Friday, July 1, 2011

Action in Bond Hill

This summer I upped my hours with the Butler County Rape Crisis Program to about 25 hours/week. Yesterday, about 3 of those hours were spent at the groundbreaking at St. Aloysius Orphanage in Bond Hill. What does St. Al's have to do with Rape Crisis? Well, last year the Community Counseling and Crisis Center (RCP's parent organization) merged with/was absorbed by St. Aloysius out of Cincinnati. The merger allowed St. Al's to continue to expand into Butler County while keeping the CCCC fiscally afloat. I don't know or understand all of the details of the merger, but I do know that now us folk at Rape Crisis are affiliated with the folk at St. Al's. So there ya go.

In support of our new parent organization (or would it be our grandparent organization?), we attended the ceremonial groundbreaking for a new expansion to St. Aloysius on Reading Road in Bond Hill. It is a BEAUTIFUL building, and they will be adding on an addition (how redundant of me) to include more classrooms, a new cafeteria, and other neat stuff. It's the first major rennovation in the organization's 175-year history. Wowza.

But what fun would it be to just tell you about it. Here's Channel 9 WCPO's take on the day! If you watch the video package you will see an artist's rendering of the new addition, and if you look closely in the "crowd" shot, you'll see me standing in the background (focus on the left side of the screen).

After a few inspiring words from some important people (like Mayor Mark Mallory, as depicted in the video), it was time for the "groundbreaking." Of course, the dirt was already dug up in a little raised bed behind the podium, complete with about 10 golden shovels (I kid you not--they were some good looking shovels!) wedged in the dirt. About 20 people donned white hard hats and took turns posing with their shovels in the dirt. By the third round of photos, my adventurous boss Jane and RCP's board president decided to get down with a golden shovel, too. I wish I had the picture. Boo.

And that concludes my first ever ceremonial groundbreaking. Looking back, I should have gotten in on the shovel action. Oh well. I guess it's best that we didn't linger too long in Bond Hill because apparently the FBI raided the Community Action Agency. Yesterday. The FBI. For real. The search warrant is sealed so there aren't many details yet, but you can check out the story here. I mean, really? What the what?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Future Me,

I just found a really cool website I thought I would share. It's called where you can write a letter to yourself, determine the delivery date, and the creators of the site will send you the email on the day you selected. So in a strange back-to-the-future-electronic-time-capsule kind of way, you can communicate your memories of the past and hopes for the future all in a simple email. For free!

If you're worried that this website won't be around when it comes time to receive your message, they've been in business since 2002, so odds are they'll be around in a year or two when you're looking for an email from yourself. And if you're worried about your privacy or the security of your letter, they don't sell any email addresses or information you provide, so there will be no spam clogging your inbox. You can also set your email to be privately delivered, or you can allow it to be publicly and anonymously posted on their website (and some are pretty interesting to read if you get a chance).

So check it out! I think I might write myself a letter, too. Though in a sense, I guess this blog has loosely served as a letter to myself for a couple of years now. Not bad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All the single ladies

Today I did my weekly Meals-on-Wheels route (first mentioned here). Since I began the route in January, 4 people have been added to my route--all women, all single--bringing my total to 9 lovely ladies in Price Hill. During that time, I have really gotten to know the residents on my route, and they seem to enjoy seeing me each Tuesday. I have connected with one woman who always invites me in to "sit down for a minute." She loves showing me pictures, talking about her family, and telling stories about her life. And before I know it, a minute has evolved into an hour and I don't want to leave! Time flies when the conversation is easy.

It's fun to do special little things for the ladies, too. For example, when one woman asked me to help her get a fan for her bedroom, I went back to the Sedamsville, asked around, and uncovered an unused box fan in one of the offices. The following week, I delivered the fan to her house along with her meals. She couldn't believe I had secured a fan for her, let alone remembered her request! Or how about the woman who recently celebrated her 85th birthday. That week, I delivered a bouquet of flowers from me with her meal. The look on her face as she opened the door and realized the flowers were for her was priceless. And for two weeks after that, the flowers stayed in a vase on her coffee table where she showed them off to friends and family, even after they had wilted and died. I felt good that I had made her happy with the flowers, but I felt even better that she had invited me into her life to begin with.

Each of the participants in my program are uniquely different, yet all of them offer comfort and wisdom in the brief moments we share together. It is these interactions and special moments that show me the value of this program. Not only does Meals-on-Wheels provide nutritious food to homebound seniors, it also provides opportunities for invaluable social interaction. And I love being a part of that.

If you ever have a lunch hour free, I would encourage you to connect with your local Meals-on-Wheels program. You'll be surprised how much you find yourself looking forward to your next delivery day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back in the saddle?

It's been well over a month since I have posted on here. 36 days to be exact, but who's counting? Of course, I've been one busy gal. In the past 30 days, I have officially wrapped up my first year of graduate school (I got all A's!), completed my internship (to be resumed in Fall 2011), and have certainly been working my tail off at two part-time jobs (Butler County Rape Crisis Program and now officially Women Helping Women--did I forget to mention that?)

Even now that it's summer, I'm still plenty busy, with an increase in program assistant hours in Oxford and a few extra on-call shifts with WHW in Cincinnati, as well as weekly volunteer hours at Santa Maria. Yep--I liked interning at Santa Maria so much that I just couldn't walk away from two weekly activities: my Meals-on-Wheels route to several elderly ladies in Price Hill, and my youth group which I co-facilitate with the Youth Program Manager. Next fall when school and internship resume, I will be fully immersed in my administration specialty track, so I won't be able to devote any time to my kids or ladies. Hopefully this summer I can share more about some of my adventures with all of these activities.

On the homefront, Taylor and I are keeping plenty busy, as well. We've been gardening and landscaping, and making a few house updates (which I'll share), as well. Sadly, our family has experienced some other changes of late, as we recently lost our dear little Louise on May 28th. Her health kept deteriorating to the point where she didn't want to eat or do much of anything anymore, and we knew the time had finally come to say goodbye. It was a tough decision, but the right one, and we miss her all the time. We're lucky to still have our sweet 16-year old Thelma, but it just isn't the same without her other half.

So with the summer underway, I am optimistic I will be able to crank out more than 3 posts/month, which seems to be the going rate right now. Hey, sorry about that. I'm back!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More changes in Butler County

This past February, the president and CEO of Butler County United Way resigned to take a job in another state. The resignation was sudden, but the county was hopeful something positive could emerge from this situation. For months, we've watched as the search committee interviewed candidates from around the country, and we've been waiting with anticipation to hear who would be selected as the new CEO.

This morning the Hamilton Journal-News reported Bruce Jewett, the county administrator and former director of Job and Family Services, resigned from public service to accept the president/CEO position at Butler County United Way.

I'm not sure what is in store in the coming weeks, months, or even years for this county. No one can be. But I hope that the leader of this organization can strengthen our community through innovative problem-solving skills, creative fundraising, and effective leadership. We need someone who will listen to the leaders of our community, and act with their best interests at heart. We need someone who will act with integrity and wisdom and humility.

I hope Bruce Jewett will be that someone for Butler County.