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Health + Wellness : For Good

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YWCA celebrates female leadership in workforce

Charlene Ventura, president and CEO of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati was involved in the women’s movement in Cincinnati prior to beginning her career in 1974. 

“There were a lot of inequities,” Ventura says. 

“There were jobs that were not open to women in Cincinnati—people who would collect money from meters, elevator operators. The newspaper ads were stereotypical, with nursing, clerical jobs, cleaning—maybe a teacher—and all the others were male help wanted.” 

So Ventura worked with the YWCA as a collaborator to open city jobs to women and to change the advertising system so all jobs were open and weren’t categorized based on gender. 

During a time period when women were making 60 cents for every dollar a man made, Ventura says it was important to celebrate role models for women in the workplace. 

“There were no women astronauts, there was one woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, who got the title because her husband died, and there were no women on the Supreme Court,” Ventura says. “And we thought this was a pretty dismal scene, so YWCAs across the country were starting to look at women’s economic empowerment.” 

So the YWCA hosted its first Career Women of Achievement event to celebrate female leaders in the workplace, and now, 35 years later, women are making 74 cents for every dollar a man makes, there are 57 female astronauts, 22 who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and three who are on the Supreme Court. 

At this year’s May 14 event, eight women will be recognized, while scholarships will be awarded to promising future leaders. 

“These are unsung heroines, and oftentimes people haven’t heard of them,” Ventura says. “But it’s really important to present their accomplishments and leadership, so they can lift as they climb and help others say, ‘I can do that.’” 

Do Good:

Purchase a ticket for this year's luncheon.

Support the YWCA by volunteering or donating.

• If you are a woman seeking assistance or shelter, contact the YWCA by calling one of its hotlines. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Step Forward promotes recovery with goal setting, physical fitness

For 35-year-old Aaron Sinica, crossing the finish line at last year’s Flying Pig Marathon signified more than the sense of accomplishment one feels after completing a 26.2-mile race.
 
It signified completing something—anything—for the first time in years.
 
“I was known for starting a lot of things in my addiction, but I had never really finished anything,” Sinica says. “I'd just get bored with it or would get discouraged and quit before I saw it all the way through.”
 
Sinica is a graduate of City Gospel Mission’s Exodus men’s recovery program and the first participant of Step Forward to ever complete an entire marathon.
 
Step Forward, which is a training program for men and women in City Gospel’s recovery programs, is designed to incorporate physical fitness and nutrition into participants’ lives, as those are integral parts of the recovery process.
 
“Since I’ve gotten involved with the Step Forward program, I don’t smoke or anything anymore,” Sinica says. “And to not feel tired all the time—I was always dragging before—but now there’s just that level of energy.”
 
Setting and reaching goals is now an important aspect of Sinica’s life, and it all started with going outside his comfort zone—running had never really been a part of his life.
 
“If nothing changes, nothing changes; so if you’re comfortable doing something, then you’re not really where you need to be,” Sinica says. “You need to step out of yourself and try these things that you never tried or never wanted to try. That’s been a big thing in helping me get through some hurdles in my life.” 

Do Good:

Volunteer with City Gospel Mission.

Support City Gospel Mission by donating.

• If you or someone you know needs help, learn about City Gospel Mission's offerings.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Free haircuts facilitate father-son bonding

Beech Acres Parenting Center, which is a nonprofit that’s serviced Cincinnati families since 1849, will participate in the Fatherhood Buzz Barbershop Initiative this Saturday.

“Everyone’s discovering it’s important to have a father in your child’s lives,” says Nate Lett, program director for Beech Acres’ Building Strong Families and Relationships program.

“Statistics prove if you have two parents working together in good communication to raise a child, they’re less likely to be incarcerated, less likely to have children out of wedlock, more likely to graduate and they do better—not only economically, but health-wise—the children are a lot better off in healthy relationships.”

To help facilitate that father-son relationship, two local barbershops will offer free haircuts to any child who comes in for a haircut Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

As part of the National Fatherhood Initiative, literature will be sent out to participating barbershops so fathers can learn about things like national health and parenting techniques.

“A lot of fathers feel comfortable at barber shops —they open up, bond with other men, share their information about things in the barber shop—so that’s a very good avenue to get out information,” Lett says.

