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Public language immersion school set for August opening

A bilingual dream five years in the making is about to become reality for Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) founding director Meran Rogers.
Rogers's new foreign language immersion school will open its doors on August 3, welcoming approximately 100 kindergarten and first-grade students to the former St. Vincent de Paul parish at 13400 Lorain Avenue. For its first iteration, the school will occupy only the ground and first floors of the 30,000-square-foot facility. Administrators expect classes to expand to the building's second floor in coming years as GALA adds additional grade levels, up to eighth grade.
Fresh Water first reported on plans for the tuition-free, public charter school in October 2014. The effort has come a long way since then: The school has been hosting monthly open houses since February to show off its new digs and champion an educational model based around Spanish and Mandarin programming. This month's open house events are scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 5 p.m., and Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m.
"We'll have a tour of the school and a Q & A afterwards," says Rogers. "Tours are usually a big hit. It's a matter of getting the word out and getting families to come."

Meanwhile, professional development sessions for GALA's dozen teachers begins in July.
As a public charter school, GALA will adhere to learning standards set forth by the Ohio Department of Education. Seventy percent of instruction each day will be provided in Mandarin or Spanish; the remaining 30 percent will be taught in English, notes Rogers. In addition, GALA will offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) program that allows participants to plan out their own projects.
On its first day, GALA will stand as Northeast Ohio's first foreign language immersion school as well as the only Mandarin immersion school in state. Most schools with similar teaching models are private or serve higher-income communities, says Rogers. GALA is open to all, no matter their socioeconomic background.
Rogers, who previously taught at a Taiwanese immersion school and is former director of community affairs for Global Cleveland, says her experience growing up with multilingual parents in a low-income household inspired GALA's creation.
"I was labeled as a special education student, and didn't learn how to read or write until the second grade," says Rogers. "I could have been bilingual but never had the environment to maintain that."
Rogers is thrilled to bring an absorbing educational experience to other children, an effort involving supportive teachers, parents and board members. Then there are donors which include the Albert B. and Audrey G. Ratner Family Foundation, Bernie Moreno CompaniesEaton CorporationRPM International Inc. and Margaret Wong & Associates.
Though Rogers doesn't expect to be dancing in the halls come August, she is excited about the new school's intricately planned journey.
"People are saying how great this, and asking me how I feel," Rogers says. "I just feel good. There is a lot more work to get done and I can't celebrate just yet."

Birchwood students head to Maryland for history competition

Next month, an eclectic group of students from Birchwood School will attempt to make history at an event that celebrates the same diversity the West Park private independent school embodies.
The National History Day contest, set for June 12-16 at the University of Maryland campus, invites 3,000 middle- and high-school students from the United States, Guam and American Samoa, as well as international schools in China, Korea, South Asia and Central America. Birchwood will happily add itself to the mix, considering 60 percent of school enrollment is comprised of children of immigrants hailing from Europe, Asia, Africa and points beyond.
Birchwood's young competitors will present the same projects that pushed them through local and regional contests. Ten seventh- and eight-graders - Jocelyn Chin, Steven Sun, Jake Wei, Sophia Vlastaris, Alia Baig, Nadia Ibrahim, Channin McNaughton, Jane Nilson, Isabella Issa, and Aasma Cozart - advanced to the nationals following a state competition held at Ohio Wesleyan University on April 30.
At the national event, students will present research based on the theme of "Exploration, Encounter and Exchange in History" in the form of a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.
Jane Nilson took first place at the state program for a paper on Cleveland's Hough riots. The highlight of Jane's research on this contentious event, which was characterized by vandalism, looting and arson, was a two-hour interview with a National Guardsman on the scene during the violence. As excited as Jane is to show her work to an international audience, it's the info-gathering that truly turns her dials.
"I didn't know much about Cleveland history before writing the paper," she says. "I'm a highly competitive person, but it's really about the research."
Alia Baig and Jocelyn Chin designed a website that explores the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, a process that taught the duo just how unprepared the U.S. was for such a large-scale disaster.
Honing one's stage presence is also part of the proceedings, students say. Channin McNaughton and Aasma Cozart learned this during several performances on labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. Though Channin was initially nervous about "yelling" at audience members as part of the presentation, sheer repetition diminished any jitters she may have had.
"We have to put our all into this project," Channin says. "If you do that you deserve a chance to win."
Isabella Issa, Sophia Vlastaris and Nadia Ibrahim acted out the story behind Title IX, a statute prohibiting gender discrimination at publicly funded educational institutions. Isabella is looking forward to the larger stage, particularly after the hundreds of hours she and her partners have put into their presentation.
"You can pull an all-nighter preparing, so when your name and state is called, that's what makes the long nights worth it," she says.
Nadia's purpose, meanwhile, is informed by Birchwood's stated mantra of personal fulfillment going hand-in-hand with hard work and social participation.
"It helps to know you've worked this hard and made it this far," she says.
Steven Sun, who with Jake Wei put together a documentary on neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, didn't exactly relish the project's heavy-duty research portion. However, he appreciates how the long stretch of work over the year has prepared him for the next level of his education.
"There are high-schoolers not doing what we're doing," Steven says.
Social studies teacher Connie Miller, a staff organizer for the contest, encouraged students to choose events and people that had major impacts on the world around them.
"This (program) ticks off boxes of what we're doing at Birchwood," says Miller. "Students are not just reporting history, but analyzing events that changed history."
Being a normal group of teenagers, the collective Birchwood crew is thrilled to take a trip that includes a tour of nearby Washington, D.C. They also expect to join the long-standing National History Day tradition of exchanging state-centric buttons with their fellow competitors.
Ultimately, school officials want their charges to have fun while taking part in a globally recognized contest that will build both their studying and social skills.
"We're very proud of our students," Miller says. "They've proven they can keep up with writing and revising over and over. That says a lot about Birchwood." 

