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Cincinnati Sheroes

053011FEATURE.jpg Cincinnati Sheroes
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. It's also a time to reflect on those currently serving our community to make it a better place to live, work and play. Learn more about a local women-run organization focusing on the unmet needs of women and children, and how you can help them give hope to new beginnings.


When we hear the word "hero," we usually think of the cape-clad bionic bodies with super-human strengths from the latest Hollywood blockbuster or best-selling novel. But take a look around you, and you'll see super heroes all around you right here in Cincinnati (sans-cape, of course). The Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati (ALGC) is a prime example. It's filled with heroes who are "making the connections and fulfilling the needs" in our community, one outreach at a time.

 

Beginning in 1995, a handful of enthusiastic, dedicated women with a desire to bring a new philanthropic organization to the Greater Cincinnati area chartered the 101st Chapter of the National Assistance League. The Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati is a volunteer organization that focuses on the unmet needs of women and children in the community.

 

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The Assistance League is involved in five key philanthropic programs in the community: Operation School Bell, New Beginnings, Trauma Care, College Scholarships and College Starter Kits. Currently, they are gearing up for one of their largest projects of the year, Operation School Bell, a national effort providing disadvantaged schoolchildren with new school uniforms and hygiene items. The ALGC collects and provides these items for students attending more than 24 Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky schools, reaching 1,900 students this year.

 

The ALGC philanthropies are a daily work-in-progress. In addition to the 1,900 children they will outfit this school year, they provided almost 2,200 Trauma Care Kits to hospitals and shelter in the past fiscal year. New Beginnings dispersed 36 household kits to women and families of domestic abuse to help them start over, and more than 260 college starter kits were provided to adult non-traditional students. The ALGC increases the outreach of their projects each year - as the needs continue to increase, so do their efforts.

 

They say "big things come in small packages," and the ALGC is no exception. Another one of their key philanthropies is to provide packages for several identified groups. They prepare Trauma care for those who have been victims of rape and assault. The Assault Survivor Kits contain new clothing and hygiene products that are distributed to victims at hospital emergency rooms. "When we heard about women going to a hospital after being assaulted, have all of their clothing collected as evidence and are left without clothes to return home in, we knew there was a need. We purposely and neatly fold the sweat pants, shirt, and other items that go into every kit by hand, to provide some dignity to the women receiving them," says Debbie Pendl, Public Relations chair of ALGC.

 

These women, in generous spirits, reach out to anonymous members of the community through fundraising and the hopes of new beginnings. But along the journey of providing for others, the members of the league help one another find their own strengths. By uniting together to create and sustain the ALGC as a corporation, each member plays a vital role in the organization. "It truly amazes me how much our members accomplish with their devotion to our programs. Not a day goes by where I don't reflect on how lucky I am to be surrounded by such an astounding group of women who are really making a difference in our community," said Diana Haskell, ALGC president. And the difference they are making does not go unnoticed. In February 2011, the ALGC was awarded The Top Ladies of Distinction Community Award honoring their dedication and service to the Greater Cincinnati area.

 

The individual stories of those involved inspire other members of the community to be a part of the outreach. As an "all volunteer" organization, it amazes all those who witness the accomplishments of the ALGC first-hand. The local philanthropies began by the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati were created by the members that saw a need, and developed a passion and a plan to fulfill the need. As new members begin, they immediately notice the hard work, dedication and compassion of the women involved in the league.

 

"As a new member, I am very impressed with the work of the all-volunteer group of women at Assistance League who worked tirelessly for our Cincinnati Community. They are creative and are always pushing ahead to the next project in order to fulfill our programs for women and children in need," says Margaret Archangel, VP of Communications. "At the first meeting I attended a request was made for volunteers and 20 hands went up. No one is afraid of work here."

 

In 2006, the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati was honored with The Freedom Hero Award presented by WCPO in conjunction with the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The Freedom Hero Award reflects individuals or groups who take action to protect or extend freedom. The action may be as simple as speaking up, initiating change or encouraging others to learn, grow and contribute. Freedom Heroes come from all walks of life and influence many freedoms: racial, gender, educational, socioeconomic, freedom of speech, and freedom of press. The award honors "the individual whose innovation, involvement and intervention re-directs fate" and its recipients are individuals whose efforts positively change the lives of those around them. Freedom Heroes are advocates for those who may feel they have lost their voice while fighting through their adversity.

 

These trendsetting women are living proof that compassion and vision can work together to make a difference. Their mission statement states that one of their goals is to identify, develop, implement and fund ongoing community programs. The word ongoing is evidence of their heroic efforts. They may not touch every life in need through their outreach in a particular project, but they will continue to work until all needs are met.

 

Some may say this definition of a hero differs from the traditional ones. But, I say celebrate those that are super-human enough to stand up for those without a voice. A popular super hero of our time, Spider Man, once said, "With great power, comes great responsibility," but the ALGC ladies believe that responsibility and power is something we all possess.

Brittany Daulton -

Brittany Daulton is a contributing writer for Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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