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For Good

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Cincinnati Bengals provide grant for head injury detection in high school athletes

Thanks to a grant from the Cincinnati Bengals, Mercy Health is now able to provide funds to its 28 partner high schools for Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.
“It’s all over the news—the danger in returning kids or adults back to play, or back to the classroom before their brain is healthy,” says Pamela Scott, athletic director of Anderson High School.
Because head injuries have been so widely publicized as of late, Scott says student athletes are starting to become more aware of the issues an early return to play presents; but with ImPACT testing, an early return is no longer a possibility.
Prior to the start of the school year, all student athletes involved in contact sports will undergo initial baseline testing, which measures various cognitive skills.
“Then after a head injury occurs, they go back and take the test and compare results to the baseline test and post-test, and that way they can safely determine if the athlete’s ready to come back.” Scott says.
Anderson High School has used ImPACT testing since 2010, but many schools are not fortunate enough to be able to afford the testing materials and technology it requires. With the recent grant, however, student athletes in Mercy’s network will now be much safer than in years past.
“They’re playing in front of their home crowd, get hit in the head, want to get back in—so there’s a tendency to not be accurate when the trainer’s asking them questions—because they want to go back in,” Scott says. “So even if they have a headache and are dizzy, they might not tell the trainer the truth. Now that’s no longer an option.” 

Do Good: 

Support Mercy Health through its online Giving Store.

• Support athletics in your local school district, and encourage the use of ImPACT testing. 

• Like Mercy 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. 


Sunday Salon series raises funds for domestic violence survivor services

More than 90 percent of domestic violence survivors seeking services in Ohio will not go to a shelter; but at Women Helping Women, non-residential services like court and law enforcement advocacy, in addition to support groups, are provided to more than 12,000 survivors each year.
To help fund these services throughout Hamilton and Butler counties, WHW is hosting its Sunday Salon series for the 18th year. 
“The salons run from socially conscious to just plain fun,” says Kendall Fisher, Women Helping Women’s executive director. “What’s kind of neat about them is they mirror the way the agency was formed—it’s a small group of community members coming together to make a difference—so you really get a chance to interact with the speaker.”
Speakers range in specialty from historians and zoologists to nationally renowned Holocaust educators.
“We just hope participants will get some raised awareness and consciousness about what is going on in their own community, and some inspiration on how each individual can make a difference,” Fisher says.
Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are issues that Fisher says have, in all likelihood, impacted someone we all know. But they’re also topics, she says, that can be “intimidating” and “a little bit scary” for some people.
Sunday Salons, however, are a way for individuals to join together to make a difference in an unintimidating environment.
“It’s a simple, fun, engaging and nonthreatening way to make a real difference for survivors in our community,” Fisher says. “And people can get involved in any way they’d like.”

Do Good:

• Check out the Sunday Salon schedule, and call 513-236-2010 to reserve a spot. 

• Check out Women Helping Women's volunteer opportunities, and sign up to get involved.

• Support Women Helping Women by donating.

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. 


UIU receives $500,000 in grants honoring Ruehlmann family

Former Cincinnati Mayor Eugene P. Ruehlmann and his wife Virginia saw public service as more than just an option, but as “an obligation and an honor,” according to their daughter, Ginny Wiltse.
“The qualities they both exemplified—a quiet strength and a humility—there was collaboration in the sense that all people are equal in the conversation, and everybody needs a voice at the table,” says Wiltse, volunteer director of Caring Response Madagascar, a local nonprofit that serves the needs of the poor in East Africa.
Wiltse also serves as chairperson for the Board of Trustees at Union Institute & University—an institution that Wiltse says was and is an “attractive place” in both the eyes of her parents as well as herself because of the “servant leadership” exuded by UIU President Roger Sublett.
UIU is the recent recipient of two $250,000 grants in memory of Wiltse’s parents: The Eugene P. Ruehlmann Public Service Fellowship Program, which comes as an award and tribute from Western & Southern Financial Group, and The Virginia Ruehlmann Women in Union Fellowship, awarded by the Helen Steiner Rice Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
“The $250,000 over five years was a tribute to my mother’s decade of service and to the way her life and value of higher education also mirrored the value of higher education of Helen Steiner Rice, the poet,” Wiltse says.
According to Wiltse, her mother needed scholarship support to attain her master’s in education, so the recent funds will enable full-time female graduate students at UIU to do the same.
The Eugene P. Ruehlmann Public Service Fellowship will be awarded to a UIU doctoral student and will assist individuals in their dissertations, which embody Ruehlmann’s dedication and fervor for community betterment.
“My dad served as mayor in the late '60s and early '70s, and he brought this community together by encouraging conversation and collaboration across racial boundaries between businesses and the community, and by bringing people together in a cooperative and collaborative manner,” Wiltse says. “These were his hallmark achievements.” 

