Cincy's Charitable All-Stars 2012

Rich McGraw - Kicks for Kids

Rich McGraw has a heart for helping kids.

"It's always been about kids' charities for me," says McGraw, founder of RGI Design Inc., a Cincinnati communications design firm.

"They don't get to choose the family or household they're born into."

He's been a volunteer and board member of Kicks for Kids, which has enriched the lives of more than 45,000 at-risk children since it was started by former Bengals kicker Doug Pelfrey in 1995.

McGraw and his wife, Barbara, have known Pelfrey and his family since they moved to Northern Kentucky from Michigan more than 30 years ago.

"I followed Doug's career at Scott High School and through college," says McGraw, also a long-time volunteer at schools in Kenton County.

And Pelfrey's father was his wife's supervisor when she taught sixth grade at Woodland Middle School in Taylor Mill.

"Rich in an All-Star because he embodies the spirit of a volunteer," says Ted Kluemper, executive director of Kicks for Kids. The organization serves Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana and Greater Cincinnati with programs in the arts, sports, youth development and special events.

McGraw's company is the presenting sponsor of the annual RGI River Run, one of the aGENCYKick for Kids largest fundraisers. It drew 1,300 runners and raised more than $35,000 in May.

RGI helps out in more ways: designing the website, logo and promotional materials, and RGI employees volunteer at Kicks for Kids events.

McGraw said he's impressed with how his employees have embraced helping kids.

"They came to me and offered to give up their annual Christmas party to do something with a charitable organization."

Kicks for Kids, 812 Russell St., Covington, Ky. (859) 331-8484 or www.kicksforkids.org.
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Bill Hoeb - Great Oaks

Education Foundation

Bill Hoeb wasn't involved with Great Oaks when he organized the first golf tournament as a favor to a friend. In seven years, the event has raised more than $300,000.

There is some irony in the fact that Bill Hoeb, who organized the first Great Oaks Education Foundation Golf Classic, doesn't play the game.

But it's also beside the point since the event has raised more than $300,000 for the organization in its seven-year history. And that can be attributed to Hoeb's commitment to co-op education.

"I took early retirement from Cincinnati Milacron after 35 years," Hoeb says. "But I continued to work, and everything I did was for education. My wife and I are co-op graduates from UC, and I believe in the value of the program."

After leaving Milacron, Hoeb spent a couple of years at Northern Kentucky University, worked with the Museum Center and then Cincinnati State. He was chairman of the board when the school evolved from Cincinnati Technical College to a state community college.

Hoeb had organized golf tournament fundraisers during this time. The fact that he didn't play didn't matter.

"I like to organize things," he says. "I found out that people at these places didn't know how to make contacts with the business community, so that's what I did."

While at Cincinnati State, Hoeb says a friend with whom he had a good working relationship on previous events called and asked him to lunch.

"He said, "¢Would you repay the favor and consider helping me out?' " Hoeb says. "I said of course, and that's how I got involved at Great Oaks."

Proceeds from the first tournaments were used to help promote the school's campaign to pass a tax levy. Once that was accomplished, Hoeb went back to the school's officials.

"I told them it seems foolish to stop this," he says. "I said we should convert this to scholarships for the students."

Hoeb knows the value that those scholarships provide.

"My father worked at Milacron so I always knew that I would work there, too. He was a machinist, but because I was able to get an education, I went there as a graphic designer.

"Cincinnati is my hometown, I'd never been away from home for more than four weeks at a time. I met my wife in the co-op program at UC. I know how important education is."

Great Oaks provides opportunities for people who might have had to overcome more obstacles than traditional students. Hoeb understands these folks.

Great Oaks students "need assistance, they need tools. The scholarships help with that."

Hoeb, who is justifiable proud of his work with Great Oaks, is also amazed at the random nature of his involvement.

"I went to lunch to repay a favor and wound up getting involved with something that has given me a great deal of satisfaction."

Now it's time, however, for someone else to carry on. Hoeb and his wife have a winter home in Florida "” "I really don't like cold weather any more," he says "” and it's time for him to pursue his other interests in life.

