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Those who give back to the community know that it enriches their lives. And Toledo is fortunate to have so many giving citizens to help the community thrive.
TUESDAY morning, before going to work, more than 400 people gathered at the Zenobia Shrine for the Karen Landis Legacy Fund Breakfast. It was a celebration of Leadership Toledo's 25th anniversary, but most important, it was to honor Mrs. Landis, who is retiring as executive director after being with the organization since it began.
The nonprofit organization fosters leadership and involvement in the area through a Community Leadership Toledo program for adults, and a Youth Leadership Toledo program for high school sophomores who can go on to join Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPPEE) for high school juniors and seniors. Speaking from experience as an adult graduate, the programs expand knowledge of community issues and opportunities and provide contacts in business, industry, government, and more, encouraging participants to become involved.
The celebration was lively, with a few speakers who talked about Mrs. Landis and her energy that made things happen. Cynthia Beekley said, "I never knew a battle Karen didn't win, whether it was cancer or Carty Finkbeiner." She joked: "No one I know ever said no to Karen Landis and lived to tell about it."
Dave Schlaudecker, the new executive director, admitted he took a 20 percent pay cut when he went from being a lawyer to his job with the nonprofit, but he has never regretted the day he told Mrs. Landis that if the position of youth programs director ever opened, he wanted it.
Justin Burns, a YLT and YIPPEE graduate who now attends Ohio State University, gave a dynamic talk about his experiences and how the organization enabled him to participate in the community and develop the self-starter attitude that when you see a problem, you fix it. He also announced that he is the first to donate to the fund, with the assistance of several friends.
Event chairman Mary Kern was assisted by a host of volunteers, including board president Craig Teamer, Elizabeth Emmert, Marie Arter, Mary Jo Hardy, Ernest Lewis, Claudia Handwork, Julia Habreacht, Robert Loeb, Sara Moynihan, Mary Jo Swartzberg, and Susan Armstrong Malnar, who got married last week.
IN observance of Minority Health Month, a gala kick-off luncheon was Tuesday at the Frederick Douglass Community Center. Hosts of the gala were the Self Expression Teen Theater, School of Urban Life project, St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center's Hope for Families program, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department Pediatrics Weight Management program, and Adelante, Inc.
IT'S National Boys and Girls Club Week. In celebration, the local clubs are hosting activities that emphasize the five core programs: character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness, and recreation. It's not too late to join in the fun, which runs through Saturday. Call 419-241-4258, or see www.bgctoledo.org.
ALMA Jean Johnson is still basking in the success of the first Black Tie Banquet to benefit New Palmist Outreach (NPO). The gala was March 26 at the Wyndham Hotel, with motivational speaker Joe Dudley of Dudley Products Co., Greensboro, N.C. Mr. Dudley spoke of how he went from rags to riches and how important it is to help those who are less fortunate. The 150 guests were impressed by Mr. Dudley's speech as he talked of starting as a salesman selling Fuller Products door-to-door during college and going on to become president of Fuller at the same time he started his own business. Ms. Johnson, the NPO executive director, said Mr. Dudley, who encouraged guests to adopt a family and help others, donated $500 to the cause.
A nonprofit organization, NPO is dedicated to providing services to strangers, orphans, and widows who are homeless, unemployed, underemployed, or to those just in need of some extra help. From toiletries, hot meals, and groceries, to emergency financial assistance for utilities, rent, and transportation assistance, NPO helps more than 1,000 people in the area each month.