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Health + Wellness : For Good

237 Health + Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All

Calling all volunteers: SVDP seeks help year-round

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati clients, many who live paycheck to paycheck, wouldn’t be celebrating the holidays without the help of SVDP volunteers who provide things like gifts and food baskets to make it all possible.
“While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many, for families living in poverty the holidays can sometimes be a season of hopelessness and despair,” says Kristen Klein, Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Director of Development.
All parents want the best for their children, Klein says, and volunteers are able to provide a much-needed ray of hope for families “who are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table.”
According to Klein, volunteers contribute more than 25,000 hours of service during the last three months of each year alone, but the need for their service doesn't stop once the holidays have passed.
“Each day, volunteers in our neighborhood volunteer groups visit homes of people in need,” Klein says. “With grace and humility, they strive to find out how they can help someone who is struggling.”
Some donate their time by visiting homes of individuals in need, answering phones at the West End Outreach Center and working at the food pantry, while others donate items — everything from food and clothing to furniture and vehicles.
“St. Vincent de Paul was founded as a volunteer organization, and volunteers remain as the lifeblood of the organization to this day,” Klein says. “We are incredibly grateful for all of the support we receive from so many. We simply wouldn’t exist without our volunteers.”

Do Good:

•    Support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul clients by donating.

•    Volunteer with SVDP.

•    Donate items throughout the year. 

Brighton Center food pantry a candidate for $20,000 grant

Vote this week for the Brighton Center to be named one of 75 food pantries across the country to receive a $20,000 grant from Walmart.
More than 150 food pantries are competing to win a share of $1.5 million being distributed this season through the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign.
“It’s for an infrastructure-type makeover, which is not typically funded,” says Deana Sowders, marketing and communications specialist for Brighton Center. “We will use the investment to enhance our two food pantry locations through equipment, technology and transportation in Campbell and Boone counties.”
The Newport-based nonprofit’s Choice Food Pantry served 4,500 families last year, and Sowders says that many of them include income-earning individuals coming in for emergency assistance because they're unable to make ends meet.
“Hunger is a very real issue facing our families as they often are faced with tough choices and very limited budgets,” Sowders says. “Families are constantly balancing issues like keeping the heat on during the winter, having proper clothing for their growing children, transportation, childcare and putting food on the table — all while trying to maintain employment or further their education.”
Individuals served by the Brighton Center are working toward self-sufficiency and, according to Sowders, deserve a community of supporters who are there to help them “tackle immediate basic needs.”
“Being able to provide families with basic necessities such as food is the first step in getting them on the path toward a stable, self-sufficient future,” she says. “Even today, around 43 percent of those who come in have never asked for assistance before.” 

Do Good: 

•    Vote for your favorite food pantry to win a $20,000 grant; deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12.

•    Support Brighton Center by donating.

•    Volunteer with the Center. 

PGS seeks volunteers to provide companionship, brighten clients' lives

For the nearly 300 clients of Personal Guardianship Services (PGS), life can be lonely. The ability to make important decisions regarding your health and housing situation is out of one’s hands, and the presence of family and friends is sometimes nonexistent.
“I think there are so many people who don’t know a guardian or who have never ran into guardianship, who don’t know what we do,” says Wanda Bevington, CEO of the nonprofit that pairs clients with court-appointed guardians who make decisions “necessary (for individuals) to maintain a safe and secure lifestyle.”
In addition to being decision-makers, guardians are friendly faces — individuals who show clients they care.
“Nobody wants to have a guardian, although I will tell you when we’re at a particular nursing home and we see lots of the same people at the same time — even if they’re not our clients — we often have people say, ‘Will you be my guardian?’ ” Bevington says. “It’s that visit factor, so that someone’s coming to see them, so that every day is not the same.”
Currently PGS has six individuals on staff, but for 289 clients time is of the essence, so the nonprofit is seeking volunteers who can give of themselves and make someone’s day brighter simply through company or conversation.
“It would mean so much to our clients who do not have anyone,” Bevington says. “If they had someone who just came to the facility, if it’s somebody coming to see them or just sit with them and play a game or whatever they may choose to do, it’s somebody coming specifically for them.”