Further reading: Diversity, curriculum set West Park's Birchwood School apart

This story was made possible by a partnership with the Birchwood School.

Recap: Space App Challenge at NASA Glenn

On an average day, Brian Gesler works as a computer programmer at a Cleveland insurance company. But for one weekend last month, he was busy creating jet packs that could one day be used by astronauts on Mars.
He crowded around tables in a conference room at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center campus with a team he’d just met. Some sketched prototypes across sheets hung on the walls, others pecked away frantically on laptops. They called themselves Moon Tang Clan.
Gesler and his team were one of 17 groups in Cleveland that took part in the 2016 International Space Apps Challenge. Since 2012, the hackathon has brought together coders, artists, and general tinkerers to use open data provided by NASA to spark solutions to many of the aeronautics and space agency’s most pressing hurdles. The event now spreads across 161 locations around the globe.
“Other hackathons are hyper-local, but with this, you’re part of a global effort,” says Gesler.
The program is part of openNASA, an initiative to share NASA’s own data, code and APIs with the public in effort to foster transparency and collaboration. The idea is: NASA provides the knowledge of their experts, their data and their resources (3D printers and virtual reality systems, to name a few) and the more than 15,300 participants around the world endeavor to help the organization see things from a different perspective – if only for one weekend.
In the past, participants have produced mobile apps, software, hardware and data visualizations, among other creations. Some of the works have gone on to be implemented by NASA or garnered venture capital to get off the ground.
In 2013, former NASA Glenn chief information officer Sasi Pillay approached Brad Nellis, who was the executive director of OHTec at the time, about organizing Space Apps in Cleveland. Nellis added the program to Tech Week and from 2013 to 2014, the program was held at Cuyahoga Community College’s Advanced Technology Training Center. Last year, NASA officially brought the program home, making NASA Glenn the only host of a Space Apps Challenge among the organization's 10 facilities across the United States.
“This event offers a great opportunity for local tech folks to unleash their creativity and ingenuity for a great cause,” said Nellis. “Being here at NASA Glenn adds a unique and exciting dimension to the hackathon, fellow space geeks love it here.”
Herbert Schilling, a NASA computer scientist who works on the scientific applications and visualization team and is now a Space Apps organizer, remembers coming to NASA in high school as part of an outreach program. Now that he’s an employee, he says it’s his turn to give back.
“I run into NASA fans all the time and I like offering them an opportunity to cultivate that love even more,” Schilling says. “I love learning from them. I’m inspired by the things they come up with.”
Organizer Sarah Dutkiewicz, President of Cleveland Tech Consulting, was instrumental in bringing new participants on board. Dutkiewicz utilized different social media channels to connect with an array of user groups in the region and also reached out to the growing number of coding boot camps in Cleveland, many of which are designed to bring more women and minorities into the field.
“I’m a space geek; Sally Ride was always one of my idols,” she says enthusiastically. “To be here seeing all different walks of life working with NASA, I’m beyond thrilled.”
Mission Control
As the sounds of the NASA Glenn band, an employee brass ensemble, filled the auditorium on Friday night, participants passed through security and filed into the building. This year was the first that youth were able to take part in the hackathon, and plenty circled the room with school backpacks.
Sean Gallagher, current Chief Information Officer of NASA Glenn Research Center and David L. Stringer, Director of the Plum Brook Management Office offered opening remarks.
“Once a year, we get a chance to step back, open up the treasure trove of NASA data you’ll get to access over the weekend, and ask you to solve some of our bigger problems,” said Gallagher.
Stringer spoke on understanding each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Know your job, work together and have no surprises,” he said. “Degrees don’t measure the human being – smarts, persistence and the willingness to co-operate does. Be curious, learn as much as you can and talk to as many people as possible.”
Teams were introduced to this year’s challenges, which included space fashion and design, aeronautics, biomimicry, missions to Mars and even ideas to improve the planet. The challenge concepts were collected by NASA and then handed over to organizers like Stacey Brooks, NASA’s Open Government Datanaut Community Manager, who gathered data from their own archives and the web to give participants enough information to get started.
“We get volumes and volumes of data from all the space craft we have,” says Brooks. “But I will look at that data in one way and you might look at it in another way. And if everyone has an opportunity to view it through their own lens, we’ll get a lot more research out of it. The more we all collaborate together, the more interesting our solutions will be.”