“That’s one little step to initiating that contact between a father and a son—in a barber shop with other men and their children. Men keep their barber shop appointments, and many go in to socialize, so we felt that this was a safe environment.”

Do Good:

• Take your son to Mpressions in Forest Park, or Nati Stylz in North College Hill Saturday for a free haircut.

Support Beech Acres by donating.

• Learn about Beech Acres' programs and services.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.


Local man works to create sustainable fire service in Africa

After graduating from Northern Kentucky University in 2006, Dave Moore became fire chief of Glendale; but his life changed after visiting Nairobi, Kenya, on a mission trip in 2012.
 
“They run schools in the slums of Nairobi, and they had asked me to come and help with issues of fire safety because they had had some fires and welcome any sort of fire prevention there,” Moore says.
 
With three fire engines and 156 firefighters for a city of roughly 5 million people, Nairobi’s fire stations are underequipped and understaffed.
 
“We did basic training with the school staff—how to conduct a fire drill,” Moore says. “We taught some of the basics. They had never heard of stop drop and roll—that was a new concept for them.”
 
Moore says one thing the school asked was that he try to build a connection with the Nairobi fire department prior to returning to the United States, so he met the chief and was able to get some of the firefighters to also join in on the training sessions at the school.
 
“Then, as we were getting ready to head home, the fire chief asked if there was a way we could help the fire department in addition to the schools. I was expecting them to say, ‘We need money, fire trucks—big things,” Moore says. “But what won me over was when he said, ‘We need knowledge.'”
 
That comment stuck with Moore, and when he returned to Cincinnati, he left his job as fire chief and founded Africa Fire Mission—a local nonprofit dedicated to “building and increasing the sustainable capacity of fire departments across Africa.”
 
Since that time, Moore has organized an effort to ship 200 sets of bunker gear and training materials to Nairobi; and this past November, he returned to the city with two other Cincinnati firefighters to provide a week of training to about 75 of Nairobi’s firefighters.
 
“One of the other benefits we could never have realized through the donations was bringing fire service to the forefront of the attention of the governor there,” Moore says. “He found out the fire department had been trying to buy fire trucks for years, and on the day of our donation, he signed a contract to buy nearly 30 fire trucks for Nairobi, which will be delivered by the end of 2014.”
 
Nairobi’s fire service is improving, but Moore says he’s not going to leave them behind.
 
“We’re working to create sustainable fire departments,” Moore says. “Not one-time gifts where the support then goes away.”

Do Good:

• Support Africa Fire Mission by making a donation. The next set of donations and training materials will be sent to two cities in Zambia, and the cost to ship one container is $10,000 dollars.

Contact Dave if you'd like to volunteer with Africa Fire Mission in any capacity, or if you would be willing to allow Africa Fire Mission to speak about the organization at your community group, church, etc. 

• Support the organization by purchasing a Nairobi Fire Service t-shirt.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

                                                

From empathy to advocacy after SNAP challenge

In Hamilton County alone, 148,570 individuals—18.5 percent—are considered “food insecure.” More than 20 percent of that number is made up of children—40,250 of whom are not receiving sufficient nourishment.  

In an effort to raise awareness of food insecurity and increase advocacy for its 25 member groups, Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati recently completed its first SNAP Challenge, in which 55 individuals committed to eating on a strict budget for one week—a budget simulating the $31.50 per week allotted to an individual receiving SNAP benefits today. 

“We wanted to reiterate the fact that even though you’ve taken this challenge and it might have been difficult, that’s a tiny fraction of what someone in poverty would actually experience, because they have so many other things working against them,” says Alicia Hildebrand, an Americorps Public Ally and the organizer of Community Shares’ SNAP Out of It Challenge. 

Things like transportation, lack of time to meal-plan and lack of resources in the kitchen to prepare healthy meals are just a few of the obstacles hundreds of thousands of our neighbors are facing. 

As part of the challenge, Community Shares organized a meal-planning workshop, facilitated by Peachy Seiden of Peachy’s Health Smart, in an effort to show individuals facing food insecurity how they can maximize their resources to eat healthy. 

According to Hildebrand, many people realize that hunger exists, but they don’t realize the prevalence of food insecurity in our country, let alone our region. 

