and local publishers by purchasing Walking Cincinnati.

• Walk your own neighborhood, then branch out and try walking everywhere.
 

UC Economics Center honors those who promote financial literacy


UC’s Economics Center hosted its eighth annual awards luncheon two weeks ago to honor students, educators and sponsors making a difference in society’s understanding and implementation of financial literacy. More than 700 business leaders and educators joined together for the event, in which General Electric’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt addressed economic empowerment and “The Next Industrial Era.”
 
“I learned there are four things that competitive societies focus on: education, small business, the infrastructure and more competitiveness from government,” Immelt said. “We see those things in the state of Ohio.”
 
Because of support from local businesses and individuals who value the mission of the Economics Center, it’s able to offer programming and resources to schools and teachers who can empower students with the knowledge needed to be successful in a changing economy.
 
The Center, for example, works with schools to implement the Student Enterprise Program (StEP), in which students earn currency — for things like turning in homework or arriving to school on time — which they can later spend at the StEP store. It fosters critical thinking and an awareness of entrepreneurship, spending and saving. (See the StEP video shown at the awards event here.)
 
Immelt, who grew up in Cincinnati, is a model for success and what one can attain when knowledgeable about economics, and said he’s determined to make sure our youth “have the hunger, the discipline and the skills to continue to go out and face the world with confidence.”
 
“We need great people to help them do that,” Immelt said at the March 16 event. “That’s our job — to teach the next generation how to compete, how to make a difference in the world, the value of economic strength and how to be focused on innovation and humility, accountability and purpose. When we do well we win together, and that’s what’s happening here.”

Do Good:

• Make a difference by giving to the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati.

• Make a difference by volunteering.

• If you're interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, contact the Center.
 

Male joins lots of women leading girls to develop confidence through running


Steve Brandstetter was never much of a runner, but he discovered his passion for it about 15 years ago with a bit of help from his brother-in-law, a marathon runner who assisted Steve in preparing for his first-ever distance run.
 
So when traveling to Michigan, where his brother-in-law lives, it came as no surprise to Brandstetter that running would occupy at least a portion of the visit.
 
“That, coupled with a closeness to my nieces who shared a love of soccer and now this running thing which I had become enamored with, made for some great visits between our families,” Brandstetter says. “My daughters, about 13 and 17 at the time, had shared these loves to different degrees as well.”

At one point during the trip, Brandstetter says his niece mentioned Girls on the Run, an organization whose mission is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”
 
Brandstetter was sold. As someone who had coached soccer for years and who had recently found his own love for running, it was something he wanted his girls — his daughters as well as the girls on his team — to experience.
 
Upon returning home he looked around for information regarding the nonprofit but got busy with life, deciding Girls on the Run was simply something he wouldn't realistically be able to pursue at that point in his life.
 
“Then, some months later, as I'm devouring Bob Roncker’s Running Spot quarterly publication of ‘All Things Running,’ I happened upon this blurb on the back cover of the paper that, much to my disbelief, was calling for volunteers for this program, strangely enough called Girls on the Run,” Brandstetter says. “I had found it.”
 
Brandstetter has now been involved with the organization as a volunteer for 10 years. He can’t serve as a head coach, as that role is reserved for females who serve as role models for the girls, but says he’s valued every moment of time spent with the organization serving in various capacities — everything from assistant coaching to planning the two yearly 5k runs (the Spring run is May 9).
 
“Nearly every single young girl in that program just gravitated toward me, the only male in the coaching program at the time,” Brandstetter says. “They seemed so hungry for the love and attention that only a father can give. I got notes, pictures and thank yous from many of the families, and I did nothing more than be a guy who was there and present to deserve that.
 
“But the real impact comes from the consistent implementation and delivery of the message, values and beliefs of Girls on the Run delivered by caring and engaging women who understand the value of the program, who passionately bring that experience to each girl.”

Do Good:

• Join the team of Girls on the Run volunteers.

Register your girl for the program. The Spring 5k is scheduled for May 9.

