Without a doubt, Akron is the place to be in the summer time. Whether it’s taking in a RubberDucks game at Canal Park, cycling down the Towpath, or listening to live music at Lock 3 Park, one is never short of things to do in Akron during the summer.
Summer is also the time when the city welcomes hundreds of students who return to the area to pursue internships where they gain valuable work experience and forge professional connections. Torchbearers, along with Leadership Akron, kicked off its second year of the Intern Edge program through a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Intern Edge is designed to connect summer interns with the community and help them build professional networks with their peers and community leaders.
The 2015 Intern Edge officially opened with an orientation on June 10th at the Firestone Park Community Center where 60 interns representing 25 Akron-area businesses and organizations were welcomed by Jen Towell, IE Facilitator. The interns broke the ice under the direction of Willy Kollman and quickly became acclimated to one another.
Brandyn Costa, who is a participant in the program from United Way, felt that the kick-off event far exceeded his expectations. “As I broke the ice and brainstormed with fellow Akron interns about community building, ideal work-culture, and network development, it became apparent that the designers of the program were seeking to create a one of a kind experience that cultivates and connects or City’s up-and-coming talent,” said Brandyn.
Justin Hilton, Senior Associate Vice President for University Relations of Kent State University, spoke to interns about making important personal and professional life decisions. The afternoon came to a close with a breakout session led by Tina Ughrin. The 6-week program will feature sessions that emphasize the importance of plugging into the community, making connections count, and leading by example. Interns also will have the opportunity to attend power lunches to help them foster strong connections with community leaders and their peers.
“I’m most looking forward to our Leading by Example Session when we’ll hangout with some of Akron’s most influential leaders and discuss how they've learned to best impact our community,” Costa said.
Torchbearers is excited to have this dynamic group of interns and look forward to showing them all that Akron has to offer. Engage them by using #InternEdge on social media.
This was the question a group of 35 Torchbearers from Akron were set out to answer on a recent road trip to the Motor City. In a whirlwind 36 hours touring different neighborhoods and visiting various organizations, the tenacity of the city became clear. The architecture was captivating, the nightlife was enticing, and the positive attitude of service and commitment to the people of Detroit was inspiring
The goal of this road trip to Detroit was for participants to take these “a-ha moments” from Detroit, and transform them into achievable ideas for projects, programs and development in Akron.
In early 2015, Torchbearers received its largest single grant, $65k, from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation. From this grant, SPARC (Small Projects Achieving Real Change) was conceived by Torchbearers leadership. The goal of SPARC is fast, dynamic outward-facing interactions and projects with a focus on talent attraction and retention within Akron. In addition to SPARC, this grant sponsored two trips, the first being to Detroit on May 31.
To kick things off, the first item on the agenda was a bus tour with the Detroit Experience Factory (DXF). The purpose of DXF is to “create experiences that are enlightening, entertaining, and led by Detroiters who know Detroit in order to demonstrate that it is an exceptional place to live, work, and play.”
While outside visitors like Torchbearers are welcomed with open arms, the hope of DXF is to get people who already live in Detroit to become more engaged and involved in their own backyard.
“It’s all about the love of cities and communities,” said DXF tour guide Jon Chezick. “We help other people to love their city and to love cities in general.”
It was learned from DXF that Detroit is a city that has gone through a roller coaster of ups and downs. At the height of the automobile industry in 1955, the population was 2 million. In 2010, the population was recorded as being just 700,000 (a 60% decrease).
However, things are in the upswing again. In the past 6-7 years, 17,000 jobs have returned to the area, and 99% of downtown is at capacity for residential housing. The downtown area is a mecca for food and entertainment, with over 150 bars and restaurants (and even a popular urban “beach” with live music and sand volleyball).
Areas surrounding downtown are also improving. The West Village was once filled with boarded-up houses, but has since been renovated, with breathtaking homes on the National Registry of Historic Places. The “Rails to Trails” program, where unused railroad tracks are being converted into hiking and biking trails, is another example of revitalization in the area.
In total, there are approximately 20 square miles of undeveloped land in Detroit, which is becoming a breeding ground for innovative start-ups and creative ideas. One example is the Earth Works Urban Farm, a place where healthy food is grown for the less fortunate.
The nearby “Heidelburg Project” demonstrates how one man has transformed a portion of the East Side into one giant piece of living art, complete with polka dotted streets, giant clocks, and vibrantly painted houses. The project is quite a head-turner, and it intends to educate and enrich the community through the arts.
