| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

For Good

801 Articles | Page: | Show All

NKCAC serves as community resource to empower individuals and families

For individuals like James who face adverse conditions in life but still prevail, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission serves as a resource — and has been for the past 47 years.
James, like many 16-year-olds, had made a decision that he later regretted, and he ended up in jail as a result. So he enrolled in the nonprofit’s YouthBuild program, which services young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 by assisting them with education and career-based goals and preparations.
“We were able to help him get his GED and get job skills for him, and now he is working in the food service industry, where before he couldn’t keep a job for more than a few weeks at a time and was couch-surfing,” says Florence Tandy, NKCAC’s executive director. “He credits YouthBuild with making that transformation, but I credit him for being ready for that transformation, because he’s just the neatest young man you’ll ever meet and he’s going to go far once he gets behind his convictions.”
According to Tandy, the nonprofit sees about 10,000 families in a year’s time, which translates to about 25,000 individuals.
Whether it’s through the organization’s early childhood education, financial assistance or career preparation services, the mission is to help “hard-working families realize and reinvest in their future.”
“We have neighborhood centers in each of our eight counties to provide crisis assistance for families who find themselves struggling to pay all their bills,” Tandy says, “and we have a former client of one of those centers who applied for a job when we had an opening and who had struggled with drug addiction in the past but was clean and sober when she came to us.
“So we gave her a temporary position during our busiest season, and that temporary position turned into a permanent position and now she’s a manager of that center and has just shown remarkable promise and resiliency and dedication to her clients and her staff that she now supervises. I don’t know if there’s too many businesses or organizations that would have given her a chance, but we did.” 

Do Good: 

•    NKCAC is looking for AmeriCorps members to join its team. The nonprofit is currently accepting applications.

•    Contact NKCAC if you're interested in employing its clients who go through career readiness preparations.

•    If you're interested in mentoring a student in the YouthBuild program, volunteer.

Healthy Visions delivers powerful, impactful program to teens by sharing stories

It’s not often that a high school student is sick but begs her mother to allow her to go to school anyway, so she doesn't miss out. But with Healthy Visions, a nonprofit that partners with local high schools to empower students with the tools needed to navigate tricky situations but still come out on top, it actually happens.
“It’s because we use young, relatable people that are cool,” says the nonprofit’s director, Carole Adlard, who founded the organization 29 years ago because she says she “saw the emptiness” in youth and “wanted to give them grounding and focus so they’d want to get up in the morning and do things.”
It’s through individuals like Drà — short for Ladrà — who go into high school classrooms and connect with students by employing humor to teach about relevant topics like relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol prevention, self harm, self esteem and acceptance. But it’s ultimately through Healthy Visions representatives’ openness and honesty that they’re able to connect.
Drà and his cousin, for example, were raised in the same household, Drà by his dad and his cousin by his aunt. They came from the same situation — one that was less than desirable, involving drugs, poverty and roaches — but took different paths.
“There’s no preaching going on with this,” Adlard says. “It’s very much discussion-based, so that’s the key aspect there, so that the kids don’t feel like they’ve been lectured. They feel like it’s a peer who’s had a little more experience than them, sharing.”
And it’s effective. In a survey conducted in May 2014, after having completed Healthy Visions’ programming 72 percent said they had stopped bullying, 52 percent said they had stopped using or selling drugs, 62 percent got out of an unhealthy relationship and 81 percent said they felt better about themselves.
“There isn’t anybody else that reaches people exactly where they are, with someone with their exact situation, and says, ‘We’re going to give you the critical thinking skills and the tools to do exactly what you want to do,'” Adlard says. “It’s the only program I’ve ever known to have lifelong changes for students, and it truly does change lives. I’m absolutely in awe of it.” 

Do Good:

•    Healthy Visions is seeking volunteer mentors. Contact the nonprofit if you or your business is interested in helping.

•    Healthy Visions is launching online programming so course content can reach teens outside of the Tristate. If you have skills to offer with regard to IT, marketing or crowdsourcing, contact Carole Adlard.