• Help make the program possible for all girls by donating
 

NKU professor to publish findings on long-term impacts of service learning


When Julie Olberding first began her career at Northern Kentucky University, she knew she would need to find a nonprofit to partner with for her Resource Acquisition and Management course. After browsing the newspaper, she came upon The Inner City Tennis Project, whose aim is to provide low-cost and high-quality tennis instruction to inner-city students.
 
“I felt compelled to work with them,” says Olberding, who currently serves as director of NKU’s Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management graduate certificate programs.

“It was run by two people who had worked for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission who weren’t millionaires, who weren’t loaded with resources,” she says, “but the story went on to talk about how each of them contributed something like $10,000 of their own money to pay for renting courts and vans for their teams to participate in matches. They were basically pooling money from their pockets, from their retirement, to pay for it.”
 
Both her Resource Acquisition and Management course and her Volunteer Management course engaged in service learning projects with the Inner City Tennis Project, and in the 10 years since, Olberding’s classes have continued to engage in projects that have long-lasting impacts.
 
“I had a student who went on to do an internship for them and then became a board member and ultimately their president,” Olberding says, “and he invited me to one of their special events called the Sneaker Ball, which is a gala where everybody dresses up and they wear tennis shoes, and there’s a silent auction. ... It was an idea that was created, or further developed, by the original Resource Management class.”
 
Unsure of what to expect, Olberding attended the event and was “blown away,” she says, at its success.
 
“It opened my eyes and my imagination — or interest — in terms of wondering what happened to other organizations, but I hadn’t had or taken the time to follow up with them to see what these long term impacts were,” she says.
 
So she worked with a graduate student to follow up with community partners and conduct surveys years after projects took place.
 
“In looking at the literature on service learning and even student philanthropy, which is part of that, there didn’t seem to be a lot on how these projects can have longer term impacts,” Olberding says. “We kind of assume they are, because in our classes in particular we focus on things like nonprofit strategic planning, program evaluation, fundraising, volunteer management — all things that have that potential.”
 
So Olberding and a former student compiled data to co-author a piece that speaks to the long-term impacts of service learning, which will be published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership later this year.
 
“I think sometimes when people think about service learning,” Olberding says, “they think of the undergraduate class maybe going to a food pantry or homeless shelter — providing hours of service in a way that’s very helpful but is somewhat contained to that moment of providing direct services — versus a graduate-level class like the ones we have where students are professionals themselves, bringing different content that really is designed to have longer term impacts.
 
“The most common comment or theme that the nonprofits I’ve been involved with have said are, ‘I haven’t thought about that’ or ‘I haven’t had time to think about it,’ and once they have information and a plan in front of them hopefully they can find a group of volunteers or a committee or board members to take the lead on helping them implement the ideas students brought to the table.” 

Do Good:

Contact NKU's Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement with a service learning idea.

Learn more about NKU's Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management certificate programs.

• Follow the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement on Facebook.
 

Deadline for Public Library Comic Con drawing contest entries is March 31


The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Comic Con 2015 Drawing Contest is underway with one week remaining for children ages 5 and above, teens and adults to submit their artwork.
 
“It’s unique in that it gives people the opportunity to show their work and be recognized for their talents by everyone who attends Cincinnati Library Comic Con,” says LeeAnn McNabb, reference librarian in the downtown branch's popular department. 
 
Awards will be presented at the Comic Con's Main Event on Saturday, May 16, which will feature creator and partner booths, gaming areas, free comics and more.
 
In its third year, the Cincinnati Library Comic Con provides fans, creators and aspiring creators with a venue and an opportunity to come together “in a fun, friendly, cooperative environment where they can access the tools and information they need to entertain or educate themselves about the world of comics,” says McNabb, who initiated the idea.
 
For McNabb, it’s important that comic books, graphic novels and manga are incorporated into our understanding of literacy because they’re generally familiar, fun and not intimidating,, serving as a “gateway to reading.”
 
“People read and absorb information in different ways, and it’s important for us to acknowledge that,” McNabb says. “Some readers connect better with contextual imagery that accompanies text rather than narratives told solely through the written word. For example, some students who are struggling readers, no matter what age they are, can use the sequential art as a sort of road map that can provide clues to understanding words they are not familiar with.”

