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Zip-lining, canoeing, river swimming among free Great Outdoor Weekend events

The 11th annual Great Outdoor Weekend is upon us, and with 125 free events and programs at 42 locations in eight counties spanning the Tri-State, it’s an event that Brewster Rhoads, executive director of Green Umbrella, says is not to be missed.
“Cincinnati was ranked No. 1 in America by the Academy of Sports Medicine this past spring when it comes to outdoor recreational infrastructure—trails, parks, campgrounds, rivers—but the health condition of our citizenry was No. 38 out of 50,” Rhoads says.
“So part of what we’re about is connecting our citizens in the region to the recreational opportunities we have.”
The weekend’s events, taking place September 27-28, will feature opportunities for all. Zip-lining across our region’s tree canopy, canoeing, kayaking and even swimming across the Ohio River are just a few of the options offered.
“It has become one of the largest—if not the largest—outdoor education and recreation samplers in the country,” Rhoads says. “It’s a way to introduce people—parents with kids, millennials and others—to the critical recreational and nature education opportunities in the region.”
According to Rhoads, Greater Cincinnati’s vibrant outdoor culture is a benefit to all who inhabit the area, and it’s an asset to our city, in that it's an attractor of young talent.
“You don’t have to live in Portland to bike to work, for example,” Rhoads says.
And according to Rhoads, that’s evidenced by the fact that Cincinnati was listed, for the first-time ever, as one of the top-50 bike-friendly cities in America.
“We don’t claim that we make all this happen,” Rhoads says. “But we play a role in being a facilitator as a promoter of collaboration to move this area forward.” 

Do Good:

•    Attend one, or multiple events at Great Outdoor Weekend.

•    If you can't make it out to Great Outdoor Weekend, check out Meet Me Outdoors! for a listing of free outdoor activities to engage in on a more frequent basis.

•    Get involved with Green Umbrella.

Healthy Roots Foundation continues Bluegrass for Babies, rebrands to expand education and outreach

The Healthy Roots Foundation, formerly Bluegrass for Babies, will host its sixth annual benefit concert Saturday to support Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Perinatal Institute.
The nonprofit rebranded itself this year in an effort to better reflect its focus on educational outreach for familial health education.
“[The name] Bluegrass for Babies no longer made sense for everything we’re doing,” says Anne Schneider, who founded the organization with her husband, Matt, in 2009. “It made sense for one of our events. So basically, it’s grown so much—we thought that the Healthy Roots Foundation was a name that represents the true essence of trying to create healthy families and improve children’s health.”
Since 2009, Bluegrass for Babies has raised nearly $100,000 for Cincinnati Children’s, which Schneider says she’s “incredibly humbled and thrilled” to have accomplished, because the concert—now hosted at Sawyer Point—initially began as a backyard party.
As the event has grown, so has the nonprofit’s goals and outreach.
“We’ve realized there’s a big gap in education for families—health education in general—and people really aren’t getting the knowledge they need to make good decisions,” Schneider says.
So at this year’s concert, six interactive experiences—all aimed at empowering families with healthy decision-making capabilities—will complement the festivities.
The activities are similar in nature to some of the play-based activities the nonprofit has hosted at the Cincinnati Museum Center, for example.
“We have a make-your-own pizza garden, so it’s a gardening activity where kids learn how it’s made,” Schneider says. “And then once it’s made or taken home and planted, we give them basil seeds, and we give them recipes to make their own pizza with it—so they’re looking at where it’s coming from, how it’s made, and then that’s your food—so it impacts your nutrition and healthy choices.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the organization in its efforts to raise funds for Cincinnati Children's Perinatal Institute by purchasing a ticket to attend Bluegrass for Babies. One-hundred percent of proceeds from food purchased at the event, from both Green BEAN Delivery and Mama Mimi's, will also benefit the Perinatal Institute. 

•    Support the Healthy Roots Foundation by giving.

•    Connect with the nonprofit on Facebook.

