Stories about the people and organizations that enrich our community.
A class project in The University of Akron’s distance learning program has shown students just how much education can impact the world around them, leading to a $2,000 grant for the Akron Rotary Camp for children with special needs.
The funds will help the camp make improvements to its sensory room, including beanbag chairs, a replacement light projector, a balance board and a contoured relaxation chair, among other items. As part of the Pay It Forward project series, students of visiting English lecturer Lauren Garcia-DuPlain produced videos for local nonprofits expressing their funding needs, and the three finalists competed for the grants via online voting at Akronist.com (watch the finalists’ videos here). The winning team hails from Coventry High School.
“The Pay it Forward project gives students an opportunity to take their classroom learning to a professional level – in this case, students see how research, observation, interviewing and other writing skills come together to persuade an authentic audience to take action,” said Garcia-DuPlain. All in all, 52 English Composition II students helped advocate for funds for local nonprofits, and the three organizations featured in the online poll were Mobile Meals, Akron Rotary Camp and RePlay for Kids.
The Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library is undergoing renovations that started on May 4 and will re-open at 9 a.m. on May 13.
The renovations will include new carpet on the first floor, new furniture that allows patrons to connect to electronic devices, a new reference desk and a check out desk that will be handicap accessible.
"Our building hasn't been renovated in 16 years," Executive Director Douglas Dotterer said. "These improvements will make the library more accessible to patrons with disabilities and we also have a staff member who is physically challenged."
Dotterer said the renovations come as part of a larger three-year plan to make the library "technologically proficient" to better serve the community.
Whether it's stilettos, kitten, sling back or wedges, strap 'em on and race to the finish the line for the third annual Kick Up Your Heels 5K, 1M walk and Stiletto Sprint on Saturday, May 11.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the event starting and finishing at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. The race will benefit the ACCESS homeless shelter, providing funds for costs of maintaining the shelter and programs they offer to the women and children in need.
"What we are mostly about is our programs," said Eliza R. Williams, director of advancement at ACCESS. "The programming here is cutting edge and aims at ending homelessness. We address the issues of our clients."
Armed with a genuine concern about deteriorating urban neighborhoods and an unwavering love and compassion for people, a vehicle to transform blight into beauty and struggle into empowerment for the human spirit was born, known as Let's Grow Akron.
The organization was officially established in 1988 with Elaine working tirelessly alongside neighbors to clear unsightly vacant lots and convert them into productive gardens where she taught people the skills needed to grow their own food and bring back a sense of pride to their community.
Elaine was truly a visionary and by no stretch of the imagination were the things she set her sights on improving in a neighborhood ever a small order. In 1998 Elaine gathered children in the South Akron Summit Lake Neighborhood, paired with teams of adult volunteers to clean up one of Akron's top ten dump sites.
About five to six times a year at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, a group of individuals gathers in its sprawling 85,000-square-foot warehouse to help pack meals for the area's hungry. And they do it all during their free time. This group called CORE was started last year by the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank (ACRFB) and affords its participants a twofold benefit.
The volunteers not only have the reward of giving back to their community by helping to further ACRFB's mission but the opportunity to network with other young professionals as well. CORE was "created to broaden the engagement of young leaders in our community," said Kat Pestian, communications coordinator for ACRFB.
"The foodbank wanted a space for people to see the tangible difference they make by volunteering, and at the same time, connect to other leaders who deeply care about our community."
Most are familiar with the term "serving the greater good," the basic idea being when someone or something greatly impacts on a positive and substantial level. And United Way would like to honor those individuals who have done as much with its 2nd Annual Pinnacle Awards of Summit County.
"It's a way to recognize businesses and individuals in this community who do a great job in the rapidly growing area of corporate social responsibility," said Michael Gaffney, United Way's vice president of marketing and communications.
Nominations are being accepted through May 31, 2013 at United Way's website by visiting www.uwsummit.org.
The winner will receive a grant for the team's selected nonprofit.
This semester, 52 English Composition II students put their skills of persuasion to the test as they worked to earn a $2,000 grant for one of three area nonprofits – Mobile Meals, Akron Rotary Camp and RePlay for Kids. Taking part in the Pay it Forward program at The University of Akron, the students learned key research and writing techniques all while giving back to the community.
After viewing all of the advocacy projects, a panel of judges selected one video to represent each nonprofit. Now, the students need your help.
From April 21 through 5 p.m. on April 26, they invite you to vote for one of the three projects featured on this page. You may vote for your favorite project one time per day. After the voting ends on the 26th, the video that receives the most votes will earn a $2,000 grant to fund the project detailed in the video. The other two nonprofits will earn $500 grants, and the students will help determine how those funds will be spent.