Do Good:

• Engage in public service. 

• Support UIU and the Ruehlmann fellowships by giving.

Learn about UIU and consider applying. Know that it's never too late to go back to school, as UIU excels in adult education.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Cincinnati Public Library merges literacy with art

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s annual Teen Drawing Contest is underway.
From now until January 31, students between the ages of 12 and 18 are encouraged to create a piece of artwork inspired by a story or book, and submit it for a chance to win art supplies, Chipotle gift cards and a permanent place in the library’s virtual collection.
“A lot of teens like to express themselves creatively, and they find inspiration kind of everywhere, like any artist—inspiration’s everywhere,” says Jennifer Korn, TeenSpot manager at the PLCHC’s main branch. “But it seems like the teens find a work of literature, or a comic, or a character that they really connect with, and that becomes a huge inspiration in their art.”
For this year’s contest, the library is partnering with Elementz Urban Arts Center to offer four different artist-led workshop sessions for teens.
“The artist who’s teaching it—his focus has been street art, graffiti and also comics—but he’s willing to work with the teens regardless of medium and style to provide feedback and tips,” Korn says.
Student attendees will receive a sketchpad, drawing pencils and a kneadable eraser to work on their concepts.
“When we started this contest, we were hoping to make the connection between literature and creative expression,” Korn says. “Obviously, literature is a creative inspiration because it’s writing, but you can express that through other mediums and also show teens that the library does have books, but we have things beyond books—activities, programs and contests that show we also value their input in the community.” 

Do Good:

• Register your teen to attend one of the drawing sessions

• Encourage a teen to enter the contest and submit their work, as well as an entry form to any PLCHC location by the January 31 deadline. 

• Support the PLCHC and Elementz by donating.

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. 


Artist as Activist program offers venue for social change

Arts enthusiast Joi Sears grew up in Cincinnati, where, as a student, she was able to take advantage of offerings like ballet classes at the Cincinnati Ballet, in addition to musical theater and other dance classes at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music.
After graduating from Walnut Hills High School, however, Sears went away for college and landed in New York City, where she’s lived for the past 10 years. She’s also spent her fair share of time abroad in places like Amsterdam and Brazil—home to Theatre of the Oppressed.
Theatre of the Oppressed, a term used to describe interactive, participatory activities that audience members engage in to explore and analyze the realities in which they live, is what Sears is now introducing to the Cincinnati community through her nonprofit Theatre for the Free People.
The mission: Using the arts as a vehicle for social change.
“Last year, I moved back to Cincinnati, so now I’m here and have been really inspired by the startup community and all the creative things happening here,” Sears says.
To engage the creative community with Theatre for the Free People and the techniques of Theatre of the Oppressed, Sears is offering the Artist as Activist program, which is a 10-week project that takes place at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, beginning Saturday, January 11 at 12 p.m.
“We’ll be doing a workshop which will include games that help us think about our impact—our art and our impact on our community and our world,” Sears says.
The second half of each session will include one-on-one time or collaborative opportunities for artists to think critically about their work and create some sort of project to showcase at the end of the 10 weeks.
Sears says she envisions everyone from poets, visual artists and even teachers who want to come up with more creative lesson plans—artists of all kinds—joining together to make an impact.
“Art is at the forefront of any social justice movement—it’s very central to creating change in the world,” Sears says. “So I really want to empower artists to think about what it is that they do and how they can use that—use their voice to make change.”