HOME encourages dialogue, shares best practices for stronger communities

Housing Opportunities Made Equal will host a forum next month to generate discussions about best practices for community building.
Hello Neighbor: Using the Power of Connection to Strengthen Your Community will focus on what it means to be a resident of a changing neighborhood and how to turn the concept of “us vs. them” into “us and them” so individuals can work collectively to make neighbors feel welcome.  
For Lisa Auciello, Northside resident and active member of Community Council, sharing best practices within communities is a great way to initiate discussions that call upon all voices to speak up.
“The intent is to bring different neighborhood people together, and not just the same ones who are the regular outspoken activist people, but to bring a different group of people together to talk about ideas, techniques and strategies they can use to build community in their own neighborhoods,” Auciello says.
Teens and adults are encouraged to attend the forum, and it’s important that teens offer their own insights as well, Auciello says, because they should be engaged and feel a part of their neighborhoods just as much as anyone else.
“I think it’s important to just be friendly and withhold judgment,” Auciello says. “I think a lot of times we walk around a neighborhood and automatically make assumptions about what a person does.”
With regard to youth, one of the most beneficial things people can do is “to just stop looking at them like they’re up to something bad,” Auciello says.
“Instead, go up to them and say, ‘Hey, where do you guys go to school? What’s your name? How’s it going?’ I think that’s a huge thing to being a neighbor.” 

Do Good: 

•    Contact Myra Calder to reserve your spot at the roundtable discussion Oct. 2 from 6-8 p.m.

•    Reach out to your neighbors. Introduce yourself, and be a resource to one another.

•    Support HOME by becoming a member.

Library's summer learning program a success

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County saw an increased level of engagement and completion with participants involved in its summer learning program this year.
The program was expanded to bring a variety of programs under the same umbrella, while also offering more opportunities to community members at every branch.
Brain camps, for example, were offered at each branch, and the focus was shifted specifically to struggling readers.
“We especially focused on third graders who aren’t reading on grade level,” says Diane Smiley, PLCHC youth services and programming coordinator. “It’s such a watershed point—if they’re not reading on grade level at third grade, they’re much less stable, so that was really our focus.”
A new component was added to the program this year—Summer Camp Reading experience.
“We did that in association with a small nonprofit called Summer Camp Reading, which originated in Cincinnati in 2010, but it’s grown over time and essentially is a very intensive six-week intervention program for a targeted number of children,” Smiley says.
Ninety students were identified and recruited by teachers and administrators from neighborhood schools serving children where there is a large population of third graders performing below grade level.
“The program was really focused on literacy skills to bump those children up and make sure they had some continuous improvement experience and reading skills improvement over the summer months,” Smiley says.
In addition to small and large group activities, each student received 30 minutes a day of individual tutoring with a reading specialist, and according to Smiley, preliminary feedback indicates the program was a huge success.
“There was a pre- and post-test as well as intermittent testing, and of the 90 children at those seven branches, all but one experienced definite improvement over the course of the sessions,” Smiley says. “But we were really pleased that 99 percent had demonstrated improvement with their reading skills.”

Do Good:

•    Support the PLCHC. 

•    Voluteer with the PLCHC.

•    Connect with the PLCHC on Facebook.


Interact for Health funds agencies to address heroin epidemic

According to Interact for Health, four Ohioans and two Kentuckians died of an unintentional overdose each day in 2012. These overdoses were primarily opioid-related.
“We know that if we can get people into treatment, into detox—it works—and we can work with them then,” says Ann Barnum, Interact For Health senior program officer, Healthy Choices About Substance Abuse. “Forty to 60 percent of people who get into treatment get into long-term recovery.”
In order to get people into recovery, however, there needs to be more of an effort to implement programming that lessens the life threatening dangers that can occur.
Many heroin and opioid-related overdoses occur because an individual relapses or has been clean for an extended amount of time and suddenly starts using again, Barnum says.
“The tolerance people build up over time to the drug goes away very quickly,” Barnum says. “They’re people who are struggling with their recovery, and then they overdose, or maybe they were arrested—which people need to be held accountable for their behavior—but they’re clean when they get out and for the most part haven’t learned anything about the disease, so their tolerance has gone down.”
To address the issue of fatal overdoses, Interact for Health has partnered with four community agencies to fund grants that will provide programming to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths occurring throughout our region. Partner agencies include The Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment, Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Talbert House and Transitions, Inc.
“The good news is that when we do things, they work. Treatment works. Harm reduction works,” Barnum says. “So, for example, providing naloxone and reviving people to make sure they live and get into treatment works. Syringe exchange works to get people into treatment; and in Portsmouth, they’ve halved their Hepatitis C rate by doing syringe exchange, so those are things we can be doing in this area.”

Do Good: 

•    Lock up household prescriptions, and get rid of any you are no longer using. Most local police stations accept prescription dropoffs. 

