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Health + Wellness : For Good

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Young Survival Coalition helps create support network for cancer patients

Stephanie Getz survived breast cancer with the help of friends and family. The former Ben-Gal cheerleader found an immense support network through Facebook; her page, Team Stephanie connects her with hundreds of people going through similar medical situations. This community of fellow cancer patients and loved ones prompted her to help start the Cincinnati chapter of the Young Survival Coalition, a national organization dedicated to educating and aiding young women diagnosed with cancer.

“When I went through my cancer I did it solo,” Getz says, referring to official organizations focused on cancer care. “I had a few people I met at Christ [Hospital] and on Facebook that I talked to, but there wasn’t a patient navigator at that time to help me get with the right organizations. Deena Casey came on board at Christ as the patient navigator during my chemo and we met, but I was never referred to her. She had so many younger women being referred to her that asked for a group where they could meet up and talk with women their age going through the same things they were, so she looked into starting the Cincinnati chapter for that reason and asked a handful of us to lead it.”

The new group has had two formal meetings with about 15 in attendance. At the meetings, survivors and patients discuss their own lives, how cancer has changed it, what resources are available to them and who they can lean on.

“The best thing for someone with cancer is to be able to talk to others who have been there because there aren’t any black and white answers and the doctors are hesitant to answer questions because of that," Getz says. "In this organization, you can meet others like you and ask questions.”

Each meeting has a different theme: physical therapy and exercise, grief, wellness and even pampering, with a future meeting revolving around massages and cosmetics.

Informal meetings started springing up within the organization, where attendees share dinner or participate in a leisurely activity such as a group walk.

Getz is passionate about helping the community she’s become a part of: She interacts with her Facebook friends on her Team Stephanie page on a daily basis, sharing her experiences and simply being a willing ear to hear someone’s worries about cancer.

“I am lending my hats to women to use [during chemotherapy treatments] and then they will give them back to lend to someone else,” Getz says. “I didn’t miss a day of work except chemo days and three weeks for my mastectomy. I went in every other day including the days I had radiation. I just decided it wasn’t going to beat me. I am a very healthy person in that I continued to work out with my trainer and eat healthy. My fans on Facebook inspired me to get up every day even though they said I inspired them.”

For more information on Young Survival Coalition, visit www.youngsurvival.org.

Caracole facilitates stable housing so focus remains on health

When Linda Seiter, executive director of Caracole first became involved with the organization in the late 1980s, she says she was drawn to it because she was concerned and appalled at the opposition it received.
“I was starting to see friends die from HIV,” Seiter says. “Then I learned about this new organization that was trying to get housing for HIV/AIDS off the ground; and at the time there was tons of opposition—it was a really hard time—trying to open a house to take care of people as they died, so I got involved.”
Caracole’s mission has evolved over the years, but for its 1,400 clients, services are still much needed.
The nonprofit, located in Northside, provides about 120 units of permanent housing, 22 beds for transitional housing, case management and, as of last month, pharmacy services.
“There is still so much stigma related to HIV, and it continues to surprise me how alone our clients feel,” Seiter says.
According to Seiter, children of the women the nonprofit serves don’t even know their mothers are HIV-positive—let alone the rest of their family members.
“So we provide a safe place for people to talk about their issues related to HIV, and then, for housing—two-thirds of our clients make less than $15,000 dollars each year,” Seiter says. “And without stable housing, how could anyone be healthy, let alone with a chronic disease? And that’s where we come in—helping someone who’s homeless or not permanently housed find a permanent housing situation so they can focus on their health.” 

Do Good:

•    If you or someone you know is HIV-positive, seek support here

•    Support Caracole by volunteering or getting involved by attending an upcoming event

•    Support Caracole financially or through in-kind donations.

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. 