It's unlikely, though, that he will start playing golf.

Great Oaks Career Campuses, 3254 E. Kemper Road, Cincinnati. (513) 771-8840 or www.greatoaks.com.

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Mary Kindberg - Ohio Valley Voices

Audiologist Stephanie Carney tests Jake Arnsparger's hearing at Ohio Valley Voices. Jake is a student at Ohio Valley Voices who wears bilateral cochlear implants to access sound.

CeeCee Collins, development director at Ohio Valley Voices (OVV) in Loveland, calls Mary Kindberg "a volunteer extraordinaire."

Kindberg "doesn't have to be asked, she'll just come" when the early intervention program for children with hearing loss needs help with a fundraiser or a school volunteer.

"She is the first person to arrive at these events," says Lindsay Clemens, the special services coordinator.

"Producing props and decorations from thin air, and staying to push brooms after the events have ended."

Kindberg became involved with Ohio Valley Voices about four years ago when her granddaughter, Olivia, enrolled. Olivia lost her hearing at 18 months from a fever.

Olivia, who is now in first grade in public school, "is doing fantastic. She's right where she should be," says Kindberg, an active volunteer and former teacher who lives in West Chester.

"The kids are my heroes," says Kindberg. "They're constantly striving to talk without the hearing that we have."

Three families with children with cochlear implants formed Ohio Valley Voices in 1999 to teach children with hearing loss to listen and talk.

The school has about 40 students currently and more than 100 children have graduated since the Certified Moog program began.

Ohio Valley Voices, 6642 Branch Hill-Guinea Pike, Loveland. (513) 791-1458 or www.ohiovalleyvoices.org.
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Mary Ann Jacobs - Alzheimer's Association

Caring for the Caregiver

Mary Ann Jacobs originally volunteered with the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati because it was an area of interest in her work. She's a lawyer with Ritter & Randolph who specializes in elder law and estate planning.

"I never expected to be someone utilizing their services," Jacobs says.

Life rarely proceeds as one expects.

Both of Jacobs' parents eventually were stricken with the disease. Dealing with it personally intensified her commitment.

"When someone is diagnosed, that's the part that really hits the caregiver because you can't really appreciate it unless you have the experience," she says.

As devastating as Alzheimer's "” a neurological disease for which there is no cure "” is for the patient, Jacobs says the burden placed on the caregiver is unrelenting.

"The issue of caregiver stress is almost a diagnosis in itself," she says. "After my dad was diagnosed, I used to put my cell phone on the table during meetings with clients and explain to them that if it rang and it was from "¢Mom,' I had to leave.

"That is rude to the client, but you have no choice."

Paula Kollstedt, the executive director of the local association, looks at Jacobs' former dilemma from a different perspective.

"Alzheimer's is more than just a physical diagnosis," Kollstedt says. "You have to deal with the financial and legal aspects as well. I've seen (Jacobs) work, she is so gifted. You really need smart people to help guide you through the effects (of the diagnosis).

"Among her many talents, she's an energizer and she's so creative. Because of her longevity (with the association), she is something special."

Help may be on the way for a disease that has been unfairly categorized as afflicting only the elderly and carrying the stigma of mental illness. Publicity surrounding the diagnosis of singer Glen Campbell and Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt brings the discussion to a larger audience.

This might help as well: According to the association, there are nearly 55,000 people suffering from the disease in the Greater Cincinnati (including Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana) area, and that number is expected to triple in less than 40 years.

"This disease will affect employers who have employees who are caregivers," Jacobs says. "Those employees will have to leave work to help. That's how tethered you become to the situation."

Kollstedt credits Jacobs, who has been a volunteer for more than 20 years and is a former president of the board, with helping to raise that awareness. Jacobs led a new event that targeted business leaders and raised more than $50,000 in an hour last summer.

Although progress is slow, Jacobs believes it is happening.

"People's awareness is becoming better," she says. "I think young people especially understand that this isn't just something that Grandma gets.

"That's why I have a passion for the Alzheimer's Association. Their assistance to the caregiver cannot be overstated. And often times it's just the ability to talk to someone who has gone through what you are going through now that helps."