•    Know that because of the grant, naloxone kits will be more readily available. If you know of anyone using, be proactive and get a kit so that you can save a life by reversing the effects of an overdose.  

•    Contact Interact for Health to get involved in the development of ongoing community-based initiatives and plans to address the heroin epidemic. 


Village Life Outreach Project celebrates 10 years of impact

Village Life Outreach Project will celebrate 10 years as a nonprofit Friday at its Diamond Gala: Night on the Serengeti.
The nonprofit, whose mission is to “unite communities to promote life, health and education,” has a lot to celebrate, as the organization has reached some important milestones throughout the past decade.
More than 400 local volunteers, for example, have given freely of their time to engage in service learning and health care initiatives in three villages of Tanzania.
“Just knowing we’ve been able to unite this many people behind a cause, both people from Tanzania and the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond—being able to focus on how to make people’s lives better—that’s probably been the biggest reward,” says Chris Lewis, founder.
One of the nonprofit’s most notable successes is opening Tanzania’s first-ever health care center, which has served more than 20,000 villagers since 2011.
Lewis says he remembers his first trip to the region in 2003 when he was in the University of Cincinnati’s family medicine residency training program.
“On a daily basis, people would be brought in to the hospital I was working at, having died having to have made the arduous journey from the remote outlying regions,” Lewis says. “The first patient I remember was a pregnant lady who had bled to death having tried to walk eight hours to get to the hospital to deliver her child, and that sort of thing leaves a permanent mark on you.”
Village Life Outreach Project has also collaborated with Engineers without Borders, through both its student chapter at UC and its local professional chapter, to teach villagers how to build sustainable and structurally sound buildings and to begin digging water wells so villagers can access clean drinking water.
“Everyone comes to Tanzania thinking they’re going to really make a difference and change the world, and by all working together—yeah, we’ve made some great progress—but the biggest change I think comes to the volunteers themselves,” Lewis says. “I think their lives are changed in this experience, when they get over there and feel what it means to work in partnership with people who need you. That makes all the difference in the world.” 

Do Good: 

•    Join Village Life Outreach Project at Night on the Serengeti for an evening of celebration and a keynote address delivered by Oscar and Emmy Award-Winning Actor Louis Gossett, Jr. 

•    Support Village Life Outreach Project by donating.

•    Contact the nonprofit to learn more and figure out how you can get involved.

Kadish family remains hopeful with support of Team Ethan

The past year has been what Ethan Kadish’s mother, Alexia, calls “a tremendous rollercoaster ride.”
Last summer, Ethan was nearing the age of 13. He shared a love for sports and musical theater and was the type of boy who his mother says, “everyone considered a friend.”
At camp, however, he sustained a serious injury, as he was struck by lightning on a clear June day.
“We’re very hopeful for his future, but realize it is going to take a long, long time to know where we’re going,” Alexia says. “So we continue to push forward every single day.”
Since the time of his injury, Ethan has spent months in and out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and his family has incurred more than 1 million dollars in medical expenses for therapies not covered by insurance.
But since mid-April, Ethan has been able to remain at home, and this August, he returned to school, as the family hopes to provide him with as many opportunities to stimulate his brain as possible.
And every little bit helps.
“When he was in the hospital last summer, he was going through this neurological episode the doctors call ‘storming,’” Alexia says. “And it’s basically where one’s brain is just trying so hard to fire up and make connections, and what results is a lot of agitation, frustration, confusion; and for Ethan, that came out in a lot of kind of moaning and crying.”
But thanks to medical treatments, various therapies and a community of volunteers who have supported the family through their work with Team Ethan, Ethan is now in a much better state of being.
“Ethan’s movements aren’t would I would call yet deliberate. He has movements, but they’re more reflexive versus purposeful. But he’s working so hard, and he’s vocalizing,” Alexia says. “We feel like he’s working so hard at his first words, and we’re very anxious to hear what those are going to be.”
Ethan, now 14, celebrated his birthday this past July at the Cincinnati Pops’ Broadway Sing-Along, and for the Kadish family, it was a celebration that, like many other everyday moments, reaffirms their hope for continued improvement in their son’s health.
“It was so cool and so up his alley, and the emotion on his face was just tremendous,” Alexia says. “He would smile really big, and his eyes just sparkled. It’s times like that we really just feel connected with him.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Ethan by donating to his fund at HelpHOPELive.

•    Read about ways to Help Team Ethan.

