Meet our 2018 WeTHRIVE! Champions (part 2)

We’re excited to introduce you to more WeTHRIVE! Community Champions. Nominated by their peers, Community Champions strive to make their community more healthy, safe, and vibrant.

Today, we’re featuring those whose efforts impact the Three Rivers School District, Cincinnati, and the WeTHRIVE! communities of Lincoln Heights, Reading, and Whitewater Township. (Click here to read last week’s post about our Champions who make a difference in Anderson Township, Forest Park, Green Township, Lockland, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, St. Bernard, and Woodlawn.)

Bob Ashbrock

Bob, a councilmember for the City of Reading, supports anything to do with positive environmental outcomes. Thanks to his knowledge of things like flood zones, county trails, and eco-friendly initiatives, Reading is well-represented at meetings throughout the county.

picture of health commissioner and board of health members presenting WeTHRIVE! award to the Reading We Thrive team, standing
L-R: Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram, Bob Ashbrock (Champion), Donna Wiggins (Champion), Sabrina Smith (past Champion), Tracey Puthoff (Board of Health), Lindsey Redwine (Champion), Jim Brett (Board of Health), Seth Redwine (Champion).
Matt Castleman

As pastor of Crossroads West Side, Matt is a member of the Faith Advisory Team, which supports Three Rivers Schools with volunteers and funding. He and his team are always the first to say, ‘how can we help?’ “Receiving the WeTHRIVE! Community Champion award is a true honor,” Matt says. “Although I was given the privilege to accept this award, it is only a result of the tireless, passionate investment from the hundreds of incredible staff and volunteers that make up the Crossroads West Side community. It’s an honor to serve God and partner with Cincinnati in such a meaningful way.”

Allen Hill

Allen and his wife, Kelly, own three bridal stores in Reading. He created the Little Free Pantry for people to “take what they need and give what they can” in anonymity (read our story about it here). His ability to see a need and make it happen makes him a true gem in Reading.

Tara Holland

As the owner of Tara’s Tiny Tots child care, Tara supports young mothers in Lincoln Heights, making it possible for them to maintain jobs and return to school for higher education. She also mentors young parents and helps them find jobs, places to live, and resources to help themselves and their children.

Lincoln Heights Valley Boosters (LHVB)

In partnership with the Freestore, LHVB brought a mobile food pantry to Lincoln Heights. Their many dedicated volunteers provide everything from set up and registration to sorting and bagging fresh produce. LHVB also coordinates the Toys for Tots program for Lincoln Heights Elementary School and surrounding neighborhoods.

Sharon Lutz

20181204-_DSC5615 (1)As Whitewater Township’s WeTHRIVE! neighborhood navigator, Sharon (pictured above with Board of Health member and Whitewater resident Jim Brett) helped expand community clean-up events to include roadside clean-up, the Litter Gitters program, and trash collection along the banks of local waterways. She promotes opportunities that address health and safety through nutrition classes and a local neighborhood watch. Sharon also runs the WeTHRIVE! in Whitewater Township Facebook page. Read more about Sharon here.

Michael Pearl

Michael is director of St. Monica’s Recreation Center in Lincoln Heights. His work impacts children and adults in the Village. He provides workshops for kids that address self-esteem and healthy lifestyles. When older residents needed a place to exercise in 2012, he opened St. Monica’s to them and hired a fitness instructor to help them meet their health goals (watch our video). The group calls themselves the ‘Sassy Jazzy Seniors’ and continues to meet today. “It’s always a blessing to be recognized for accomplishments, but it was even better to share the recognition with the great volunteers and program participants from St. Monica’s,” Michael says. “Thank you, WeTHRIVE!”

Donna Penter

Donna is a valuable member of the Reading WeTHRIVE! team. Her experience and knowledge of local farmer’s markets was key to planning the pilot Reading Farmer’s Market.

Traci Poellnitz

Version 4Traci owns Cozy Care Nursery School and Childcare in Walnut Hills. As a role model for making healthy changes, she has created a culture of health and wellness for the children and families she serves. “Being a part of WeTHRIVE! has helped me to grow within my business, learn new knowledge and skills, and collaborate with people such as Andrea [Andrea Liptak, RD, LD of Hamilton County Public Health], who keep me involved and inspired to fulfill my goals,” Traci says. See more about Traci’s work in our story about child care family engagement and our video about WeTHRIVE!’s Ohio Healthy Program providers.

Lindsey & Seth Redwine

Lindsey and Seth own Redwine & Co. in Reading. From sponsoring sports teams to preparing back-to-school supplies for Reading students, these local business owners are known for giving back to the community. Seth also helps manage The Community Canopy and Energy-Saving Trees Program, while Lindsey is on the Reading WeTHRIVE! team and helped spearhead the WeTHRIVE!: Arlington Heights, Lockland and Reading Facebook page.

Teaching Professions Academy (Three Rivers Schools)

Version 2Nancy Flickinger’s Teaching Professions Academy class was the driving force for Three Rivers Schools’ new 100 percent tobacco free policy. (Nancy is pictured above on left, with class of 2018 students Kelsey Pangallo, Devon Lambing, and Madi Illing.) The students’ efforts also resulted in Addyston and North Bend adopting ordinances that prohibit smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and electronic devices, and the use of tobacco and smokeless tobacco, on all village-owned property (read more here). Nancy says her students worked hard to make changes in their school and communities. “To be awarded the Community Champion award, it meant that they were having a positive impact and that it was being noticed. Teens truly respond to positive feedback from adults,” she says.

Ary Underwood-Grant

IMG_0528Ary is director of the Corban Learning Center in Mt. Auburn. Thanks to her leadership, healthy eating and physical activity are the norm for the children and families served by the center. She is currently working on a pilot program to host cooking classes for families and the community. Read more about Ary and Corban Learning Center in our stories about child care family engagement and family style dining. The center is also featured in videos about WeTHRIVE!’s Ohio Healthy Program providers and family style dining.

Donna Wiggins

As WeTHRIVE! neighborhood navigator for Reading, Donna spearheaded the Reading Farmer’s Market, which exceeded expectations in its first year, and will be building on its success in 2019. She has also worked on enhancing walking trails in Reading by building relationships and applying for funding.

Congratulations to all of our WeTHRIVE! Community Champions. Their hard work is bringing WeTHRIVE!’s vision to life — to create a culture of health, safety, and vitality for all.

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