The next morning began with Ponyride Detroit, a 30,000 square foot co-working creative space for offices and industry in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood. Part business incubator and part collaborative workspace, Ponyride is a non-profit created to give entrepreneurs affordable place to launch their own businesses and collaboration with others (the workspace costs just $0.50 per square foot).
Among the occupants at Ponyride are the Smith Shop (a blacksmithing, jewelry making and metal working company), the Detroit Denim Company, and Beard Balm (styling and grooming products for men with beards).
Similar to Ponyride was the next stop of the day: Build Institute, a network of grassroots programs that assist people in turning their project or business ideas into reality. The Build Institute provides necessary tools, education and a support network to get started (with over 400 entrepreneurs who have already completed the program).
The theme of building businesses in Detroit continued when visiting the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), a private non-profit corporation devoted exclusively to supporting Detroit’s economic development.
DEGC’s Michael Forsyth explained how he launched ‘Revolve Detroit’ to focus on finding talent and opportunities that exist for vacant storefronts in areas surrounding downtown. He was successful in adding 12 permanent businesses and 20 pop-ups in the aforementioned West Village, and cited the integration of arts with business as one of the “game-changers.”
“My advice for Akron is to put the call out,” said Forsyth. “Create a way to capture ideas and calls for entries. Put the word out and let the people come to you with ideas.”
A final “a-ha moment” came from Devita Davison, co-director and chief cultivator at FoodLab Detroit, a non-profit group that promotes good food business with peer-to-peer mentoring. Davison reminded the group that people are the bottom line in all that you do, and that you need to allow for people from the community to have a seat at the table if you want to be successful.
“If you want to make change, you need to have true, genuine, authentic relationships with the community,” Davison said. “You need to have social capital in order to get anything done.”
When time came to depart Detroit and head back to Akron, Torchbearers shared with the group all of their own personal takeaways and “a-ha moments.” The bus ride home turned into a discussion to jumpstart ideas for potential projects and programs that can be implemented in Akron, keeping in mind all of the bits of advice and inspiration exhibited on the Torchbearers Road Trip. With all of the eye opening sites visited while in Detroit, there is no doubt that the Torchbearers will help to take Akron to the next level.
The 9th Annual Torchbearers’ AKrun & Crawl was held on Saturday May 30th, 2015. The event was “Remixed” this year and held in the Merriman Valley. This high-energy event kicked off with a 5K that started from the front of BCG & Co. Runners were taken along the scenic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
The rain stayed at bay while the run was taking place, and everyone got to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery afforded by the Merriman Valley. With thoughts of cold adult beverages, cheers from volunteers and beats from DJ Garrick Black, all of the runners made their way across the finish line. The athletes’ efforts were rewarded with delicious Nooma drinks and bananas and water (provided by Giant Eagle) to help with their recovery before moving on to the next phase of the night.
Those that were able and willing made their ways down from the finish line to the first of three bars for the crawl. The participants were given cups that gave them drink specials for the night. Jonny J’s provided free (and delicious) burgers, hot dogs and sides. From the first stop, Jonny J’s, participants crawled to Shot’s and then Woody’s Tavern.
This year’s AKrun & Crawl event brought in a record high number of registrations (281)! A big thank you definitely goes out to the event co-chairs, Patrick Bravo and Michael Evans. Additional thanks goes to the people that helped make the rest of the event go smoothly: the TB Events Committee, Brandon Pauley for coordinating the water stops, Jocelyn Grant for heading up the registration, Michael Wilson for the event communications & artwork, Brian Berg for the coordination of the Crawl part of the night, Katie Kline being in charge of the awards, Nolan James for the sponsorships, and Kat Pestian and Leighann Fink as the events committee chairs.
We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s 10th Annual Torchbearers AKrun & Crawl!
Torchbearers have been busy in the first half of 2015. Thus far, Torchbearers have volunteered more than 1,700 service hours to the community, which includes the volunteer activities members participate in outside of the organization. The volunteer activities completed by Torchbearers as a group have benefited more than 20 area non-profit organizations. Below are a few highlights of recent volunteer activities.
Repackaged food at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Prepared and served meals at St. Bernard's Church
Completed landscape work at Glendale Cemetery
Served as ushers for princesses and super heroes at the Summit County Children's Services Expo
Played sports and served as Referees for All- Star Training Club
Moved costumes and set for renovation of the Barberton Magical Theatre Company
In April. Torchbearers and Leadership Akron partnered for the annual Joint Service Day. The group worked on clean-up of the Summit Lake area; a project which was organized by Torchbearer Nolan James. The difference our collective work made was immediately recognized, as pound after pound of trash was removed from the water and shoreline. Torchbearers and Leadership Akron will be working together again on June 26 assisting with registration for the Rubber City Race Series.