•    Connect with Healthy Visions on Facebook.

Cincy ReelAbilities to showcase individuals, films that inspire

When Stephen Wampler was 42, he completed the 7,569-foot vertical climb to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Wampler has cerebral palsy and used his upper body strength and sheer will power to complete the six-day climb in an effort to show children with physical disabilities that they're capable of anything.
“In 2002, I had this nagging urge to give back to kids that needed the same experience I had as a child,” Wampler says.
So he founded the Wampler Foundation to enable other children to attend wilderness camps, which he says were “life changing” experiences for him as a child.
“To get them away from their mom and dad for the first time and to watch them experience the first day and realize, ‘Wow, I’m really out of my comfort zone, I’m really out there,’ changes them forever,” Wampler says. “They experience something that they never thought was possible.”
The foundation was at a crossroad in terms of growth in 2008, however, so Wampler wanted to do something big — he chose El Capitan. 
“That was my first real climb in my entire life,” Wampler says. “You go from euphoria to sadness to being really, really mad and irritated to happy to wondering why I was there. Every emotion goes through your brain all the time, and it was just really exhausting.”
But it was worth it, Wampler says, as his foundation has become more recognized, enabling more children to be inspired and attend camp.
It’s these inspiring stories that will be showcased on the big screen at the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival.
Wampler, among other notable individuals like Oscar and Golden Globe winning actress Marlee Matlin, will be in attendance for the region’s largest film festival, which is organized by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled and benefits local nonprofits.
Wampler’s Ascent, which draws viewers in to his drive to inspire and show others that nothing is impossible, will be shown March 4 and followed up with a question-and-answer session.
“Racing down the stereotype is the bigger picture of why I did it,” Wampler says. “And I think that once people get to know other people, that barrier comes down for them.”

Do Good:

•    Purchase tickets to view Wampler's Ascent on March 4.

•   Check out trailers for other films to be showcased at the festival Feb. 27-March 7 and purchase tickets.   

•    If you're interested in getting involved, sign up to volunteer at the festival.

SVP Fast Pitch semifinalists prep for February competition

Twenty semifinalists have been chosen for Social Venture Partners Cincinnati’s 2015 Fast Pitch competition, and the nonprofits selected are hard at work honing their presentations. The Feb. 11 finals at Memorial Hall are intended to help nonprofits inform the public about their work via three-minute pitches.
Eight finalists will ultimately compete, but before the cutdown the 20 semifinalists attended a training session Jan. 10 on the essence of storytelling, led by Liz Knuppel, managing partner of Skystone Partners.

“The Saturday morning session helped us to re-focus on our most basic, compelling story,” says Florence Tandy, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, one of the semifinalists selected. “We know what we do, why we do it, of course. But the process we went through at the workshop helped us break our mission and services down in a different way.”
Dean Kirker of Healthy Visions, also a semifinalist, shared similar sentiments.
“We work with junior high and high school students in an effort to equip them with the critical thinking skills and resiliency necessary to make better choices and have stronger, healthier relationships in the future,” Kirker says. “Trying to take an entire organization and whittle our mission, our impact, our needs and our vision into 180 seconds seems like a monumental task, but the men and women of SVP and Skystone made it all possible.”
For SVP, being able to successfully make that quick delivery is key.
“It’s important that nonprofits tell their story in a clear and compelling way that inspires individuals and foundations to want to financially support them and their mission,” says Melisse May, Social Venture Partners member and Chair of Fast Pitch 2015.
More than $30,000 in awards will be given out at this year’s competition, and a single nonprofit will have the opportunity to win the public’s vote and potentially take away $10,000. Yet the training itself is a valuable investment for the organizations regardless of whether or not they win the competition.
“The coaching provided was extremely beneficial,” says Angela Laman of Adopt a Book, also a semifinalist. “Hearing the responses and suggestions from the other semifinalists was also helpful. I felt like SVP and the other organizations that came to present, such as Flywheel and Giveunity, are really invested in wanting to see the organizations succeed.” 