“The experience can be a great catalyst for the positive changes we want to see in our community,” Hildebrand says. “And I think that once you have the empathy and you understand and can make that change from a point of understanding, then you can turn that empathy into advocacy and take it to another level and work toward policy change.” 

Do Good:

• Support Community Shares' member organizations by giving.

• Volunteer with one of Community Shares' member organizations.

Contact Alicia Hildebrand if you're interested in getting involved with Community Shares.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Local United Way leads nation in measuring social, emotional skills in youth

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati is leading the country in an effort to measure social and emotional skills through the implementation of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)-mini.
 
The United Way partnered with Philadelphia-based nonprofit Devereux—an organization that supports behavioral health around the country—to create the system, which is a nationally standardized assessment and the first of its kind.
 
After the first year of data collection, more than 4,000 students from kindergarten through eighth-grade at 21 of the UWGC’s partner agencies, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, have completed the assessment and will continue to use it to measure and adjust programming to better serve youth.
 
“Programs that promote social and emotional skills result in children doing better academically. They’re also the same skills in many cases that employers are looking for,” says Paul LeBuffe, director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children.
 
According to LeBuffe, the ability of a child in school or an adult in the workforce to do things like “cooperate with their peers, make good decisions, manage their emotions and act ethically” are necessary skills that need to be taught so that one can succeed in life.
 
Social and emotional competencies come as a result of learning concepts like self-awareness and responsible decision-making during childhood, and LeBuffe says the UWGC is creating a model to show the nation how measuring soft skills can better communities.
 
One way these skills can be taught is evidenced by Chicago-based nonprofit Collaborative on Academic, Social and Emotional Learning's (CASEL) program, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), which teaches first- and second-grade children “the turtle technique”.
 
“What they do is have a story about this turtle, and one of its strengths is it has a shell, and when a turtle has a problem to solve, they go inside their shell, and first they think of what the problem is, then think of different solutions, then think about what will happen if they try one of the solutions,” LeBuffe says.
 
“And then they pick one. So the kids will get down on the ground and pretend they’re a turtle, but what they’re doing is learning how to solve problems in a responsible fashion.” 

Do Good:

• Find volunteer opportunities through the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

• If you're a parent, pay just as much attention to your child's social and emotional skills as you do for their academic skills.

• Advocate that schools implement programs to promote children's social and emotional well being.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


NKY woman makes strides against nutritional poverty

When Monica Remmy settled on a place to live and made the decision to purchase a house, she found herself drawn to Northern Kentucky—more specifically Newport—because of its walkability and amenities.
 
“There’s a family-run butcher, two small theaters in walking distance—there’s a lot around here,” Remmy says.
 
The area is one Remmy appreciates, but she also understands the various needs of her community.
 
She lives just down the street from the Henry Hosea House—a nonprofit that serves those in need. And it’s the only Northern Kentucky facility that serves a hot evening meal seven days a week.
 
A few Christmases ago when Remmy couldn’t travel to Tennessee to visit her mother—who Remmy says grew up in Appalachia and knew what it was like to live in poverty—she took the money she would have spent on presents and instead bought items for the Hosea House.
 
“I dropped everything off and told them I have skills in graphic design and would like to help if I can,” Remmy says.
 
She later found herself putting together a fresh food drive for the organization, and spent most of 2011 helping the Hosea House apply for—and receive—a $30,000 grant to combat nutritional poverty.
 
“As part of the three things we wanted to do around nutritional poverty, I led a project on Hosea House’s behalf and put together a garden,” says Remmy, who now serves as volunteer manager for the garden, where she works to plant and harvest fresh produce for use in the soup kitchen.  
 
From non-GMO Roma tomatoes donated from someone in the neighborhood to plants offered from the individual on the other side of the neighboring fence, the backyard plot of land has transformed into a focal point in the community.
 
“Everyone who walked by stopped to say how beautiful it was or how impressed they were with how tall things were getting, and it really brought a nice little bright spot,” Remmy says. “And all of the produce that isn’t used in the kitchen to prepare the meals is given out to the guests. It wasn’t even definite we’d get it off the ground that first year, but we did, and it’s been amazing.”  

Do Good:

Support the Hosea House. Remmy's goal is to restore funding for educational programs with local school children at the garden. 

