Community

First and Ten Top 10 Highlights - May 2020

May-Top10-Highlights-2020

Every month we will highlight the top 10 stories from fans, youth football coaches, and teachers just like you who are serving in the community! Remember to take the First and Ten pledge and use hashtag "#give10" or submit your story online when you volunteer for an opportunity to be featured next month!

Name: Linda Gamble

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

Linda has been serving local youth and a men's group for the majority of her life. At Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM), she has helped prepare over 12,000 meals for those in need since 2017. Funding for meals comes from her "Special Angel", who prefers to remain anonymous, and local businesses. Previously, she oversaw the Save Our Sons and Sister Sister programs, which developed 9-18 year old youth. Different local groups assisted Linda with summer programming, including art organizations and the Northeast Ohio Jazz Society. These youth programs grew to include a mentoring component, which Linda coordinated as well. While Linda's volunteering has slowed down due to COVID-19, she is still active with LMM and to many – a "Special Angel" herself!

Name: Yvonka Hall

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

Yvonka has embraced being a resource to her community, especially to those who are handicapped. Through support from the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition and local businesses, she has completed food distributions to handicapped children and their families. Her food distributions include hot meals, a variety of food items, and snacks. Yvonka has been creative with food distributions, including snack packs for movie nights and s'mores kits. She also makes meal bags that have items to make themed dinners, such as "Taco Tuesday" meals. Food distributions are made weekly, directly from her home. To date, 4,200 meals and snacks have been provided. Yvonka shares, "My mom was murdered when I was six and I promised myself that I would use my life to help others. We must all be inspired to help those in need." What an incredible and inspirational story to act with urgency and serve our community!

Name: Rachel Boron

Hometown: Canton, OH

How do you give back:

Rachel has taken action with serving her community and providing COVID-19 relief. Due to the pandemic, the Refuge of Hope lost many of its volunteers and has been in dire need of support. Rachel has stepped in to volunteer with them for the last three months. There she prepares between 120-350 meals every time she volunteers. Meals are stored in containers for community members to grab to-go. Rachel has also been volunteering at a private domestic violence shelter twice a week for the last three years. There she creates educational content for preschool to high school students to work through. Rachel shares, "I have felt so blessed in my life and feel called to serve other people. It's important to not take things for granted and to help others." Undoubtedly, Canton's community is strengthened because of Rachel's volunteering efforts!

Name: Tom Bertsch

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

What happens when you merge a pandemic, innovation, and servant leadership? Pick Up + Share! Pick Up + Share is an app developed by entrepreneur, Tom Bertsch. With the global pandemic, Tom connected with community members and volunteers to launch Pick Up + Share, which is the perfect delivery app. Tom also encountered many volunteers who wanted to help during COVID-19. He then strategically tracked the community needs and volunteer interests to complete deliveries. Deliveries completed include groceries, medications, online purchases, and other items people may need. Furthermore, app fees are donated to whatever charity the requestor chooses. The Pick Up + Share app truly allows everybody to make a difference!  

Name: Desiree Lankford & Brenda Preston

Hometown: East Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

To serve is to lead and that is exactly what Desiree and Brenda are doing. While they have been elementary school secretaries in the East Cleveland City School District for over 20 years each, they have always believed in doing more than what is required, in order to give back. During COVID-19, they have been volunteering weekly to provide food support to students and families. Brenda works the food window for breakfast and lunch. Desiree works with food preparation by bagging items located at food stations. Together, they have volunteered for over 50 hours. Desiree whole heartedly believes in giving back and Brenda shares, "This is ministry for me. We are fulfilling our duty as a community to serve and we want to see good things get done." These dedicated administrators have been serving so extremely well that they have been recognized by their peers. A sincere "thank you" to these two and their servant leadership!

Name: Browns Staff, Lu Vizcarrondo

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

Browns staff member Lu Vizcarrondo is no stranger to volunteering. Lu previously volunteered at Esperanza as a mentor and at Ellos, he assisted Hispanic youth for over six years. With his consistent service, it is no surprise Lu was awarded the Mentorship Star award. He has also financially contributed to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation for over 20 years and United Way for 8 years. As Browns staff, Lu has been engaged in First and Ten service initiatives, averaging volunteering six times a year. Lu shares, "Overall, I enjoy volunteering and giving back. I enjoy working for Dee and Jimmy Haslam because of their philanthropist efforts throughout Cleveland and abroad." The Browns are fortunate to have staff like Lu who genuinely believe in giving back! 

Name: Jessica Gaydos

Hometown: Hinckley, OH

How do you give back:

Being a super parent does not have to come at the expense of giving back to others. Jessica has demonstrated this through her involvement with Cub, Boy and Girl Scouts over several years. She volunteers with recruitment, advancement, awards, and plans multiple scouts' events. Jessica also supports her children's Parent Teacher Organization and oversees spirit wear, school supplies, yard maintenance, and classroom parties. Furthermore, she volunteers with her sons' travel baseball teams and plans their fundraising events. Last, Jessica has served on a hospital committee for 9 years that supports the NICU. What great examples of both successful parenting and community outreach!

Name: Billy Sharp

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

Billy is an active community member who is simultaneously providing COVID-19 relief and helping shape the future of our country. How? As the Urban League of Greater Cleveland – Guild President, he has partnered with community groups to merge food supply and legislative support in one location. He and many volunteers designed a drive-thru style food bank where community members can not only receive bags with food items, but also complete their 2020 Census forms. Currently, Billy and his volunteer team are providing these services on a biweekly basis and serving about 600 meals per month. We thank Billy for his service in both the food and civic spaces!

Name: Keith Sulzer

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

The Cleveland Police Department is one that continuously steps up and gives back. All service efforts are managed by Captain Keith Sulzer, who values volunteering. Currently, Captain Sulzer is finalizing the Officer Derek Owens Memorial Park, which was established to honor Officer Owens who died in the line of duty. Captain Sulzer is completing the yard work and landscaping of this park. He also serves on the advisory board of the West Park YMCA. One of his favorite ways to give back includes supporting children's literacy. He leads the Cleveland Police Little Free Library, which includes free children's books. In the last 5 years, over 7,000 books have been donated and circulated to the hands of children. Also, Captain Sulzer and his fellow officers work in the Cops 'N' Cribs program, where cribs are donated to struggling families that lack safe sleeping environments. Last, he is helping St. Augustine's Hunger Center deliver meals to those needing COVID-19 relief. Our community is fortunate to have a role model officer in Captain Sulzer!

Name: Victoria Davis

Hometown: Broadview Heights, OH

How do you give back:

Making a difference in the community often requires a sense of pride, similar to the one Victoria possesses. As a retired teacher, she has had an inkling to help others and would take it upon herself to assist children in need. She would go out and purchase coats or materials for children with these shortages. After retiring, she began giving "dollar dogs" (hot dogs) and "walking tacos" (tacos inside containers) from her established business, which opened in 2011. Since then, she has been distributing these items, plus drinks and snacks, to anyone at her business' window. Victoria has built great rapport with others through her standards of treating everyone with kindness and respect. She shares, "I want to be a whisperer of hope in someone else's life. My return blessing is that I helped put a smile on someone's face." Learning about how Victoria serves is so inspiring, it would certainly make anyone smile!

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