Do Good:

•    Attend SVP's Fast Pitch on Feb. 11 at Memorial Hall, Over-the-Rhine.

•    Contact SVP's Joan Kaup if you're interested in getting involved and sponsoring the event. 

•    Connect with SVP Cincinnati on Facebook.

May We Help volunteers change lives with custom-built devices for individuals with disabilities

May We Help has been serving individuals with disabilities for the past 12 years, helping clients fulfill their passions and accomplish tasks that aren't considered necessities while also dispelling myths about impossibility.
“We’re changing lives on a very individual basis, but I want to see May We Help push the bar and continue to be legitimately disruptive,” says Chris Kubik, the nonprofit’s project director. "There are currently more organizations doing more good than ever, but at the same exact time, there are still massive mountains in the disability scene that make life financially, socially, and emotionally an endless uphill struggle.”

But according to Kubik nothing should be assumed and nothing should be considered outside the realm of possibility.
The organization assists clients by tapping into its network of volunteers to create custom-made assistance devices — everything from an adjustable harmonica holder mounted on a wheelchair so clients like Justin can switch harmonicas easily and keep up with the other members of his blues band — to physical therapy scooters.
“One I thought was pretty amazing we did this last year was Logan’s walker,” Kubik says. "He’s a young boy adopted from Ukraine, and he was born missing some limbs — not entirely — but with limb differences, so he had two different leg prostheses, one longer than the other, and he was learning to walk for the first time."
May We Help worked with Logan’s physical therapist so volunteers working on Logan’s design would have a contact point, because the goal, Kubik says, is to always work do something that’s a net positive.
“We realized that Logan was in a strange in-between place — rolling around on the ground successfully and getting where he needed to be, but crawling — and that was the entirety of his mobility and what he was, what he knew,” Kubik says. “And it was a constant moving target, because his parents were determined to push Logan to the limits of his ability, and he was able to dish it right back and was progressing.”
So May We Help volunteers started by taking a donated reverse-K walker and created an area Kubik says looked like arm rests but was actually a place for Logan to hang his shoulders. Volunteers cut holes so he could steer and balance with his residual limbs, which allowed for his posture to start becoming more erect.
“We then moved to a socket approach where we were using end caps from PVC fittings — putting them in there like sockets — and he’d steer with that,” Kubik says. “Then his posture became so good we got a phone call about three months after starting development, which was basically, ‘Hey, we don’t need the walker anymore. Logan’s walking independently.’”
According to Kubik, no one thought Logan could walk period.
“The parents usually are the first ones who don't believe, and challenge that kind of limiting diagnosis,” Kubik says. “Kids don’t know what they can’t do or what’s off limits. We’ve seen raw determination, and we get to be their hands and feet.” 

Do Good: 

•    If you or someone you know of is in need of a device from May We Help, request one here.

•    Support May We Help by donating.

•    If you have skills to offer and want to get involved, volunteer with May We Help, whose office is in Mariemont.

Ameritas employees log thousands of volunteer hours, invest in community giving

Cincinnati’s office of Ameritas, a financial services company, is committed to giving back to the community to further improve the areas in which its employees “live, work and play.” To showcase that ideal, the company recently launched The Hours Project.
To date, Ameritas employees nationwide have donated 16,369 total hours. Its Cincinnati employees are heavily involved in the project and have engaged in everything from serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House and the Over-the-Rhine Kitchen to providing educational assistance at local elementary schools and landscaping for the elderly.
“Being able to give back to the community makes me proud to work for Ameritas,” says Jennifer Mueller, disability claims examiner and member of Ameritas’ Community Involvement Council. “I know that we care about helping others. Part of our mission is about ‘fulfilling life,’ and we really do that.”
Mueller led more than 20 employees at this past year's annual Community Care Day, where she says she and her coworkers engaged in activity like trimming, power washing, removing dead trees from Mercy Community at Winton Woods' senior living facility's property and cleaning up flower beds.
“Fulfilling life” is something Ameritas employees are doing on a daily basis by helping clients to protect what's most important to them, but for Mueller it’s gratifying to be able to extend that reach beyond the company’s typical clientele.
“We not only give of our time, but we also give monetarily each year to worthy causes, like the arts in Cincinnati,” Mueller says. “It’s so important that my company gives back to the community. It shows that we are invested in Cincinnati and especially Forest Park, where we are located.”  

