I remember several years ago visiting the Reds Rookie Success League when I was working with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Reds Community Fund organizes these free coed camps each summer to teach the fundamentals of the sport through a character based curriculum – and campers even get to meet a few local professional players. What a wonderful opportunity for so many children who otherwise would not be able to afford such a fun camp.
Since its inception in 2001, the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund has been dedicated to improving the lives of youth through its baseball-themed outreach efforts. The Reds Rookie Success League is just one example.
Last week, local youth were given a whole new opportunity to build success when the Major League Baseball, Cincinnati Reds, and Procter & Gamble unveiled the new Urban Youth Academy, a four field facility where Cincinnati children and youth can play baseball and softball, while receiving guidance to gain tools that will help them succeed not just on the playing field, but in the classroom…and in life.
The $7 million Cincinnati Academy is the fourth in the MLB and it is the first one in the Midwest. It has four fields, one of which even has a press box. Additionally it has a field house complete with a turf field and indoor batting cages and pitching tunnels. There are also classrooms where students can receive free tutoring while they wait to play.
Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson, stars of Cincinnati’s past, were among those on hand for the unveiling.
“It came out better than anyone could’ve expected,” said Frank, whose current role is as MLB’s executive vice president of baseball development. “You have your vision of what you’d like to see and what it will look like when it’s finished. But I didn’t have this vision. And I don’t think anyone else did. This is a great facility, and we’re just glad to be a part of it. We will continue to work with the Reds to keep it up and support the kids. They are the future.”
Also on hand was a family very special to me. I grew up next door to Gerry and Marion Gendell and their seven kids (Carin, Danna, Adrian, Jeff, David, Marc and Brad) and have so many wonderful memories of those years. They are such a kind and generous family. One of the ballfields at the Academy is a gift from the Gendell Family Foundation and was dedicated to Gerry and Marion – loving parents who gave so much to our great city.
Gerry was commissioned as a First Lieutenant by the US Army in 1952 after graduating NY University. Following 3 years of military service during the Korean War, he joined P&G where he spent 37 years in management positions. In the last 10 years he served as the company’s chief public affairs officer and also served as president and trustee of the P&G Fund. Among other achievements, he launched Pringles brand and expanded P&G’s charitable activities. He was vice chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, member of the Board of Overseers at HUC, a board member and supporter of several other organizations. Marion earned her bachelor’s degree at age 50. She served in volunteer roles for various organizations.
Children at area Cincinnati Recreation Centers will get an added level of fun this summer, when Happen Inc’s Community Canvases pop at area pools. The canvases will have an image from Cincinnati Art Museum’s Eternal Summer: Edward Henry Potthast exhibition, and children will be asked to join in on some ART FLASH MOB fun and help assemble the canvas right there on the spot on the fence at the pool. Parents you can join in too. Ten canvases will go up during the ten weeks that the Cincinnati Art Museum celebrates the Tenth Anniversary of the Cincinnati Wing . Those ten weeks are called Cincinnati Summer. Ten Cincinnati Recreation Centers are participating.
The first five are:
Millvale: Tuesday June 18th 11 am-1pm. 3303 Beekman Street
Pleasant Ridge: Saturday June 22nd 1pm-3pm. 5915 Ridge.
Winton Hills: Tuesday June 25tth 11am-1pm. 5170 Winneste Ave.
Hanna: Saturday June 29th 1pm- 3pm 226 Stark Street.
Bush: Tuesday July 2nd 11am- 1pm. 2460 Kemper Lane.
Community Canvas is a free Happen, Inc. program that turns an average chain-link fence into a famous work of art, literally bringing art into the community. The canvas begins as a collection of long paper strips, each displaying one section of a famous work of art. Community Canvas is a great way for a school, museum, library, community center, or other organization to bring art into the community. At the opening event, participating children and adults take turns weaving the strips into an empty chain-link fence. When the canvas its up it remains on display for 30 days.
Founded in 1999 Happen, Inc., a nonprofit organization, create a positive environment for parents and children through art-related activities and experiences designed to strengthen both the family structure and the community as a whole. An estimated 7,000 children in Greater Cincinnati each year experience the arts through Happen programs. Happen, Inc recently won the prestigious Cincinnati Post-Corbett Award for Arts Education and Outreach.
One afternoon every month, an exam room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is transformed into a photography studio for kids. That’s when an organization called Flashes of Hope photographs children battling life-threatening illnesses.
Flashes of Hope was founded in 2001 by a Cleveland woman whose son was hospitalized for cancer treatments. Now there are chapters across the country. In 2012, photographers Vickie Daniels, Mark Bealer and Helen Adams formed the Cincinnati chapter. Since then, more than 250 children have been photographed.
“We wanted to bring a gift to families to offer them something that most families don’t even think about at this time in their lives,” said Vickie Daniels, co-chair of Flashes of Hope.