Do Good:

•   Check out a short video that shows the impact you could have in the lives of PGS clients. 

•   If you would like to become a PGS volunteer, contact Wanda Bevington.

•   Connect with PGS on Facebook.

The Christ Hospital to provide free surgeries to individuals in need

Four local residents will be the beneficiaries of free joint replacements Saturday, as The Christ Hospital is participating in Operation Walk USA for the second straight year.
“Two of our physicians came to us and said, ‘We ought to be giving back to our community like we do when we go across internationally,’ ” says Herb Caillouet, executive director of musculoskeletal services at The Christ Hospital. "They had been a part of Operation Walk International and had gone to other countries to do the same procedures there. So since it had never been done here in Cincinnati and as a market share leader in joint replacement surgery in Cincinnati, we wanted to be able to give something back to the city and to the citizens of the Tristate area.”
So far, one hip and three knee replacements are slated for Saturday’s efforts, in which everyone from surgeons and nurses to food service staffers will give of their time to provide quality care that's completely free of charge, throughout both the surgery and recovery processes.
“It’s a way for everybody to share their skills and talents with the community, to share our commitment with them and to them,” Caillouet says.
The recipients are more than grateful. Last year, for example, a man lost his job because of psoriatic arthritis and hip problems he was having.
“He couldn’t continue to work as a trucker, so they moved him into a warehouse role to continue, but he couldn’t continue it and he actually dropped out of the job market,” Caillouet says.
But after his joint replacement surgery, his walking improved, and he's now back in the workforce.
“He’s come back to the hospital and spoken, literally thanked the entire leadership group for the difference that their giving of their time has made in his personal life," Caillouet says. "The goal here is to find somebody who otherwise can’t afford it, that if it were done for them, they could reenter productive life, work-life, being a family member, a parent, a spouse, and to do so in a very productive way. These are life-changing events.” 

Do Good:

•    If you're a patient in need and who qualifies for a joint or hip replacement, sign up here. The 2015 Operation Walk USA application will be available beginning in January. 

•    If you're a vendor and would like to become involved with Operation Walk USA, contact Herb to discuss how your products might be of use to recipients throughout the process.  

•    Contact Herb if you're interested in volunteering with the aftercare process. For example, patients may require assistance cleaning their homes and securing transportation to and from therapy or follow-up visits. 

Homeless services see progress, number of homeless vets decreases

Many individuals honored veterans last week, but an easy way to honor vets year-round is to be an advocate for human services and a supporter of organizations working to ensure they don’t become chronically homeless.
While there is always work to be done, Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, says the government and others are learning from the past.
“In 2012, we had 822 veterans who were homeless, and in 2013, that number dropped to 750,” Finn says. “In 2012, that was 13 percent and it dropped to 9 percent in 2013.”
Those averages are from Hamilton County, specifically, but there is a decline in veteran homelessness on the national scale, as well.
“The VA has started a program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), which is sort of the new thing, and it does two things for veterans,” Finn says. “It funds homelessness prevention, so if a veteran and their family is about to be homeless, those dollars can be used to prevent them from becoming homeless, and it pays for rapid re-housing.”
According to Finn, SSVF is the most recent innovation to point to in terms of the decreasing number of homeless vets. HUD-VASH and the VA Grant and Per Diem Program are longstanding programs, he says, that continue to work.
In addition to these programs, Strategies to End Homelessness, which works in partnership with 30 nonprofits in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, is doing its part to ensure that all homeless individuals not only have a safe place to sleep, but also have supportive services and resources to transition them out homelessness.
“We’re in the process of doing a significant re-do of our emergency shelter system, so we’re providing higher level of services to vets and others,” Finn says. “The goal is at end of day, that person should be closer to getting out of homelessness than they were at the beginning of the day.” 

Do Good: 

•    Help end homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County by donating.

