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Beacon of Light Initiatives

UPublish story by Christy Weaver

What do the Woodridge Schools, Beacon of Light Initiatives, the Akron Community Foundation, Sarah’s Vineyard, and the Golden Dragon have in common?

When tragedy struck a Woodridge family, the school community of family and friends pulled together to honor and remember one of their own. Brandon Allen a 2006 Woodridge High School graduate and US Marine was killed in a tragic car accident. Brandon means, “Beacon of Light.” Brandon is the older brother of Chris and Nick Allen 2009 Woodridge graduates and the son of Dr. Kyle and Lynn Allen.

A scholarship fund was immediately started at the Ohio Savings Bank and then after a time transferred to the Akron Community Foundation to become an endowed fund benefiting the Woodridge School System. Endowed means that every year, money will be transferred to the schools account to benefit and support its educational programs.

There is a school committee at the Woodridge High School that creates and implements annually what is called the Beacon of Light Initiatives. These programs are student centered and support the educational mission and vision of the scholarship fund. Leah Norris and Jon Rodkey have provided much of the dynamic leadership of identifying and implementing the programs that fulfill many of the student needs they see at the school.

The Akron Community Foundation is the “financial safe house” providing the opportunity for the community to support and expand upon these initiatives by “clicking to donate.” (See Click on Give Now button, Look for Beacon of Light Initiatives/Sgt. Brandon Allen Memorial Fund.) Through the Akron Community Foundation, support for these programs can also be given through a payroll deduction. Now, it is easier than ever to support our local school system and receive great end of the year tax deduction. This becomes a wonderful opportunity for the community to continue to benefit the Woodridge School community.

In an effort to engage and grow community support for expanding these programs, restaurants have now become involved. We are pleased to announce that the Golden Dragon, located at 1634 State Rd. Cuyahoga Falls and Sarah’s Vineyard at 1204 W. Steels Corners Rd. are the lead neighborhood gathering places where you can go to see the Beacon of Light Initiatives posted within a framed plaque on the restaurants wall. Too, restaurants unobtrusively provide a “how to” take with you insert, listing instructions for those that want to “click and donate” at the Akron Community Foundation web site. Restaurants can now become a neighborhood gathering place providing a quiet unobtrusive manner for posting these annual school initiatives and a visual reminder how the community can continue to support these local school programs.

The Allen Family wishes to thank Woodridge, the Akron Community Foundation, Sarah’s Vineyard and the Golden Dragon Restaurant for kicking off a partnership that honors their faith, remembers their son, Brandon, and benefits the community. If you would like more information regarding the Beacon of Light Initiatives, please contact Karin Orr at 330-310-0674.

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