Yvette Thompson wields a lot of power without even knowing it.
This unsung and unpaid hero is changing the lives of teenage girls struggling to find their place in the world.
With a strong assist from Thompson, the girls are even having fun in the process through a year-old empowering program she calls Fadia Young Women’s Program. Its members — about 50, mostly from Akron Public Schools — meet once a week in various educational and social mentorship programs. “We just want to redirect them away from certain celebrity lifestyles, negative behavior and stuff they see on TV.”
This week, Thompson, along with Shalonda Lee and Twanysha Davis and others, are taking the show on the road, when Fadia Young Women’s Program marks Domestic Violence Month by presenting “The Purple Party,” a domestic violence awareness event, 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 12 at East Akron Community House, 550 Arlington St.. Akron (home of their meetings). Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
The mission? To raise the curtain on domestic violence issues and raise funds for the Battered Women’s Shelter and Fadia, which in Arabic means “protecting others.”
The $10 cost includes food, musical performances, poets, dancing, and speakers including vocalist Sahara Prade, daughter of the late Dr. Margo Prade who was murdered in 1997 outside her office. Her ex-husband, former Akron Police Capt. Doug Prade, was convicted in that crime but recently was exonerated.
Sahara will speak privately with the girls and then sing at the public program, which will feature testimonials by victims of domestic violence, a speaker from Battered Women’s Shelter, a probation officer, and business owners with a performance by Micky G and music by DJ LoKey. Donations for Battered Women’s Shelter will be accepted.
In an effort to make this a night to remember, members are encouraged to wear ballroom attire.
“We are in the process of turning FYWP into a sisterhood/sorority,” Yvette said. “The girls have to maintain a GPA of 3.0, write a three-page essay [based on why they want to join FYWP], do community service involving the elderly, be consistent at FYWP meetings and more. … Then they will receive a special FYWP sweater and an achievement award.”
Yvette Thompson has adopted an if-they-see-it-they-can-achieve-it success model. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-849-1050.
Thanks, St. Sebastian
A well-deserved pat on the back to St. Sebastian Parish School and all of the students involved in its garden project.
School spokeswoman Michelle Huber explained its goals:
“The first is to create an outdoor classroom where students and teachers can come together for lessons and experiments on gardening, nutrition and science. The second goal is to provide community members with access to fresh produce. All the vegetables that are grown in the garden are donated to the Good Samaritan Hunger Center and used to support its free meal program. This program serves a nutritious, multicourse meal three days a week, 52 weeks a year. Everyone is welcome, no identification is required and there is no limit on the number of visits.”
A few weeks ago was harvest time. “St. Sebastian Parish School eighth-grade students worked in the school garden to harvest vegetables that they had planted as seed last spring,” Huber said. “Carrots, beets, parsley and kohlrabi were picked by the students and delivered to the Good Samaritan Hunger Center.”
Toys donated to patients
Thanks to several tattoo artists, their customers and others, patients at Akron Children’s Hospital became the beneficiaries of a huge collection of new toys.
Jeremiah Currier owns Good Life Tattoos & Piercings with Jesse Strother, who did the community-themed mural on the outside wall of Angel Falls coffee shop. Currier said nearly $3,500 was raised last Sunday for this special outreach. It was all word-of-mouth and fliers.
A select menu of tattoos that would normally go for $75 to $150 were done for $50. “When we showed up for work Sunday morning, there was a line all the way down the plaza,” Currier said.
Fortunately, they thought ahead and enlisted the talents of several artists to draw the 60-plus tattoos. They were Brian McFadden, Kyle Elwood and out-of-towners Joe Thompson of Pittsburgh, Victor Savage of Cleveland and Joel Brennan of Erie, Pa.
In addition to those customers and a few who wanted piercings (which Currier handled), others stopped by to drop off new toys for the cause.
Currier, Strother and several of their associates then went toy shopping for infants through teens and made a massive, same-day delivery to the hospital.
Looking for organizers
Ever since I penned the recent column about Anne Montague’s ambitious effort to identify and honor America’s Rosie the Riveters — women who took over the factories as the men left for World War II — momentum has been building here to gather these women together under one roof, perhaps over lunch to share their stories.
Montague’s Thanks! Plain and Simple Inc. nonprofit is based in Kanawha County, W.Va., with limited funds.
Even so, she’s still managing to honor these women, with a strong assist from Cheryl Jennings-Woldford with the Charleston Gold Dome Lions Club, by hanging bluebird houses with Rosie the Riveters (when she can locate them), bird experts and others. The campaign is called “Bluebirds for Rosies Project,” after the Bluebird of Happiness song that inspired hope during the war.
So, I’m looking for help — individuals, businesses, or perhaps captains of the rubber industry — to organize such a luncheon for our local Rosies who worked in the rubber shops, before time runs out on them. Email me at email@example.com with your thoughts on the subject.
To learn more about the “Bluebirds for Rosies Project,” please contact Anne Montague at firstname.lastname@example.org; 5313-F Carleton Court, Charleston, W.Va. 25313 or call 304-776-4743.
Montague also is in search of a writer to volunteer his or her services to help chronicle some of these stories.
Harness race is a winner
Big, beautiful bouquets to the Friends of Akron Children’s Hospital who raised $46,000 at the 52nd annual Harness Race Rally in August for the hospital’s school and community oncology outreach program.
Since its inception, the Harness Race Rally has raised more than $3 million for hospital programs and projects.
Hats off to these top sellers of raffle tickets and sponsorships for that great cause:
• Overall highest seller — Rosemarie George of Akron.
• Second overall highest seller — Madeline Bozzelli of Cuyahoga Falls.
• Highest individual ticket seller — Betsy Clark of Fairlawn.
• Second highest ticket seller — Rosemarie George.
• Top signature seller — Gia D’Andrea of Cuyahoga Falls.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.