•    If you can't provide monetary support, know that your time is just as valuable. Volunteer with one of the 30 direct service providers

•    Be an advocate for human services.

Cincinnati YMCAs aim to strengthen global community

In 2013, the YMCA of the USA, in cooperation with 40 different YMCA associations across the country, came up with a plan to expand efforts of global community building.
Now, one year later, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati—one of the 40 associations involved in Y-USA’s efforts—is doing its part in the local community to ”create, strengthen and replicate innovative global services, partnerships and organizational practices at home and abroad” through its Global Center of Excellence.
“We really want to connect with our neighbors in our community in a much stronger way,” says Karyl Cunningham, executive director of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. “In a changing community, changing world, the Y’s mission has always been a movement about embracing people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, and supporting movements that are critical for the greater good of society.”
At the Clippard Y, which Cunningham says is one of the most “ethnically diverse” of Cincinnati’s 14 branches, members are gearing up for the Taste of the World tailgating event, where individuals bring in their favorite meal or dish to share with one another while engaging in conversation and watching football together.
“There’s going to be some learning opportunities that take place, and it should be a really great thing,” Cunningham says. “And as we move forward, we’re always going to have global community as a basic premise, so the Global Center of Excellence is one of those ways to keep that front and center for the work we do.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the Clippard Family YMCA by attending the Taste of the World tailgating event Nov. 16 from 12-3 p.m. The event is $10 per family or $5 per individual, and all proceeds help the Y further its mission. 

•    Learn about joining the Y

•    Support the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati by giving.

Permaganic Co.'s Eco Garden provides youth with purposeful engagement in OTR

Permaganic Co.’s youth internship program, in which inner city youth between the ages of 12 and 18 engage in the “maintenance, sales and planning” of the nonprofit’s Eco Garden in Over-the-Rhine, is invaluable, according to Bryna Bass, friend of the garden.
Bass has volunteered with the program and served as Permaganic Co.’s board chair; and the Eco Garden—aside from being a “beautiful place,” she says—holds value for young people in that it merges job readiness, financial literacy, art, science, service learning and agriculture all into one.
“Not only do the kids come in and work, but they’re also learning. There’s a lot of soft skills that are being embedded and learned at the same time,” Bass says. “And the kids come from different neighborhoods—some of them know each other, some don’t—but they’ve got to figure out how to work together.”
Bass currently serves as program manager for Rothenberg Preparatory Academy’s rooftop school garden, so students—many whom are also familiar with Permaganic Co.’s Eco Garden because of its proximity to home and school—are constantly sharing their enthusiasm.
“I hear from them all the time just how excited they are that someday they could possibly work there,” Bass says. “So when they’re 10 and 11, they want to be able to work in the Eco Garden. It’s a place that they articulate and are able to say they feel safe and good about themselves in, and they feel productive there.” 

Do Good:

•    Support youth interns' work by becoming a Permaganic Co. customer

•    Volunteer with Permaganic Co. 

•    Support Permaganic Co. by donating. 

Local family to host fifth annual Rock 'n Aspire for MS

Simcha Kackley, founder of Rock ‘n Aspire, will host her fifth-annual event November 15 to generate funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Since the first Rock ‘n Aspire concert in 2010, the grassroots effort has raised more than $20,000, but perhaps even more important for Kackley is that she has now created connections among families affected by MS.
“I had no idea of them before,” Kackley says. “Now we can go to each other and just know we understand each other.”
In February 2008, just one month before Kackley’s wedding, her husband Matt, who serves as a police officer in Hamilton County, woke up with numbness on the right side of his body.
He was later diagnosed with MS, though thankfully, Kackley says her husband’s case is a mild one, as Matt experiences one episode annually.
“It put everything back into perspective,” Kackley says. “We know we're very lucky because others have more challenges, and so we're thankful; but we have empathy with those who have it harder, because we remember bad episodes.”
To share that empathy and to bring people together for an evening of music is a goal of Rock ‘n Aspire, though the ultimate aim is to raise money to find a cure for MS.
“I know what it's like to not know what's going to happen—to be experiencing bad episodes and not know when or if they'll end,” Kackley says. “We've been lucky, but others aren't. And I'm just trying to bring people together who can relate, to use sound and the power of music to fill our fight against MS.” 

