Several Generous Akron Community Members Collected Resources for Families Experiencing Homelessness

ExplorerZoneKidsStudents From Explorer Zone with the Donated Items.


This December, several generous community members collected resources that were donated to Project RISE. Some of the resources were distributed during the annual gift distribution at Akron’s homeless shelters and some will be given out at future events.

Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education) is a federally funded, collaborative effort by the Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the Akron community to provide supplemental educational services to children and youth experiencing homelessness.



Students who are part of Donna Gray’s “Explorer Zone” before and after-school childcare program created hand-made scarves and hats. All together, they were able to knit and donate three bags of scarves and hats. Ms. Gray explained that the project was a good lesson for the kids in giving and helped them to understand that some children are not as fortunate.



Kristen Magyar



Kristen Magyar of Cuyahoga Falls also made hand-knitted hats for children served by Project RISE. The hats she donated were creatively embellished and beautifully crafted.

Micklos Blake


Micklos Blake, founder of FreshSouls, donated 22 pairs of brand new shoes. Mr. Blake grew up very poor in Jamaica and now has an organization solely focused on providing new shoes to children experiencing hardship.



arinArin Sloan and her Sons Deliver the New Pajamas to Project RISE.



Arin Sloan of Akron helped lead a Pajama Drive at Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn. Ms. Sloan is the interim co-director of the Sunday School Program at the church and helped put together a Christmas Program that was held on December 20th at the church. In conjunction with the Christmas Program, children were invited to participate in a Pajama Drive in which they collected new pajamas for Project RISE. On December 21st, Ms. Sloan and her children were able to drop the donation off at the Project RISE Office.  All together, they collected about 50 pairs of brand new pajamas. Many of these pajamas were given out at the Battered Women’s Shelter a few days before Christmas.

Earlier this year, Jessica Duehning of Faith Lutheran Church also collected items for Project RISE. Ms. Duehning leads a small group at the church and together with the other families, the group donated several fleece scarves and hats, gloves, hygiene products and Target Gift Cards.


shoes1From the Left: Debra Manteghi, Micklos Blake and Rachel Breece
Show Off the Donated New Shoes.


The donations that came in after holiday gift distribution will be given out at the annual “Soul Food Dinner” Event in February. Project RISE would like to thank all of the generous community members who donated items for the families we serve. During the 2014-2015 school year, Project RISE identified and served close to 1,800 students and youth.

For more information about Project RISE and how you can help, please contact Debra Manteghi at (330) 761-2969 or

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