Do Good:

Read about the Artist as Activist program, and apply.

Contact Sears if you're an artist interested in collaborating, or if you're interested in attending a session or a couple sessions and would like to work something out. 

• Like Theatre for the Free People 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. 


Save Local Waters and Cincinnati Zoo promote rain barrels through art initiative

Many individuals fail to realize that small changes can make monumental differences when it comes to conservation efforts, says John Nelson, public relations specialist for the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The HCSWD is part of The Regional Storm Water Collaborative—more commonly known as Save Local Waters—and the organization’s goal is to raise awareness about water quality issues in the Ohio River Valley by educating the public about ways to improve it.
“One of the best ways people can conserve water and also help with storm water runoff is to install a rain barrel at their homes,” Nelson says.
To encourage more individuals to make use of rain barrels by collecting water that can be reused, as opposed to allowing it to flow quickly while collecting pollutants that end up in our water systems, Save Local Waters has partnered with The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to host its second Rain Barrel Art Project.
“Rain barrels look like trash cans—they’re very plain looking barrels—so we came up with an idea to beautify them, and to take it to the next level,” Nelson says.
From now through January 25, individuals can submit proposed artwork to Save Local Waters. If selected for the project, they’ll then have the opportunity to paint a barrel to be displayed in the zoo’s Green Garden during the month of April, with a culminating event April 24 in which barrels will be auctioned during the zoo’s Party for the Planet Earth Day celebration.
“Last year, we had about 40 rain barrels entered from people all over the Ohio River Valley, and this year we’re hoping we get more,” Nelson says. “People will take these to their homes and install them, and all the money raised from the auction is used for conservation education.” 

Do Good:

Register with Save Local Waters to paint a barrel.

• Visit the zoo between April 1-24 to view painted barrels, and attend the benefit auction April 24. 

Learn about what you can do to clean up our waters, and contact the organization to get involved by 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. 


Strategies to End Homelessness seeks winter shelter funds

During the coldest months of the year, like this one, the need for emergency shelters increases, as does the need for funding.
“We do this on as much of a shoestring budget as we possibly can,” says Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness—an organization that coordinates services for homeless individuals throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Prior to 2011, finding consistent shelter throughout the winter months was not a possibility. 
“Back then, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission would open its Over-the-Rhine facility, but only if the temperature was predicted to go below 10 degrees,” Finn says. “But you can freeze to death when it’s over 10 degrees, and homeless people don’t have a thermometer, nor do they have access to a TV weather forecast.”
Increased winter shelter is now available for those who have nowhere else to go from mid-December until the end of February, so long as funding is in place.
This year, there was enough funding to increase capacity by adding 60 beds in a portion of the Drop Inn Center, in addition to 40 beds at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, but Finn says additional funding is always needed.
“The problem is that in March, it can still be pretty cold,” Finn says. “And any funding we don’t use this winter, we would carry over to next winter. What we already saw this year was the worse case scenario—we had four inches of snow and bitter cold temperatures—but because we didn’t have sufficient money in hand, we couldn’t open the shelter December 1.”

Do Good: 

• Help fund the Winter Shelter by making a donation.

• Volunteer with some of Strategies to End Homelessness' partner agencies to help fight homelessness.

• Connect with Strategies to End Homelessness 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. 