Do Good:

•    If you're a local business, initiate an activity or activities to give back to your community. 

•    Contact The Hours Project if you have an idea to share.

•    Support local nonprofits by giving monetarily. 

Drive starts to collect luggage for kids in foster care

Cases for Love launched today to collect suitcases for 1,200 local children in foster care who move from home to home, oftentimes carrying their belongings in a box or large garbage bag. Cincinnati’s Julie Philippi-Whitney was inspired to start the collection on a local level after having seen a national news story that she says brought her to tears.
As just one person, Philippi-Whitney knew she needed the support of the community, and Sibcy Cline Realtors shared similar sentiments and stepped in to join the community-wide effort. All 22 of its offices throughout the Tristate, in addition to Second Story Auctions in Blue Ash, will serve as collection points for donated luggage. The collection will run through Feb. 14.
“As a local business, our real estate agents work in and are involved with our communities every day,” says Susan Knabe, Sibcy Cline’s director of marketing. “It feels really good to give back by serving as a collection point for suitcase donations as well as encouraging all of our agents and employees to donate as well.”
University Moving and Storage Co. — also a collection point at its West Chester location — has volunteered as a community partner to transport the suitcases to 900 children in foster care through Hamilton County Job & Family Services as well as 300 children through Butler County’s Warm Welcomes.
For local businesses who aid in the process of transitioning from one place to another, it’s particularly meaningful to be involved in the luggage drive.
“For most people, home means ‘safety’ and ‘love’,” Knabe says. “We know these foster children must be frightened when they have to move to a new home and cannot imagine having to tote belongings in a trash bag or cardboard box, often quite suddenly or unexpectedly in a time of crisis. It is our hope that a suitcase will help make these kids feel better in their circumstances and help ease their transition as they settle into their new homes.”

Do Good:

•    Donate new or gently used suitcases, totes, duffel bags, etc. to Cases for Love. Sibcy Cline office locations are listed here.

•    "Like" Cases for Love on Facebook, and share the page with your friends.

•    Connect with HCJFS and Warm Welcomes on Facebook.


Life Learning Center supports clients to ensure success

Covington’s Life Learning Center, which relocated and received a makeover in 2014, is prepped and ready for 2015.
In addition to added classrooms, a new computer lab, a kids corner and a cafeteria — all of which were already in use as 2014 neared its end — the center also added a fitness center as part of its renovation. And according to the nonprofit’s president, Karen Ellis, clients are “chomping at the bit” to incorporate the fitness center into their 2015 daily regimens. 
“Many of our urban areas don’t have accessible fitness centers, and a lot of our population we service don’t have the available funds to join a fitness center,” Ellis says. “So the physical well being is an area they lack — they just don’t have that extra income to devote to being healthy — so that’s a huge benefit.”
The fitness center is state-of-the-art, with treadmills, step machines, an array of training equipment and an entire aerobics area, which Ellis says can be used for “yoga, Pilates and CrossFit-type activities.”
The Life Learning Center assists “at risk” clients in virtually all aspects of life, pairing them with a life coach. The curriculum shifts from week-long intensive sessions with a cohort to less time-intensive weeks, intended for things like job searching and interview preparation.
And the program is a success. According to Ellis, “87 percent of our candidates are employed, and then at the six-month mark 68 percent of them have maintained that employment (and) at the 12-month mark 63 percent have retained employment, so that’s pretty remarkable.”
It’s because of the lifelong support the organization provides, in addition to the added components that promote health and wellness, Ellis says, that the Life Learning Center is able to serve as a unique community organization and ensure success for its clients.
“Once you’ve gone through the program, you’re a member for life, so at any point they need support again — job change happens more than one time in your life — if they need help reorganizing a resume, if they need life coaching and come across a crossroads in their life and need help from someone with better guidance or insight, they’re welcome to come back as alumni, welcome to use the fitness center for the rest of their life,” Ellis says. “We want to make sure we’re offering the complete transition, not just the 15 weeks where it was great having you here. We want to be a solution for life.” 