The goal for 2015 is to complete 2,015 hours of service to the greater Akron community. With such a fantastic start, we are on course to blow that goal out of the water!
As the first half of 2015 comes to a close, the 2015 Torchbearers class remains entrenched in the TB College curriculum. The candidates just finished an informative session on Board Training and have two more sessions covering Collaboration and Change Management before the final Capstone event at the end of the year.
The 2015 TB College Curriculum mirrors the format from last year, when a formal structure was established with the help of Linda Diefendorff, who agreed to be the facilitator for TB College. Diefendorff is the founder and president of Brio Performance Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development and communications.
“Having the formal structure now is really helpful for our Committee,” Jenny Hertzig said, who is Co-Chair of the TB College committee. “We can focus solely on planning each individual class and finding the right speakers. We believe the current structure covers the key topics on what makes an effective leader.”
The first two sessions of the year required candidates to complete the Strength Finders and DISC assessments, which provided a summary of their personality and behavior traits. These detailed surveys built the foundation for future classes and gave individuals meaningful feedback on their work styles and preferred roles when participating in team environments.
The most recent class on Board Training featured a panel of speakers from the community, who currently serve on boards and could answer questions about the challenges and requirements of being a board member.
“We wanted to bring in speakers who could provide the perspective of what it’s like to serve on a board,” Hertzig said. “We also wanted to prepare the class for what types of questions to ask when they’re being interviewed for a potential board seat.”
Laura Wallerstein, a member of the TB Class of 2013, was part of the speaker panel and was able to provide insight regarding the legal implications for board members. She also could speak to the challenges and opportunities of serving on a board as a Young Professional in Akron. Other speakers for the event provided various levels of expertise ranging from financial statement analysis to distinctions between nonprofit and for-profit boards.
Based on the strong start to the year, the TB College committee is planning diligently to ensure the final classes of the year are just as strong as the first half.
“The main emphasis for our committee is to make sure participants walked away from each session having felt like the time they spent there was valuable and applicable to their career and life,” Hertzig said. “I’m super proud of the committee for working to make sure each session has great content, great speakers, and fun locations.”
On Thursday, April 23, Torchbearers will host its 6th Annual Recruitment Mixer at Our Lady of the Cedars Banquet Hall in Fairlawn. The event will last from 5:00 to 7:00pm and will feature a mix of current Torchbearers and prospective candidates.
Derrick Hall, Esq., in honor of the Boys & Girls Clubs Of The Western Reserve is the Presenting Platinum Sponsor for the event, and Bridgestone is the Gold Sponsor. Kyle Magilavy will be providing all of the music to support the event.
Nicole Rataski and Jessica Tepus, who currently lead the Membership Committee, have been working hard to make this year’s event another great success.
“Our main goal in setting out to organize this year's mixer was to attract the most diverse group of talented young professionals in the Akron area that we could find. Many people may not know how to get involved in the Akron community and Torchbearers is a great way of doing that,” Rataski said.
“The mixer is for potential applicants to become acquainted with our organization and the people in it and to see if it is a good fit for them. We hope that by having this event, those who may have been uncertain about applying, or who weren't quite sure what the organization was about, are inspired and excited to apply as a result of their interactions with current members at this event.”
Similar to previous Recruitment Mixers, this year’s event will give candidates the opportunity to network with current Torchbearers and area professionals. These potential applicants can ask questions to current members and learn more about the organization. The entire evening provides a chance for Torchbearers to spread its influence with new candidates and help the organization grow its brand.
“We are most excited to get a first look at potential members of the 2016 class, and to share with them all of the wonderful things that are currently going on within the Torchbearers organization,” Rataski said. “There are so many ways to be involved in this organization, which is great because it allows for different personality types and leadership styles and diversity within the organization. Attendees will get the chance to hear from one of our first-year members as well as from one of our returning members as to what the Torchbearers experience has specifically meant to them.”
Applications for the 2016 Torchbearers Class will be available to submit on May 1st and the final deadline is June 30th, 2015 at 7:00pm. The Torchbearers Membership Committee is responsible for recommending the new membership class each year.
Torchbearers Class of 2015 attending their first TB College session at GOJO Industries.