Do Good: 

• Download your drawing contest entry form here. Entry deadline is March 31.

• Check out the Cincinnati Library Comic Con Main Event schedule here.

• Connect with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on Facebook.
 

Cincinnati native launches Queen City Crowdfunding to tap into the region's generosity


For Jim Cunningham, primary founder, funder and general manager of Queen City Crowdfunding, improving the Greater Cincinnati region is a primary aim.
 
“My family and my wife’s (family) have lived here almost since the Civil War, and both of our children have stayed here, so we are totally committed to this region,” Cunningham says. “Fortunately it’s one of the best and most affordable places in the world to live. The people here are generous, as shown by the large United Way and other charitable and arts-related support.”
 
Because of that generosity, it’s important to raise awareness about crowdfunding as an asset for both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, Cunningham says.
 
Cunningham managed operations at Queen City Angels, the startup investor group, and following his recent retirement he launched QCC, a free service that allows entrepreneurs to create or publicize their already-live campaigns.
 
Many people are familiar with global platforms like Kickstarter, for example, but QCC will highlight all local ventures, attracting contributors who are perhaps outside the circles of those launching campaigns.
 
“A lot of the campaigns we support are for-profit businesses that create jobs and enrich the local business community and consumers’ choices,” Cunningham says. “But The Gallery Project is a nonprofit that I found especially appealing because it is in an urban area, on Woodburn Avenue (in Walnut Hills), that will benefit from this arts incubator for its youth. It can enrich the lives of people through exposure to the arts and hands-on mentoring in a field that is not the focus of schools.”
 
The Gallery Project raised $2,865 during its two-month long campaign, and though it didn’t reach its goal of $10,000 Cunningham says a few thousand dollars can certainly help it move forward.
 
“It’s a worthy social venture in a part of town that would not normally attract a lot of funding, but it could advertise itself to the broad Cincinnati community,” Cunningham says. “Increasing the entire region’s awareness of crowdfunding is a long-term project, and we’re in this for the long haul.” 

Do Good:

• Explore local campaigns at Queen City Crowdfunding and consider contributing.

• Join QCC and publicize your own crowdfunding campaign. It's completely free.

• Learn more about how QCC works and help the site launch by sharing it with your friends.
 

Help OTR Brewery District put Cincy on map with heritage trail


Nonprofits, small business owners and residents all came together two weekends ago in Over-the-Rhine to make Bockfest successful in its 23rd year, but there's more to look forward to given what Cincinnati’s Brewery District has in store.
 
“Bockfest is a celebration of beer, the coming of spring, but also a celebration of the neighborhood and a particular place,” says Steven Hampton, executive director of the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. “This neighborhood is the key.”
 
And it’s that notion of “neighborhood” and a sense of place that's driving the nonprofit’s mission to make the Brewery District “the place to live, work and play.” Through festivals like Bockfest, the OTR Biergarten, historic brewery tours and most recently its work to create the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail, the Brewery District is making strides in putting historic OTR on the map.
 
“We get a lot of folks that say, ‘I’m not a museum folk or wouldn’t normally come down here, but beer history, I’m all aboard,’” Hampton says. “We joke we can tell anybody’s story in history and intertwine it with beer. There are so many facts about how much we drank and produced, but how it was intertwined with stories of how this city grew, that’s the fun thing.”
 
To share those stories and to create interactive ways for neighbors and visitors to grow the city further, the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail — a project Hampton says will come completely to fruition in the next four years or so — will showcase Cincinnati’s unique history while revitalizing the northern Over-the-Rhine district and generating tourism.
 
“It really has the potential to be a world class neighborhood,” Hampton says. “Boston is known worldwide for the Freedom Trail, Kentucky for the Bourbon Trail. Cincinnati’s going to be known for this.

“Most cities would kill to have this amazing collection of history and architecture, all these different cultural assets in one amazing, walkable neighborhood. So we’re going to capitalize on and focus on what we have — these amazing assets left to us — and continue to build those and share them with folks locally and the world to make this a better place.”

Do Good 

Learn about the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail.

• Take a tour and experience Cincinnati's brewing history for yourself. 

• Help build the trail by donating
 
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