Eleven local communities receive grants to increase physical fitness opportunities

Eleven area communities and organizations are the recipients of Interact for Health grants to develop or improve upon spaces for physical activity.
“It’s all about creating infrastructure in places where people can be physically active,” says Jaime Love, Interact for Health’s program officer for healthy eating and active living.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, for example, was one the eleven organizations awarded; and as a result, Latonia Elementary School will be the site of a new area from which the whole community can benefit.
“They worked in partnership to convert the dilapidated playground at the school and turn it into a community park,” Love says. “So there’ll be a new playground, fitness equipment—there’ll be a walking track—and it really will be something that both the school and the community residents can enjoy.”
Other organizations will receive things like a pool lift to increase accessibility, and exercise equipment to add to a fitness trail.
According to Love, creating a culture of wellness where people have easy access to physical activity is the goal.
“We want to encourage public places that are free of charge as well, because we know cost can be a barrier to some people being able to participate,” Love says.
“So when we have lots of public spaces that are safe and up to date and easily accessible—people can walk or bike to them, they’re not too far away from their homes—that just increases the likelihood that they can get out with their family and friends and have some activity on a regular basis.”

Do Good:

•    Check out the 11 physical activity and environments grantees, and make use of the spaces when they become available for use.

•    If you're interested in applying for a grant to receive funds for physical activity environments in 2015, there is still time. Proposals are due by noon, May 1. 

•    Connect with 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. 


Personal Guardianship Services connects with clients by taking family dogs on visits

Wanda Bevington founded Personal Guardianship Services in 2003, and since that time, the nonprofit has served the needs of its clients by helping them make integral financial and medical decisions.
“We’re court-appointed decision-makers,” Bevington says. “But we’re also that family member they don’t have.”
According to Bevington, no one wants to have a guardian, so it’s important to make the experience as meaningful as possible.
One way the guardians do that is by taking their personal pets, Haylee, Mocha, Sadie and Thor, respectively, along with them on nursing and group home visits.
“We had a client, and it initially seemed like there wasn’t anything we could do to connect with her,” Bevington says. “So we went to the nursing home, knocked on her door, and asked, ‘Do you like dogs?’ And the response was, 'No, I love dogs!’ And it’s that conversation piece—it calms people down—just being able to pet the dogs.”
Oftentimes, the visits from the guardians and their dogs are the only ones PGS clients have to look forward to; so the organization takes an initially difficult-to-accept situation for an individual and turns the experience into a positive one.
“We try to visit our clients every month, or someone from the office visits them every month. Even if it’s not a guardian, they really look forward to it,” Bevington says. “And once they begin to connect with us—most of our clients don’t have any visitors at all—it just really helps them.”

Do Good: 

Contact PGS if you're interested in becoming a board member, or if you would like to support the organization. 

• If you are a local groomer, contact Wanda if you would be interested in donating your services. Dogs require frequent grooming because of clients' fragile skin. 
• PGS just joined Facebook. Help welcome them to the social networking community by liking their page and sharing it with your friends.

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. 

Girls on the Run to celebrate 10 years and 10,000 girls

Girls on the Run Cincinnati will celebrate its 10-year anniversary May 10 as 104 teams of girls cross the finish line of what will be, for many of them, their first 5k

“We like to say it’s a party with a race at the end,” says Mary Gaertner, GotR senior program manager. 

And according to Gaertner, there’s a lot to celebrate this season. In addition to 10 years of inspiring third- through eighth-grade girls with self-confidence, the nonprofit will also celebrate coaching its 10,000th girl. 

“There’s definitely a few girls I can think of that this is maybe the first physical activity they’ve done, and they went on to run cross country in high school,” Gaertner says. “Or they credit it with giving them the confidence to stand up to bullies or to pursue other goals they have.” 

By the time the race occurs, the girls will have spent six hours a week for the past 12 weeks engaging in a lesson-based curriculum that incorporates running; so the event is a culmination of their hard work. 

