Jewell Cardwell

Hats off to Kent State University for being named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

A college or university receives the honor for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. This is the seventh time since 2006 that KSU has been tapped.

Students and faculty received the honor for several community and experiential learning initiatives, many of which revolved around the themes of “Hunger to Healthy” and “Rural Roots,” said KSU media contact Emily Vincent. “These initiatives resulted in 10,764 students performing 215,280 hours of service valued at more than $4 million.

“The university was recognized for its Campus Kitchen project that recovers food items from cafeterias and events and prepares hot meals to feed the needy in local communities, its nutrition outreach program that provides nutrition education to Portage County residents.”

The Rural Scholars program helps prepare first-generation college-bound students from Columbiana County and neighboring areas for success, and the Career and Community Studies Transition Program helps youth with intellectual disabilities become independent while developing career goals, she said.

“Other university initiatives that were recognized include the Alternative Spring Break program that exposes students to social justice and cultural issues through direct service, community visits, reflection and a variety of cultural activities; the ProjectGrad/Bridge to Kindergarten program that eases the transition to kindergarten for children in low-income schools; community service projects through the federally funded Upward Bound program,” and more, she said.

Pajamas needed

The local chapter of the Pajama Program needs new children’s pajamas (birth to age 17) and children’s books to distribute to local organizations for spring and summer use.

“Many of these youngsters have been abused or abandoned and, in many cases, have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a loving mother or father tuck them in at bedtime,” said chapter president Patty Gillespie. “Through the Pajama Program, we hope to contribute to a warmer, more loving environment for children when they are at their most vulnerable.”

Organizations on the receiving end of the donations include ACCESS Inc., Akron Urban League, Battered Women’s Shelter, Spicer Street Good Neighbors, Summit County Children Services and Medina County Job & Family Services.

Drop-off location is First Congregational Church of Akron, 292 E. Market St., Akron. For more information, please email patty@pajamaprogram.org or call 330-253-5109.

Kentucky Derby Gala

Plan ahead to watch the “greatest two minutes in sports” with 200 other like-minded folks when the Bath Township-based Victory Gallop hosts its 12th annual Kentucky Derby Gala on May 4 at Fairlawn Country Club.

Proceeds provide scholarships to children diagnosed with disorders like autism and ADHD to take part in the agency’s therapeutic horseback riding program. The funding also allows Victory Gallop’s Petie the Pony to continue making bedside hospital visits to patients at Akron Children’s Hospital and Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

“Pre-race, begin betting at 5 p.m. on the silent auction items tied to the latest lineup of 3-year-old thoroughbreds,” wrote Laurie Schueler, media relations specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Then enjoy the ‘race for the roses’ on giant screen TVs. There will be plenty of Southern charm as ladies wearing elaborate hats and men sporting bow ties get their picture taken with a horse from the Victory Gallop program. Watch to see which horse claims the $1.45 million prize while sipping mint juleps, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

“After the race, enjoy dinner and dancing and watch how the oral and live auctions play out. A Parade of Hats is always a highlight of this fun evening.”

Honorary guest is concert pianist Tat Nagashima, whom Sue Miller, co-executive director of Victory Gallop, calls a huge behind-the-scenes supporter, having raised more than $40,000 for the program over the past five years during private concerts.

Tickets are $125. Sponsorship packages are available, and live and silent auction items are needed. For more information or reservations, please call 330-666-0300.

Hope Walk scheduled

Plan ahead for Stewart’s Caring Place: Cancer Wellness Center’s seventh annual 2.3-mile Hope Walk on May 11. The foot soldiers start and end their parade at Fairlawn Community Center, Bicentennial Park, 3486 S. Smith Road, Fairlawn. Registration gets under way at 8 a.m. with the walk starting at 9:15. Register online at www.StewartsCaringPlace.org for $15 in advance, or on walk day for $20.

Funds raised provide free support services to those who have been affected by cancer.

Lots of fun activities (cornhole, face painting and more) are planned. Sue Wilson and Tim Daugherty from Rubber City Radio Group will emcee the event with the Swizzle Stick Band and local musician Zach Freidhof providing the entertainment. Premier sponsors include Mirman Construction and Omnova Solutions. For more information, please contact Raven DeVoll at 330-836-1772 or Events@StewartsCaringPlace.org.

Bloom Society to meet

The gathering of the philanthropic Bloom Society for local women is planned for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 16 at Prestwick Country Club, 3751 Glen Eagles Blvd., Green.

Organizer Susan Summerville said the Bloom Society encourages each member to donate $25 at each of the monthly sessions, with the money going to help various local causes and individuals (not nonprofits) in need. For more information please call 330-714-8839.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.