Do Good:

•    Purchase a ticket to attend Rock 'n Aspire.

•    Learn about ways you can support the National MS Society through Rock 'n Aspire.

•    Volunteer with Rock 'n Aspire.

PDCincy aims to ease financial stress so families can share Thanksgiving meals together

Project Downtown Cincinnati was created in 2008, and since its inception, volunteers have distributed tens of thousands of meals to individuals who are hungry and in need.
The nonprofit has grown steadily throughout the years and now has about 60 individuals involved—all of whom do their part to ensure lunch bags are prepped and shared each week.
In addition to its weekly service, PDCincy extends its efforts during the holidays; so for the third straight year, it will host the Feeding Our Neighbors food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals to more than 100 families.
For PDCincy’s co-director Farihah Ibrahim, distributing Dinner Kits been a learning opportunity, in that “there is no ‘typical’ family in need,” she says. “Everybody has a unique and often surprising story.”
Many of the families served never imagined they would be in their current position of need, so providing them the means to cook a meal together and share the experience of giving with one another—without having to worry about finding the funds to purchase a turkey or other side items and desserts—is huge, Ibrahim says.
“It brings them back to normal,” Ibrahim says. “Even if it's just for one meal, the Dinner Kits take that stress away. It takes the focus away from the money and back to their families.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the Feeding Our Neighbors Thanksgiving food drive by donating.

•    Learn about PDCincy's weekly service, and contact the nonprofit if you'd like to get involved. 

•    Connect with PDCincy on Instagram and Twitter.

Mummies of the World to debut in Cincy, offers insight to past and present

‘Tis the season for all things Halloween, but it won’t just be Friday when mummies invade the Tri-State. 

Mummies of the World: The Exhibition opens at Cincinnati Museum Center November 26 and will run through April 26. 

“These mummies are borrowed from 10-12 institutions both in the U.S. and in Europe. Unless you’d go to all these places, you’d never have the chance to see them all in one place,” says Heather Gill-Frerking, biological anthropologist and curator of the exhibition. 

Gill-Frerking has studied mummies for about 20 years and has been with the exhibition since it was first developed in Germany. The exhibition contains both human and animal mummies, preserved both through natural and artificial mummification. 

The fact that some of these specimens are people and can tell us a story—even in their death—is a magical thing, Gill-Frerking says. 

There are three mummies, for example, from a crypt in Hungary, and all have tuberculosis, and may have even died from complications of the disease. 

“We know 65 percent of that town in 18th century Hungary had TB, so by studying the strain compared to what exists today, we know it’s getting angrier and has grown multidrug resistant. But by looking at differences, we can see how it transforms over time and maybe come up with treatments,” Gill-Frerking says. “So the fact that 18th century mummies can tell us about medical treatments is a very cool thing.” 

Do Good: 

•    Plan to attend Mummies of the World: The Exhibition. Tickets go on sale today.

•    Consider becoming a member of the museum.

•    Download the Mummies of the World learning guide here if you're an educator, and plan a class field trip. 

