Sixth annual Difference Makers celebrates outstanding work with kids in our community
CINCINNATI - Tonight Cincinnati Museum Center celebrated the 2013 Difference Makers. Six individuals and three organizations were honored for their exemplary work on behalf of local children.
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal aims to impact the lives of children every day through education and childhood enrichment programs. Their sixth annual Duke Energy Children's Museum Difference Maker event recognizes those individuals, organizations and agencies in our community who share the Museum Center's commitment and passion to better the lives of children.
The Difference Makers event celebrated the forty-three individuals and organizations nominated by their peers and community for their tremendous work to make a difference in children's lives in the tri-state and beyond.
The 2013 Difference Makers are:
· Breakthrough Cincinnati - Offers an academically-rigorous program to talented low-income children that prepares them for future success in college. Urban Hamilton County
· C-Forward, Inc. - Information Technology consultants who are encouraging students to attend school and achieve literacy by donating time and books and adopting a class. Covington/Northern Kentucky
· Sarah Cadle - Providing new backpacks, school supplies and confidence to students. Clermont and eastern Hamilton County
· Aubrey Clark - 7-year old spreading love and care to children in hospitals, inspired by her own experience. Germantown
· Crayons to Computers - Provides a "store" for teachers at disadvantaged schools to shop for supplies to level the playing field for their students. Northern Kentucky/Southwest Ohio/Southeast Indiana
· Ron Dumas - Founder of Reaching Out For Kids, a free golf clinic that focuses on youth. North Avondale
· Don Freed - Volunteer with Cincinnati's Ronald McDonald House who is an inspiration and role model to his fellow volunteers. Cincinnati
· Sharon Johnson - An educator introducing technology into the classroom and helping prepare students for college. Cincinnati
· Vishnu Paranandi - Freshman at Wyoming High School who has been active in the Make It Happen service club, making a difference locally and globally. Wyoming
Forty-three individuals, businesses and agencies were nominated for the 2013 Duke Energy Children's Museum Difference Makers. This inspiring group was nominated by their peers and community for their tremendous work to make a difference in the lives of children in the greater Cincinnati area.
At the event, PNC Grow Up Great was honored as the 2013 Community Honoree for their significant efforts to improve early childhood education and school-readiness. The PNC Grow Up Great initiative began in 2004 with a mission to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. PNC Grow Up Great partners locally with non-profit organizations to foster a foundation in science for preschools. Grow Up Great with Science provides low-income families with support for professional development for preschool teachers and by introducing entire families to science through on-site classroom experiences. PNC Bank employees have donated 12,500 volunteer hours and impacted thousands of children. With over $350 million invested within communities across the country, PNC Grow Up Great has dedicated their mission as strong advocates for the future success of today's children. For more information, please visit www.pncgrowupgreat.com and www.youtube.com/PNC or follow @PNCGrowUpGreat on Twitter.
Locally, PNC Grow Up Great has supported Cincinnati Museum Center through the ECSITE (Early Childhood Science Inquiry Teacher Education) program. ECSITE is a teacher professional development program designed to sustainably increase the competency and confidence of early childhood teachers in creating science inquiry classroom experiences for their students, thereby maximizing science thinking and key multi-disciplinary developmental skills. The Duke Energy Children's Museum and ECSITE program were recognized earlier this year as one of four museums nationally to receive the 2013 Promising Practice Award. Supported by MetLife Foundation and administered by Association of Children's Museums, the Promising Practice Award recognizes U.S. and international children's museums as essential places for nurturing children to become global citizens.
For more information on the nominees including video profiles of the Difference Makers, visit http://www.cincymuseum.org/difference-maker-2013 .
Proceeds from the event support museum visits and programming for underserved children and families.
Cincinnati Museum Center recognizes the following for their support of the 2013 Difference Maker Awards. Presenting sponsors: Harold C. Schott Foundation and Francie & Tom Hiltz. Difference Maker sponsors: Dinsmore, Miller Valentine Group and Sheakley. Champion sponsors: PNC, Taft and Thompson Hine. Table sponsors: The Kropp family, the Bushman family, Cast-Fab Technologies and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Media partner: the Cincinnati Enquirer.