On February 28, 2015 the Torchbearers Class of 2015 attended their first TB College session. This year's TB College sessions will be facilitated by Linda Diefendorff, business consultant for Brio Performance Solutions. Linda specializes in organizational and leadership development, process improvement, and change management.
TB College provides new members with a comprehensive year-long curriculum devoted to professional and personal development, board leadership and community exposure. The topic of the first TB Colleges session was "Leadership Training: Personal Strengths." New members explored this topic using Strengths Finder by Tom Rath. Strengths Finder is based on the assumption that people experience the most success and fulfillment from life, jobs and other experiences when they have the opportunity to do tasks and perform in ways that align with their individual strengths.
The objective of the new members first TB College was to begin the process of self-discovery of strengths, identify ways to maximize their own and classmates strengths and identify how to link strengths to community needs. The new members participated in a group activity, cleaning up a “disaster zone in the city.” The idea behind the activity was to break into small groups was to see how well everyone worked together, what communication styles were used and was there a successful outcome. Once the activity was over, the groups met to review the strengths of each team member and what could have been done differently, then reported out to the whole class.
The next part of the Personal Strengths session was to discuss goal setting and to develop a mission and vision statement based on the goals they want to achieve through their Torchbearers experience. The group was then given time to reflect and develop their own mission and vision statements that will relate to future TB College sessions.
New this year to TB College are after-event socials (the first one held at Lockview in downtown Akron) promoting networking and camaraderie among the group.
We wish the Torchbearers Class of 2015 the best as they embark on their journey!
Our Torchbearer members have volunteered in two new service events in the first quarter of 2015 – The Victim Assistance Program 23rd Annual Mardi Gras Gala and the All Star Training Club’s Basketball Championship through United Disability Services.
On March 7, 2015, over fifteen Torchbearers volunteers donned their cocktail party attire to help out at the Mardi Gras Gala. Volunteers helped with the silent and live auctions, sold raffle tickets, checked in and checked out auction bidders, and assisted the band and photographer. Our very own Getta Cornici was also recognized that night for the 2015 Volunteer of the Year award.
The All-Star Training Club (ATC) provides an inclusive environment for people of different skill levels to participate in a variety of sports. Eleven Torchbearer volunteers were able to take part in ATC’s Basketball Championship on March 15, 2015 at the LeBron James Arena of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Some volunteers played with the athletes in the 3-on-3 tournaments, while others were out on the court helping the players, facilitating the game and encouraging full participation.
At the end of March, our Torchbearer members will have volunteered in 8 service events in 2015. We are well on our way to our goal of 2,015 service hours in 2015!
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 9:00pm
Torchbearers would like to congratulate the graduates of the 2014 Torchbearers class! These individuals took part in a year-long curriculum devoted to leadership development, community service, and talent attraction and retention in Greater Akron.
Stefanie Albrecht, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Blake Babcock, Fast Switch
Rachel Barnette, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Brian Berg, United Way of Summit County
Taylor Bond, EdgePoint Capital Advisors
Catherine Breck, US House of Representatives
Russell Burgett, Cohen & Company, Ltd
Alison Caplan, Akron Art Museum
Katie Carver Reed, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Chip Clupper, County of Summit
Melissa Cort, Cardinal Health
Michael Davis, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology
Jacyln Donadio, Bausch + Lomb
Annie Hanson, The University of Akron
Jennifer Hertzig, BCG & Company
Jessica Knopp, Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP
Willy Kollman, The University of Akron
Vincent LaGuardia, FirstEnergy Corp.
Morgan Lasher, Graphic Publications/Mimi Vanderhaven
Drew Maconachy, Maconachy Stradley Insurance
Erin Maconachy, Outcast Media
Michael McKeon, GOJO Industries
David Oeschger, Roetzel & Andress LPA
Marissa Pappas, City of Akron Law Department
Kat Pestian, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Stacey Pinter, March of Dimes
Amanda Pry, Experient, Inc., a Maritz Travel Company
Nicole Rataski, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
Brooks Rutledge, Mortgage Information Services, Inc.
Jane Spelich, Old Carolina Barbecue Company
Brian Steere, Steere Enterprises, Inc.
Jessica Tepus, Bober Markey Fedorovich
Kristen Uitenham, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Cathy Vue, Asian Services In Action, Inc.
Alison White, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 8:54pm
Recently, Akron YPs traveled to Detroit in a trip that was well documented through an article published by the Akron Beacon Journal and various forms of social media. We wanted to catch up with fellow Torchbearer Allyson Boyd to get her perspective.