Contact Remmy if you would like to volunteer with the garden. 

• Support the Hosea House by donating needed items.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Interact for Health brings Cook for America to three local school districts

Three local school districts are participating in Cook for America’s three-phase program so they can offer healthy eating options and scratch cooking in their cafeterias next school year.
 
Interact for Health, formerly The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, is funding this $150,000 initiative for the Erlanger-Elsmere, Milford and Norwood School Districts.
 
When combined, these districts serve more than 16,000 area students.
 
“We’re looking at how to create healthy environments so people really can have healthy food and physical activity at their disposal so they can become healthier,” says Jaime Love, Interact for Health’s program officer for healthy eating and active living.
 
Participating schools are currently in the first phase of the program, which involves food assessment—looking at the schools’ kitchens, what is being served within them, how food is being prepared, and what districts can do to budget for healthier options and food preparation techniques. 
 
“We’re trying to focus on how to make it affordable and also effective, because they’re short on staff and short on time,” Love says.
 
The second phase of the program kicks off this summer when participating districts send their culinary staff members to Cook for America’s five-day Lunch Teachers Culinary Boot Camp.
 
“They’ll go through training about food prep, food safety, creating menus, and literally learning how they can do scratch cooking in schools and make it taste good and be affordable and within their budgets,” Love says.
 
Cook for America chefs will then do follow-up visits at each school’s kitchen to provide assistance in implementing the changes, which will begin to take place during the 2014-15 school year.
 
“Schools have a huge impact on our students and the food that they eat, which in turn also impacts students as learners,” Love says. “We really want schools to be a place where kids can get healthy foods and really receive the nourishment that they need, and we want schools to believe that they can do this.”

Do Good:

• Contact your local district's superintendent or food service director, and encourage healthier options in your schools.

• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and aim for physical activity 3-5 days a week. 
 
• Like Interact for Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Cincinnati Zoo event aims to help restore region's tree canopy

Editor's Note: This event has been rescheduled for Saturday, February 1.

If restoring the region’s tree canopy and preparing it for the future is a cause for which you’re passionate, you’re invited to take part in the Taking Root campaign’s Great Tree Summit 2014.
 
The Great Tree Summit, which takes place at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Saturday, January 25, is a way for community members to brainstorm and form strategies to help Taking Root reach its goal of planting 2 million trees by 2020.
 
“We don’t want to just pump information toward people. We want them to now really get involved,” says Jody Grundy, environmental activist and campaign leader.
 
Saturday’s Summit will consist of breakout sessions where individuals form teams based on specific actions, like educating or communicating with others about Taking Root’s efforts, in addition to discussing how particular areas within the campaign’s eight-county, three-state region, can join together to organize specific plans of action within one’s community.
 
“Large trees and native trees are very important to stabilize the whole environment and all the species that are dependent on them,” Grundy says. “We want to bring to people’s attention the importance of trees and to communicate that we should not take for granted a resource we all depend on. We all need to be players in this.”

Do Good:

Register to attend the Great Tree Summit 2014 Saturday, January 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

• Plant a tree and register it to count toward the 2 million-tree goal. 

• Like and share Taking Root's Facebook page.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Memories in the Making empowers individuals with dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association launched its Memories in the Making program in 1986 when Selly Jenny, an artist living in Orange County, Calif. began to explore the ways patients with dementia could express themselves through art.
 
“Her father had dementia, and as his verbal skills were declining and she’d go for visits, she realized it was harder to communicate,” says Joan Hock, Memories in the Making and social engagement coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati. “So they started painting together, and she found that he really became very engaged and showed a lot of pleasure in painting.”
 
At the local chapter of this national nonprofit, 13 residential facilities in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky participate in the program, while two open community sites host this free program for individuals in the early stages of dementia.
 
“We also have what’s called Time for Caregivers—it’s a place where family members receive support,” Hock says. “We want it to be a wellness model—talk with them about various things they can do for themselves and also give them a break.”
 
About eight individuals participate in each MIM session, which is hosted by an artist facilitator while caregivers engage in enrichment activities and supportive fellowship at the same time.
 
Hock says the greatest successes for individuals in the program are that they’re able to engage in an activity that creates normalcy during an otherwise turbulent time, and they’re also able to create artwork—sometimes expressing a memory—that they can share with the world.
 
