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Public Library preps student readers for All-Star summer

For more than 40 years, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has engaged the community in its Summer Reading program. The tradition continues June 1 - July 31, as individuals of all ages can participate — with prizes as incentive — to become All-Star Readers.
Not sure what to read? The library has prepared a list of reading recommendations in addition to a reading tracker and a list of available prizes.
“Research has shown for decades that children are susceptible to losing ground academically over the summer months,” says Diane Smiley, Youth Services and Program Coordinator. “Children from low-income homes can lose up to two months or more of reading and math skills unless they keep those skills sharp.”
The program is part of a comprehensive Summer Learning program that includes Brain Camps, Summer Lunches and Summer Camp Reading, a six-week one-on-one tutoring program for upcoming third-graders labeled “at risk” by their district.
“I saw an excitement for reading developing especially from some of the reluctant readers,” says Denise Bentley, Cincinnati Public Schools intervention specialist who worked with Summer Camp Reading last year. “They will just blossom with their reading skills and their love of reading.” 

Do Good: 

• Learn how to become an All-Star Reader.

• Feed your body and your brain at Summer Lunches, which are available for students 18 and under.

• Connect with the Public Library on Facebook.

Free public transit for riders on Bike to Work Day May 15

Whether or not you’re working on Friday, May 15, you’ll have the opportunity to commute between destinations for free on all Metro, Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) and Clermont Transportation Connection buses so long as you bring along a bicycle.
Vehicles are equipped with bike racks on the fronts of buses, so riders are encouraged to take advantage of environmentally friendly modes of transit in celebration of Bike to Work Day 2015.
“Biking and riding Metro is the perfect way to travel for those who want to bike for part of their commute and finish their trip on transit or just get to the top of one of Cincinnati's many hills,” says Brandy Jones, public relations manager for Cincinnati Metro. “It's also an environmentally responsible way to get around, which supports Metro's sustainability effort and encourages an overall healthier lifestyle.”
Since 2011, both Metro and TANK have been recognized as “bike friendly destinations” for riders, as the public transit authorities are not only advocates for biking and riding but also supporters of improvements for infrastructure.
If you have access to a bike and have somewhere to go but have never transported it via public transit, don’t let that stop you. Jones says it’s an easy process that your driver will be more than happy to help with should you need assistance.
“Bike to Work Day is a great way for anyone who's curious about combining the two transportation options to try it out risk free,” Jones says. “Our bike racks are fast and easy to use, and we hope bicycle commuters will take advantage of the free ride on May 15 and give biking and riding a try.”

Do Good: 

• Grab your bicycle and take advantage of free rides on public transit Friday, May 15.

• Celebrate National Bike Month throughout May by going for a ride.

• Connect with Metro on Facebook.

Discounted CSO tix available with donation to Freestore Foodbank

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

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

Support the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

Support the Freestore Foodbank.

"Bipolarized" screening generates funds for local mental illness agency

Though the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival has come to a close, impacts will be ongoing thanks to $40,000 in funding the screenings generated for 17 different partnering agencies.

One of those 17 nonprofit recipients, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban Greater Cincinnati, gained $2,134 in proceeds from the festival screening of Bipolarized. 
The documentary film details Ross McKenzie’s journey toward wellness as he explored alternative treatments for his diagnosis of bipolar disorder, for which he was told lithium — which made him feel foggy — was the only way to control his symptoms. Instead, he made the decision to view his symptoms not as detriments that required prescription drugs to level out but instead as “gifts.”
“That’s when my transformation began,” McKenzie says. “That’s when healers and gifted therapists came into my life, and that’s when I began to uncover the trauma.”
Though prescription medication is beneficial and necessary for some, McKenzie was able to invest in nontraditional practices that allowed him to engage in self discovery and ultimately physical, mental and emotional healing.
“During this journey, I got to the root cause of my symptoms,” he says. “It confuses people when I say I don’t have a disease or disorder, because when you’re diagnosed you have that for life.
“But we’re all unique individuals. There’s so many different reasons people can experience these things, and if we could come together and work together we could actually create a new reality on this earth. And this is my mission moving forward — educating about mind, body, spirit and treating the whole person. It’s hard work, but when you make that choice miracles become possible.” 

Do Good: 

• Support NAMI Urban Greater Cincinnati’s work by donating.

• If you or someone you know — family, friends, whomever — is dealing with the impacts of mental illness, contact NAMI for support.

• Encourage and support loved ones to focus on mental, physical and emotional wellness.

