The Impact of a Young Professional
At the core of a caring heart is the passion and drive to help others and make an indelible impact in their lives. It is this desire that leads individuals to use their time, talents and resources to take an active role to have a positive influence. The Children’s Home of Cincinnati has been blessed with a group of 20 young professionals who illustrate that caring heart.
In 2008, The Children’s Home sought to reach more young professionals in the region and saw the benefit of creating a Young
Professionals Board. It was at this time that Tom Connor was seeking his own philanthropic path. Having watched through his own family how organizations such as The Children’s Home could positively benefit children, Connor wanted to help an organization that was involved with children’s services. Since he was not a native Cincinnatian, he wasn’t sure where to look. Luckily, through the United Way, he was introduced to The Children’s Home and found it was the perfect fit.
“I was very impressed with the mission and the staff at The Children’s Home,” Connor says. “They are remarkable and unique because of the large variety of ways they are able to help children.”
The YP Board was instituted to establish a way for The Children’s Home to connect and engage with the YP community. This enabled The Children’s Home to be exposed to their networks, companies and resources. This gave The Children’s Home a greater capacity for recruiting volunteers and help with fundraising efforts.
In addition to supporting key fundraisers such as The Children’s Homes annual Rockin’ Ribs, Connor is a big advocate for the programs that allow the YP Board to engage directly with the children such as the Job Readiness Program, where volunteers from the YPB speak about their respective careers to groups of children at The Children’s Home, or the Summer Reading Celebration. He enjoys supporting the children by attending plays and performances put on by the students and going to graduations.
Connor served as the chairman of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati YP board from 2008-2014 and continues to remain involved. “It has been a wonderful experience and I feel blessed to have this opportunity,” he says. “The staff’s dedication to their mission and professionalism has made the experience very rewarding.”
Sarah Gray was first exposed to The Children’s Home when she was a member of the YWCA Rising Stars 2014. She was asked to shadow a board and she chose The Children’s Home because it reminded her of a program that had helped her son when he was younger. Through this opportunity, she developed a fantastic relationship with the board and staff and knew this was the ideal place for her to become involved.
“I love interacting with the children and seeing the positive benefit The Children’s Home is giving them,” Gray says. “It is enlightening and truly warms your heart.”
It’s the tangible impact that motivates Gray in her work with The Children’s Home. Having the opportunity to watch a child succeed and feel happy and confident. She is involved with programs such as the Camp-I-Can reading challenge and ice cream party. “I love working with Ken Coggeshall and Emily Sides and the entire staff at The Children’s Home, they are a great group of people,” Gray says. “What they are doing is near and dear to my heart.”
In January, Iloba Nzekwu became chairman of the YP Board. He was drawn to the organization after learning about its mission and the incredible impact it had on children. Nzekwu’s wife is a therapist and she would talk about the difficulties of at-risk youth. He saw the atmosphere The Children’s Home had created, one that inspired hope and gave the kids a voice and opportunities for more in life. Nzekwu believes that the YP Board is a fantastic tool for helping to engage with the community and build awareness for the organization.
“The YP Board hones in on finding people who are passionate and want to invest their time, money and resources into serving kids,” Nzekwu says. “We provide a platform to help relay the message of The Children’s Home.”
Looking long term, Nzekwu wants to see even more talent, resources and networking brought onto the YP Board. He seeks to continue spreading The Children’s Home’s message, letting people know what it is doing to help vulnerable children in our region. “Our goal is to continue to grow so we can use our gifts, resources, and networking to help children and make a lasting impression on their lives.”
The Children’s Home of Cincinnati is located at 5050 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227. You can reach them at 513.272.2800 or visit their website at www.thechildrenshomecinti.org.