UA multimedia project earns $2,000 grant for Akron Rotary Camp
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.
Children’s Hospital helps heal through art, music
Expressive Therapy Center promotes holistic healing through the arts, hosts open house May 22
The little girl slowly walks up to the table wearing a hospital gown and a princess tiara, her IV bag and pole close behind her. At the table, children are making colorful shapes with modeling clay and cookie cutters, and nearby, dollops of paint on paper plates stand vigil around tiny easels. The children are smiling, as if they’ve forgotten that they’re in the middle of a hospital, or at least pushed this fact to the back of their minds for now as they work with an art therapist.
The Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center at Akron Children’s Hospital is a place of healing, where visual art and music converge as therapy for these young patients. The two-year-old center -- adorned with vibrant calming colors, mosaics depicting characters from nursery rhymes and skylights that fill the room with natural light -- is a relatively new concept in the patient experience but one that hospital staff, administration and patients can hang their hat on as an effective method of treatment.
“The connection between arts and biology is there,” says Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of pediatric palliative care at Akron Children’s Hospital, and the driving force behind establishment of the Expressive Therapy Center. “There are a number of studies out there that show there is actual connection with the immune system and how well we fight infection when we’re relaxed, when we’re engaged in something that’s tapping into our creativity. We see it in terms of reduced anxiety, reduced pain, increased ability to cope and increased feelings of self-efficacy for children and families. And that’s particularly important for children who have a chronic disease and who are very ill, who are out of control of what’s happening to them most of the time.”
Employee owned, sustainable businesses could come to Akron
Evergreen Cooperative in Cleveland has placed community wealth squarely into the hands of some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, while operating businesses with minimal impact on the environment. Its employees own a stake in the companies they work for and have an active role in managing the businesses, which to date are a laundry service, a solar energy company and an urban greenhouse.
This model of employee ownership and community wealth-building could soon take shape in Akron as some of the minds behind this Cleveland cooperative look to launch similar models in local neighborhoods. The question is: Who will lead the charge?
“As a worker-owner (of the laundry co-op), you will have accrued after eight years, $65,000 as your share of the profits as an owner,” said Jim Anderson, a project manager with the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, who shared the benefits of this business model with the Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability’s (GAINS) recent monthly meeting. “That is community wealth-building. It isn’t just about a payroll or a job.”
Cast a vote for Virtual Idol, give food to those in need
Area artists are singing for the suppers of those in need as part of the Harvest for Hunger’s Virtual Idol competition. Through April 30, an online donation may be used to cast votes for your favorite local performer and provide meals for the hungry.
Submissions are collected via YouTube vidoes, and every dollar that is donated will count as one vote. The video with the most votes will be named the 2013 Harvest for Hunger Virtual Idol winner. Each $5 donation can provide 20 meals to hungry men, women and children in our community, according to the Virtual Idol website.
Harvest for Hunger is a partnership among four foodbanks, including the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, and serves 21 counties across the state.
Local men don women’s shoes to help end sexual violence
We all know someone who’s been a victim of sexual assault or rape, whether we realize it or not. And a group of area men, women and teens will walk one mile in women’s shoes figuratively and literally to show the community that sexual violence is everyone’s concern.
The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, April 26 at Lock 3, is part of an international movement to stop rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence in our communities. Registration starts at 5 p.m. and the kickoff begins at 6 p.m., with a one-mile walk to follow. Proceeds will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties.
“Every two minutes someone in America is raped,” said Dana Zedak, executive director of The Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. “One in six American women are victims of sexual assault. That means someone you know, someone you care about, has been or may become the victim of sexual violence. It may be your mother, your sister, your friend, your girlfriend, your wife, your coworker, or your daughter.”
Backyard chickens are something to cluck about
April 9 presentation offers tips for owning your own flock
Owning backyard chickens has picked up in popularity, for health benefits and keeping food supplies local, among other advantages. Akron area residents interested in owning their own small flock are encouraged to attend Countryside Conservancy’s “Backyard Chickens – Getting Started,” April 9 at Stone Cottage Farm and Garden, 2580 Northampton Road, in Cuyahoga Falls. The program is $25 per person and begins at 6 p.m.
“The class is really geared toward the backyard flock, with five or six chickens,” said Katie Griffith, program manager for Countryside Conservancy, which supports local farmers and advocates community-based agriculture. “Participants will learn how to raise chickens from a day-old peep to an egg-laying hen. We’ll talk about nutritional needs, housing needs and exercise needs, along with how to identify some common diseases or illnesses in poultry and how to keep them safe from those diseases and predators.”
Organic, free-range eggs are much healthier than store bought eggs, according to a number of online resources like www.backyardchickens.com. These eggs also taste better and are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat and higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins A and E, the forum adds.
Dave Lieberth's favorite places, Part II
Mobile Moms helps women get back on their feet
Meet Amanda, who at one time was homeless and addicted to drugs. Thanks to H.M Life's Mobile Moms program, made possible by the Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, women like Amanda get a second chance at a successful life. A single mother, Amanda is going to school to be a drug and alcohol counselor. For more information, visit www.akroncf.org/wef.
Dave Lieberth's favorite places, Part I
- Holocaust, genocide survivors speak at Promise Project at Buchtel High School
- Canines display policing skills for 'K-9 Challenge'
- Homes and the arts combine for UA's Arts-in-Residence Series
- PAWSibilities hosts 2013 Bark in the Park
- Downtown Akron Partnership seeks project ideas for My Akron initiative
- Palliative care through art, music