West Side News & Notes
Hospice of VNS campaign raising funds
GREATER AKRON — The Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service’s annual Light Up a Life fundraising campaign has begun and will run through Dec. 20.
Presented by the Akron General Foundation, the campaign offers an opportunity for area residents to pay tribute to friends and family members they have loved and lost, according to Akron General officials.
For the campaign, area residents are invited to purchase a hanging gold star on a Light Up a Life Hospice Memory Tree to illuminate the memory of someone special and also to provide light and hope for terminally ill patients and their families in the coming year, according to Akron General officials.
All donations of $25 or more for the star also will receive a light on the Tree of Light on the grounds of the Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center, located at 3358 Ridgewood Road in Copley.
Hospice Memory Trees are located at Summit Mall; Akron General Health & Wellness Centers in Bath, Stow and Green; Belgrade Gardens in Barberton; and the Hartville Kitchen in Hartville.
Donations are being accepted at the Light Up a Life booth located in the center court in Summit Mall until Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., online at www.vsna.com or by calling the Akron General Foundation at 330-344-6888.
Grant awarded to address parental substance abuse
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Children Services (SCCS) has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million federal grant for a program to identify and refer families for services that address parental substance abuse.
The grant from the Administration on Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will fund a multi-system collaboration program called STARS (Summit County Collaborative on Trauma, Alcohol & Other Drug, & Resiliency-building Services for Children & Families).
“At least 30 percent of families served by SCCS have substance-abuse issues,” said SCCS Executive Director John Saros. “While this presents a strong demand for assessments and services, overall our families have been reluctant to participate. This reluctance has hindered our ability to solve family issues and has led to high rates of child removal and placement in substitute care. Further, children exposed to untreated substance abuse can have serious addiction and behavior issues themselves in the future.”
Other primary partners in the STARS program will be the Summit County Health District; Summit County Family & Children First Council/Cluster for Youth; Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health (ADM) Board; the Akron Children’s Hospital Children At Risk Evaluation Center (CARE Center); and the Summit County Juvenile Court.
Among the services to be provided by the grant are:
• In-home, upfront alcohol and other drug assessments for SCCS parents (this assessment will be part of the SCCS Intake process);
• Trauma assessment and ongoing trauma treatment provided by the Akron Children’s Hospital CARE Center for children who have a court-involved SCCS case and whose parents have identified substance-abuse concerns;
• Resiliency-building services by bringing the evidence-based practice Strengthening Families Program to Summit County for SCCS families with substance-abuse concerns;
• A heightened level of service coordination for STARS families provided by the Summit County Cluster; and
• Additional child welfare and alcohol and other drug service training for professionals within these two child-and-family serving systems.
“This proposed program will truly strengthen our already strong collaborative network in Summit County,” Saros said. “Further, we are confident that over the next five years, the STARS program will provide new opportunities for better futures among the children and families we serve.”
Cuyahoga Falls Police Department trading tickets for toys
CUYAHOGA FALLS — The fifth annual Trade a Ticket for a Toys for Tots Donation program offered by the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department has begun, according to Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart.
The program offers minor traffic offenders the opportunity to trade a traffic warning ticket for a toy donation to Toys for Tots, according to city officials. For the duration of the program, Cuyahoga Falls police officers will issue “toy waivers” to replace a typical warning received for a minor traffic infraction. The toy waiver encourages the traffic violator to donate a new unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots, which can be dropped off now through Dec. 15 at the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, 2310 Second St.
“In the spirit of the holiday season, I hope that the donated toys will have a positive and lasting impact on the children of our community and the drivers who are saved more than a few dollars in fines and court costs,” said Robart.
For more information, contact Police Chief Tom Pozza at 330-971-8300.
Volunteer opportunities at First Night Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — First Night® Akron officials are seeking volunteers to help with the 17th annual event on Dec. 31.
Volunteers are a critical part of the celebration that rings in the New Year and showcases the arts to the community, said officials from the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), which oversees the family-friendly, alcohol-free event. First Night volunteers greet guests, check for admission buttons, introduce performing artists, assist with hands-on activities, track attendance and act as bus hosts.
“Volunteers are essential to First Night’s success,” said DAP President Suzie Graham. “They are the face of First Night, wishing guests a Happy New Year and helping direct them to their next destination.”
Volunteers are admitted free to all performances and sites before or after their shift. Friends, families, couples and groups are encouraged to volunteer together. In addition, volunteers receive a special volunteer lanyard to wear at the event and an invitation to the annual volunteer party held in January.
To volunteer, complete the application available at www.firstnightakron.org/volun teers or contact First Night volunteer coordinator Jane Startzman at 330-535-3179, ext. 203, or jstartzman@akronciv ic.com. Volunteers must attend one of two orientation sessions at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St., to learn about the various tasks assigned.
First Night Akron admission buttons are now on sale at select locations. For more information, go to www.first nightakron.org or call 330-374-7690.
Summit Mall gift-wrap service raising funds for nonprofits
FAIRLAWN — Four local nonprofit organizations are offering shoppers at Summit Mall gift-wrap services through Dec. 24.
The annual program invited nonprofits to recruit volunteers to wrap holiday gifts, with proceeds from the service to be shared between the organizations and the Simon Youth Foundation, whose mission is to provide educational opportunities for students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, according to foundation officials.
The nonprofits participating in the effort include Habitat for Humanity, International Association of Administrative Professions — Tire Town Chapter, Family of Faith United Methodist Youth Group and Wayne Homes for Simon Youth Foundation.
According to mall officials, the gift-wrap services are set up near Macy’s and are available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. most days, as well as when the mall has extended hours on the following dates: Dec. 7, 10, 12 and 14, when hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 9, when hours are noon to 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, when hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Dec. 17 and 18, when hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Dec. 19-21, when hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 22-23, when hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Dec. 24, when hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Our charity gift-wrap program is a great way for local nonprofit organizations to raise funds and awareness for their cause, and spread some holiday cheer,” said Kate Miller, area director of marketing and business development for Simon Property Group. “We had a great response this year, and we’re excited to have this opportunity for our shoppers and the local nonprofits participating.”
Kathleen Folkerth and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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