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Health + Wellness : For Good

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Uniting community, promoting connections in Norwood

For Norwood resident Angela Pancella, it’s a beautiful thing when events naturally come together or spring up, she says, and that’s what happened with the nonprofit for which she now serves as executive director: Woven Oak Initiatives.
 
“While being involved with the nonprofit community, I’ve seen ways to connect neighborhoods, and I particularly saw that through my work with Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-the-Rhine, and I thought, ‘Gee there should be something like this in Norwood,’” Pancella says.
 
Before she knew it, Pancella was approached by Norwood residents and Woven Oak co-founders Joshua Hanauer and Josh Stoxen—two men who came together when they realized their individual ideas would work better if merged into one.
 
Hanauer wanted to start a rugby program to create a mentorship opportunity for students in middle and high school, while Stoxen wanted to create a bridge-building organization to promote community togetherness, while preventing the duplication of efforts.
 
“There’s so many people doing good things, but it’s hard to tell sometimes who’s doing what,” Pancella says.
 
What Pancella realized, however, after attending a Norwood Community Coalition meeting, was that the bridge-building was already going on.
 
“We’re just plugging in to it,” she says.
 
At Woven Oak Initiatives, which Pancella says is named for “the image of roots intertwining to help trees grow strong,” the mission is to “catalyze the common good in Norwood” by fostering its own programs (currently there’s rugby and children’s garden camp), while also serving as a community connector.
 
“I can’t speak enough about Community Coalition as a unifying force. The people get together every month to meet and talk about what their programs are doing, so everybody shows up and learns some of the overarching issues in the community. It’s a great model,” Pancella says.
 
“It’s just everybody pitching in, supportive of one another—everyone has this, ‘OK, we’ll go to your event, and we’ll promote this.’ Everyone takes everyone else’s fliers, and the word spreads very organically. It’s not a top-down sort of thing—more of a bottom-up community support—and Norwood is very fortunate to have that.” 

Do Good:

• To sign your child up for garden camp, inquire here.

• Attend Casual Conversations April 22. 

Purchase a ticket to attend There Is No Them, There Is Only Us, and attend the talk March 27. 

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. 

 

Family Nurturing Center works to raise awareness, prevent child abuse

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
 
“That’s a national statistic, but if you just simply stand at the mall and count kids or stand at the playground or be out at a festival or something and just count one, two, three, four—or one, two, three, four, five, six—it’s amazing to think one of those children is going to be impacted or victimized by the time they reach 18,” says Tracy Fuchs, director of marketing and special events for The Family Nurturing Center.
 
“And what’s sad is that childhood abuse and sexual abuse are completely preventable—it’s not like cancer—but it’s only preventable when adults take the responsible role and are able to confront it and prevent it from happening.”
 
The Family Nurturing Center is a nonprofit that’s mission is to promote well being for individuals and healthy relationships for families; and it works to achieve that mission through programming aimed at education, prevention and treatment for both children and adults.
 
“Ultimately, it’s an adult’s responsibility,” Fuchs says. “We tell children to go find a trusted adult, but what if that adult doesn’t believe you?”
 
Stewards of Children, which is a one-time, two-hour program for adults, is one of the FNC’s efforts to reach the community and prevent abuse and neglect. 
 
“If you suspect something is happening, a lot of times, people will say, ‘Well, if I call, are they going to ask me my name? What if I report it, and it’s wrong, or I don’t want to get involved because it’s not in my household?’” Fuchs says. “But you have to get over yourself and make that call.”
 
Fuchs says one of FNC’s goals in promoting the program is to work toward changing the culture because so often, it’s difficult to get people engaged because they think discussing the topic is “uncomfortable” or “icky.”
 
“But if you say to someone, ‘Would you give two hours just to protect children?,’” Fuchs says she hopes more adults will respond.
 
“Some insurance companies now are encouraging their clients to have this training done for their employees—honest to God—because insurance companies now have childhood sexual abuse training credit, where if you have this training, you get a discount on your insurance,” Fuchs says. “It’s a good thing—but it’s amazing that our society has come to that point.” 

Do Good:

• Pre-register for the Blue Ribbon 5K Race to join others in a Race to End Child Abuse.  

• Schedule a free training session through the Stewards of Children program. 

• Engage in Child Abuse Prevention month Awareness Activities.

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 student launches campaign so she can serve in Nicaragua

For University of Cincinnati communications major Brandie Potzick, traveling to Nicaragua last year was a life-changing experience.
 