What were your expectations going in?
Everything we’ve heard about Detroit in recent years has been so dire that I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. One of the best things Josh McManus, of the John S. Knight Foundation, implemented was the “DIY Adventure” on Monday afternoon. We were all responsible for creating our own portion of the agenda so we could focus on areas of passion or interest for us. That research was awesome. I kept discovering more and more things I wanted to see or do.
What did you want to get out of the trip?
I wanted to return with some best practices in the area of talent attraction and retention as well as a better understanding of their tourism industry and how it has improved.
Was there an ah-ha moment?
There were many ah-ha moments! I think though we aren’t as big as Detroit, we have the power and passion to attract and retain talent in Akron.The assets we possess and offer need to be showcased more frequently, even to our own residents. One of the incredible moments for me was the Detroit Experience Factory, a non-profit, that takes people on meaningful, engaging tours of the city and neighborhoods. Jannette Pierce started doing tours on the side years ago for Detroit residents. She loved her city and wanted her colleagues, peers, and neighbors to feel the same. It was so effective that companies use her to showcase the city for potential new hires, new employees, and even people who have lived in Detroit for years.
What is the most important thing you brought back?
I came back with both short and long-term goals. For example, I want to develop a contest which would challenge residents to get-out into the community and interact with businesses. We could create lists of things for people to check-out that they might otherwise miss and use social media like Instagram to “check-in”. A long-term goal is to use empty or abandoned space to allow for creative pop-up retail space or events in Akron’s neighborhoods.
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 8:46pm
At the close of the year, we will say good bye to an individual who led Torchbearers with distinction, out-going Torchbearers President Kyle Kutuchief. As we take time to look back at all Kyle has accomplished in his term as President of Torchbearers it will be no secret why he was chosen to lead us.
Kyle’s future success as Torchbearers President was no surprise to his predecessor Amanda Leffler. “Kyle has always had a clear vision of what Torchbearers could be, and the role that Torchbearers should play in the community. As soon as he joined the Board, Kyle encouraged all of us to think big and not be limited by the status quo. Kyle was instrumental in solidifying our partnership with Leadership Akron and in forming our relationship with Knight Foundation, paving the way for the collaborative successes that we have all seen over the past year.” His vision of Torchbearers’ potential always drove Kyle to create more opportunities for the organization even long before he became president. “I joined in 2007 for the chance to meet people I didn’t work with or previously know,” Kyle said. “But I got so much more.”
When you look at all that has evolved over the last year from Kyle’s Presidency such as the growth and success of the Akrun & Crawl, the affiliation with Leadership Akron, TB College, over 1,500 service hours and new programs like Intern Edge and Ambassador you can’t help but tip your cap to Kyle. Like any great leader Kyle wouldn’t take any credit personally for all of these successes. “I didn’t say no very often. There is an incredible amount of talented people in Torchbearers. I just made sure I got out of the way and empowered them.”
Upon reflection of the past successes, Kyle is grateful of all that Torchbearers has given to him. “It’s made all the difference – because it gave me a chance to work with a team to make decisions and create change at a time in my career where I wasn’t otherwise allowed. I always had to ask for permission. Torchbearers is empowering because we move fast and get stuff done.”
Certainly, Kyle will continue to support Torchbearers in its future endeavors and offered a few parting thoughts for us, “Continue to be outward facing - engage our peers that are not currently in Torchbearers. Don't be afraid to try new things and continue to push the organization in new directions. The future is unwritten.”
Thank you, Kyle. You’ve made this organization a better place during the eight years you have been apart of this organization and we are forever grateful for your term as President.
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 8:37pm
The week before Thanksgiving brought the first snowfall to the area. It also kicked off the holiday season for Torchbearers with the 2014 annual holiday party held at BLU Jazz+ in downtown Akron.
On November 18th, Torchbearers held its final general membership meeting of the year at the posh new jazz club and a fun evening of food, drinks, and entertainment. Toys and other donations were collected at the door to help individuals and families supported by the Blick Clinic, a non-profit agency that helps people living with disabilities.
The evening was a chance to celebrate the incredible accomplishments in 2014 for Torchbearers and recognize outgoing President Kyle Kutuchief and the committee chairpersons for all of their hard work and dedication.
Before the party could really get started, the first order of business was to approve the new 2015 Board of Directors. Following a brief quorum, Kutuchief announced the results approving the new Board slate, which will feature Craig Horbus as President and Nicole Mullet as Vice President.
