The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra showcases music not commonly performed by large symphony orchestras, so each show is an uncommon musical experience. During Spring 2, the delicately constructed harmonies of Arnold Schoenberg and George Gershwin (two works each) float across Corbett Auditorium and into ears to tickle auditory nerves like pixies riding tiny ponies on eardrums. Two of the four pieces were inspired by literature. Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night was inspired by a Richard Dehmel poem about a shocking confession that affects two lovers, while Gershwin's Porgy and Bess Suite is inspired by DuBose Heyward’s racially charged 1925 novel about the inhabitants of the semi-fictional Catfish Row. Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra, op. 16, is an unsettling work that balances Gershwin's famous Rhapsody in Blue, which is performed by acclaimed solo pianist Michael Chertock.
Peaslee’s Child Development Center educates 47 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years from low-income families, preparing them for kindergarten with literacy training, art and music classes, and a gardening space. The Child Development Center's naptime infant room is currently equipped with drop-side cribs, so the organization would like to replace the unsafe cribs with five new cribs that meet newly released safety standards.
Streetvibes newspaper distributors buy the paper for 25 cents per copy and sell it for $1 donations. Approximately 50 distributors sell more than 3,500 issues every two weeks. Since they work in all types of weather conditions, distributors require a protective place to store the papers, and easily identifiable vests to keep them warm while improving their image, credibility, and ultimately, sales. GCCH would like to outfit Streetvibes distributors with bags and new XXL vests that will be large enough to wear over winter coats.
InReturn’s life-skills classes include a weekly reading class, where production associates read new fiction and nonfiction books aloud to one another, helping improve their literacy skills as they stay current on world events. The production associates also learn social skills from the stories that can be applied to their daily lives. InReturn hopes to purchase new books so each production associate can have their own copy for continued reading and learning.
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.
Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek aims to develop a sustainable Mill Creek watershed by teaching the community about the environment and conducting ecological restoration projects. To this end, the organization has implemented four programs. The Freedom Trees program involves a 10-year urban-reforestation initiative linked with the local history of the Underground Railroad, wherein residents will plant at least 10,000 native trees in the corridor. Environmental-education programs introduce local youth to restoration with field trips for students and training programs for volunteers to monitor water quality and help conserve wildlife habitats. The Greenways project works to restore the natural landscape and develop recreational trails along Mill Creek. Laughing Brook teaches the community about the environment with a public artscape that recreates a functioning wetland filled with biosculptures of human hands, fish, and salamanders, and also helps clean storm-water runoff from a portion of Salway Park.