Do Good:

•    The Life Learning Center is always open to referrals for clients in need of assistance. Contact the organization if you know of someone who could benefit from its services. 

•    Contact the center if you're a local business interested in partnering to provide employment opportunities to its clients.

•    If you're interested in being a mentor, contact the Life Learning Center, as the organization is always in need of individuals to serve as helpful and positive role models for clients. 

DAAP students lead hands-on effort to fix vacant lots

Students from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning have spent the past two years working with the City of Cincinnati, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Building Value to propose sustainable ideas to neighborhoods about what can be done with vacant lots.
“It’s a major land use issue, it’s a planning issue, it’s an economic issue, it’s a social issue, it’s a cultural issue,” says Virginia Russell, facilitator of the Vacant Lots: Occupied project at DAAP.
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful approached Russell, director of DAAP's horticulture program, to come up with a plant-based response as opposed to “turf and mowing.”
So Russell recruited Ryan Geismar, adjunct professor and landscape architect with Human Nature Inc., to get students together for a charrette — an intensive class that met for an entire weekend — and periodically reconvened throughout the course to meet with community stakeholders to discuss ideas.
“It was an academic way to get students of architecture, planning and horticulture together to imagine what those lots could be,” Russell says. “Because they can’t all be community gardens, they can’t all be pop up micro pubs, they can’t all be this one cool thing.”
In the first iteration of the class, DAAP students created the pattern book Vacant Lots: Occupied, which is meant to serve as a resource for neighborhoods when determining what they can or should do with their newly deconstructed properties.
“Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is working with citizens groups to say, ‘Here’s the pattern book. This is what we recommend that you do,’” Russell says. “So you’re thinking about doing a community garden? Here are some things you need to think about before you do that move. You want to do a pop up cinema? Here are the patterns you need to view.”
The project is a win-win for all parties involved, and the students are certainly benefitting. The horticulture capstone class received 2014 Honor Awards — the highest honors — for their work from both the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Cincinnati Design Awards.
“Any time the students get to work directly with the people who benefit from their work, it’s all good,” Russell says. “The students really enjoy the work, and we had two students who were born and raised in Price Hill [the neighborhood served in this fall’s capstone course], so that was really helpful. But we’ve had students from all over the world working on these projects — three students from France in the fall class — and they just had this image of what they see on the news, the bombed out neighborhoods like Detroit and things like that, so they learned a lot about the truth of the vacant lot problem.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the work Keep Cincinnati Beautiful does by donating.

•    Do your part in keeping Cincinnati beautiful by volunteering.

•    Connect with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful on Facebook.

Downtown Public Library to expand technological offerings with Makerspace

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s main downtown branch will become the home for a revamped TechCenter and brand new Makerspace Jan. 26. For Ella Mulford-Chinn, team leader of the new space, the hope is to reach new audience members and bring a new demographic of users into the library.
Mulford-Chinn, 28, who is a YWCA Rising Star and who was also chosen by the American Library Association as an Emerging Leader in Libraries, initiated maker programs when she served as teen librarian at the Mt. Washington branch.
“It all started with a curiosity about 3D Printing that helped me discover an entire community of people who were interested in teaching and learning about new technologies,” Mulford-Chinn says. “Libraries across the country had just started implementing programs like this, so I decided to take a chance.”
According to Mulford-Chinn, it was a huge success.
“I was having teens and tweens coming in from around the city to learn about robotics, soldering, computer circuitry and app/ video game creation,” she says. “Nothing is scarier than a bunch of 10-18 year olds with soldering irons, but they were so respectful with the tools. They knew they were doing something special.”
Now an even wider audience will have the chance to collaborate with one another by sharing ideas and working in a space that facilitates their creativity and inventiveness.
After the downtown branch purchased a 3D printer in May 2014, a committee came together to discuss the ways in which even more technology could be offered to the public, and now that dream has become a reality.
The new downtown space will have various maker stations and include equipment and technologies like a sound recording booth and a laser cutter that can do everything from engraving glass bottles to burning wood.
“People will be able to go into this booth and make their own personal recordings, like in a studio,” Mulford-Chinn says. “We will have music mixing and media available for people to record and take their projects home with them. I think the teens are really going to love this. I am so excited to work with them and show them how to create their own media and not just consume it.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the library through the Library Friends or the Library Foundation.