•    Support the Kadish family by attending Penny Friedman's art show September 12 and 21 at A. Maris Design. Friedman, an energy healer, has spent hundreds of hours volunteering with Team Ethan, and 10 percent of each painting sold will be donated to Ethan's fund at HelpHOPELive. Keep up with Team Ethan's Facebook page for details.

Impact 100 member grows, spreads philanthropic values to young members

Emily Throckmorton learned the value of philanthropy at a young age.
At age 18, she’s the youngest member of Impact 100, a group of women who work collectively to make a difference in the community by pooling funds to award significant grants to nonprofits.
Last year, the organization was able to provide Crayons to Computers and Easter Seals TriState | Building Value with $108,000 grants; and this year, membership has grown, so three nonprofits will receive $109,000 grants.
“You’re basically putting your faith in these organizations and choosing who you want to help and how you want to help them, and the whole experience is amazing,” says Throckmorton, who’s received membership as a gift for the past two years.
Throckmorton just began her freshman year at Purdue University, so as a college freshman, and certainly as a high school student, contributing to a philanthropic organization isn’t always financially feasible. But in Throckmorton’s case, her membership has been a much better gift than any material possessions could have been.
“This is something I will continue, not just at school, but through the rest of my life,” Throckmorton says. “Seeing the money they had spent the whole year raising going toward these amazing causes—I really want to stay involved and help out doing something like this because I love helping others.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out this year's five grant finalists, and attend the Annual Awards Celebration September 16 when this year's recipients will be announced. 

•    Help Impact 100 continue to grow. The organization is always looking for new members, particularly young professionals, so it can sustain itself and further its community impact for years to come. Consider joining.

•    If you're a nonprofit, learn about how to apply for next year's grant, and stay connected with the organization through Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates.

Children's Home high school focuses efforts to assist young adults with autism

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati’s High School for Students with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders, now in its fourth year of operation, is open for registration.
The alternative education setting offered to students between the ages of 14 and 21 is unique, according to Principal Amanda Tipkemper, in that the placement is geared specifically toward the young adult population—a population, she says, that is not often the focus of autism-related programs.
“There are a lot of early intervention and school-age services, and not a lot of services out there for teens,” says Tipkemper, who came into her role as principal after having run some social groups and “teen night out” programs where individuals with Asperger’s would go on fun outings with one another.
“The people who were running the high school, when it first began, would call me, and we’d collaborate and talk about the population we were serving,” Tipkemper says. “So now, in this role, I’m focused on this specific population, and it’s nice because I get to focus my energy.”
In the mornings, students receive grade-level instruction, but in the afternoons, students are divided into upper- and lower-classmen and focus on foundational skills like advocacy, self-regulation and transitioning into adulthood.
“The goal of the program is to not only support the student, but to support the family in transitioning to adulthood and get them prepared and as independent as they can possibly be,” Tipkemper says.
“What I tell families is that the goal is for you not to be doing this for your kids. You shouldn’t have to advocate for them or regulate when they’re overwhelmed or under-stimulated. We need to teach them these tools so they can go into adulthood and start doing it for themselves, and that’s really empowering for the kids.” 

Do Good:

•    Learn about the high school, and consider enrollment. 

•    Support The Children's Home of Cincinnati by donating.

•    Contact Amanda Tipkemper if you'd like to get involved by volunteering. From pizza parties and community outings with the kids, to gardening clubs and engineering programs, there are various ways to help out, depending on your interests. 

Top female chefs, local creatives join forces to benefit YWCA

Frannie Kroner’s longtime dream has been to host a collaborative dinner with Greater Cincinnati’s top female chefs, and this Sunday, she’ll have that opportunity.
“There really aren’t that many in comparison to male chefs, and I’ve always really admired the lineup we’ve had in this city,” Kroner says. “And I wanted to be more of a part of that community and try to bring everyone together, because this doesn’t happen very often.”
Kroner serves as executive chef at Sleepy Bee Café, where the event Showcase: Dinner for a Cause, which will benefit the YWCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter, will take place.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind to try to do more philanthropic things with food, because on a day-to-day basis, in a restaurant setting, you’re usually catering to people that can afford to come to the restaurant,” Kroner says. “So it’s nice to feel like you can give back to the community in a way that it’s still done through your craft.”
Ten chefs will collaborate on Sunday’s multi-course dinner, while female performing artists will provide entertainment. The evening’s table centerpieces— sculptures created through a collaborative effort with Brazee Street Studios’ C-LINK Presents: Showcase: Female Artists for a Cause—will be auctioned off as well.
Though proceeds from the event will benefit the YWCA, Kroner says she is looking forward to the event because it won’t necessarily feel like a fundraiser so much as it will be a celebration of the local talent that female creatives have to offer.
“Just bringing the female creative force all in one room—that’s always been something that in theory sounds super inspirational—and I can’t wait to be part of that group and feel the energy,” Kroner says. “We’re all going to be orchestrating together in the back as we prepare, and there aren’t that many female chefs, but I think that in general, it’s an underutilized group of people.” 