Starfire members explore passions, engage with community

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

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

Do Good: 

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

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

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

Washing Well project expands, plans to launch in September

As Lower Price Hill’s Community Matters moves forward with its Washing Well project, which is set to open in September, the nonprofit seeks support from local businesses, corporations and individuals who are able to help.
The project aims to provide affordable access to a safe, local Laundromat for neighborhood residents, kicked off by a $109,000 grant from Impact 100 in addition to funding from Procter & Gamble. But since Community Matters located the original funds, the project’s parameters have grown.
“We realized there was an even greater need and have purchased a new, larger space,” says Jen Walters, Community Matters President and CEO. “We now need to purchase additional machines, 10 sets of machines at $13,000 per set.”
The machines are durable and will allow for a sustainable solution for Lower Price Hill residents who will transition into roles as workers throughout the next five years, as the Washing Well is intended to become a worker-owned cooperative.
The community would be meeting its own needs — a goal valued by Community Matters, which operates in a manner “that all people can thrive when positive opportunities exist within their community.”
“It is unacceptable that there was not access to safe, affordable laundry in one of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods,” Walters says. “We at Community Matters saw a clear, manageable solution.” 

Do Good: 

Contact Jen Walters if you're interested in helping the Lower Price Hill community by engaging in a corporate sponsorship to help fund washing machines. 

• The nonprofit is also in need of product donations, so if you can help supply things like detergent, fabric sheets and/or hangers, contact Patty Lee or call 513-244-2214 (ext 211).

• Support Community Matters' work by donating.

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. 

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. 

St. Joseph Orphanage celebrates 185 years of community support, stability for children

Cincinnati’s oldest social services agency, St. Joseph Orphanage, will celebrate its 185th anniversary April 30 at its Spring for the Stars Gala.
The organization’s longevity, according to Executive Director Eric Cummins, can be attributed to its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
“We started as a traditional orphanage that took care of kids when their parents died,” Cummins says. “And then in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, we worked with families when they could not take care of their kids and helped get them back on their feet so the kids could go home.”
During that time, Cummins says the nonprofit also helped children find their “forever homes,” as the orphanage began morphing into more of a residential facility that provided a home for older adolescents with nowhere to go.
“St Joseph’s role is vital in that we truly embrace working with those who have nowhere else to turn,” he says. “We’re one of the only local agencies that continues to serve youth after they turn 18 years old, as we believe they are still too young to be out on their own.”
St. Joseph Orphanage began operating as a mental health residential treatment facility in the 1980s, and since that time it’s grown into a “community-based mental health, education and foster care provider,” Cummins says, with a recently developed special education class geared toward helping children with autism.

“We strive to continuously grow and adapt to meet the needs of those we serve today and into the future,” he says.
It’s an important mission, according to Cummins, because St. Joseph Orphanage provides critical services to the most at-risk youth in the community.
Though it’s hard to choose just one impactful moment, Cummins says something that stuck with him this past year is an e-mail he received from one of the Orphanage’s case managers.
“She emailed me just to say how thankful she is to work for St Joe’s, as we — through the generous donations of the community — make sure every child has a Christmas gift,” he says. “She went on to tell me that these siblings — 12, 11, 9 and 8 (years-old) — had never before opened a Christmas gift and this was the first time in their life that they had been able to celebrate Christmas.”
Prior to their first Christmas, the children had spent their time living with severe trauma, locked in a room with a bucket to tend to personal needs.
“They are now living in and being loved in a St. Joseph Orphanage foster home, getting case management and therapy services,” Cummins says. “I was truly thankful that not only could we make sure they had a Christmas present one day a year but that St. Joseph is there to help them every week of the year going forward.”

Do Good: 

• Support St. Joseph Orphanage by registering for the Spring Gala, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel downtown.

• If you can't attend Thursday's celebration, you can still donate here

• If you're unable to financially support St. Joseph, contact the organization to share your time and talents as a volunteer.

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

The Women's Fund hosts Lisa Ling appearance to fund 2015 grants

It’s not too late to purchase tickets to The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s “A Conversation with Lisa Ling” Wednesday, March 25 at Memorial Hall.
The evening commences at 5:30 p.m. with drinks and appetizers, followed by Ling’s speech. Tickets are $40, and proceeds enable the organization to add to the $1 million it’s granted since 2004 to nonprofits supporting female self sufficiency and empowerment.

