Papers with colorful illustrations taped to the walls, students acting out a story to fit it into context, words mixing together to retell a tale in a new way––these are the activities that inspire a love of learning and that Cooperative for Education (CoEd) seeks to make possible in Guatemalan schools. When lessons exchange rote methodology for engaging activity, students are excited to attend class and return home spreading the love of learning to their siblings. Brothers Joe and Jeff Berninger founded CoEd after visiting Guatemala in the 1990s. Jeff volunteered in a local school, where he noticed students lacked adequate access to learning resources. Together, the brothers left their careers to dedicate themselves to improving the availability of resources, giving students a chance to succeed academically and professionally so that they might break the cycle of poverty. Today, CoEd team members focus on textbooks, reading, computers, and scholarships. The Textbooks program, which currently reaches about 10% of Guatemala's rural middle schools, rents out books for a small fee to allow students access to resources that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. Computer Centers give children access to technology, equipping them with in-demand work skills, and the Culture of Reading Program delivers books and supplies to children and teaches them how to become better readers and writers.
When horticulturalist Brian F. Jorg isn't cultivating native plants at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, he treks up to 20,000 miles a year on globe-trotting photographic excursions. As he leads guests through the Great Smoky Mountains or the Peruvian Amazon, he captures nature's grandeur with his digital camera, sharing his ever-increasing portfolio with the world through field guides, educational displays, and mass text messages addressed to “world.” Brian's passion for nature overflows not only into his photography, but into community activities. He can often be seen sharing his horticultural wisdom at area flower shows, teaching classes to the general public, or snapping dynamic images at sporting events.
The grill at Mayday sizzles and pops as cooks forge a menu of hot dogs, gourmet sausages, and homemade sides. All-beef morsels from the Avril-Bleh & Sons meat market are crafted with the epicurean thoughtfulness of a valentine from an oompa loompa and serve as mouthwatering canvasses for artful dogs. The Mayday dog wears house-crafted spicy mustard pajamas while bouncing gleefully on a warm pretzel-bun mattress alongside caramelized onions and grilled peppers ($7.00). Choose a gourmet dog foundation ($7.25), such as chorizo or kielbasa, and pile on toppings ($1 each) that include house apricot ketchup, beer cheese, or a miniature Lamborghini. Noodles ford warm rivers of golden cheese, dodging crusty pretzel breadcrumbs in the restaurant's macaroni and cheese ($4).
Hundreds of unadorned pottery pieces line the shelves and wooden worktables at Mad Potter, a whimsical studio where walk-in artists can select the preferred vessels for their creativity and set to work crafting custom masterpieces. The studio’s panoply of provided art supplies includes patterns, stencils, and colorful paints with which to decorate vases in floral designs and pasta bowls with step-by-step instructions for wielding silverware. Professional potters emerge from the earthenware scenery to answer questions throughout the process and to fire finished artworks until each is hardened and safe for food, dishwashers, and microwaves. Large groups can rent out the studio to fashion brittle cakes for birthday parties, and resident artists often travel to businesses and homes to allow kids to paint in their natural habitats.
Recognized by Cincinnati Family magazine with a Best of Parenting 2011 award, Youthland Academy has been practicing a learning-by-doing philosophy for 30 years. At childcare sessions throughout the year, kids engage in age-appropriate educational programs that help preschoolers turn thought into language and middle schoolers reach their full potential. The full slate of programs are offered at nearly two-dozen locations across the Midwest and South.