Do Good:

•    Reserve your spot at Showcase: Dinner for a Cause.

•    Support the YWCA by donating.

•    Volunteer with the YWCA.


Invisible Kids Project commits to improving lives of kids in foster care

After raising four children of her own, Deena Maley made the decision to become a foster parent. She’s currently on her second placement.
Maley is also committed to improving the lives of those in the system who are repeatedly left voiceless. She serves as director of operations for the Invisible Kids Project, a new nonprofit that launched this past Saturday.
Its mission: “To ensure and support the development and maintenance of a healthy, loving relationship for every child in the child protection system.”
According to Maley, the transition for children in foster care—if there is a transition at all—is a tough one.
“A lot of times they just pick them up, take them to this new home without maybe having even met this person—they maybe have never been to their house before,” Maley says. “It’s just a total switch of everything in their lives at a moment’s notice, and it’s hard on kids.”
To minimize traumatic changes—like abrupt moves and frequent switching of placements—is a huge goal the organization would like to accomplish, Maley says.
And though there are flaws within the system, the plan is to advocate for change in a positive and engaging way. According to Maley, it takes a community of individuals to make that happen.
“We’re not pointing fingers, and we’re not blaming anybody,” Maley says. “If they’re in the system, you pay for them to be there. So they’re your children too, and we all need to take care of them.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out IKP's website, and learn about ways you can help.

•    Support IKP by donating.

•    Use your skills to help a foster family by cooking a meal or mowing the lawn, for example.

Women's Crisis Center calls on community's help in Purple Purse Challenge

The Women's Crisis Center is one of 200 agencies nationwide competing for a $100,000 grant in the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge.
“Purple is the color for domestic violence, and the purse represents a financial domain,” says Victoria Parks, WCC development director. “And for somebody coming out of shelter, they don’t have anything. In order to stay out of an abusive situation, you need a sense of security.”
For five weeks, beginning September 2, the WCC will aim to raise as much money as possible, and if it is the winning agency at the culmination of the contest, it will receive the $100,000 grant.
“We happen to live in one of the most generous communities in this country, and I’m confident that the community will support us,” Parks says.
According to Parks, the grant money, in addition to the weekly prize money given out for things like being the first agency to raise $5,000, would allow the nonprofit to shelter more women and finance programs like Fresh Starts for many years to come.
“These women come to us with only the clothes on their back because they’re fleeing from their lives, so when they come out of shelter, we are able to help them with an apartment down payment, a deposit for their utilities, help them with gas—that kind of thing,” Parks says. “This is one of my favorite programs, and it is so relevant.”
The reason so many women are trapped in abusive situations, according to Parks, is due to a lack of funds; so if the agency receives assistance through the Purple Purse Challenge, it will be able to extend its reach and further its mission of leading our community “in the social change needed to end domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.” 

Do Good:

•    Beginning September 2, support the WCC by donating through the Purple Purse Challenge Crowdrise site. 

•    Fundraise for the WCC by setting up your own Crowdrise account during the contest.

•    Volunteer with the WCC by contacting Kelly Rose.