“My favorite thing is to stand at the finish line, and when you see the girls coming and they see that finish line in site, they understand what they’ve done,” Gaertner says. “It’s a delayed gratification to work 12 weeks for something—it’s significant.” 

Do Good:

• Support GotR by registering for the 5k or by volunteering at the event. 

• If you are participating in a race with any organization, support GotR by joining the SoleMates program.

Register your girl for the fall session of GotR, or sign up to be a volunteer coach.

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. 

Poverty simulation provides deeper understanding of being poor

It’s one thing to read about and become knowledgeable about the culture of poverty, but for Joan Kaup, executive director of Social Venture Partners Cincinnati, it doesn’t compare to actually living the experience.
SVP Cincinnati is composed of engaged philanthropists who assist nonprofits in better achieving their missions; so for Kaup, truly understanding what it’s like to live in poverty will help SVP better serve its investees.
“I want the deeper understanding. I want the empathy,” Kaup says.
To gain that deeper understanding, SVP is producing a poverty simulation for its partner units and anyone else that wants to have a conversation about why 316,000 adults and 167,000 children from the Tri-State are living in poverty, and what can be done about it.
“We’ll come in and get our personalities, so maybe we’re paired with two other people—one of the kids is in sixth grade, one’s dropped out of high school, mom has a medical condition,” Kaup says.
“You’ll have 10-minute ‘days’ only to find that now here you are out of time, out of money—you used all your food stamps, public transportation is running late, you didn’t get to your job on time, didn’t get your children on time—it’s these kinds of things that happen with the lifestyle.”
The event will take place Thursday from 5:30-8 p.m. at The E.W. Scripps Company.
“In this country we now have a culture of poverty,” Kaup says. “You have families who are third-generation poverty—it’s a different mindset and culture—so how can we learn to respect and support each other from a cultural standpoint?” 

Do Good: 

RSVP to attend the poverty simulation.

• If you're interested in learning more about venture philanthropy, contact Joan Kaup. 

• Consider becoming a partner.

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. 

Fifth Third Bank encourages everyone to join them in standing up to cancer

Fifth Third Bank is known as “the curious bank,” but according to Meaghan Madges, new media and PR manager, it’s more than just a tagline.
“We really believe in finding unique ways of giving back and improving the lives of the communities that we serve,” Madges says.
One way Cincinnati’s regional bank is doing that is through its Pay To The Order Of campaign.
“As part of the campaign, we asked the question, ‘Can a checking account help fight cancer?’ And the Pay To The Order Of campaign is really looking at how checking accounts can drive donations to cancer research,” Madges says. 
The campaign launched in late January and extends through April 15. For each new customer who opens a checking account with direct deposit, then makes three online bill payments, Fifth Third will donate $150 dollars to the customer and $150 dollars to Stand Up To Cancer.
“People tend to really activate when there’s something in it for them as well,” Madges says. “So we’ve had customers come in and open accounts and actually ask that their $150 dollars also be donated to Stand Up To Cancer, so there are those coming in saying, ‘I don’t want this,’ and ‘I want the full amount to go to SU2C.’”
The Pay To The Order Of campaign extends beyond the reach of new customers, though. It’s a way for anyone with access to social media to help fund SU2C researchers who work collaboratively to accelerate the process of finding cancer treatments.
“It’s really a way for everyone to get involved sharing their stories and how they’ve been impacted or how their loved ones were, so we’re also donating $1 to Stand Up 2 Cancer for each eligible use of the #PayToTheOrderOf hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Vine,” Madges says.
To date, Fifth Third has donated $722,471 dollars to SU2C.

Do Good: 

• Support SU2C by donating.

Apply for a Fifth Third checking account with direct deposit, and make three online bill payments by April 15 to participate in the Pay To The Order Of promotion.

• Engage in the Pay To The Order Of online promotion by uploading a photo of the individual you're "standing up" for, or by using the #PayToTheOrderOf hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine. The online campaign runs through June 30. 

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. 

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.

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