Of course, often times that information is only a stepping stone. The hackathon also brings in subject matter experts that teams can consult. Jay Horowitz, who retired four years ago from the graphics and visualization department, has been helping teams who come to him with questions on topics such as virtual reality.
When they ask about using the VR technology for a mission to Mars or to control a rover, he fills them in on ways NASA has already used it in the past. For example, the Elon Muskateers team created a camera with light field photography capabilities that could be attached to rovers to create more 3D images.
His best advice? Think beyond today’s tools.
“I’ve been encouraging them to not think of today’s cameras,” he says. “Cameras ten years from now are going to be radically different. A large part of that was just encouraging them to think outside of the box. Any time NASA tries to design something, we have to be prepared for everything to change a few years from now.”
To Infinity and Beyond
On Sunday afternoon, Gesler and the rest of Moon Tang Clan took the stage to present a battery-powered exoskeleton with jet turbine generators. Imagine a wearable machine that could reduce strain on astronauts as they traverse Mars, help them lift heavy objects and enhance their stride to cover more ground. On the screen, they played a first-person simulation of the red terrain, which was created in Unity 3D using a topographical map of Mars freely available online.
The Moon Tang Clan took home first place.
Team Star-whals took second by developing a real mission to retrieve a near Earth asteroid for future mining.
“We didn’t just build the sensor package or the impactor,” says participant Brian Stofiel, who is also CEO of Stofiel Aerospace. “This was a mission. We went from the very beginning to retrieving. We really wanted to address the whole topic.”
People’s Choice winning team Dragonfly also focused on asteroids. The exploratory satellites they proposed, called “Dragonflies,” can be released in a cluster formation. In the middle of each is a javelin that opens like an umbrella six to 12 feet deep inside the asteroid. Each would contain sensors that could allow them to create effects, like 3D images.
The javelin’s inception was rooted in biomimicry, the practice of using nature as a model for design. Its inspiration? A porcupine’s quill, the prickly, arrow-shaped spines that easily penetrate predators but are difficult to remove once lodged. In this case, the javelin is the quill; the asteroid is the predator.
Another team, the hackathon’s local winner, created a prototype of a motor for an electric aircraft that could be made out of 80 percent 3D printed parts. The motor is flatter than usual, which would create higher power density and efficiency.
As much as many Space Apps teams focused on the possibilities of exploring the great unknown, other groups shared how NASA’s data can have an immediate effect on understanding our own planet. One created an app to self-diagnose allergies by finding correlations between pollution and NASA data. Another offers better communication between residents of pastoral areas by using NASA maps and weather data.
It’s a subtle reminder on the year of NASA Glenn’s 75th anniversary that the discoveries of space exploration continue to impact our everyday lives – from the solar panels we’re building on our homes for sustainable energy to the firefighter who pulls a breathing mask over his face before rushing into a fire to the enriched formula a parent trusts when feeding their newborn.
For one weekend a year, 15,310 extra hands help us see that the future isn’t really so far off.
As part of NASA Glenn’s 75th anniversary, it will host a free public open house at its Lewis Field main campus, 21000 Brookpark Rd. on May 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Facebook taps local comic book shop for small business council

Two years ago, Facebook announced plans to turn 25 million small businesses into advertisers that would help the ubiquitous social media network with strategy and development.
John Dudas, owner and co-founder of Carol & John’s Comic Book Shop, became part of that plan earlier this month when he was invited to join Facebook's 2016 Small Business Council (SMB). Dudas spent two whirlwind days at the mega-company's Menlo Park headquarters in California, representing one of 13 businesses selected for the group.
Prior to the announcement, Dudas went through an extensive interview process that weighed how his Kamms Plaza shop engages customers through its social platforms. Facebook reps were impressed with C&J's family-friendly online presence, illuminated by a Facebook page that cheerily welcomes everyone.
"Comics are a male-dominated industry, so we use social media to show how important it is for women to feel comfortable in the store," says Dudas, who runs the shop with his mother Carol Cazzarin.
The SMB council is modeled after a 12-member client committee Facebook launched in 2011, which includes agency leaders as well as representatives from the company's largest advertisers. The small council advises the company on development of its tools. In return, Facebook provides ongoing support through a password-protected page.