Giving Store supports Mercy Health's patient care

The Mercy Health Foundation offers donors a meaningful way of helping fund the organization’s efforts to provide care to those in need through its Giving Store.
“It’s been in place over two years, and it was a way for us to help people who want to contribute visualize what their donations would be going to,” says Nanette Bentley, director of public relations for Mercy Health.
For Mercy Health, which is a nonprofit health system that does not turn any individual away—regardless of one’s ability to pay—donations are always needed.
For a $10 purchase at the online Giving Store, individuals can send “patient cheer,” for example, in the form of a get-well card to someone who perhaps doesn’t receive many visitors.
There are also options to help fund things like prescription medicine gift cards and even art supplies for Mercy’s DaySTAE (Success through Arts and Environment) program, which is designed to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia find improved ways to communicate.
“It helps to really improve the quality-of-life dimension, and it helps their family members as well—in that they see a change in their loved ones being more engaged,” Bentley says.
By providing various options to donors, Bentley says she hopes individuals will be more inclined to support Mercy’s efforts.
“If someone has a budget, for example, they might search by what their money could get them in that regard,” Bentley says. “Or people will do it perhaps in honor of a loved one—someone might want to support oncology, given the concerns of their loved ones, for example—so it’s highly personal.”

Do Good: 

• Support Mercy Health by contributing at the Giving Store

• Contact Nanette Bentley if you'd like to volunteer by playing piano for patients, for example, at one of Mercy's facilities. 

• Like Mercy 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. 

NKU students help award $83,500 to area nonprofits

Northern Kentucky University is one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to incorporating student philanthropy into the classroom.
And this past semester, 146 students involved in the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project were able to assist area nonprofits in receiving $83,500 worth of funds.
“I did a study that surveyed NKU alumni who participated in the Mayerson project and found that after they left NKU, they were much more likely to volunteer for nonprofits, make donations to them and to serve on boards of directors for nonprofits,” says Julie Olberding, director of NKU’s Master of Public Administration program.
Olberding taught a volunteer management course in the fall, in which her class partnered with Toyota to work as advisors for the company’s funding board.
“Ultimately, it makes them better grant writers and grant seekers, because they’ve been on the other side of the table and have been able to see what works and what doesn’t work,” Olberding says.
The indirect giving model was used in Olberding’s volunteer management course, but in other classes, grants are awarded to the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project so that students can make decisions and directly fund initiatives for nonprofits.
“I love to go to the ceremony at the end of the semester to learn how other classes did it and what new and interesting ways that they have gotten NKU students to engage with the community, and think about giving back and investing in our region,” Olberding says.
“NKU has one of the oldest philanthropy programs in the country, so we’re seen as leaders in the field, and people have looked to us for advice and guidance in starting their own programs.”

Do Good:

• Check out the student philanthropy handbook if interested in starting a similar program at your institution.  

• Support the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project by donating.

• Engage with local nonprofits by volunteering your time or by donating. 

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. 


Faces without Places bridges educational gap for homeless children

Without stability in education, Ramin Mohajer, executive director of Faces without Places, says homeless children’s chance of eventually breaking the cycle of poverty is virtually nonexistent.
Faces without Places provides educational programming and supplies, in addition to extracurricular opportunities, to the 6,000 children experiencing homelessness in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky each year.
“The average student experiencing homelessness is two to three years behind in education,” says Mohajer, who recognizes how important it is to work toward closing that gap.
Through programs like ZooMates, for example, children pair up with Xavier University students who provide mentorship and stability for those involved.
“Many children had never been on a college campus, and a few of them didn’t know anyone who had ever even gone to college,” Mohajer says. “So we had the students come up to Xavier University and take different tours. They did a science lab experiment, and that got them really excited about the prospect of going to college.”
In addition to experiencing life on a college campus, students learn science through a hands-on approach, while taking regular field trips to the Cincinnati Zoo.
“That’s been a really successful program for us,” Mohajer says. “It gives positive role models to kids—the kids can’t wait—they’re running up to the mentors, giving them all a hug, and it really ends up as a long-lasting, rich bond.” 

Do Good:

• Support Faces without Places by donating.

• Support Faces without Places by volunteering.

• Like Faces without Places 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. 


