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West Sixth Brewing beer sales give back to Northern Kentucky nonprofits

Lexington-based West Sixth Brewing has made the consumption of craft beer not only tasty but also charitable through its Pay It Forward initiative. With every 6-pack of Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter sold, $1 is contributed to a local charity within its Kentucky distribution areas.
Stagnaro Distributing, the brewery’s Northern Kentucky-based distributor, is contributing $.50 of its own from each 6-pack’s sale. Last month, West Sixth Brewing and Stagnaro presented a check of nearly $3,000 to Children Inc., which advances the success of young children by partnering with families, professionals and the community through exemplary services, training, research and advocacy.
According to Matthew Fay, Villa Hills native and West Sixth Brewing partner, the vision of West Sixth has always gone beyond the brewing and selling of beer.
“Prior to selling a single beer, the mission of West Sixth was to not only brew great beer but to have a positive impact on the communities we are a part of,” he says. “We have put this mission in action through Sixth for a Cause and through numerous sponsorships and staff-organized volunteer days, but the Pay it Forward program provides a really concrete way that we can put this mission to action in all markets that our product is available.”
The Cure Starts Now Foundation, which is working toward “curing cancer one child at a time,” is this quarter’s local nonprofit recipient.
For Fay, it’s important to give back but particularly exciting to be able to do so in the Greater Cincinnati area.
“With the so many close friends and family in the area,” Fay says, “I am really excited to be able to partner with organizations that are doing great work in an area that I have such strong ties and still consider home.”
Do Good: 

• Grab a 6-pack of Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter to support The Cure Starts Now Foundation.

Nominate your favorite local nonprofit as a recipient for next quarter's Pay It Forward initiative. 

• Check out West Sixth Brewing's upcoming events in Cincinnati and make plans to attend.

World Refugee Day celebrated with companionship, resources and fun

The Junior League of Cincinnati’s RefugeeConnect program, in collaboration with the Red Cross, hosted its second annual World Refugee Day Cup Soccer Tournament recently as a way to welcome our region’s newest neighbors.
According to the JLC, there are 12,000-25,000 refugees living in Greater Cincinnati at any given time, so RefugeeConnect works to “unite and engage” the community for the purpose of assisting newcomers with a smooth transition as they get acclimated to a new culture and a new home.
“We are a nation of immigrants,” says Robyn Brown, co-chair of RefugeeConnect, which constructs a sustainable system of support for those making their way out of countries in turmoil.
About 600 individuals attended the June 13 soccer tournament, which, in addition to fun and gameplay, matched resettling refugees with various resources in the community — everything from free dental screenings on-site to valued connections with job training services. These are the types of connections that RefugeeConnect works to create on a yearly basis.
This past Saturday on World Refugee Day, for example, cyclists participated in a charity ride to fund the Dean Razzak RefugeeConnect Scholarship, which provides those entering higher education with a means of “finding meaningful employment as contributory members of our community and adopted country.”
And RefugeeConnect makes education a priority, as ESOL training courses are offered throughout the summer as a way to mitigate the language barrier.
“While many of our ancestors came to America generations ago,” Brown says, “others arrived more recently to seek a better life in this country,” and it’s RefugeeConnect’s mission to assist them in doing so. 

Do Good: 

• Support the educational and career goals of young refugees by contributing to the Dean Razzak RefugeeConnect Scholarship.

• Learn more about how to help refugees adjust to a new community by attending the next Refugee Empowerment Initiative meeting, July 17 at 3 p.m. at Xavier University's Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue.

• Connect with the Junior League of Cincinnati on Facebook.

Final contributions needed to support Homeless to Homes Shelter Collaborative

Strategies to End Homelessness, which leads a coordinated system of 30 nonprofit partners working toward better care for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, launched its Bring It Home campaign earlier this month in an effort to secure final fundraising dollars for the Homeless to Homes Shelter Collaborative.
An integral piece of the Homeless to Homes plan is improving local emergency shelters through the incorporation of five “service-enriched facilities.”
Four of the five new shelters are now operational, and the David and Rebecca Barron Center for men — formerly part of the Drop Inn Center — is scheduled to open its doors in September.
The Homeless to Homes Shelter Collaborative has raised $39 million of the $42 million goal set, but $2.7 million is still required so that the five shelters can fully assist individuals move away from and beyond their current situations.
One highlight of the improved shelter system offers daytime services like drug and alcohol treatment, medical and mental health care, job searching and training for residents.
According to Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, the facilities and added resources will lead to an improved quality of life for all Cincinnatians.
“The collective impact of these facilities will be to complete the transformation of our shelter system from one which once kept people safe in homelessness,” he says, “to a system that rapidly helps people out of homelessness.”

Do Good: 

Contribute to the Bring It Home campaign.

Volunteer with one of Strategies to End Homelessness' 30 partner agencies.

• Connect with Strategies to End Homelessness on Facebook.

SVDP seeks donations for families without air conditioning

St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati will distribute fans to 100 families in need on Wednesday, June 17. The distribution is part of a summer-long initiative to provide relief from the heat to the sick, elderly and those with young children.
According to Kristen Klein, SVDP’s director of development, the recent heat has been particularly difficult for some.
“Many do not have air conditioning,” she says. “This goes beyond being simply sweaty and uncomfortable. Food in a pantry starts to spoil when left in hot, humid conditions. Sleep is difficult at best.”
SVDP is partnering with with Huntington Bank, Braun Heating & Air Conditioning and Tedia to collect 700 fans and 400 air conditioning units, but they need your help.
“For families where every dollar is allocated, buying a fan or air conditioner would mean going without food for dinner or not having enough to pay the rent,” Klein says. “They can only hope that the heat wave doesn’t last too long. A $20 donation will buy an air conditioner for a family bringing a baby home from the hospital to a stuffy, second-floor apartment. A $100 donation will buy a window AC unit for a grandmother with COPD who struggles to breathe in the muggy air.”