"We'll test beta programs and ideas, and (participating council members) will communicate with each other with any issues we have," Dudas says. "Once you're on the council, you're on for life."
Joining the store owner at Facebook's sprawling, city-like headquarters was a diverse range of businesses, from a retro pinball arcade to a 24-hour diner. The fast-paced two days were spent exchanging ideas and engaging in a kind of social media walkabout, where participants shared hashtags to show online followers where they were on Facebook's campus.
The trip had its share of surreal strangeness as well. Seeing his shop's logo on the Jumbotron at 1 Hacker Way was particularly overwhelming, Dudas says. He also met Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who popped in to thank group members for their hard work.
Now that he's back in Cleveland, Dudas is mulling his own social media strategies for upcoming C&J events including its annual Free Comic Book Day on May 7. One possibility is targeting cell phone carriers located within a 25-mile radius of the shop.

"Like we can do a 'Captain America for President' campaign during the RNC, and people will get it on their phones," poses Dudas.
Whatever comes next, the comics' proprietor is excited to share love for the medium through his digital channels.
"We care about our product and get to engage with the community," says Dudas. "We're glad we can make that kind of impact." 

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress announces finalists for Vibrant City Awards

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) has announced 21 finalists for its 2016 Vibrant City Awards. Winners will be revealed on May 2 at the second annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch, hosted by CNP and presented by Key Bank and Community Blight Solutions.
“We are proud to convene community partners and stakeholders to celebrate city neighborhoods. These leading efforts in neighborhood revitalization are what help us all create a vibrant city,” says Joel Ratner, president and CEO of CNP. “The organizations and individuals being honored have displayed tremendous passion, dedication and collaboration. We’re excited to recognize them for their successful efforts in community development.”
CNP received more than 70 nominations for this year's awards.
“The complete list of nominations tells an inspiring story of neighborhood transformation that is taking place in Cleveland," says Jeff Kipp, CNP's director of neighborhood marketing for the organization. "From community development corporations to corporate partners and everyone in between, there are amazing people performing incredible work in our neighborhoods.”
Additionally, CNP will present the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award and the first ever Vibrant City Impact Award at the May 2 luncheon. During the event, civic leaders, community development professionals, local developers, investors, realtors and passionate Clevelanders will gather to celebrate neighborhoods at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, 3615 Euclid Ave., an iconic structure located in Midtown on the RTA Healthline. A locally sourced meal catered by chef Chris Hodgson of Driftwood Catering will be served. This event is open to the public. More information and registration details are available online.
The 2016 Vibrant City Awards finalists include:
• CDC Community Collaboration Award
Ohio City Inc. – Station Hope
Held in May 2015, Station Hope, a collaboration of Ohio City, Inc., Cleveland Public Theatre, Saint John’s Episcopal Church and Councilman Joe Cimperman, was a free multi-arts event that celebrated the history of St. John’s Church, the triumphs of the Underground Railroad, and contemporary struggles for freedom and justice. Station Hope featured a diverse selection of theatre and performance ensembles, including more than 30 companies and 150 individual artists.

Slavic Village Development – Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Slavic Village
In spring 2015, The Cleveland Orchestra At Home in Slavic Village residency brought a world-class orchestra to the Broadway Slavic Village neighborhood. Partners included Slavic Village Development, the Cleveland Orchestra, Broadway School of Music and the Arts, the Broadway Boys and Girls Club, cultural organizations, and area churches and schools. In April, the orchestra performed a free public concert for an audience of 1,000 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The residency continued throughout the year with a host of events.
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
In 2015, the Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office partnered with the Hispanic Business Center and local businesses and entrepreneurs to launch La Placita, an open air market near the intersection of Clark Avenue and West 25th Street that featured 24 local vendors and cultural offerings for five Saturday events that attracted thousands. The events also served as an effective venue to showcase “La Villa Hispana,” which is home to a growing ethnic population in the City of Cleveland.
• CDC Placemaking Award
MidTown Cleveland – East 55th Street railroad bridge mural
The railroad bridge above the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 55th Street has been transformed into a symbol of the innovation and emerging economy embodied in the MidTown neighborhood and the Health-Tech Corridor. The mural, designed by Twist Creative, Inc., includes a graphic of DNA molecules, and logos of MidTown Cleveland, the City of Cleveland, BioEnterprise and the Cleveland Foundation.