Alzheimer's Association of Great Cincinnati, 644 Linn St., Suite 1026, Cincinnati. (513) 721-4284 or www.alz.org/cincinnati.

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Sister Joan Carole Schaffner - St. Joseph Home

"I Know God Would Never Leave These People Alone"

The history of St. Joseph Home of Cincinnati is an object lesson in helping those who are less fortunate.

The history of Sister Joan Carole Schaffner, S.C., shows the effect that one person can have on the lives of those she has touched over the course of a life devoted to the service of God.

St. Joseph is an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded, and is the only agency in Hamilton County that provides residential and respite programs to non-ambulatory, non-verbal and medically fragile infants, children and adults.

Joan Carole is, in the words of St. Joseph development director Renee Russell, "awesome. She is a tireless supporter of the residents and the mission "¢ (she) visits St. Joseph Home every morning to spend time with Zoe, the resident she volunteers with."

Joan Carole appreciates the kudos, but quickly turns the praise around.

"The beauty of St. Joseph is that it's still a sponsored charity of the Sisters of Charity," says Joan Carole, who has spent 60 years in the order.

"It started out as the St. Joseph Infant Asylum (in 1873). It took care of little children left on the streets, which doesn't happen as much these days. But as a social worker for years, I know that it does still happen sometimes unfortunately."

During her distinguished career, Joan Carole has been a teacher and a principal in addition to a social worker.

She retired at age 69, and after a week of relaxing, decided that was nonsense and went right back to the only thing she has known in her life "” service to others.

Six years ago, she found the perfect match for her talents at St. Joseph.

"Initially, I may have come here out of a need to give, but what I've found is that I don't want to lose the gift that (the residents) give to me," Joan Carole says.

"It's a commitment and a challenge. It's such a good feeling when they recognize your voice. I'm with them and they're with me. We experience it together."

The "it" is indescribable.

"My friends ask me what I do, and I can't really explain it. When I drive away I'm exhausted, but I feel spiritually refreshed and alive."

There is a practical side to Joan Carole's work as well. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and chairwoman of the development committee.

Russell adds that Joan Carole spends hours making phone calls to thank donors for their support and volunteers at the fundraising events.

Joan Carole makes a pitch for the History Hall Dedication on Nov. 1.

"This is where you can see the wonderful work that is done here."

And have the chance to meet one woman who has done much of it in a short period of time.

"I have the feeling when I'm with the residents that God is looking at me through their eyes," Joan Carole says. "I know that God would never leave these people alone.

"So when I leave, I say to myself, "¢Gee, it was kind of fun. I spent the day with God.' "

St. Joseph Home, 10722 Wyscarver Road, Sharonville. (513) 563-2520 or www.saintjosephhome.com
 
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Andy Shott - Cedar Village

Volunteering Is a Family Trait

For Andy Shott, the Cedar Village Retirement Community in Mason has been a lifetime commitment and passion.

Shott, a partner in the law firm of Bricker & Eckler in West Chester, has been involved in the nearly 300-resident community since it was created in 1997.

Actually, he was involved before that.

He had been on the board of the Glen Manor Home in Bond Hill for a number of years when it joined with the Orthodox Jewish Home, also in Bond Hill, to create Cedar Village.

He is a founding member and chairman of the Cedar Village Foundation Board, created a couple of years ago to raise money for resident programs and activities.

He has also served as treasurer of the board.

Shott says he inherited his commitment from his father, the late Robert Shott, a longtime Cincinnati stockbroker.

"He was always very involved in the community, and he taught me that I should be as well," says Shott, who has also served as a trustee of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Halom House.

"There is no one more dedicated to the Cedar Village mission than Andy," says Sally Korkin, executive director of the foundation, who nominated Shott for the recognition.

"He has given his time, talent and treasures to Cedar Village for almost 16 years and is truly committed to the residents."

Cedar Village Retirement Community, 5467 Cedar Village Drive, Mason. (513) 754-3100 or www.cedarvillage.org.