The new board represents a changing of the guard, following a remarkable year where Kutuchief led Torchbearers to new heights, highlighted by the launch of the Intern Edge program.
"I remember a few of us pitching the Knight Foundation on the idea in the summer of 2013," Kutuchief said. "To watch it go from a brainstormed idea in a meeting to a bona fide program in one year was remarkable. Nicole (Mullet), Hillary (Stewart), Brian (Hollingsworth) and the rest of the TARC team did an amazing job."
A few Torchbearers, who will be switching to Alumni status next year, had a chance to address the crowd and reflect on their experiences since joining the organization. Chris Richardson, Jonathan Morschl, and Emily Schepens all gave poignant remarks and conveyed their excitement over the growth and future direction of Torchbearers.
Another highlight of the evening was the entertainment portion, where all attendees completed a ten-question quiz featuring random questions covering obscure tidbits about their fellow Torchbearers. Emily Clevenger was the big winner as she was able to answer six out of the ten questions correctly.
"Apparently, a combination of being intuitive, loving to learn about people, and spending way too much time on Facebook, actually can pay off! I was surprised at how many random questions I was able to answer about our board members," Clevenger said.
But the lasting memory from the evening was listening to Kutuchief address the crowd and reflect on how much Torchbearers has meant to him. He gave thanks to numerous Torchbearers as well as this year's committee chairpersons.
"Torchbearers has been a labor of love that has given me so much," Kutuchief said. "Standing at that microphone, I looked around the room and saw people that if it weren't for Torchbearers would probably be strangers, but because of Torchbearers are really good friends that I truly respect. Serving as a team captain for such a remarkable group has been a humbling distinction."
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 8:34pm
We began the year with a goal set to reach 1,500 service hours by the end of the year. As of October 17, we completed that goal, and now we are set to surpass it, significantly, by the close of 2014.
The service events kicked off in January with the well-attended St. Bernard - St. Mary Hot Meal Program where our TB volunteers cooked dinner, served guests, and cleaned. The hot meal program continued to be a staple through the 2014 calendar.
On August 2, a huge group of Torchbearers teamed up with the LeBron James Family Foundation for a service project that paired our group with a local student La’Zurae, and her family to help landscape their Akron home.
Torchbearers got into the fall holidays by volunteering at the October Monster Dash 5K and the Love Akron Network Findley CLC Thanksgiving Dinner, where they greeted, served, and cleaned up Thanksgiving dinner for over 500 Findley CLC students and families.
With such a diverse and exciting calendar of events, there is little room to wonder why the Torchbearers’ goal for service hours was met—and significantly exceeded.
But several members went truly above-and-beyond. A special thank you and congratulations to the following Torchbearers who have completed over 20 service hours in 2014:
Adrienne Bradley (50.5 hours!)
Christopher Faircloth (50.5 hours!)
Posted by Torchbearers, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 @ 8:26pm
On October 16th, 209 Akron-area college students, recent graduates and professionals attended the inaugural connect2akron event. Attendees surpassed the planning committee’s expectations, both in number and enthusiasm. The lobby of the Akron Art Museum hummed with excitement as individual participants mingled and connected with twenty local non-profit organizations. The buzz was also evident on social media as pictures and tweets tagged #c2a popped up on Instagram and Twitter.
The goal for the event was simple: to deepen individuals’ connection with Greater Akron by introducing them to meaningful ways to give back to the community. To facilitate this process, attendees were provided a guide which highlighted the mission of each non-profit in attendance and those organizations’ specific volunteer opportunities and particular areas of professional skill being sought. The was that the event would foster community pride, provide a helpful boost to local non-profits, and support retention of talent in Greater Akron.
By all initial indications c2a was a resounding success in the event’s first year. An initial post-event survey found 100% of non-profit respondents are interested in participating in future c2a events. The event was cited as, “a great opportunity to meet energetic and engaged young professionals”. One non-profit partner noted that c2a was “the best networking type event that [the non-profit representative] have been to in quite a while”.
Individuals shared the enthusiasm. One recent college graduate shared, “I found local nonprofits and NGOs that fit my personal interests and I gained more insight into the local young professionals scene.” A young professional agreed, saying “I had a great time, and I made some very valuable connections. It was also nice to browse the [Akron Art Museum’s] galleries!” Based on this positive feedback the c2a planning committee is currently discussing plans for future events.
connect2akron was a collaboration between several Akron-area young professional organizations: ArtCetera, Downtown Akron Partnership- Emerging Leaders, Torchbearers, Young Professionals of Akron and Young Professionals Network.