Slavic Village Development – Cycle of Arches
The Cycle of Arches installation evokes allusions to nature such as trees or grasses bending in the wind, while nodding to the industrial heritage of the community by representing the neighborhood's "steel roots" with its steel tube construction. Part of the $8 million Broadway Streetscape and Road Improvement Project, the installation is located at the intersection of E.49th Street and Broadway Avenue. Jonathan Kurtz, AIA, designed Cycle of Arches. Partners included Slavic Village Development, Land Studio and the City of Cleveland.
University Circle Inc. – Wade Oval improvements
University Circle Inc. recently invested in several improvements to Wade Oval including a permanent musical park that offers four large-scale instruments, benches, Adirondack chairs and a chalkboard with the “This is CLE to Me…” tagline emblazoned across the top. Visitors are encouraged to creatively express themselves in this eclectic area.

• CDC Economic Opportunity Award
Famicos Foundation – Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management
Famicos Foundation weaves together a diverse portfolio of economic opportunity programming to aid family financial stability in the Glenville neighborhood. In 2015, the organization helped complete 1,917 tax returns with a total refund of $2.3 million for residents. 549 of those returns were for EITC clients and those individuals received $869,000 in refunds. Also in 2015, while participating in a pilot program, Famicos referred 90 tax preparation clients interested in receiving one-on-one financial counseling to the Community Financial Centers.
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
The Stockyard, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office was instrumental in the planning and implementation of "La Placita," which served as a catalyst project encouraging collaboration between the local CDC and stakeholders in the community. This initiative served as a business incubator for new businesses with free business training and as an accelerator for established businesses. Situated in an economically challenged food dessert, "La Placita" also served as an access point for fresh, affordable produce and culturally relevant prepared foods and ingredients.
University Circle, Inc. – Business outreach and development efforts
In 2015, University Circle Inc's business outreach and development efforts included three key components: the Uptown Business Association (UBA), NextStep: Strategies for Business Growth and a financial literacy and QuickBooks bookkeeping program, all of which fostered networking amid business owners in the greater University Circle area. UCI consistently convenes the 17 NextStep alumni, a current class of nine business owners, 65 UBA members, and seven bookkeeping program participants at UBA meetings to network, enhance their skills and find new opportunities. 
• CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award
Northeast Shores Development Corp. – Welcome to Collinwood website
With the help of the CDC, the neighborhood has taken its brand as Cleveland's premiere artists’ neighborhood to a new level with the Welcome to Collinwood website. The homepage offers an artistic display of images and designs, and visitors are met with compelling copy that boasts the compelling opportunities available to artists in Collinwood. 
Slavic Village Development – Rooms to Let
St. Rooms To Let, a temporary art installation in vacant homes created by Slavic Village Development, was a successful marketing event that changed perceptions about the surrounding neighborhood. In May 2015, more than 1,000 visitors toured St. Rooms to Let, which included installations by 30 artists, live music performances and activities for children.

Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc. – Night Market Cleveland
St. Clair Superior Development Corp. and Campus District Inc. teamed up last summer to spark awareness, foster a creative economy, and bring attention to the hidden gems of AsiaTown and the Superior Arts District with Night Market Cleveland - a series of four summer events with local art vendors, Asian food and cultural entertainment. The inaugural season attracted a staggering 50,000 attendees and garnered coverage in 22 media publications.
• Corporate Partner Award
Community Blight Solutions
Community Blight Solutions focuses on understanding, solving, and eliminating blight. Prominent solutions currently include promotion of the organization's SecureView product and the Slavic Village Recovery Project, which aims to align demolition and rehabilitation to eradicate blight one block at a time and fosters corporate volunteerism amid the area's for-profit partners. The project is also focused on gaining access to a critical mass of real estate owned properties and those that are abandoned with the intention of either demolition or rehabilitation.
Dave’s Supermarkets
Dave’s Supermarkets' portfolio of stores sells products that match the profile of the communities they serve while their employees and customer base reflect Cleveland’s diverse population. Asian, Hispanic, African American and Caucasian residents all feel at home at Dave’s Supermarket. Dave’s has provided significant financial support in the form of food donations to community organizations, churches, and neighborhood groups. The local chain employs over 1,000 people in 14 stores, providing health care and retirement benefits to hard-working Cleveland residents.
PNC Bank
PNC was the lead sponsor of UCI’s summer concert series, Wade Oval Wednesdays – WOW! - a free weekly concert that draws up to 5,000 attendees. In addition, PNC supported UCI’s Clean and Safe Ambassador program expansion from seasonal to year-round with twice as many staff.  Additionally, PNC supported the creation and development of a children’s map and activity book to complement UCI’s newest education initiative, Circle Walk, a 40-point interpretive program set to launch in May 2016.
• Urban Developer Award:
Case Development – Mike DeCesare
Mike DeCesare of Case Development has been a pioneer in residential development in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, which he also calls home. He successfully finished the Waverly Station community in 2015 and completed the Harborview development at Herman Avenue and West 54th Street.
Geis Companies – Fred Geis
Fred Geis instigated the MidTown Tech Park, which boasts nearly 250,000 square feet of office and laboratory space leased to health and technology firms, and is part of the growing Health-Tech corridor. One of Geis’s most transformational projects is The 9, into which Geis moved its headquarters from Streetsboro. This spring, Geis will break ground on an Ohio City project converting the industrial Storer Meat Co. facility into 67 market-rate apartments. Fred Geis was also recently appointed to the Cleveland Planning Commission and will donate his stipend to the Dream Neighborhood refugee housing initiative.
Vintage Development Group – Chip Marous
Vintage Development Group provides well-built multi-family residential properties in Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City, thereby helping to support the associated commercial districts with residential opportunities and financial support. Not to be content with the footprint of his Battery Park project, Marous has executed plans for expanding it. His passion for complete, walkable urban development is made possible through established relationships in Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods.
• Civic Champion Award:
Joseph Black – Central neighborhood
Joe Black is committed to Central neighborhood youth. He is currently the Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. As the leader of the engagement team, he is responsible for fostering a seamless experience for youth and families to progress through their education from cradle to career. Black’s passion was sparked by personal experiences with the inequities linked to men of color, and has since matured into a responsibility to serve “at risk” communities. He is a tireless, dedicated community volunteer, mentoring youth at his day job as well as during his free time.
Charles Gliha – Slavic Village neighborhood
Lifelong Slavic Village resident Charles Gliha strives to improve the neighborhood with art, civic engagement and business development. As founder of Broadway Public Art, he has championed the Warszawa Music Festival, is the founder of Street Repair Music Festival, organizes the Polish Constitution Day Parade, and volunteers at Rooms to Let. Gliha is an active member of the Slavic Village Neighborhood Summit planning committee and hosts cash mobs and live music events in area retail establishments. He also created a printed business directory and garnered $25,000 in grants for the neighborhood.

Alison Lukacsy – Collinwood neighborhood
A Cleveland transplant turned North Collinwood artist, advocate and promoter, Alison Lukacsy sees opportunities where others see problems. She has secured over $20,000 in grants, resulting in projects such as Storefront Activation utilizing debris from Adopt-a-Beach cleanups, Phone Gallery - Cleveland's smallest curated art gallery, a Collinwood Vibrancy Project, Yarn n’ Yoga on Euclid Beach Pier, Euclid Beach Book Box, and Bus Stop Moves RTA shelter exercises.

Cleveland Education Compact aims to improve relations between charter and district schools

While organizations such as the Transformation Alliance are working to make sure Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools ensures every child in Cleveland receives a quality education with access to a selection of schools, the Cleveland Education Compact is doing their part by helping the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and the city’s 65 charter schools work together to bring excellence throughout.

The Compact is a collaboration between CMSD, the Cleveland Foundation and Breakthrough Schools, which is a network of public charter schools. The group came together last year after the associated schools received a $100,000 planning grant from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014.
The Compact’s goal with the planning grant is to unite all those partners via a common goal that includes cooperation between the CMSD and Cleveland’s publicly funded charter schools and improve the educational options in Cleveland.
“Essentially, the district and Breakthrough Schools were doing some collaboration already,” explains Lindsey Blackburn, project manager for the Compact. “We applied for the $100,000 grant to get things going.” Blackburn adds that the term “compact” refers to both the group and the document they wrote.
Now the planning is underway and a group of 40 people from a dozen schools and organizations met in February for a brainstorming session and to form subcommittees. The executive committee meets monthly to discuss the subcommittee topics, which include record sharing; professional development; special education; facilities; funding; and policy/advocacy.
The Compact’s executive committee, which consists of five direct representatives and five charter representatives, meets once a month to ensure the planning phase is carried out before the grant runs out later this year.

