Stories about the people and organizations that enrich our community.
The Children's Library, located in downtown Akron on the second floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, is celebrating 100 years of serving children. An open house will be held Saturday Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate its dedication to children and the importance of reading.
According to the library's blog, the Children's Library formed in 1912 after a local businessman Frank H. Mason donated $2000 to the library to pay for books and hire a librarian. Four women from the Akron area each contributed $250, which was used to purchase furniture and open the Children's Corner in 1913. Since this time, the Children's Library has grown significantly and has continued to increase literacy and interest in reading among children in the community said Trish Saylor, the manager of the Children's Library.
"It's finding the right book for the right child and helping him or her discover a love for reading," Saylor said. "People remember this, and they are still readers today because of the guidance that we gave them as they were growing up."
The Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation is accepting grant applications for projects that support, enhance and educate the community regarding the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation. Coming to Cleveland and Akron in August 2014, the Gay Games is a world-renowned sports and culture festival that emphasizes inclusion and participation.
In October, the Gay Community Endowment Fund announced a $100,000 commitment to the 2014 Gay Games, making the fund the official host sponsor of 2014 Gay Games sports in Akron and Summit County. A portion of those funds will be used to award grants of up to $5,000 for projects that support the Gay Games, including arts and culture events, LGBT programming, and diversity projects.
Grants will not be made for the purchase of tickets to Gay Games activities, including the opening and closing ceremonies. All projects must be conducted in Summit County.
Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna has lofty goals. Director Annette Fisher wants to construct a 65-foot by 115-foot covered arena adjacent to the stables in order to continue with equine rehab therapy throughout the cold winter months.
The abused and neglected horses sometimes need to recover from leg and eye injuries and other medical procedures, and they need a dry, safe environment under cover from rain and snow – and the hot sun during the summer months – to do this in. It would also serve as an area where families could ride the animals, which are up for adoption, year round.
The Happy Trails fund-raising campaign is well under way. The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust has offered a $12,000 grant toward the project if Fisher can raise the remainder of the $54,000 original cost to erect the pole-barn type structure. The Ravenna United Fund has donated $2,000 toward the goal.
Julie Barnes, executive director of Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS), was officially named the next Executive Director of Summit County Children Services (SCCS) at a special Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 14. Ms. Barnes succeeds John Saros who is retiring as SCCS Executive Director at the end of 2013 after leading the agency for more than six years.
The SCCS Board of Trustees' Search Committee recommended Ms. Barnes as its top finalist for the position in mid-October after a nationwide search that lasted several months, and introduced her to the community at a reception held at Children Services on October 30. She will officially begin her new duties on December 23, and her three-year contract calls for a salary of $145,000 per year.
At SCJFS, Ms. Barnes has led a triple-combined agency including Human Services, Child Support and Children Services with approximately 475 staff and an annual budget of approximately $50 million. Before becoming Executive Director there in June 2008, she had served as Deputy Director of Children Services from May 2007-May 2008.
The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched the "Partnerships in Motion – Destination Development Grant Program."
The program is designed to assist qualifying tourism entities with efforts to enhance and increase tourism in Summit County, including projects that increase the tourism market share and grow the tourism industry. The goals of the program include: 1.) increase overnight stays in Akron/Summit County; 2.) promote a positive image and increase visibility of Akron/Summit County attractions; 3.) increase expenditures by visitors to Akron/Summit County; and 4.) provide programs and activities beneficial to attracting additional tourists. Applications are due by Dec. 19.
Theta Chi Fraternity, located at 493 Vine St., is hosting Operation SOS, a philanthropy event aimed at collecting warm clothing for the Eastway Homeless Shelter. The event will be going on until the Nov. 27.
"The purpose is to gather winter materials like blankets, clothes, shoes, anything that could help homeless people in need, or people that are just financially deficit, to get them through the winter," said Chris Seitler, a philanthropy committee member of Theta Chi.
The goal of this event is to give back to the community and to help keep those less fortunate keep warm during the coldest time of the year. All donations can be dropped off at the Theta Chi house or given to a member of Theta Chi.
In the spirit of the upcoming winter holiday season, the Akron RubberDucks is bringing back the “20 Days of Giving” promotion, starting Wednesday. Nov. 20. The promotion is packed with unique, experience-based prizes only available during this once-a-year promotion.
Some of the prizes include traveling with the RubberDucks on a road trip, a personalized card in the 2014 team set, a custom concourse sign at Canal Park, and an authentic, personalized Akron RubberDucks jersey.
“With the positive feedback from the ’20 Days of Giving’ in 2013, we knew we had to bring back the promotion this year in a big way for the first RubberDucks’ season," said Brian Flenner, director of ticketing. "I think our amazing lineup of experience-based prizes is something any baseball fan would always remember."
The Salvation Army of Summit County needs your help. The organization needs volunteers to ring the hand bells at the iconic red collection kettles around the area this holiday season. Operating in one- or two-hour shifts, volunteers will carry forth an annual tradition that began in San Francisco in 1891.
When Salvation Army officer Captain Joseph McFee wished to provide a free Christmas dinner to the poor of San Francisco, he recalled a sight he saw in Liverpool, England, from his days as a sailor. McFee remembered a large pot displayed on the Stage Landing, called “Simpson’s Pot.” The pot took donations put in by people passing by.
McFee asked for permission from San Francisco city authorities to place a crab pot and tripod at the Oakland ferry landing. The kettle along with calls of “Keep the Pot Boiling!” drew in donations. Over the years, the color changed from black to red and continues to this day as the Salvation Army’s most famous street campaign.
“Placemaking,” a collaborative and place-sensitive process of shaping neighborhoods, communities and districts, will be the subject of the GAINS (Greater Akron Innovations Network for Sustainability) meeting this Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Musica, in downtown Akron.
The evening’s discussion will cover successful best practices, opportunities, challenges and development choices with significant economic impact for Greater Akron. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the free program begins at 6:15 p.m.
Placemaking is an innovative perspective that views a place in its entirety, rather than zeroing in on isolated fragments of the whole with the intent of creating an experience of place we identify with, are more likely to engage and ultimately a more prudent approach to investing development dollars.
With the holiday season just a few weeks away, Summit County Children Services is once again calling upon the generosity of county residents to make the season come alive for the children in our care. Since tax dollars may not be used for certain expenses, community donations are needed for the following Summit County Children Services programs:
The Holiday Toy Room – The Holiday Toy Room is a place where foster parents, kinship caregivers and client families 'shop' for toys and gifts to give to their children. Last year, more than 1,100 children in agency care received gifts through this program. No money is exchanged – everything is available at no cost to eligible agency caregivers and client families, thanks to the generosity of the community. Donations of toys and gifts for all ages of children (especially infants and teens), and/or financial contributions to purchase toys are greatly needed. Donations of gloves and mittens are also requested. Donations may be made directly to Summit County Children Services, 264 S. Arlington St., Akron. Since the Toy Room opens in early December, it is requested that donations be delivered by Monday, Dec. 2, if possible – however donations will be accepted through Dec. 15.