More on the 2013 Difference Makers:
Breakthrough Cincinnati - They seek to close the achievement gap facing even the most talented underserved youth in our community by giving them tools and motivation to attend and graduate college. Focusing on Hamilton County, Breakthrough Cincinnati creates an academically rigorous, college-going environment that prepares students for future success. Annually they serve 110 middle school students and 30 teacher interns from Cincinnati high schools and colleges across the nation. Breakthrough Cincinnati helps to level the playing field for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and inspires the next generation of teachers. www.breakthroughcincinnati.org
C-Forward, Inc. - From 9 to 5 they're an Information Technology consulting service but at heart they are dedicated to improving attendance and literacy in our children. Driven to ensure that every child can read by 3rd grade, they work with James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center in Covington. They have supported PC repairs and donations and last year decorated a Christmas tree with Dr. Seuss books that they donated to the school. Students with perfect attendance through December 2012 were allowed to take a book from the tree to keep as their own. They also participate in a Work Ethic Diploma program that rewards students for their knowledge, commitment and work ethic. Anyone with the required degree and a Work Ethic Diploma is guaranteed an interview with C-Forward, Inc. They have adopted a 1st grade class at John G. Carlisle and their employees each have a "pen pal" with a child in the class, writing often to encourage them to attend school and achieve their reading goals. www.cforward.com
Sarah Cadle - She has organized a school supply distribution in Clermont County and eastern Hamilton County through her work with Inter Parish Ministry that last year provided 230 children the backpacks and school supplies they needed to start the school year. Next year she hopes to provide new sneakers as well. Sarah supplies K-12 and annually overcomes the challenges that come with supplying the more expensive supplies high school students require. Over the past ten years she has dedicated time to organizing donated supplies and securing donations to cover those supplies she purchases herself. She believes no child should be afraid to go to school because they are ashamed of their tattered backpack or lack of school supplies. Her work has helped children start each school year with high self-esteem and an eagerness to learn.
Aubrey Clark - Inspired by the encouragement she received during her own hospital experience, she is dedicated to making sure people know they are loved and cared for during hospital stays. Only 7 years old, she sends cards to children in hospitals by putting the word out and collecting cards that people either create at one of her card booth events or donate. She has recently started sending cards around the world in an effort to spread random acts of kindness where someone receives a card and then passes the card (and kindness) on to another person. Aubrey has raised funds for various causes throughout the Cincinnati and Dayton area, including a mission trip to Haiti and a purchase of 200 baby hats for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. www.jellyfishwishes.com
Crayons to Computers - A non-profit organization, they remove obstacles to good education for children living in poverty by providing basic school supplies to set them up for success in 47 school districts across 16 counties in Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana and Southwest Ohio. They also support teachers at disadvantaged schools who frequently spend their own money to purchase school supplies. Teachers in these schools "shop" for school supplies at Crayons to Computers' store, coming as often as every five weeks. Crayons to Computers seeks to serve a holistic range of students' needs, be they educational, physical, emotional or creative. This service is available to 8,500 teachers and 105,000 students in 16 counties each year. www.crayons2computers.org
Ron Dumas - Founder of Reaching Out For Kids, a golf clinic open to all children regardless of income, race, gender or location. The clinic located in North Avondale operates every Saturday morning in June and July and caters to children from age 3 to 18, with approximately 300 children participating each summer. At the end of the season, each child is given a set of golf clubs and golf bag. ROFK also works with high school graduates of the program to earn scholarships to various colleges. Ron and his program enforce the importance of character, education, integrity, respect and confidence both on the golf course and in life.
Don Freed - He found his call to action after a tragic car accident injured one of his employee's daughters, who he then visited at the Louisville Ronald McDonald House. Promising to give back once he retired, he has become an invaluable member of the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House team, volunteering there for 18 years. Don keeps a prayer list in his pocket for the children he encounters each day and is an inspiration and leader amongst his fellow volunteers. In 2010 he started a tradition that continues today, asking his fellow volunteers to help raise money to adopt a long-term suite for one year. He has also adopted a family three times through the Adopt-A-Family program since it started in 2011. Don's patience, knowledge and passion for serving Ronald McDonald House's families is endless, as is his support and mentorship of his fellow volunteers, including teens.
Sharon Johnson - An educator by profession and choice, she has brought together businesses, non-profits, individuals, universities and colleges, foundations and community leaders to introduce technology into the classroom and prepare students for college. Her work with faculty and staff to build a new curriculum have helped enhance student skills. Over her thirty years as an educator, Sharon has inspired children to reach for higher academic and educational goals. She has helped children and parents that were homeless and impoverished. She has reached out to individuals, community and business leaders to show them the work she has done and bring them onboard with the support they can offer as well. Sharon is committed to training our future leaders and setting them up for success by enhancing their skills through an improved curriculum.
Vishnu Paranandi - Member and leader of the Make It Happen service club at Wyoming Middle School for four years, he and Make It Happen served the local and global community by raking leaves for seniors, raising funds through Juvenile Diabetes Walks and holding basketball tournaments to provide mosquito nets for children. He also designed and maintained a website to inform other students and parents of their work and opportunities to serve. Vishnu found a national video contest that awarded a cash prize; he spent many hours writing and editing a description of Make It Happen's involvement in the Freestore/Foodbank to accompany footage he shot himself. His video won the prize and he donated the money to the Freestore.
About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution as well as national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, Museum Center was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Our Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within Cincinnati Museum Center include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Recognized in Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, Cincinnati Museum Center welcomes one million plus visitors annually. Cincinnati Museum Center gratefully acknowledges operating and capital support from the taxpayers of Hamilton County and the State of Ohio. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org