Potzick traveled with UC student group Serve Beyond Cincinnati to photograph and shoot video of the students as they helped build water and sanitation systems for those living in rural Nicaragua. But this year, Potzick is going back on her own and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to make it all happen.
 
“When I went last year, it was different than anything I’ve ever experienced, but at the same time, I felt this very strange connection to home,” Potzick says. “I felt very comfortable there, and I experienced more hospitality and love than I expected, and one of the biggest things that I learned while I was there was just how similar people are.”
 
Potzick will spend three weeks in May as she works with Nicaraguan-based nonprofit Amigos for Christ—an organization that serves the rural community by facilitating “water, health, education and economic development.”
 
“Where I was last year—most of the people in that village had to walk up to two miles to get their clean water for the day—and it’s something that’s really hard to manage, because insanitary water is the number one cause of skin disease and diarrhea and all sorts of other diseases that are most common in Nicaragua,” Potzick says.
 
In many communities there, Potzick says it’s not unusual for people to wash their clothes, go to the bathroom, drink and bathe in the same water.
 
“We know how unsanitary that is,” Potzick says. “So what Amigos does is makes it so every family in these rural communities can have up to 100 gallons of water per day for less than $5 a month, and it greatly increases their chance at a more healthy life.”

Do Good:

• Support Brandie in her crowdfunding campaign

Learn about Nicaragua.

• Engage in service opportunities in Nicaragua through Serve Beyond Cincinnati or Amigos for Christ.

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. 


Lower Price Hill Community School set to expand community outreach

In the coming months, the Lower Price Hill Community School will undergo a name change as it expands services to focus its efforts on education and improving the community through two nonprofits: Education Matters and Community Matters.
 
“But the Lower Price Hill Community School is not going away,” says Mike Moroski, LPHCS director of outreach services. “The administration’s staying the same. We’re not only going to be providing the same services we always have—we’re going to provide them on a larger scale—plus offer new services to the community.”
 
Moroski will transition into the role of director for Community Matters, which he says will function as a safe haven for residents, while offering access to more community events and opportunities.
 
“One of the things I’ve always been attracted to about LPHCS is they’re not interested in coming into the community and saying, ‘Here’s what you need to be better,’” Moroski says. “They’re interested in finding out what the community wants and then providing it.”
 
Lower Price Hill, for example, has no laundromat; so the nonprofit is working with Xavier University to launch one through the Washing Well project, which will eventually be turned over to the neighborhood as a co-op.
 
A business plan is currently in the works, and Moroski says the long-term vision is to work with Xavier University professors to offer a business incubator course, which would be open to anyone—Lower Price Hill resident or not—who would eventually like to open a new space in Lower Price Hill.
 
Jack’s Diner will also enter the neighborhood, as it takes shape within the renovated property that once housed the Urban Appalachian Council. The diner will serve not only as the only restaurant within the neighborhood, but the upstairs will function as a service learning center for high schools and colleges.
 
“It serves the neighborhood, it could be a revenue stream for the nonprofit Community Matters, and it’s a gathering place,” Moroski says. “So now we have the opportunity to provide educational space and have another revenue generator for the school.” 

Do Good:

Support Community Matters through its crowdfunding campaign. 

Support the Lower Price Hill Community School by donating, volunteering or spreading the word.

Contact Mike Moroski if you're interested in volunteering. 

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. 


Zipline on down the road or dance in public with Join the Fun

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults engage in 20 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three times a week, or 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week.
 
But only 47 percent of adults in our region are attaining either of those amounts, according to the 2010 Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey.
 
So Interact for Health, formerly The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, in partnership with ArtsWave—supporter of more than 100 Greater Cincinnati arts organizations—have joined together to launch Join the Fun.
 
“The whole premise is about having social engagement and interaction so people can go out with family, with friends, or even just to a location where they know there will be a group of people doing some sort of activity they can join in,” says Jaime Love, program officer for healthy eating and active living at Interact for Health. 
 
The Join the Fun initiative funds 21 total grantees and will enable community members across the region to do things like dance in public, relax while practicing yoga and even zipline down a two-mile closed-off area of a public roadway.
 
“A lot of times, people just get used to their same routine and being inside, or being at home and not getting out with people,” Love says. “So this is an opportunity where they can say they’re not by themselves—there’s a group they can engage with—and they can do something for fun.” 

Do Good:

• Engage in Join the Fun activities. 

• Connect with Interact for Health and ArtsWave on Facebook.

Support ArtsWave.

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. 


 

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.

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