Under the direction of Dr. Frank C. Jacobs for more than 20 years, Summit Choral Society fills audience ears with the language of choral music. Scribed by the quail-feathered fingers of a musical genius, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion will serenade souls when sounding out from the formidable vocal cords of the Masterworks Chorale with accompaniment by six soloists, a double orchestra, and petite vocalists from the Children’s Choir Program. Nestle into a grand-tier chair for immediate acoustic digesting or an orchestra spot for direct eye contact with the conductor.
Established in 1985, the Ronald McDonald House of Akron serves as a home away from home for families with children hospitalized at the nearby Akron Children’s Hospital. With amenities that include private rooms and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and free laundry facilities and indoor and outdoor play areas, the house serves as a comfortable respite where families can rest and recuperate after emotionally draining hospital visits. Most importantly, it ensures that parents can remain close to their hospitalized child and focus on the child’s care rather than where they can afford to stay or get meals. Although guests are asked to donate $10 per night, no families are ever turned away due to an inability to pay. Housing costs are largely funded by community donations and fundraising efforts.
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SpitzerCares.org hopes to fund a million meals in 2012 through food pantries, shelters, kids’ cafés, and backpack programs. For every dollar it earns via community car washes, donations, and fundraising events, SpizerCares.org can provide four meals to northern Ohioans in need. Patrons can keep up with the organization’s progress online as a ticker shaped like an apple tallies the number of meals SpitzerCares.org has shelled out so far this year.
Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio (DCNEO), which builds confidence, respect, and self-esteem through the practice of social dance, aims to help youth break down social barriers and learn to communicate with a new set of behavioral skills. Teaching artists lead classes of fifth- and eighth-grade students through 10 weeks of ballroom-dancing lessons that are held twice a week during the normal school day. To make lessons accessible and ease children into a new endeavor, they incorporate pictures and stories and connect dance terms to food, transforming feet into chopsticks and dance frame into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In addition to dance, DCNEO also enriches children’s education with opportunities to create visual artwork, poetry, and original songs. At the end of the course, students showcase their dancing skills and other projects completed during the program at a performance for friends and family.
Berea Animal Rescue Friends (ARF) started in a family garage outside of Cleveland after a small group of animal lovers recognized the desperate housing and healthcare needs of homeless animals in the area. Now, 20 years later, ARF continues to help stray and abandoned animals by providing shelter, food, and medical necessities—as well as loving care and companionship—in a more formal facility for as long as needed. In addition to traditional adoption services for cats and dogs, ARF also runs temporary foster-care programs and partners with a correctional facility to operate a prison foster program in which dogs receive basic obedience training.