Spotlight on Communinty Service -- 3rd Quarter, 2013

Amber Barnhart Herpster, Larry Coolidge Real Estate
Amber is this year’s sponsorship chair for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Give Thanks Walk, and has been a St. Jude volunteer since March of 2013. As sponsorship chair, she’s responsible for securing corporate sponsorships for the event, as well as “in-kind” giveaways, and encouraging individuals and corporations to form teams, partake in the event, and fund raise money for the event.

St. Jude, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, opened on Feb. 4, 1962. Protocols developed here have helped push  overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital  opened in 1962 to 80 percent today. The daily operating cost for St. Jude is $1.8 million, which is primarily covered by public contributions,  and no child is denied treatment because of race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. The St. Jude Give Thanks Walk is set for Nov. 23, with supporters in Columbus and more than 75 cities nationwide participating.

Amber says, “St. Jude is an amazing organization doing amazing things for children with cancer (and their families), as well as many other types of catastrophic diseases. Once children receive treatment from St. Jude, they are always a patient, so patients range in age from newborn to over the age of 18. I became involved with St. Jude at the request of a friend, Rachel Kerr, who works for St. Jude, and very quickly became aware of the scope of St. Jude, the research they do, the services they provide, and knew right away this was an organization that I would like to be involved with fundraising for and increasing awareness of for many years to come. Having a young son myself, you never know when you’re going to need the help and assistance of an extraordinary organization such as St. Jude.”

Note: The Columbus Give Thanks Walk will take place at the Franklin Park Conservatory, and the goal is to raise $60,000. As of 10/29/13, they have over 300 volunteers and participants registered for the event.

Jim Bidigare, Coldwell Banker King Thompson
Jim has been a volunteer with the Licking County Planning Commission for some 16 years.  In addition to sitting at meetings of the general commission, Jim has also been a member of commission committees to revamp subdivision regulations, to regulate open space planning in development settings, to do outreach with agricultural interests in the county, and to encourage and support local food production.

The Licking County Planning Commission is an integral part of the process where major local government decisions are made.  The Planning Commission provides long-range perspective and technical planning expertise relating to land use concerns, community development, economic development, and social issues.

The commission also must be responsive to current and emerging development issues, demonstrate the value and success of all local planning efforts, and help coordinate planning efforts among various units of government to make sure that local plans and policies are organized and compatible.

Jim says, “My experience in real estate and contracting, and my MIT training in architecture and planning are helpful in efforts to encourage intelligent planning for growth in the county.  This volunteer work is ‘close to the ground’ at hearings where citizens and developers come with property issues, and also more ‘global’, with thinking about how our communities can grow in orderly ways.”

Jim’s community involvement also includes membership on the board of the Licking Land Trust, the Granville Schools Energy and Operations Committee, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association local chapter, cantoring at Church of the Nativity, and membership in the Land of Legend Barbershop Chorus.

Stephanie Cashman, Delaware Realty Company
Stephanie has been a volunteer at the Common Ground Free Store in Delaware County for the past three years and spends numerous days throughout the month helping by preparing food for the shoppers, and advocating for the Free store throughout the community.
This store is a partnership between Delaware County churches, business, civic organizations and caring citizens, and a place where everything is free — clothing, shoes, diapers and linens, to small appliances, books and toys.

There are no income requirements, no questions and no scrutiny; only the support of people who care. In a single six-month period, 74 families were identified as homeless, with nearly 2,200 Delaware residents, many under the age of 18 or over 65, living below the poverty line. The need for the store is great!

And, Common Ground’s help doesn’t stop with free clothing and household items, it also partners with other local service agencies to provide new hope and new starts through referrals to other agencies in the community.

Stephanie says, “This is an amazing organization! Shoppers can get the clothing, and goods that they need to survive the elements, and are provided a hot meal. This is often the only hot meal that they have until their next visit. When young children ask for a second glass of milk, and thank you for dinner, it is very humbling.”

Stephanie’s community involvement has also included raising thousands of dollars for the Delaware County United Way Women’s Leadership Network. WLN members invest financial resources, time and talent in programs that build self-confidence and social success in individuals and families that live in Delaware County.

Monica L. Stith, Broker of M.L. Sales & Associates
Monica has been an active member of the Driving Park Business Association for 25 plus years, where she has worked with area business owners, civic association leaders and the area commissioner to rid the community of vacant and abandoned properties, litter and crime.

Monica recently attended the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference as a representative of the business association, where she participated in a wide variety of workshops about state of the art approaches to neighborhood improvement and urban development. In the mid 1990’s, Monica was instrumental in getting the area designated as a “NCR,” Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization Area, to the Business District.

Driving Park received its name from its historic past as a large racing complex for horses and, eventually, for automobiles during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Columbus residents would travel to Driving Park to enjoy the exciting horse and, later, automobile racing, where turn of the century speedsters set many records.

Other historic sites in the area include the19th century mansion on the corner of Livingston and Linwood, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, The Tuskegee Airmen Tribute, and the childhood home of Aviator Eddie Rickenbacker.

Monica says, “As a business and property owner in the Driving Park area, I have a vested interest and commitment to working with area businesses, community leaders and residents to bring back this once thriving, robust community.”

This spring, Monica also worked with The Harmony Project – a group comprised of individuals from all walks of life bonded together through music and the collective experience of community service. This group spent a week in Driving Park building a playground, painting murals, erecting a street car district structure at Livingston Avenue and Nelson Road, and putting up new signage for area businesses.