The Akron Urban League (AUL) is holding its annual meeting and scholarship luncheon on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, commencing at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn hotel. The program will be segmented into two parts: awarding scholarships to local graduating high school seniors and a 2021 economic and programmatic retrospective.
During the scholarship portion of the event, the AUL will award 26 scholarships to selected Summit County high school seniors to further their education. Specifically, five students will receive full-tuition scholarships from The University of Akron, Kent State University, and Stark State College. All Summit County high school 2022 graduating seniors could apply for a scholarship. Finalists were selected based on an essay, their academic record, leadership skills, community service activities, and financial need.
The annual meeting portion will contain a 2021 annual review, including a program presentation and unaudited consolidated financial statements. In May 2022, the annual report data will be available on the organizations’ website, www.akronurbanleague.org. The AUL will also provide a hard copy of its 2021 annual report to interested parties free of charge, on request through their website at https://www.akronurbanleague.org/contact-us/.
“By awarding these Summit County seniors with a scholarship from our program, we are enabling them to concentrate on education. We hope that this financial assistance will allow recipients to be one step closer to achieving their goal of graduating from college. Additionally, we hope that it will inspire the recipients to one day give back to the community,” says Teresa R. LeGrair, President & CEO, Akron Urban League.
On this National Random Acts of Kindness Day, Akron Public Schools (APS) is the grateful recipient of a wonderful act of kindness. GOJO, the manufacturers of PURELL® hand sanitizer, has made a generous donation of 20,000 bottles of Purell® to APS as a part of the kickoff of Be Kind 330 in Akron. Be Kind 330 is part of the Kindland movement sweeping across Northeast Ohio. The only thing GOJO asks in return is for the faculty, students and staff to pay this act of kindness forward as we spread the Be Kind 330 message throughout Kindland.
“We are proud to make the first official act of kindness by donating Purell® products to help Akron Public Schools staff and students stay healthy and well,” said Carey Jaros, President and CEO, GOJO Industries. “We hope others will join us in supporting the Be Kind 330 program.”
GOJO’s act of kindness comes as Akron Public Schools joins other Northeast Ohio schools, businesses and organizations by sharing the Be Kind 330 message and starting conversations about kindness, caring, respect and generosity of spirit.
Students at Robinson CLC will be the first students who receive PURELL® after their Be Kind 330 kick-off assembly. Students will be involved in group discussions, video elements and hands-on activities that lead to their taking a pledge to stick together and be kind. All other schools will follow with events unique to each school as they, too, take the pledge.
Kindland was begun by the Values-in-Action (VIA) Foundation in Mayfield, Ohio. VIA has provided the district with optional instructional materials for its use in promoting the kindness-encouraging project throughout its schools and APS families. Students, teachers, parents, caregivers and grandparents are also encouraged to document everyday acts of kindness using the Just Be Kind App at JustBeKindApp.com.
“With Be Kind 330, we want to establish a community culture where individuals recognize and celebrate the kindness around us and create an overall pay-it-forward mentality that results in a more kind, caring and respectful community for everyone,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent Christine Fowler Mack.
Kindland is presented by Values-In-Action Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers students and adults to build communities of kindness, caring and respect through programs that teach, promote and provide skills and tools to enable individuals to make positive, values-based decisions every day. Since its founding as Project Love in 1994, Values-in-Action (VIA) has trained more than 1.1 million students to lead with values.
For additional information about Kindland, call 440.463.6205; or visit BeKindland.com.
For information about Be Kind 330, contact Mark Williamson, Akron Public Schools, 330.761.2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org. #BeKind330
2021-2022 School Year (In-Person Learning) Story written by Darla Cutright for APS
Smithberger Farms of Randolph, Ohio is a fourth-generation family farm beginning in the 1950s. David & Tina Smithberger’s daughter Ashley Jones is a fifth-grade teacher within Akron Public Schools (Portage Path CLC). Ashley wanted to find opportunities to bring agricultural experiences to the urban school and students. While the district was 100% remote during the 2020-2021 school year, the Smithberger family donated 180 mini pumpkins to the school’s drive-thru fall festival. This year, Mrs. Jones’ classroom watched videos about why pumpkins are orange and why we decorate them at Halloween. They also enjoyed reading the book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
The Smithberger’s shared the humbling experience of gifting the students with a pumpkin and the joy that the small gesture brought to the school and community. This year, the Smithberger family farm doubled their pumpkin seeds in hopes of donating more mini pumpkins to the school drive thru event. On October 21st, the family donated over 200 mini pumpkins to the school’s fall harvest event. This partnership continues to receive positive feedback from the school community and hopes to grow in the years to come. “It is such an amazing opportunity to bring joy to the students at my school through a small piece of our farm”, said Ashley Jones.
2020-2021 School Year (Remote)
Gratitude is often a focus of classroom writing assignments during the month of November, but also something we think about as we celebrate Thanksgiving. With all the changes in our lives this year, it may be easier to focus on what we are missing rather than what we have. Fifth grade teacher Ashley Jones started focusing on gratitude a year ago and has tried to pass it on to her students. “I donated 180 mini pumpkins to the school,” said Mrs. Jones.
Last October, Mrs. Jones decorated her classroom (when we were actually in classrooms) with multi-colored ears of corn and corn stalks, as well as pumpkins, all grown on her family’s farm. The Smithberger farm in Randolph has been in Mrs. Jones’ family for 70 years. Her family has cows and pigs, as well as produce such as corn, hay, and pumpkins, including what Mrs. Jones brought to decorate her class. “We grow them every year, all sorts.