Tom+Chee backs small nonprofits

Tom + Chee knows what it’s like to be the underdog.
What was once a food tent at Fountain Square is now a nationally recognized brand under contract to be a more-than-100-store operation in 2014 (see Tom+Chee prepares for rapid growth in 2014). And it’s this rise-from-the-top mentality that Tom + Chee co-founders Jenny Rachford and Jenn Quackenbush say they apply to the company’s involvement in the nonprofit sector as well.
“Of course we’d love to give to everyone doing good work,” Rachford says. “There are a lot of people trying to do good things, but the small groups don’t have a lot of the support the big ones can pull.”
So Tom + Chee created The Grilled Cheese That Cares program this past October when it partnered with The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts—a team of breast cancer survivors and dragon boat racers affiliated with Paddling for Cancer Awareness.
“We developed a campaign which involved the Pink Dragon Fire Donut, which was a glazed donut with cherry mascarpone, graham cracker and jalapeno compote, and donated a dollar from each to their cause,” Rachford says.
Continuing with the trend of supporting small, local nonprofits, T+C  is now collecting gifts for children connected with Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers, in exchange for a free grilled cheese donut.
So for a total of seven families and 27 children, the financial strain of purchasing gifts from each child’s wish list will be removed, as presents will be provided through the Grilled Cheese That Cares initiative.
“Christmas time is special—especially for kids,” Rachford says. “We all have our childhood memories of Christmases, good or bad, but as grownups and even with our business—we’re kid-centered, family-centered and focused, and this is something that genuinely comes from that place. We want to make families happy.” 

Do Good:

• Contact Jenny Rachford or Jenn Quackenbush if you're a local nonprofit who would like to partner up for future Grilled Cheese that Cares efforts.

• Visit a Tom + Chee location, pick up a gift tag with a child's name and request on it, and return the unwrapped item by Dec. 20 for a free grilled cheese donut.  

• Support local nonprofits.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

UC Economics Center preps school leaders

For Chris Kloesz, lifelong Cincinnati resident and principal at Loveland High School, participation in the Alpaugh Scholars Leadership Program was invaluable.
This five-month program offered through the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center brings local educators and business leaders together to enable school leaders to better understand the connection between communities, schools and the ways the economy impacts both.
“I would say that my favorite session—one that really stands out—was a very in-depth historical tour of the city, where at the beginning of the day, we boarded a charter bus and went to a number of different locations where we received extensive background on how the city developed, going back to over a couple hundred years ago,” Kloesz says.
According to Kloesz, schools function as microcosms of their local community, so having an understanding of “what we are,” “where we’ve come from,” and “what we want to be” is knowledge that can’t be ignored when looking toward future educational visions.
“It’s beneficial to have that perspective as we continue to work to improve education, society, social welfare programming, government structure—all those things that function and work together,” Kloesz says.
“I had no idea from one month to the next, the type of knowledge I’d pick up, nor did I know how I was going to apply that; but here I am a couple years later, on a day-to-day basis, being able to reflect on my experiences and the knowledge I’ve gained and applying it to my vision and understanding for what my responsibilities are.”

Do Good:

• Learn about the Alpaugh Scholars Leadership Program, and contact the Economics Center if you're an educator who is interested in registering.

• Help the Economics Center achieve its mission of sharing financial literacy knowledge by making use of its teaching tools and resources

• Connect with the Economics Center on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Fifth Third helps fund SU2C's collaborative cancer research efforts

Although Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is a national organization, its focus is aimed at collaboration—an effort that Cincinnati-headquartered Fifth Third Bank wants to get behind.
In 2008, nine women, all of whom were profoundly touched by cancer, came together to form SU2C. Two of the founders were in Stage IV of the illness, and they wanted to know why they were receiving the same treatments used 40 years ago.
“So we got some of the best researchers and oncologists in a room and asked them the question, ‘Why haven’t we made more progress? What are the obstacles?’” says Sue Schwartz, SU2C co-founder. “And we learned some interesting things. The scientists weren’t collaborating. They’re working in silos—different scientists on different floors and in different rooms, doing the same thing and not sharing data.”
So SU2C came up with a model to bring researchers, scientist and oncologists together to form “dream teams” so that collaboration would become the focus of cancer research.
“We’re looking to bring everyone in cancer research together to fund this disease,” Schwartz says. “We have over 500 scientists working in 101 institutions that span the country, so we have institutions involved with us virtually everywhere; and by doing that, it allows us to do our clinical trials in multiple sites across the country, which helps people all over."
SU2C solely funds research, so through initiatives like Fifth Third’s Take a Swipe at Cancer, in which a donation is made to the organization each time a client uses their Fifth Third MasterCard,—which in this case is $400,000—the nonprofit is able to sustain its efforts of delivering therapy to patients in clinical research trials.
“One in two men, and one in three women in this country will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime,” Schwartz says. “And there’s no boundaries—anybody can be struck.”