Do Good:

• If you or a family you know is struggling to stay cool this summer, redeem a fan at 8:30 a.m. June 17 at the Liz Carter Outreach Center in the West End, 1125 Bank St. Fans will be distributed to the first 100 families in line. A photo ID is required, and there is a limit of one fan per household. If you can't make it that day, contact SVDP for assistance.

• Make a financial gift by phone at 513-421-HOPE (4673), online or at any Greater Cincinnati Huntington Bank location. $20 will provide a fan and $100 will provide an air conditioner. The fan and air conditioner drive continues through Aug. 31.

• Donate a new fan or air conditioner at St. Vincent de Paul’s Liz Carter Outreach Center or any one of the seven Thrift Stores.

Anonymous grant enables 15 vets to graduate debt-free from Union Institute

Union Institute & University has launched the Veterans in Union program to assist underemployed or low-income Pell-eligible military vets complete college or further their education with a master’s or doctoral degree, thanks to an anonymous grant of $293,000. The grant will allow for 15 initial recipients to receive a three-term $7,500 stipend for living expenses, though university officials say they hope to reach more vets in the near future.
For Geri Maples, program coordinator and wife of a disabled veteran, the program is particularly special because it’s a way to give back to those who have already given of themselves.
“When I think about the sacrifice our vets make, I think mainly of the fact that for the most part they’re putting their lives on hold,” Maples says. “The pursuit of their dreams is another sacrifice made. One of the biggest reasons soldiers join the Armed Forces is not only to serve their country but also to receive the educational benefits. These benefits make the pursuit of their dreams possible.”
Walnut Hills-based Union Institute offers both online and low-residency programs to enable students to pursue education without interrupting other obligations like careers and family. Veterans in Union will offer a seven-step approach aimed at making sure individualized needs are met educationally, emotionally and socially.
“The ultimate goal is to provide personal academic and career coaching services along with employment opportunities,” Maples says. “In addition, we want these students to have all the tools necessary to be successful beyond graduation. We personalize the process for each veteran from the initial response to their interest inquiries, admission and enrollment, tutoring, wellness seminars for healthy lifestyle success, career coaching and employment exploration.”

Do Good: 

• Veterans in Union grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Apply by July 1 for consideration.

• Check out other Union Institute & University scholarship opportunities for veterans and active duty military.

• Support the university and its students by giving.

Shriners Hospital committed to physical, mental and emotional healing

When he was just 7 months old, Kaj was involved in a car accident that resulted in third-degree burns covering 30 percent of his body. He was life-flighted to Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati, which specializes in burn care and cleft lip and palate.
Shriners is committed to “Care beyond cost,” as no family is ever turned down because of finances, and it’s this sort of generosity that extends into all measures of a patient’s life when in the hospital’s care.
“What stood out to me the most was the genuine compassion of our social worker,” says Amanda Shrode, Kaj’s mother. “Immediately she helped me cope with what had just happened to my son, in the most comprehensive and sensitive way. She provided our family with everything we needed and answered questions I hadn't even thought to ask. For the rest of my life, I will never be able to express how much this meant to me, and still does.”
Kaj is now a healthy 3-year-old boy, though he will most likely require follow-up surgeries  — as do most burn victims — to ensure his future ease of mobility. And Shriners will provide services to him until adulthood.
At Shriners, however, services consist of more than quality medical treatment. Staffers are committed to nurturing the physical, mental and emotional healing of individuals and their families.
Camp Ytiliba (Ability spelled backwards), for example, is a three-night camping trip sponsored by the hospital to inspire confidence and connection among children with similar medical issues. Children return from the 26th annual outing Wednesday, June 3.
For Shrode, the care provided from Shriners is meaningful, as the staff works to create a warm atmosphere by building relationships.
“The staff at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital feels like family to me and Kaj,” Shrode says. “It’s about making sure your kids feel comfortable in their own skin.”

Do Good: 

• Support Shriners Hospitals for Children by donating.

Volunteer at Shriners.

• Connect with the Shriners Cincinnati on Facebook, where you can see photos of kids enjoying Camp Ytiliba.

People Working Cooperatively volunteers make 33rd annual Repair Affair a success

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, People Working Cooperatively recently completed its 33rd annual Repair Affair by fixing 40 homes for individuals who were unable to either afford or complete the repairs themselves.
Roofing, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing comprised the skill sets of more than 300 volunteers who came together to make this year’s outing a success. Porches were rebuilt, doorbells fixed and ramps installed — projects ranging widely in size and scope — in order to make more livable, safer homes for elderly individuals, individuals with disabilities and individuals struggling to make ends meet.
According to Kim Sullivan, PWC’s marketing and communications manager, the repairs offered were “life-saving.”
“From ramps to handrails to replaced porches, they (volunteers) kept our clients safe and independent in their homes,” Sullivan says.
Repair Affair, presented by the city of Cincinnati and The Home Depot, is just one of the many initiatives offered by PWC and its volunteer base, which works year-round to repair homes, to conserve energy through weatherization and to modify aspects within the home's interior and exterior to allow for increased mobility.
“We always need donations to support these services,” Sullivan says. “We need volunteers year-round.” 

Do Good:

• Support the work of People Working Cooperatively by donating.

• If you're interested in volunteering with PWC, contact Aaron Grant at 513-351-7921.

• Connect with PWC on Facebook.

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.
273 Health + Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All
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