•    Volunteer at the library.

•    Contact Ella to share your skills in the new Makerspace.

Calling all volunteers: SVDP seeks help year-round

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati clients, many who live paycheck to paycheck, wouldn’t be celebrating the holidays without the help of SVDP volunteers who provide things like gifts and food baskets to make it all possible.
“While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many, for families living in poverty the holidays can sometimes be a season of hopelessness and despair,” says Kristen Klein, Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Director of Development.
All parents want the best for their children, Klein says, and volunteers are able to provide a much-needed ray of hope for families “who are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table.”
According to Klein, volunteers contribute more than 25,000 hours of service during the last three months of each year alone, but the need for their service doesn't stop once the holidays have passed.
“Each day, volunteers in our neighborhood volunteer groups visit homes of people in need,” Klein says. “With grace and humility, they strive to find out how they can help someone who is struggling.”
Some donate their time by visiting homes of individuals in need, answering phones at the West End Outreach Center and working at the food pantry, while others donate items — everything from food and clothing to furniture and vehicles.
“St. Vincent de Paul was founded as a volunteer organization, and volunteers remain as the lifeblood of the organization to this day,” Klein says. “We are incredibly grateful for all of the support we receive from so many. We simply wouldn’t exist without our volunteers.”

Do Good:

•    Support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul clients by donating.

•    Volunteer with SVDP.

•    Donate items throughout the year. 

Faces Without Places receives gift donations for 500 local kids

The Jonnie Stephenson Foundation hosted its ninth annual toy drive this month to benefit Faces Without Places, a nonprofit that “empowers lives by removing educational barriers and providing enrichment opportunities for local children experiencing homelessness.”
The toy drive allows for about 500 children to have a holiday season in which they experience the joy of receiving, as most other children are afforded the opportunity to do.
“So many families talk about how cool it is to be able to participate, especially this time of year when their kids are going to school with each other,” says Ramin Mohajer, Executive Director of Faces Without Places.
When delivering gifts last year, Mohajer says he dressed as Santa for a party at Interfaith Hospitality Network’s shelter in Walnut Hills.
“It’s a really amazing experience,” he says. “Kids enjoy it so much and get so excited. One child kept questioning me whether or not I was the real Santa Claus, and finally I convinced him I was.”
At some of the shelters, rather than dressing as Santa, Mohajer and other representatives from the nonprofit drop gifts off to parents, who can then choose what they would like to provide their child with rather than simply being given a gift at random and with less meaning.
“It’s not just, ‘Here’s the gift you get,’ ” Mohajer says. “It really brightens the day for all the kids, all the families.”
Do Good:

•    Purchase winter items like coats, gloves and scarves for children in need. Contact Gretchen to coordinate your donation.

•    Support Faces Without Places by donating.

•    Volunteer with the organization by engaging in activities like birthday party planning for children at our local shelters.