Tire Discounters' reTire your Kicks provides for thousands

In its first-ever all-company effort, Tire Discounters, headquartered in Cincinnati, collected more than 18,000 pairs of shoes for international nonprofit Soles4Souls and donated $10,000 to help fund distribution.
Greater Cincinnati, which is the company’s largest market, collected 9,400 pairs of shoes alone—an effort that Tire Discounters’ Chief Marketing Officer Crissy Niese says goes to show how many “good hearts we have in the Cincinnati area.”
“We had quite a few customers taking their own shoes off their feet like, ‘Sweet, I’ll donate these right now and get $25 off a tire,’ so we got pictures from our staff of people standing there in their socks because they were excited to participate,” Niese says.
The promotion, called reTire your Kicks, took place last month and fostered a sense of community for not only the customers who were able to receive a discount for donating shoes, but also for the employees who had never been part of such a large initiative, Niese says.
“They were so proud of it, and so proud that their company they work for would do something like this,” Niese says. “A lot of people tend to think of car salesmen, tire salesmen, shoe salesmen—with not always the best reputation. People tend to have a stereotype in mind, but that’s not who we are as an organization.”
Soles4Souls will distribute the shoes to individuals facing poverty across the sea, but also stateside, as it focuses on disaster relief and also easing the burden of those facing difficult situations on a daily basis. Locally, it partners with Bethany House Services.
“It’s a way to make sure we have a balance and are able to assist people in our own backyards,” Niese says. “And it’s a great opportunity to know your items are going to people who you’ve heard their stories on the news. It’s self-assuring to all the people participating.” 

Do Good:

•    Host your own shoe drive for Soles4Souls.

•    Support Soles4Souls by volunteering.

•    Support Soles4Souls by fundraising.

FNC recognizes Champions for Change, calls for community effort

The Family Nurturing Center will celebrate 20 years of August Affairs this Friday as the organization will raise awareness and funds for child abuse treatment, prevention and education.
In Northern Kentucky and Hamilton County alone, there are more than 10,000 reports of child abuse or neglect each year—a statistic FNC is working to change.
“Child abuse is not a topic that most folks want to talk about,” says Tracy Fuchs, FNC’s director of marketing and special events.
It’s uncomfortable for many, but unless others start acknowledging the issue, learning and talking about it, and advocating for a change in society’s view and response to the act, change will never occur.
That’s why FNC is honoring 20 Champions for Change at this year’s event. It’s a group composed of 20 individuals, organizations and corporations who are committed to creating “a culture of change for how we react, respond to and prevent child abuse,” Fuchs says.
It’s important to recognize their efforts because, according to the FNC, a community-wide effort is required, and an important piece of the equation is to not be silent regarding the issue.
“It makes us uncomfortable to even say words like ‘sexual abuse,’” Fuchs says. “But sexual abuse thrives in our discomfort in naming it, and the culture of silence gives power to the perpetrators. Ninety percent of children who are sexually abused are done so by someone they know or trust. It’s not stranger danger.”

Do Good:

•    Support FNC by ordering your tickets now for Friday's August Affair. 

•    Consider being a 2014 August Affair corporate sponsor

•    Contact the FNC to learn more about child abuse prevention, treatment and education, and be a champion for change.

Rosie's Girls empowers girls with STEM-related skills

For Sandra Ramirez Pvac, a freshman at DePaul Cristo Rey High School, the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati’s program Rosie’s Girls provided her not only with a fun and engaging summer experience, but also a sense of empowerment.
“We made lamps, cut the pieces, sanded it and painted it,” Ramirez Pvac says. “Then we also got it to work through the electricity that we did. We also made our own toolbox—it was just cool.”
Rosie’s Girls is a program for girls between the ages of 11 and 13 that introduces STEM-related careers through hands-on training in carpentry and other technical trades.
“The part that excited me was going through carpentry, because usually when I hear about Messer and Turner Construction sites, usually men do it,” Ramirez Pvac says. “You see guys outside putting concrete on the streets, so I thought it would be interesting to go and experience that and see how it is.”
Ramirez Pvac actually graduated from the program in 2012, but this past summer, she returned as a counselor in training.
“I was excited because my younger sister was going this year, and she also was excited because she saw the stuff I had brought home,” Ramirez Pvac says.
Since her time in the program, Ramirez Pvac has been able to put her skills to use. When her bed broke, she fixed it. And when she was on a mission trip working in the garden of an older couple, she noticed a broken bench that was going to be thrown away.
“It was a pretty bench,” Ramirez Pvac says. “And they said they just hadn’t found someone who could fix it, so I got the opportunity to get the tools and fix it.”
Rosie’s Girls fostered a sense of independence in Ramirez Pvac, and it’s one she says she noticed with the other girls who participated in the program this past July.
“They were able to do the stuff themselves. They were able to have confidence by being able to do stuff that you wouldn’t see a young girl doing at this age,” Ramirez Pvac says. “And I feel like some girls actually felt like they wanted to take a career that has to do with that, with carpentry.”

Do Good:

•    Learn about Rosie's Girls, and encourage young girls to apply for next year's program. 

•    Support the YWCA by donating.

•    Connect with Rosie's Girls on Facebook.
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