Friday, August 29, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Sue Schofield and Fifth Third Bank

Sue Schofield has been a longtime supporter of Faces without Places.  This month, she took her involvement to the next level by coordinating a tremendously successful back-to-school drive at her workplace, Fifth Third Bank.  The drive, a true team-effort at Fifth Third, resulted in over 120 backpacks and 15 boxes of school and personal-hygiene supplies!  This massive donation was extremely valuable to Faces without Places and will make an enormous difference for local children experiencing homelessness as they return to school.  Here is more information about the drive and the team at Fifth Third Bank that put it together!

Fifth Third Bank’s Corporate Services Community Involvement Team (CIT) was created several years ago to strengthen employee engagement while giving back to the community.   The CIT represents one of the many community services teams at the Bank engaging in worthwhile community activities.  The CIT’s primary responsibility is to identify and coordinate quarterly employee engagement service activities for Compliance Risk Management (CRM), Legal and Government Relations staff that improve the well-being of underserved consumers and communities within our region. 

Each quarter the Community Involvement Team (CIT) solicits suggestions from team members on potential partnering organizations focused on targeted populations (our 3rd Quarter target population was LMI students).  Since team member Sue Schofield personally has volunteered in the past for GoettaFest, Mt Adams Events, and attended the Chili Cook-off and the Yellow Bus Ball and has been a strong supporter of the work of Faces without Places she was thrilled to present the FwP partnering opportunity to the team.

The Corporate Service Community Involvement Team in partnership with a few other areas of the Bank hosted a robust Backpack and Supply Drive in early August prior to the beginning of the school year.  Over 120 backpacks and 15 boxes of school and personal-hygiene supplies were collected during this 10 day effort. 

Employees were determined and committed to making sure that children experiencing homelessness had the necessary supplies to help them succeed in school.  Many made heartfelt donations of several items while other made financial donations.  Volunteer personal shoppers used the money collected to purchase additional supplies.  It really was a team effort.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Julie Schwanekamp

Julie Schwanekamp is one of our longest-standing and most dedicated volunteers.  Julie has been volunteering at the Yellow Bus Summer Camp for about six years now.  This past summer, she volunteered the vast majority of the days at Camp, focusing on Group 1 (the 5-7 year-old campers). 

Julie has proved to be an invaluable volunteer.  She is knowledgeable, passionate, and responsible, and she always knows the right way to relate to and work with children in a given situation.  She helps out in the classroom and on field trips in several ways and is happy to do whatever the staff needs. 

When asked about her interest and dedication to the Camp, Julie said that she loves working with the kids.  “They are fun to be around, and I love to see them grow,”  Julie said.  She also emphasized the importance of the Camp in providing “a fun and safe” place for children experiencing homelessness. 

Thank you so much to Julie and the other fantastic volunteers that made our Camp possible this year!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Julie Sunderland of the Cincinnati Ballet

Picture from of Julie Sunderland with kids from one of Cincinnati Ballet’s Outreach Programs.
  Last Monday, I was able to be there for the very first day of the 2014 Faces without Places Yellow Bus Summer Camp and I stood off to the side as the campers got off the bus. I saw many nervous faces and closed off body language, some heads down and scuffling feet. I tried to draw out some smiles with silly antics and high fives as we lined up in the playground, getting ready for Movin’ It, but to little avail. Movin’ It is the first things the kids do every day when they get to camp, learning dance moves or exercise routines from a volunteer to get their hearts pumping and to clear their minds. So the nervous kids and staff in bright yellow shirts lined up with their eyes on Julie Sunderland with the Cincinnati Ballet. Her energy and sunshine that morning seeped into the kids and I saw their eyes brightening as she led them through some fun dance moves to the song “Happy” by Pharrell. While trying to keep up with Julie and the kids, my eyes scanned the group and I felt so happy to see the nervousness melting away. The kids threw themselves into spinning, twirling, leaping and dancing, forgetting their worries and breaking into smiles and laughter. Julie has the amazing ability of helping kids (and adults!) to dance and be silly and let loose, while still learning and following directions. The point of Movin’ It is to teach kids who may be going through a lot of transition that movement and exercise is necessary to our health and ability to do well in school and life, but it is also fun! We would like to share our appreciation for Julie for being a wonderful example of this for the kids, some of whom are still practicing the dance at local family shelters and have definitely caught the dance bug from her. Thank you Julie!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Supporter Spotlight of a Shelter's Child Enrichment Coordinator: Esther Kilian

Faces without Places works with many shelters and service providers, and one that we work with often is Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati (IHNGC). One of our main contacts there is Esther Kilian, who does a wonderful job as their Child Enrichment Coordinator. She will be leaving her position soon to return to her home country of Germany and we wanted to make sure to do a Supporter Spotlight on her before she leaves, so everyone will know how important she has been to us this year, and how much she will be missed!

Here are a few words from Esther:
“I am the Child Enrichment Coordinator at IHNGCand I create the kids' program for everyday of the week. Bringing volunteers to help with the program, doing developmental screenings for children under the age of 5 and welcoming new families to the shelter are the biggest parts of what I do. As I am part of the Brethren Volunteer Service, I will be going back to Germany after serving at IHNGC for a year and living in a community house in Walnut Hills.  

 Faces without Places has been a big support throughout my work here. From supporting developmental screenings and connecting us with 4C for Children's Parenting workshops, to providing gift cards and educational supplies, organizing Birthday Parties and bringing Santa for Christmas.