“The last two areas have a lot of overlaps so it may make more sense to combine them,” says Blackburn. “Each subcommittee has co-chairs: one representative from the district and one representative from the charters.”
The group will meet again on April 5 for additional planning and outlining. “This is an exciting time because this is actual real work,” Blackburn says, adding that they will look for the areas that are easiest to tackle first, then address the more complex issues.
"We will look at the ones we can win first, like sharing professional development resources – if a speaker comes in, opening it up to all compact members,” she says. “There will be topics that will prove to be more complex and may not be solved in this round of collaboration.”
While the Cleveland Education Compact is not affiliated with the Cleveland Plan, the two groups still share common missions. “The Compact is similar [to the Cleveland Plan] in the sense that it is all about finding areas where district and charter schools can work together.,” says Piet van Lier, executive director of the Transformation Alliance, the organization charged with making sure the Cleveland Plan is executed. “But it wasn’t written into the Cleveland Plan.”
However, van Lier does see the two groups complementing each other. “Since the Cleveland Plan envisions a portfolio district with good schools, both district and charter, and allows the district to share levy money with partner charter schools, the two really are different sides of the same coin.”
Blackburn says future fundraising options will be considered to keep the Compact going once the planning grant expires. 

Transformation Alliance is a Fresh Water sponsor.

engage! cleveland launches weeklong series of yp-friendly events

Talent attraction/retention nonprofit Engage! Cleveland has officially kicked off a series of Cleveland-friendly social activities and professional development opportunities through its first annual Cleveland Young Professionals Week.

The weeklong succession of cost-free events aimed at the youthful and talented began Monday and will continue through Oct. 11, says Engage! Cleveland executive director Ashley Basile Oeken. Each day will feature a variety of around-the-clock happenings on both the East and West Side, including fitness classes at local studios, speaker-centric "lunch-and-learn" programs, and nightly networking get-togethers. That's 25 events over six days, if you're counting.

"You hear about other cities and how they've engaged young professionals," says Basile Oeken. "We wanted a signature event to put our name on."

Programming is generally aimed at people age 21 to 40, although the nonprofit is inclusive of anyone who considers themselves a YP. Events are filling up, notes Basile Oeken, so if you're interested in a spinning class at Harness Cycle or listening to a talk by PlayhouseSquare president Art Falco, it's best to act fast.

Basile Oeken views Engage! Cleveland's first-ever CLE YP Week as a chance to show off everything the city has to offer, whether to a lifelong resident or someone who moved here a month ago. Attracting and retaining young talent means linking it to influential leaders and local organizations, she believes.

"It's acclimating people to how much is going on in Cleveland," says Basile Oeken. "There's an opportunity to get everyone living in this community to support it collectively."

While programming will end with a closing party at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the nonprofit director expects the energy generated by a week's worth of events to resonate throughout the year.

"If you're involved, Cleveland can sell itself," Basile Oeken says. "People are more likely to stay when they're engaged."

keep it local project all about promoting, growing small businesses in cle

As a small business owner, Carl Baldesare knows the headaches associated with growing a company. With a background as a small business advisor and, more recently, owner of Specialty Renovations construction company, Baldesare grew frustrated with the expense and limited resources available in growing his small company.

Then about nine months ago, Baldesare had an idea for growing all the small businesses in Cleveland: Keep it Local Cleveland Project. “I just started wondering, why don’t people help these small businesses out,” he recalls. “I realized number one is they didn’t know the business existed, or they were afraid to try it.”
The Keep it Local Cleveland Project is a membership based group dedicated to promoting and growing small businesses of all kinds in Cleveland. Businesses can run promotions and specials through the website. “I created an all-encompassing Cleveland chamber,” Baldesare boasts. “We connect local people to local businesses. We do this by telling you where to find them, and give you a little incentive to find them.”
Member businesses get access to monthly networking events, a mention on social media and radio, and promotion on Keep it Local’s website marketplace. “It’s a pretty slick setup,” says Baldesare. Consumers can access deals and promotions, or simply research local businesses. “When you buy from independent local businesses, more of your money goes to other independent local businesses.”
The project already has generated a loyal following, with more than 3,000 followers on Facebook. The organization now has five employees.
Keep it Local Cleveland officially kicks off on Sunday with a free concert at the Beachland Ballroom featuring local bands, of course. A ticket is required to get into the concert.

Source: Carl Baldesare
Writer: Karin Connelly

who's hiring in cle: ganeden biotech, youth opportunities unlimited, opusone...

Welcome to the latest edition of Who’s Hiring in Cleveland?
There are plenty of good jobs to be found here in Cleveland. This is the latest installment in a new regular series of posts in which we feature companies that are hiring, what those employers are looking for, and how to apply.
Global Cleveland and NEOSA will host a virtual IT job fair during NEOSA Tech Week, April 11-18. New this year, job seekers and employers will receive a list of potential candidates and companies that match the job requirements. Top IT talent can sign up here. Employers looking for talent can register here.
Ganeden Biotech, a leader in probiotic research and product development, needs two business development account managers to identify and service new partners.
In addition to hiring youths for its summer employment program, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) has multiple positions open, from administrative team leaders to a database and file captain and a field supervisor. Read about all the open jobs here.
OpusOne Staffing is actively recruiting talented IT professionals, ranging from entry level to senior level. Interested candidates should send resumes to Melissa.
The Cleveland Foundation needs a program officer to review and research grant proposals and community issues, meet with prospective grantees and prepare evaluations and recommendations for funding. To apply, send resume and salary requirements to the hiring manager.