Local nonprofit focuses efforts on underfunded pediatric cancer research

Cincinnati Bengals’ Defensive Tackle Devon Still helped raise the national consciousness about pediatric cancer, but now it’s time to keep talking about it, says Ellen Flannery, co-founder of CancerFree KIDS.
“We’re so grateful to him for being so open about it, but we’d like to continue the conversation,” Flannery says.
CancerFree KIDS is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that funds grants and forms alliances with researchers “to identify projects that need funding and make them happen.”
In the organization’s 12 years of existence, it’s raised about $2 million in research funding—most of which has directly benefited researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“With all the money government puts into cancer research, less than four percent goes to childhood cancer research,” Flannery says. “There’s all these brilliant people trying to do research to save our kids’ lives and they can’t get funding to do it, so all these potentially life saving treatments aren’t even tried.”
CancerFree KIDS is working to help fill that void, but according to Flannery, it’s scary that a lack of funding is the primary barrier to curing cancer.
“A lot of people think the roadblocks to curing cancer are that the researchers are stumped—they don’t know what to do,” Flannery says. “But literally, it’s a lack of funding—they don’t have enough money to do the great research they want to do—so when you have a loved one who has cancer, it’s a ridiculous thing to think about. It’s just funding? We’re losing people everyday.”
More money needs to be put into saving lives, Flannery says, because there’s promise in the research being conducted.
The first grantee who was ever funded by CancerFree KIDS, for example, is about to see his research begin clinical trials.
“We thought it showed promise, and now he’s gone to get millions more in funding,” Flannery says. “Every animal they’ve tried it on, every type of cancer they’ve tried this drug on, it’s cured it—and that’s unheard of. It just goes to show—what if we hadn’t given that grant and he had never tried?”

Do Good:

•    Learn about the various football-related events and partnerships you can engage in to support CancerFree KIDS through its fourth-annual Tackle Childhood Cancer initiative. 

•    Text the word "tackle" to 80100 to donate $10 toward funding pediatric cancer research.

•    Support CancerFree KIDS by giving or attending upcoming events.

Cincinnati mom's inventiveness leads to small biz, charity partnership

When Cincinnati native and mom Shelby Mckee wanted to be comfortable and wear flats to a Bengals game on a cool October day, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her warmth by wearing no-show socks or “footies,” so she got creative.
“I grabbed my husband’s dress socks and cut a hole in the top of them, and that’s where the journey began,” Mckee says.
Three years later, in August 2012, she and her two sisters, Christy and Stefanie, launched Keysocks—the first-ever no-show knee high socks to reach the market.
“Coming together with my sisters and having a business together has been amazing,” says Christy Parry.
But perhaps more amazing, Perry says, is that the company, after just two years of existence, is now able to partner with a charitable organization.
“My sister Stefanie is a cancer survivor, so last year, we had donated Keysocks to Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research’s gala,” Mckee says. “They reached out to us again because they loved the socks so much that they wanted to partner with us, so we ended up putting their angel logo on the back of the socks, and 100 percent net proceeds go to their foundation.”
The partnership kicked off last month and will continue through Sept. 1, 2015. The goal is to sell at least 15,000 pairs to directly fund blood cancer research.
“To have a foundation we could partner with and be able to give back to means so much,” Parry says. “And Keysocks—we just couldn’t have a better connection with it being to cancer, with my sister”—(Gabrielle was also one of three sisters)—“and being able to give back in the early stages of such a small startup.”

Do Good:

•    Support cancer research by purchasing a special edition pair of Keysocks.

•    Support Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research by donating.

•    Connect with Keysocks and Gabrielle's Angel Foundation on Facebook.

EXCEL grad displays leadership through Camp Joy scholarship creation

Gunner Blackmore, Camp Joy development manager, recently completed The Executive Curriculum for Emerging Leaders (EXCEL)—a program offered jointly by Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati and the Talbert House— and its impact on his ability to make a difference in the community was immediate.
He initiated a class-wide effort to raise money for a $500 scholarship that will allow a child to attend Camp Joy’s summer program for one week.
The organization partners with various nonprofits to bring children who are living with serious medical conditions, who are experiencing grief, who are living in poverty or who are in foster care, together for traditional camp activities that bring engagement and recreation into their lives.
“For example, we’ll partner with the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and they’ll come out all as a group,” Blackmore says. “So when a child is at school or just in a neighborhood, they might feel like an outsider, but when they come out to Camp Joy, they’re surrounded by hundreds of other kids with a chronic heart condition, and they’ll talk about what it’s like living with the illness. It provides them a tremendous amount of support.”
Since there’s typically no room in the budget for partnering agencies to afford a child the opportunity to go to summer camp, this is a way, Blackmore says, to allow an individual to realize the benefit of the experience, without economic crisis presenting yet another barrier.
“And a lot of them end up coming back year after year, because it’s that reinforcement experience that’s an added benefit,” Blackmore says.
“Oftentimes our counselors can really notice them growing and becoming leaders. Sometimes they’ll be shy the first couple days and they’ll get a lot of self esteem as the year goes on. Then the second year, they’ll really take charge and become a leader for the new campers. It’s really neat to see.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support other campers by giving to Camp Joy.