Ling is executive producer and host of This Is Life on CNN and previously hosted Our America on the Oprah Winfrey Network and co-hosted ABC's hit show The View. She is also an author and co-founder of the website SecretSocietyofWomen.com.
“Lisa often tells the stories of people whose lives are often misunderstood or overlooked and finds not only the beauty but also the hope that lies within them,” says Vanessa Freytag, executive director of The Women’s Fund. “What a beautiful lens for our community to adopt as we learn about women and their families who are struggling right here at home.”
In addition to awarding grants to nonprofits and offering events that spark community dialogue, The Women’s Fund also commissions research.
In its most recent Pulse report, “2020 Jobs and Gender Outlook,” findings indicate that by 2020 four out of every seven jobs held by females will not provide enough income for her to cover the basic needs of herself and one child.
“When you take that in context with the fact that two-thirds of children in poverty are in female-headed households, you start to see why it is important for the entire community to work on strategies that can help hard working moms reach self-sufficiency,” Freytag says. “There is no more important challenge to creating a thriving region than addressing this issue.”

Do Good: 

Buy tickets for "A Conversation with Lisa Ling."

• Support The Women's Fund by giving.

• Learn about The Women's Fund 2015 grant cycle and consider applying for a mini-grant or signing up as a volunteer to review them. 

Talbert House celebrates 50 years, honors top employees

The Talbert House has worked to “improve social behavior and enhance personal recovery and growth” for its clients since 1965. Now, in its 50th anniversary year, the organization is looking ahead to see how it can continue delivering quality care and support to the tens of thousands of adults and children it reaches in a given year.
One thing is certain: Quality employees lead to quality services. And to celebrate 50 years in the community, the nonprofit recently honored the key players who work day-in and day-out to uphold standards of excellence.
Michael Allen, resident of Westwood and clinical supervisor for the Talbert House, was honored as Employee of the Year.
“I am privileged to work for Talbert House, where I can do what I love every day,” Allen says. “I am passionate about my work because I want to be a part of a team making an impact in a person’s life.”
Allen says he arrives at work each day with the mindset that he can positively impact someone’s quality of life through his words and his actions. As an individual who works with a population of adults with severe mental illness, his optimism is key.
“I want the clients I work with to feel valued and to know their needs are important to me and our staff,” Allen says. “It’s important for clients to know someone is listening.”
And his clients appreciate that approach, like one whom he was working with biweekly for the purpose of addressing appropriate forms of social interaction within the community.
“He would repeatedly introduce me to complete strangers as his case manager when we were in the community together, and he would plan his entire week around those two scheduled weekly appointments,” Allen says. “And over a period of time he became more confident in his ability to live independently and reconnect with family and friends. I genuinely care about the clients I connect with on a daily basis and want to see them win in a very tangible way.” 

Do Good: 

Volunteer with the Talbert House.

• Support the Talbert House by making a gift.

• Connect with the Talbert House on Facebook.

OSU Extension seeks community input from "future leaders"

If you’re between the ages of 14 and 30, Ohio State University Extension of Hamilton County wants your input on the concept of a perfect community and what that might look like. 

As a land-grant university, OSU Extension aims to bring “the knowledge of the university” to all Ohioans by “engaging people to strengthen their lives and communities.” 

“OSU Extension works with people of all ages and all walks of life. We hear from professionals and adults on a regular basis,” says Anthony Staubach, Interim County Extension Director. “But it’s important to hear from the 14- to 30-year-old population because they are our emerging leaders and will make key decisions in the future.” 

OSU Extension will conduct the “Community Reconsidered" focus group Saturday, driven by these questions: “What will be the most challenging trends and issues for Ohioans by the year 2035, and what are the best opportunities to leverage the strengths of the University and the OSU Extension to address those issues?”

It’s part of a national dialogue called “Extension Reconsidered.” 

For the past 100 years, OSU Extension has worked to better the lives of individuals all across the state, and Staubach says the goal is to now look 20 years into the future to figure out “what assets our generation will bring to the community, what opportunities exist for building a stronger community” and, finally, what role Extension will fulfill in a changing culture and a changing community. 

“We would like to hear from 30-60 residents in Hamilton County,” Staubach says. “We would like to get their honest and open opinion of the future and start to identify how OSU Extension can fit into that future.”

Do Good: 

• Share a meal and your ideas with other community members at Saturday's focus group, which begins at 6 p.m. March 14 at 5093 Colerain Ave. Register here.

• Join the Facebook event and share it with your friends. 

• Connect with Hamilton County Extension on Facebook.
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