 The biggest and most consistent support I feel is through the program “My Little Library." Every single Tuesday, Faces without Places manages to bring awesome volunteers with books and activities for the kids. It has been so much fun working with Megan on creating activities that work well for our kids whether it be sock puppets, crayon-adventures, animal masks or popsicle stick flowers. The kids always have so much fun and are super proud when they get to choose their very own book at the end of every session. Since I am leaving, I simply hope and wish for Faces without Places to continue their good work and their relationship with IHNGC.”

 Thank you, Esther, for your kind words and for everything you have done for children experiencing homelessness. From face painting marathons, building bookshelves and working with the kids in the garden, it has been a joy and inspiration to watch how hard you have worked at IHNGC. There are many children who have benefited from your kind and patient ways. Best wishes on your future endeavors from your friends at Faces without Places! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: James Canfield

    Dr. James Canfield is a supporter of Faces without Places in a very unique capacity. He supports us through his research into the education of children experiencing homelessness. He has helped to create surveys for the children in our ZooMates and Summer Camp programs in order to evaluate the impact of their experiences in our programs. Recently, he was interviewed on camera for our Awareness Film that will premiere this Summer and provided some fascinating insights into the educational barriers faced by children experiencing homelessness. James is a wealth of knowledge on the subject of children in transition and we hope to keep learning from and with him long into the future.

     When asked to reflect on his relationship with Faces without Places, James shared the following:

"I am the primary investigator for the evaluation of Faces without Places programming, which means I help Faces without Places determine whether their programs are meeting their goals. This past summer, we were able to show that campers at the Yellow Bus Summer Camp improved their self-esteem, educational empowerment, locus of educational control, and hope. We also showed that the vast majority of campers felt good about themselves (over 90%!) and healthy after participating in the camp. Importantly, we also showed that the Yellow Bus Summer Camp significantly increased the number of life experiences for the children. These findings show that Faces without Places programming is an important factor in the lives of the children they serve and places them at the forefront in creating an evidence-based best practices program their evaluation efforts.

While I’ve lent a hand at the Yellow Bus Summer Camp several times, I am actually most proud of what I get to witness behind the scenes. The dedicated staff at Faces without Places is one of the most hard-working and compassionate group of people I have met. It has been a privilege to have been a part of helping the fantastic work this program does on a daily basis and could not be done without the fantastic work done by Ramin, Shelley, Beth, and Megan. I am very excited to see Faces without Places continue to make a difference in the lives of Cincinnati’s youth."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Debbie Reinhart

This month, we are spotlighting Debbie Reinhart, a co-founder of Faces without Places.  Debbie's importance to Faces without Places and impact on local children experiencing homelessness cannot be overstated.

Debbie has always had an incredible passion for and commitment to assisting children in need.  She has worked with children in various capacities for decades, and it is not an exaggeration to say that without Debbie, there would be no Faces without Places.  Over 15 years ago, Debbie co-founded FwP with our current Program and Outreach Manager, Shelley Werner, to ensure vital educational programming and services to children experiencing homelessness in Cincinnati.  Debbie has been instrumental to Faces without Places since that time in too many ways to list here and has been one of the main reasons that FwP has been able to touch the lives of over 35,000 children. 

Debbie remains one of our very best supporters to this day.  In addition to being very generous and consistent donors, Debbie and her husband Ray take an active role in certain fundraisers (most notably, the annual March Madness brackets fundraiser with their close friend, Bob Dann) and continue to connect us with contacts throughout the community.  On behalf of the whole organization, I want to personally thank Debbie for all she has done for FwP and the children we serve. 

Debbie (far right) along with (left to right) Tamara Ellis (former board President) and staff members Megan Rahill, Shelley Werner, and Beth Griffith-Niemann.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Bob Dann

Each spring for the past ten years, Bob Dann gears up to host the Faces without Places (FwP) NCAA Fundraiser, in which hundreds of FwP supporters have chosen their favorite team to make it all the way through the bracket challenge.

Bob came up with the idea to help out his good friend, Debbie, co-founder of Faces without Places.  Bob explains, “We had bracket contests at work with a pretty big purse.  I figured that we could donate a large amount of the pot to FwP and still give out a nice prize.  So I got my workmates, friends and family involved.”

Bob has held the NCAA Fundraiser now for ten years because he loves doing it!  Couple this with fact that Bob could do something to help someone else at the same time, why not do it every year?

Basketball season brings back fond memories for Bob of watching the Bearcats in the tournament with his dad and sister when he was a kid, from the Oscar Robertson days, followed by the two NCAA championship teams.  It also brings back great memories—shoveling snow off the driveway with his friends so they could play basketball, and as an adult, watching his daughter play basketball in high school and college.

Bob is motivated to support FwP because he believes FwP is a great help to many kids who have no control over their place in life.  If they can be helped even a little bit, this may help them reach their way out of poverty through the kindness and guidance of the program in supporting education.

Bob explains his favorite FwP experience:
A few years ago, my wife and I were invited to a lunch at Washburn School with the kids. The kids ‘hosted’ us, showed us what they were doing in their summer program, and the older kids were ambassadors for the program.  I sat with a delightful 6th grade girl.  We had some great conversations about sports, music, and her family and friends in the course of our lunch.  I could see that the extra enrichment and coaching this young lady was getting through the program was doing well in preparing her for her future.

Bob is a great example that with a little creativity, almost any passion or skill can be used to support children experiencing homelessness.  Thanks for your dedication to children experiencing homelessness, Bob!—And to another ten years of NCAA Fundraisers!