New Directions, a recovery center for teens and their families, needs an experienced planned giving officer to secure major gifts from donors through estate planning and other gifts. The qualified candidate must be a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Have hiring news you’d like to share? Email Karin at Fresh Water Cleveland and send us this information or career links!

bad girl ventures readies launch of fall business plan competition

Micro-lending organization Bad Girl Ventures (BGV) wants Cleveland to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners. That hopefully beautiful friendship will begin on Thursday, October 3, when BGV Cleveland hosts its kickoff event introducing the 10 finalists of its fall business plan competition.

The 10 women will present themselves at Battery Park Wine Bar, pitching their ideas to an audience before embarking on BGV's nine-week course to help tweak their fledgling enterprises. The final class will be in mid-November, with the winner of BGV's $25,000 low-interest loan announced during a "graduation ceremony" the following month.

Financing and mentorship are just two of the benefits for program participants, says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland.

"Networking is a huge motivating factor for them," she says. "These women are not just sitting in a stuffy classroom, but extending their professional network."

This autumn's class represents a wide range of industries and specialty areas. There's a children's party bus, granola bar company, match-making business, and more.

BGV Cleveland offers business education courses and financing twice per year to help women-owned startups launch, manage and market their businesses. In May, custom cake baker Sugar Plum Cake Company earned the business group's $25,000 loan. Two other ventures -- Journey Art Gallery  and The Agrarian Collective  -- each received $5,000 loans from a private giving circle. 

"We're exposing these businesses to as many resources as possible," says Barabas. "There's a huge value in that."

SOURCE: Reka Barabas
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

techpint event touches on lessons learned from business failures

"Failure" is a tough word, particularly for entrepreneurial types throwing so much of their lives into a venture that might go belly up within a few months. However, Paul McAvinchey, creator of TechPint, believes valuable lessons can be learned from disappointment.

Such is the theme of this fall's TechPint conference, a casual gathering for entrepreneurs and investors in Internet technology. Coordinator McAvinchey expects more than 250 of the region's most innovative tech pacesetters to attend the quarterly-held event taking place tonight (September 26) at Sterle’s Slovenian Country House. Speakers John Gadd of Hotcards.com, Kendall Wouters of Reach Ventures and Phil Brennan of Echogen Power Systems will touch on how businesses can bounce back from seemingly crushing setbacks.

"It's a fact that you must fail many times before you see success," says McAvinchey, who moved to Cleveland from County Tipperary, Ireland, in April 2012 to lead product innovation for MedCity Media. "If you're failing, that means you're trying. That's a good thing."

Even stories of tremendous achievement, like the billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram, began on a rocky road of risk and false starts, McAvinchey points out.

"Failure will work for you if you learn from it," he says.

The informal get-together is designed to connect the region's tech thinkers over a couple pints of beers, says McAvinchey. TechPint's moniker this month is "Techtoberfest," in appreciation of this suds-filled season of the year.

Autumn also is a time for scary stories, and attendees will hear a few frightening business-related tales at TechPint. "It's important to celebrate failure," McAvinchey says. "This is a way to bring positive attention to it."

SOURCE: Paul McAvinchey 
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

clean bill of health for metrohealth in 2010

In 2010, MetroHealth began testing a surgical solution for high blood pressure, became the only Ohio hospital chosen to participate in the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium to benefit injured servicemen and women, launched MetroExpressCare to address the needs of urgent care patients, and provided resources for the identification of the first gene associated with age-related cataracts.

All the while, the hospital system has kept its eye on sustainable business practices that resulted in a budget surplus last year. MetroHealth currently has about 6,000 employees.

Revenue over expenses for MetroHealth in 2010 totaled $27 million, and operating income decreased from $37.7 million in 2009 to $23.8 million last year. These numbers are in keeping with the health system's goal of maintaining sustainable business practices, which, according to MetroHealth CEO and president Mark Moran, means being able to support the hospital's mission of providing high-quality and affordable care.

Throughout 2011, MetroHealth will be addressing challenges that include a continuing decline in inpatient volumes and rising charity care. The total cost of charity care provided by MetroHealth last year was up $9 million over the previous year.

SOURCE: MetroHealth
WRITER: Diane DiPiero

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