“Tri Your Best” — a recent fundraiser with a unique twist at Akron’s University Park YMCA — yielded huge rewards, both for its participants and for low-income families needing financial assistance to join the Y.
The direct beneficiary is a program called Partners With Youth, in keeping with the Y’s motto: “We do everything we can to make you part of the Y.”
The Sunday morning indoor triathlon drew 32 folks of all ages competing in swimming (15 minutes), stationary biking (20 minutes) and power walking (15 minutes on the treadmill or the track).
One team in particular, aptly named The Young and the Restless, caught my attention.
Members included 80-year-old Saleema Harris, walker; 69-year-old Carolyn Moore, biker; and 48-year-old June Calet, swimmer. Calet is also the fitness instructor for the Y, teaching various classes from Silver Sneakers to Boot Camp.
“These two women, and many of our seniors, have endured a lot in their lifetimes,” Calet said of her teammates. “These two women, in particular, are an inspiration to all.
“They are at the YMCA bright and early — 5 a.m. — every day of the week. Whether they are walking, spinning or just enjoying breakfast together, they are there, working hard to stay healthy … They are so humble but so proud that they are participating in this triathlon to help the children … This is all about the children!”
“Saleema, who did an impressive 13 laps on the upstairs track this day, walks the track and has been known to do a 5K here and there. Carol, who completed 10.6 miles, takes my spin class that is 90 minutes long,” Calet, effusive with praise, continued. (Not to be outdone, Calet did 13 laps.)
The tentative total brought in that day to fund swim lessons and equipment for the children was around $350.
Amazing and then some!
Blessings in a Backpack’s Akron chapter is sponsoring a Breakfast with Santa benefit from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Hudson’s, 3900 Medina Road, Akron. Reservations are a must. Cost is $9 children, $12 adults. You get a choice of entrees, a photo with Santa (additional charge) and a gift along with a plethora of activities.
“Blessings in a Backpack-Akron currently supports 800 Akron Public School children at Helen Arnold, McEbright, Schumacher and Crouse Community Learning Centers as well as PASS (Positive Academic Support Services), Bridges and the Akron Digital Academy,” wrote spokeswoman Kelley Ann Behrens.
“For as little as $80, Blessings can provide a child with food for an entire 38-week school year.”
The other big holiday fundraiser feeding this cause is an exclusive Don Drumm “Blessings” ornament. Sales from these two events help raise about $60,000, Behrens continued. Last year’s Don Drumm ornament sales raised nearly $9,000.
The ornament is $25 and includes shipping and gift wrap. It’s available through Dec. 15 (no orders accepted at Don Drumm studio). Make checks payable to Blessings in a Backpack-Akron and mail to: Blessings 2013 Ornament, 2300 Tinkham Road, Akron, OH 44313. Cash and credit cards also accepted. For more information, please visit www.blessingsakron.org or email email@example.com.
Gift of sight
Big, beautiful poinsettias to Carol Ebersole, general manager at Pearle Vision’s Montrose store, who will be traveling with a team of 40 to India next week, to give the gift of sight to disadvantaged people. Her team, which includes volunteers from at least five countries, will work eight clinic days, serving at least 12,000 people.
“Luxottica’s charitable foundation, OneSight [www.onesight.org], organizes monthly global missions throughout the world as well as events and clinics in the United States,” wrote Dr. Richard E. Hults, Pearle Vision’s Montrose president and a veteran of multiple missions. “One Sight has helped over 3 million disadvantaged people, many receiving glasses for the first time in their lives … Carol has a big heart and we are so lucky to be in a position to help so many people.”
Connecting Touch Therapy & Wellness Center Inc. is hosting a toy drive through Dec. 13, with the toys for children from newborns through age 14 going to the Salvation Army.
“For each toy you bring in, you will be entered in a drawing for a free, half-hour massage with a paraffin hand treatment,” said Connecting Touch President Jack Hayes, who added, “We need to come together as a community and help those who are in need. With high unemployment in our area, there are many families who need our help.”
Drop off unwrapped toys between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 960 Graham Road, Cuyahoga Falls. For more information, please call 330-945-9354.
Akron General Hospice of the Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) will host its 28th annual “Light Up a Life” fundraiser Tuesday to Dec. 19.
“Light Up a Life offers a unique and meaningful way to pay tribute to those we remember and love,” event planners said in a statement. “Hanging a gold star on a Light Up a Life Hospice Memory Tree can illuminate the memory of someone special as well as provide light and hope for terminally ill patients and their families during the coming year. A person’s light will never go out as long as it shines in someone’s heart.”
The Hospice Memory Trees will be located at Akron General Health & Wellness Centers — West (Montrose), North (Stow) and Green. Donations may be made at the Light Up a Life booth at Summit Mall (across from Starbucks), online at www.vnsa.com or by calling 330-344-6888.
Proceeds provide comfort care for those at the end of life, and bereavement support for their loved ones.
Bob Wilkinson was recently tapped to receive Summit Arbor 765 of Gleaner Life Insurance Society’s Community Service Recognition Award for having invested thousands of volunteer hours in the development of Valor Home, a 30-bed home and treatment facility for homeless veterans.
Bob, volunteer coordinator for the home at 1121 Exeter Road, Akron, is a Vietnam veteran.
For more information about Valor Home, volunteering or donating items, please call 330-773-7000 or visit www.valorhome.org.
Major kudos to Medina County’s Farm Bureau, which recently presented a check for $5,500 to Feeding Medina County’s Weekenders program that distributes more than 400 bags to children in that county who are enrolled in the national free lunch program. “The bags go home with the children every Friday in 12 schools throughout the county,” wrote Debbie Indoe, former Medina County Farm Bureau president.
The funds were harvested from the bureau’s third annual “Season’s Harvest” at Willowvale Farms in Spencer.
For more information on Feeding Medina County, please call 330-421-4816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.