Meet our 2018 WeTHRIVE! Champions (part 1)

At our annual Recognition Event last month, we honored 25 WeTHRIVE! Community Champions from all over Hamilton County. Nominated by their peers, Community Champions strive to make their community more healthy, safe, and vibrant.

Today, we’re introducing you to WeTHRIVE! Community Champions whose efforts impact the WeTHRIVE! communities of Anderson Township, Forest Park, Green Township, Lockland, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, St. Bernard, and Woodlawn. Next week, we’ll tell you about our other 2018 Champions.

Jennifer Arlinghaus

Jennifer is food service director for Lockland Local Schools. Thanks to Jennifer’s efforts, all students now eat breakfast and lunch free of charge. Fresh fruits and vegetables are served every day. Jennifer says she feels honored to be chosen as a WeTHRIVE! Community Champion. “It is truly a heart-warming experience to be with the students of Lockland and I have been enjoying being a part of the continued growth of this district,” she says. “Superintendent Jebens along with his amazing administrative team does such great work with the students and I am honored to be a part of their team.”

Carla Belcher

Carla Belcher holding sign that says WeTHRIVE! Champion, with WeTHRIVE! banner in background.An artist and community activist in North College Hill (NCH), Carla was nominated for her work with the NCH WeTHRIVE! team, the NCH arts task force, Cradle Cincinnati Connections, and more. “Winning the WeTHRIVE! Champion award was a wonderful surprise,” Carla says. “I didn’t set out to do this for recognition. I do what I do, because I want to see my community revived and to ‘thrive’ again. That’s what brings me joy.”

Tom Caruso

side view of Tom CarusoTom is a planner with Anderson Township. He leads a dedicated group of community volunteers in Anderson who have made health and wellness a priority by placing an emphasis on trails, sidewalks, bike paths, and every other form of movement that doesn’t involve a motor!

Bryan Hoelzer

Bryan holding Champion award standing in front of WeTHRIVE! bannerA resident of Green Township, Bryan is serious about litter! He created Team Litter Gitter and can be found every morning picking up garbage around the Township.

Mary Laymon

As director of Tikkun Farm in Mt. Healthy, Mary is a tireless advocate for children and adults who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. Her Tikkun Farm programs provide is a place to heal, restore, and nourish the body and soul. “I’m a newcomer to Cincinnati, as well as the WeTHRIVE! community,” Mary says. “Receiving the Community Champion award has connected me to so many meaningful relationships. I love that I am not in this work alone, but part of a large team of leaders across the city. I am grateful for partners, supporters and collaborators in this work we share.”

Rosalind Moore

20181204-_DSC5629 (1)In addition to being a Forest Park council member, Rosalind (pictured with her husband, Mike) serves on the city’s recreation commission and WeTHRIVE! team. She is determined to bring resources and equity to all Forest Park residents. Her many volunteer activities include blood pressure and glucose checks at Forest Chapel Church, organizing events, door-to-door canvassing, and more.

Steve Sanders

As director of parks and recreation and a member of the Woodlawn WeTHRIVE! team, Steve has been a driving force for healthy eating, wellness, youth sports, and adult recreation in Woodlawn.

Ron & Carolyn Spears

Ron and Carolyn were key to forming the new St. Bernard WeTHRIVE! team. As owners of a local coffee shop, they are involved with the community, sports, schools, and more. They offer their space to the community for meetings.

Kimberley Stewart

Version 2Kimberley is a social worker and coach with North College Hill City Schools, where she also serves on the school wellness team and runs a cooking club for students. Her Arabesque Dance Academy provides dance lessons to children who would otherwise not be able to afford them. “Receiving a WeTHRIVE! Community Champion Award means that my community as well as others recognize the importance of good health and physical activity,” Kimberley says. “It means that even small activities and conversations about health and wellness do not go unnoticed and that anyone no matter age, race, or ability has the capacity to do something great for their community.”

Continuing to THRIVE!

Bob Brown, Joyce Campbell, and Shirley Mesley are long-time members of the WeTHRIVE! Lockland team. This is the third year they’ve been nominated for the WeTHRIVE! Community Champion award. We are proud to call them WeTHRIVE! Champions and appreciate their continued commitment to Lockland and to WeTHRIVE!

We’re thankful for all of our WeTHRIVE! Community Champions. Their extraordinary efforts contribute greatly to the WeTHRIVE! initiative’s vision to create a culture of health, safety, and vitality for all.

(See more photos of our Champions and the 2018 WeTHRIVE! Recognition Event here.)