“People use very bright, very vibrant colors as they’re making choices,” Hock says. “And you’re nurturing yourself as you go through that.”  

Do Good: 

Purchase tickets for the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati's spring benefit The Art of Making Memories at Horseshoe Casino. While there, say hello to MIM artists and bid on the artwork they've created. 

• Support the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati and its Memories in the Making program by purchasing MIM notecards.

• Learn about the Memories in the Museum program, and attend a session. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.


Cincinnati Bengals provide grant for head injury detection in high school athletes

Thanks to a grant from the Cincinnati Bengals, Mercy Health is now able to provide funds to its 28 partner high schools for Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.
 
“It’s all over the news—the danger in returning kids or adults back to play, or back to the classroom before their brain is healthy,” says Pamela Scott, athletic director of Anderson High School.
 
Because head injuries have been so widely publicized as of late, Scott says student athletes are starting to become more aware of the issues an early return to play presents; but with ImPACT testing, an early return is no longer a possibility.
 
Prior to the start of the school year, all student athletes involved in contact sports will undergo initial baseline testing, which measures various cognitive skills.
 
“Then after a head injury occurs, they go back and take the test and compare results to the baseline test and post-test, and that way they can safely determine if the athlete’s ready to come back.” Scott says.
 
Anderson High School has used ImPACT testing since 2010, but many schools are not fortunate enough to be able to afford the testing materials and technology it requires. With the recent grant, however, student athletes in Mercy’s network will now be much safer than in years past.
 
“They’re playing in front of their home crowd, get hit in the head, want to get back in—so there’s a tendency to not be accurate when the trainer’s asking them questions—because they want to go back in,” Scott says. “So even if they have a headache and are dizzy, they might not tell the trainer the truth. Now that’s no longer an option.” 

Do Good: 

Support Mercy Health through its online Giving Store.

• Support athletics in your local school district, and encourage the use of ImPACT testing. 

• Like Mercy Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Sunday Salon series raises funds for domestic violence survivor services

More than 90 percent of domestic violence survivors seeking services in Ohio will not go to a shelter; but at Women Helping Women, non-residential services like court and law enforcement advocacy, in addition to support groups, are provided to more than 12,000 survivors each year.
 
To help fund these services throughout Hamilton and Butler counties, WHW is hosting its Sunday Salon series for the 18th year. 
 
“The salons run from socially conscious to just plain fun,” says Kendall Fisher, Women Helping Women’s executive director. “What’s kind of neat about them is they mirror the way the agency was formed—it’s a small group of community members coming together to make a difference—so you really get a chance to interact with the speaker.”
 
Speakers range in specialty from historians and zoologists to nationally renowned Holocaust educators.
 
“We just hope participants will get some raised awareness and consciousness about what is going on in their own community, and some inspiration on how each individual can make a difference,” Fisher says.
 
Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are issues that Fisher says have, in all likelihood, impacted someone we all know. But they’re also topics, she says, that can be “intimidating” and “a little bit scary” for some people.
 
Sunday Salons, however, are a way for individuals to join together to make a difference in an unintimidating environment.
 
“It’s a simple, fun, engaging and nonthreatening way to make a real difference for survivors in our community,” Fisher says. “And people can get involved in any way they’d like.”

Do Good:

• Check out the Sunday Salon schedule, and call 513-236-2010 to reserve a spot. 

• Check out Women Helping Women's volunteer opportunities, and sign up to get involved.

• Support Women Helping Women by donating.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

 

Strategies to End Homelessness seeks winter shelter funds

During the coldest months of the year, like this one, the need for emergency shelters increases, as does the need for funding.
 
“We do this on as much of a shoestring budget as we possibly can,” says Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness—an organization that coordinates services for homeless individuals throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
 
Prior to 2011, finding consistent shelter throughout the winter months was not a possibility. 
 
“Back then, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission would open its Over-the-Rhine facility, but only if the temperature was predicted to go below 10 degrees,” Finn says. “But you can freeze to death when it’s over 10 degrees, and homeless people don’t have a thermometer, nor do they have access to a TV weather forecast.”
 