Do Good:

• Use your Fifth Third MasterCard through December 31, and your purchase will help support Stand Up To Cancer's efforts with a donation of $400,000. 

Support Stand Up To Cancer through this holiday season by throwing an ugly sweater party or participating in its sweater-a-thon contest.

• Join the collaborative effort by getting involved with Stand Up To Cancer's grassroots efforts in Greater Cincinnati, and download the SU2C app. 

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


OMA inspires confidence, provides autonomy to individuals with dementia

Opening Minds through Art does more than provide individuals with dementia a creative outlet for expression. It enables them to build confidence by recognizing their abilities, while also building relationships and engaging with volunteers. 

OMA, which is a therapy-based program developed by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, aims to build “bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art” by pairing students with elderly individuals. 

Twice a week, students facilitate work on art projects with about 35 residents of Cedar Village Retirement Community—all of whom are either dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 

“It’s been so amazing to see how stark of a contrast it is when they’re doing creative versus noncreative activity,” says Julia Fallon, University of Cincinnati senior and OMA volunteer.

Fallon, who also conducts research with OMA founder Elizabeth Lokon, says enabling individuals to tap into their creative sides prompts responses that might not otherwise come about. “Especially with art and music, there might be memories associated with those things or emotions that might not be elicited by anything else,” she says.

For Miami University senior Josie Rader, who is an OMA student leader and facilitator, autonomy is one of the biggest takeaways of the program. 

“Personal choice is just so big—even choosing the paint they want to use—it’s all chosen by them, so just having that freedom and creating something that they don’t believe they can create is amazing,” Rader says. “Sometimes they get a little concerned and say things like, ‘Oh I’m not an artist,’ or ‘I can’t do this,’ but at the end, they see a masterpiece that they never imagined they could do.” 

Do Good:

• Support OMA by donating.

• View residents' artwork, which is on display at Cedar Village in the hallway behind the activity center. The latest project involved the creation of tiles as part of a collaborative effort with Rookwood Pottery.

• Like OMA's Facebook page.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Book donations further literacy efforts at LNGC

Book collections play an important role for the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, as the organization works to further its mission of advocating for literacy development in the community—particularly with regard to creating reading opportunities for children.
“A lot of the schools we bring our books to—about 90% and higher—are considered at the economically disadvantaged level,” says Kim McDermott, director of communications and grant writer at the Literacy Network.
Last month, for example, students from Our Lady of the Visitation worked with the Literacy Network to organize a book drive to benefit six local schools and organizations. They collected a total of 2,706 books.
“We talked to librarians and coordinators, and they just said, ‘Often, these kids—it’s the only book they own—or they’re used to library books that are torn up,’ and they don’t have money to replace those things,” McDermott says.
Book collections are just one part of the Literacy Network’s Winners Read program, which pairs students from kindergarten through fourth grade with tutors in an effort to improve reading levels so that everyone is at grade-level.
“Last year alone, we trained and placed 1,012 tutors in the Winners Read program, and this year, we’re looking at around 1,300 or 1,400 tutors trained and placed,” McDermott says. “It’s adding positive influence into students’ lives where they might lack that. And some might have it, but you just can’t get enough support at that age.” 

Do Good:

• Support the Literacy Network by volunteering.

• Support the Literacy Network by donating.

• Connect with the Literacy Network on Facebook.

By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

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