•    Support Talbert House by giving.

•    Support ESCC by giving.

Mercy Health physician hosts second annual health fair

For Kent Robinson, Mercy Health physician, it’s important that people begin to expand their notions of “wellness.” 

“It’s a very broad spectrum, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness,” Robinson says. “We have to really look at these areas and see where we could use some restoring of balance.” 

That’s the goal with A Day of Wellness, a free community health fair Robinson will host October 11.
“We bring together various experts and authorities, so people come and talk, and we teach people the principles of good living, and they can take that [knowledge] home to help them live better,” Robinson says.
A Mercy Health mobile mammogram van will be on site, and various physicians will present information on everything from diabetes to mental health.
“We do it in the community so people can come out and get themselves checked,” Robinson says. “So we always find people with diabetes who didn’t know it, with high blood pressure, who didn’t know it. So those people we’ve been able to bring into our practices and follow up.”
According to Robinson, the ultimate goal is that people will become more health conscious and learn to take better care of themselves so they have longer, more productive lives.
“We focus on nutrition. We have movement activities. We have elders come and talk about remaining physically active and socially engaged,” Robinson says. “We just make it a very full and interactive type of day for people so their lives become more full and more healthy.” 

Do Good:

•    Attend the event, which takes place October 11 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Keystone Parke.

•    Spread the word about the event, and encourage your friends and family to attend. 

•    Contact Nikki at 513-924-8118 if you're interested in volunteering.

Impact 100 funds three grantees, enables transformation

At its annual awards ceremony last week, Impact 100 awarded $327,000 to three local nonprofits in the form of three $109,000 transformational grants—a record for the all-female philanthropic organization who awarded two $108,000 grants at last year’s event.  
The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, Price Hill Will’s MYCincinnati and Community Matters’ Washing Well project were this year’s recipients.
The funds will enable the LNGC to extend its reach by implementing its Adult and Children’s Basic Reading Programs in the Price Hill and Avondale Communities.
MYCincinnati (Music for Youth) will reach more students, as the organization can now double its hours of operation and expand its age-range offerings.
And Community Matters will now be able to implement its Washing Well project, which will enable the organization to build a laundromat to serve Lower Price Hill residents who currently have no easy access to laundry facilities.
“It's very amazing—humbling—to be part of it—inspiring—and just, wow,” says Lisa Kaminski, Impact 100 member and vice president. “I was part of the team that worked for years to break three grants and I'm a total jumble of emotions.”
Since its first grantee in 2002, Impact 100 has awarded $2.8 million to 25 nonprofits who are able to create “magic in their communities,” says Sharon Mitchell, Impact 100 president.
Cincinnati Community ToolBank and Welcome House of Northern Kentucky were this year’s other two finalists, and it’s always difficult, members say, to not be able to fund all five groups. But they aim to change that, as the organization continues to grow.
At the awards ceremony this year, enough pledges were made to enable Impact 100 to commit to again giving three grants next year, but the goal is to award four or even five, and certainly even more, in years to come.
“One of the someday-projects on my list is trying to capture the ripple effect of Impact 100,” Kaminski says. “The number of lives impacted by those who have received grants, and also the impact on those who were not granted one. We’ve already heard that Cincinnati ToolBank has gotten a 12-foot covered trailer donated—so, wow.” 

Do Good:

•    Join Impact 100 so you can help the organization further its reach in the community. 

•    If you're a nonprofit with a plan to transform lives through your work, check back Oct. 27 for information on how to apply for one of next year's grants

•    Spread the word about Impact 100 by connecting with the organization and sharing its Facebook page.
237 Health + Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All
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