Increased winter shelter is now available for those who have nowhere else to go from mid-December until the end of February, so long as funding is in place.
 
This year, there was enough funding to increase capacity by adding 60 beds in a portion of the Drop Inn Center, in addition to 40 beds at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, but Finn says additional funding is always needed.
 
“The problem is that in March, it can still be pretty cold,” Finn says. “And any funding we don’t use this winter, we would carry over to next winter. What we already saw this year was the worse case scenario—we had four inches of snow and bitter cold temperatures—but because we didn’t have sufficient money in hand, we couldn’t open the shelter December 1.”

Do Good: 

• Help fund the Winter Shelter by making a donation.

• Volunteer with some of Strategies to End Homelessness' partner agencies to help fight homelessness.

• Connect with Strategies to End Homelessness on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Giving Store supports Mercy Health's patient care

The Mercy Health Foundation offers donors a meaningful way of helping fund the organization’s efforts to provide care to those in need through its Giving Store.
 
“It’s been in place over two years, and it was a way for us to help people who want to contribute visualize what their donations would be going to,” says Nanette Bentley, director of public relations for Mercy Health.
 
For Mercy Health, which is a nonprofit health system that does not turn any individual away—regardless of one’s ability to pay—donations are always needed.
 
For a $10 purchase at the online Giving Store, individuals can send “patient cheer,” for example, in the form of a get-well card to someone who perhaps doesn’t receive many visitors.
 
There are also options to help fund things like prescription medicine gift cards and even art supplies for Mercy’s DaySTAE (Success through Arts and Environment) program, which is designed to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia find improved ways to communicate.
 
“It helps to really improve the quality-of-life dimension, and it helps their family members as well—in that they see a change in their loved ones being more engaged,” Bentley says.
 
By providing various options to donors, Bentley says she hopes individuals will be more inclined to support Mercy’s efforts.
 
“If someone has a budget, for example, they might search by what their money could get them in that regard,” Bentley says. “Or people will do it perhaps in honor of a loved one—someone might want to support oncology, given the concerns of their loved ones, for example—so it’s highly personal.”

Do Good: 

• Support Mercy Health by contributing at the Giving Store

• Contact Nanette Bentley if you'd like to volunteer by playing piano for patients, for example, at one of Mercy's facilities. 

• Like Mercy Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Tom+Chee backs small nonprofits

Tom + Chee knows what it’s like to be the underdog.
 
What was once a food tent at Fountain Square is now a nationally recognized brand under contract to be a more-than-100-store operation in 2014 (see Tom+Chee prepares for rapid growth in 2014). And it’s this rise-from-the-top mentality that Tom + Chee co-founders Jenny Rachford and Jenn Quackenbush say they apply to the company’s involvement in the nonprofit sector as well.
 
“Of course we’d love to give to everyone doing good work,” Rachford says. “There are a lot of people trying to do good things, but the small groups don’t have a lot of the support the big ones can pull.”
 
So Tom + Chee created The Grilled Cheese That Cares program this past October when it partnered with The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts—a team of breast cancer survivors and dragon boat racers affiliated with Paddling for Cancer Awareness.
 
“We developed a campaign which involved the Pink Dragon Fire Donut, which was a glazed donut with cherry mascarpone, graham cracker and jalapeno compote, and donated a dollar from each to their cause,” Rachford says.
 
Continuing with the trend of supporting small, local nonprofits, T+C  is now collecting gifts for children connected with Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers, in exchange for a free grilled cheese donut.
 
So for a total of seven families and 27 children, the financial strain of purchasing gifts from each child’s wish list will be removed, as presents will be provided through the Grilled Cheese That Cares initiative.
 
“Christmas time is special—especially for kids,” Rachford says. “We all have our childhood memories of Christmases, good or bad, but as grownups and even with our business—we’re kid-centered, family-centered and focused, and this is something that genuinely comes from that place. We want to make families happy.” 

Do Good:

• Contact Jenny Rachford or Jenn Quackenbush if you're a local nonprofit who would like to partner up for future Grilled Cheese that Cares efforts.

• Visit a Tom + Chee location, pick up a gift tag with a child's name and request on it, and return the unwrapped item by Dec. 20 for a free grilled cheese donut.  

• Support local nonprofits.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 
186 Health + Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All
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