MU holiday performance to benefit Walnut Hills marching band

Twenty-four Miami University vocalists and a 16-member big band will join together onstage at Walnut Hills High School's newly renovated auditorium this weekend to perform “A Swingin’ Holiday: Big Band Choral Spectacular.” A portion of the proceeds from the performance will benefit Walnut Hills’ music department, which has “an astounding reputation,” according to MU’s Ben Smolder.
“Walnut Hills High School is full of brilliant and diverse children that have the pleasure of studying in the finest high school in the state of Ohio,” says Smolder, who will director and conduct the show. 
Smolder serves as Director of Miami Opera Theater, which launched a fundraiser in support of Walnut Hills’ marching band, selected by Youth Music of the World to participate in the 2016 Paris New Year's Day Parade.
“Being from rural Appalachia, I was deeply shaped by a similar experience in early life that led to a lifetime of travel and a deep desire to understand other cultures,” Smolder says.
This weekend's performance is a way to help others but also to add joy to audience members’ holiday season.
“Our goal was to recreate the musical specials that would appear on TV and radio during the Christmas season from the 1940s to the 1960s,” Smolder says. “One cannot hear this music without being transported back to a time when we were surrounded by our loved ones and gazing at the evening sky in hopes of seeing Santa.”
Do Good:

•    “A Swingin’ Holiday: Big Band Choral Spectacular” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Walnut Hills High School. Enter promo code “Santa” at the ticketing box office to receive a discount. 

•    Support the WHHS music program. 

•    Support WHHS students by volunteering.

Constella goes digital, aims to draw national audience to spring festival

As the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts gets ready to release the lineup for this April’s performances, the goal is to “target audiences nationally to come to Cincinnati,” according to Tatiana Berman, internationally renowned violinist and festival founder.

The name “Constella,” which is derived from “constellation,” is significant to festival organizers because performers and audience members get the chance to connect with one another through music in an intimate setting.
“The international concept for Constella was always connecting people and ideas,” Berman says.
To do that even more effectively than past years, Constella has made the move of going digital.
Berman collaborated with Julie Spangler to compose, perform and record a video performance piece, “Vitali Variations,” and the second digital short, which will be released in March as a precursor to the festival, will feature Roomful of Teeth.
“We would like to think this kind of a beautifully produced video can connect a whole new audience in an informal way with music, which we are passionate about,” Berman says.
Through these visual musical collaborations that include Grammy award winners and emerging artists, Constella will be able to further its mission of challenging “misconceptions of classical music and the performing arts” by extending its reach to a worldwide audience.
“Through production of music videos, recordings and other digital content, we can expand our performance presentations,” Berman says. “It allows for people around the world to experience the power of music and the arts.”

Do Good:

•    Check the Constella Festival website Jan. 15 to view the festival lineup and purchase your tickets for April’s performances.

•    For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Rachael Moore.

•    Support Constella by donating. 

Brighton Center food pantry a candidate for $20,000 grant

Vote this week for the Brighton Center to be named one of 75 food pantries across the country to receive a $20,000 grant from Walmart.
More than 150 food pantries are competing to win a share of $1.5 million being distributed this season through the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign.
“It’s for an infrastructure-type makeover, which is not typically funded,” says Deana Sowders, marketing and communications specialist for Brighton Center. “We will use the investment to enhance our two food pantry locations through equipment, technology and transportation in Campbell and Boone counties.”
The Newport-based nonprofit’s Choice Food Pantry served 4,500 families last year, and Sowders says that many of them include income-earning individuals coming in for emergency assistance because they're unable to make ends meet.
“Hunger is a very real issue facing our families as they often are faced with tough choices and very limited budgets,” Sowders says. “Families are constantly balancing issues like keeping the heat on during the winter, having proper clothing for their growing children, transportation, childcare and putting food on the table — all while trying to maintain employment or further their education.”
Individuals served by the Brighton Center are working toward self-sufficiency and, according to Sowders, deserve a community of supporters who are there to help them “tackle immediate basic needs.”
“Being able to provide families with basic necessities such as food is the first step in getting them on the path toward a stable, self-sufficient future,” she says. “Even today, around 43 percent of those who come in have never asked for assistance before.” 

Do Good: 

•    Vote for your favorite food pantry to win a $20,000 grant; deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12.

•    Support Brighton Center by donating.

•    Volunteer with the Center. 
801 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts