Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth, a national nonprofit group, lined up quite a program to share with area youths on how they can attain their dreams, as impossible as they might seem.
The event — planned for 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Stark State Community College (Business/Entrepreneur Building), 6200 Frank Ave. NW, Jackson Township — will feature Shawn Crable, the former NFL player who was a foster child from the time he was 5, graduated from Massillon Washington High School and went to the University of Michigan; and Lester Sanders, a motivational speaker. Both offer solutions to address today’s youth and families.
Sanders, who resides in Canton with wife LaTrese and son Elijah, is a product of the inner city but managed to navigate his way past the distractions to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Kent State University. A professional youth service provider, he founded Lester Sanders Limitless Inc. in 2004. Those close to him say he’s funny, too.
With his NFL career prematurely derailed by injuries, Crable is achieving major success in Stark County by coordinating parent education and training about the prevention of child abuse and neglect. He’s employed by the Early Childhood Resource Center in Canton, and is married with five children.
The program is free to persons 12 or older, with lunch provided but no child care. It also offers foster parent training credits (providing your agency has an affiliation agreement). Please RSVP by Monday by calling 330-305-1668 or 1-800-787-7239.
Thank you, Lowe’s
Big, beautiful bouquets to all of the volunteers from the Lowe’s store on Hudson Drive in Stow who turned out to improve the space at Safe Landing Youth Shelter.
Hollie Ashworth, outreach coordinator for Safe Landing, happily brought me up to speed:
“On Oct. 18, volunteers from the Lowe’s store came to our girls Safe Landing Youth Shelter and made living much easier for the staff …
“Last year, Lowe’s came to our boys’ shelter and created a raised vegetable garden, patio and a meditation garden. This year, Lowe’s came to our girls’ house and built us some great storage space. … Our girls’ home can house up to 12 girls, ages 11 to 17, but it has a small kitchen and storage area. So, Lowe’s kitchen design manager Kathy McConnell came to the shelter along with store manager Mike Herrera and HR manager Pat Maloney. They spoke with our staff and then designed some new spaces that would give us a lot more storage room, particularly for our cook and housekeeper.”
So a great big thank you to Lowe’s volunteer craftsmen Mike Skaggs, Will McCauley, Steve Tarr, Bob Gruener and Dave Green for their time and talent. “When our staff are happy, they have more positive energy to give to the shelter and to the girls who reside in our shelter,” Ashworth said. “We are grateful for Lowe’s staff who took it upon themselves to seek us out and make life better for us!”
McKinley wins food fight
Although the famed Massillon football team beat 119-year rival Canton McKinley 34-7, McKinley students proved triumphant in another arena: the second annual Food Fight, sponsored by News-Talk 1480-AM WHBC and Mix 94.1-FM to benefit the Stark County Hunger Task Force.
“Together, the two schools collected 16,727 pounds” of nonperishable food items, according to a news release from the radio stations. “The winner with 13,284 pounds collected is McKinley High School. McKinley receives a traveling trophy, a day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and on-air bragging rights on MIX 94.1 and News-Talk 1480 WHBC ... McKinley also won the honors last year by collecting the equivalent of 5,300 meals of the 9,500 meals donated ...
“Over 57,000 Stark County residents are hungry! One in four children in our area do not know when their next meal may come from,” said Amy Weisbrod, executive director of the Stark County Hunger Task Force.
Every Blooming Thing, 1079 W. Exchange St., Akron, is teaming up with Akron’s Ronald McDonald House for a very special toy collection and fundraiser, offering photos with an old Polsky’s Santa borrowed from an anonymous donor. The public is welcome from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14 at the flower shop.
Owner Scott Sella, a regular volunteer at RMH, is encouraging the public to drop off new, unwrapped toys for the house. Proceeds from the sale of the photos will go to help with the expansion of this home away from home for families of seriously ill patients at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Santa for seniors
Volunteers and donors are asked to consider participating in Home Instead Senior Care’s “Be a Santa to a Senior” program, to help local seniors who might be overlooked during the holiday season.
“Retailers participating in Be a Santa to a Senior will display Christmas trees through Dec. 10 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests,” wrote Home Instead spokeswoman Kristin Danley-Greiner. “Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees, buy the item listed and return it unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.”
Home Instead volunteers will take care of the rest. For more information, please visit http://BeaSantatoaSenior.com.
Donations for children
Summit County Children Services is encouraging residents to donate toys and gifts for children of all ages — especially infants and teens — to the Holiday Toy Room, where “foster parents, kinship caregivers and client families ‘shop’ for toys and gifts to give to their children,” said agency spokesman Chris Vasco.
“Donations of gloves and mittens are also requested. … Donations may be made directly to Summit County Children Services, 264 S. Arlington St., Akron. Since the Toy Room opens in early December, it is requested that donations be delivered by Monday, Dec. 2, if possible — however, donations will be accepted through Dec. 15.”
Volunteers also are needed to work in the Toy Room, stocking shelves and assisting client families with shopping. For more information, please call 330-379-1994.
Potential donors might also want to help with the Adopt-a-Family program or the Food Gift Card Program.
For Adopt-a-Family, agency social workers recommend children, and each child provides a wish list of a few items. Donors purchase and wrap gifts by Dec. 6 and deliver them to the agency.
The Food Gift Card Program involves donations of gift cards (increments of $20 or $25) to local grocery stores, which are provided to needy families. Contributions to the program, either gift cards or money, should be sent or delivered to the agency by Dec. 13.
For more information about these projects, please contact Sandy DeLuca at 330-379-1994 or email@example.com. Or log onto www.summitkids.org then click on the “Donor/Volunteer Opportunities” tab and go to “Holidays.”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.