Last year at the end of October, she raffled off the decorations for students to take home, not sure if any of the students would be interested. But all the decorations were a big hit. When Mrs. Jones saw how much the students enjoyed the decorations as well as the pumpkins, she decided to set a goal to plant enough mini pumpkins this year so that every student in her class could take one home. “I purposely planted more mini pumpkins last spring in hopes of having enough for my class.”
Mrs. Jones enjoys sharing information about her family farm with her students. As they study and learn about agriculture, pollination, and the differences in urban, suburban, and rural communities, their teacher makes the connection to her real-life situation. “It’s hard for my students to realize that crops that we grow, raise and sell, are only a half-hour away,” said Mrs. Jones. Some students noticed different warts or coloring on their pumpkins and wondered about it; this was a great opportunity to research the cross-pollination that had occurred with the gourds that were growing nearby.
Mrs. Jones also discussed the process of growing the pumpkins, beginning with planting the seeds. When it was time to harvest them, the whole family helped. “It took a couple of hours (to pick them). You have to cut them one by one so you don’t break their stems,“ said Mrs. Jones.
Mrs. Jones’ father helped wash the pumpkins after harvesting them, and he and her husband helped load them into her vehicle to bring them to Portage Path. Mrs. Jones passed them out to students who attended the October Family International Storytelling Night at Portage Path CLC. She also brought six big pumpkins for decoration that she shared with others at the end of the night. “Seeing the reactions on the kids’ faces was a really cool experience,” she said. “It was something small. I really hope it made a difference and brightened someone’s day,” said Mrs. Jones. She’s already planning to plant enough pumpkins next year to have enough for every student in the school.
Thanks, Mrs. Jones. Portage Path CLC is grateful for you.
Over the summer, Project Rise implemented a special Arts Program that was held at Helen Arnold CLC in Akron. Over the course of the program, close to 20 students had the opportunity to be part of the arts programming which was broken down into 6 sessions. This was particularly beneficial to these students who were either formerly homeless or currently experiencing homelessness.
Project Rise is a federally funded program through the Ohio Department of Education. This program is a collaborative effort between Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the Akron community to provide supplemental educational services to children and youth experiencing homelessness. The primary goal of Project Rise is to remove barriers to the education of homeless youth, which the organization has continued to do during the COVID-19 disruption to school.
The Art Program was taught by the Art Teacher from Helen Arnold, Ms. Anne Lackney and coordinated by the Project Rise Special Programs Department. Ms. Lackney planned and implemented the creative and inspiring lessons and made special connections with the students. Charlotte Buzzelli, long-time Project Rise Staff Member and Akron Woman’s City Club member, also assisted with each art session and at the Reception.
At the end of the summer, Project Rise hosted a special Art Program Reception at the beautiful Akron Woman’s City Club. The students artwork was displayed for community visitors and the families in attendance were able to enjoy refreshments, activities and giveaways.
At the reception, librarians from the Akron Summit County Main Library provided a wonderful assortment of craft activities and the program participants were recognized with special certificates.
This special program was made possible thanks to the continued support of the Akron Community Foundation. The ACF has generously funded Project Rise Arts Programming for many years. Because of their generosity, many students and families have had the opportunity to experience a variety of arts experiences they would not have the opportunity to do otherwise.
In general, Project Rise identifies and serves around 2,000 students per year. For more information on Project Rise and how you can help, please contact Rachel Breece at 330-761-2969 or email@example.com.
On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, Mayor Dan Horrigan and the City of Akron will host the 38th annual National Night Out, a unique event celebrating the importance of neighborhood engagement in Akron. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Night Out (NNO) is an annual community-building campaign, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, that promotes police-community relations and neighborhood unity. The goal of National Night Out is to strengthen participation in local programs that prevent and deter crime, in an effort to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
“National Night Out provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Increasing trust between our residents and our officers has become as important as ever in a year where Akron, like many other cities across the nation, has seen an uptick in violence. It’s no secret that we face significant challenges related to violent crime and strained community trust, and events like this can help increase transparency and allow for a dialogue between residents and officers.”
The NNO program has deep roots in Akron, where the first NNO event took place in 1984 in East Akron. This year’s program will be scaled down from previous years, featuring events at 5 sites throughout the City. Planning normally begins months in advance for the NNO program but was delayed this year to assure the health and safety of participants. All events will be hosted primarily outdoors.
The sites that will be hosting these events are:
Joy Park Community Center Organized by: Mike Dowdell Time: 4 to 8 p.m. Contact: 330-375-2805 or MDowdell@akronohio.gov
Firestone Park Community Center Organized by Councilman Donnie Kammer Time: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Davis Community Center: Organized by: Robert Dowdell Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Contact: 330-375-2832 or RDowdell@akronohio.gov
Goodyear Heights: Organized by: R.I.G.H.T. Committee Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Contact: 330-784-4012 or SharonConnor
Summit Lake Community Center: Organized by: Todd Clarke Time: 4 to 7 p.m. Contact number: 330-375-2826 or TClark@akronohio.gov
The National Night Out campaign involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic/religious groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and local officials. In all, more than 38 million people are expected to participate in NNO in more than 16,000 communities across all 50 states and beyond.