Lives Changed

From healthcare to the arts, Cincinnati’s thriving nonprofit community is impacting lives all over the city.

→ Jalynne Spivey

High school freshman Jalynne Spivey has found her footing at City Gospel
Mission’s Princesses Ballet.

Jalynne Spivey

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

What: “When she was 5 years old, we had her in a ballet class, but we just couldn’t afford it any longer,” says Jalynne’s mother Robin. “I heard about Princesses Ballet through City Gospel when she was about 9, and she’s been with them ever since.”

Why: “I like doing ballet, because I like the challenges and doing the performances,” says Jalynne. “I want to make it a career, because I really love it.”

Impact: “It’s been fantastic,” Robin says. “I’ve seen her grow so much since she started. Her confidence level has gone up so much, and when she’s up on stage—[it’s] just amazing.”

Felicia Gowdy

Community Matters’s Washing Well provides low-cost laundry services to Price Hill residents. It also gave Gowdy a job that allows her to interact with her community.

What: “Being a laundry attendant makes me feel like I’m
accomplishing something and I’m working for others. I love
the job.”

Why: “I love helping. People come down here, and I help them. People need somewhere to wash, so we can have clean clothes.”

Impact: “People come, talk
about Price Hill and how to make it better. It’s about making it
a community. I think that’s a good thing.”

Mike Dezarn

Multimedia artist Dezarn has found a home away from home at Visionaries and Voices, a nonprofit organization that provides studio and exhibition space for visual artists with disabilities.

What: “My favorite part about Visionaries and Voices is doing the art. I have done painting, drawing, clay, and papier-mâché.”

Why: “It feels like I can do anything with friends. I would feel empty without a place to do art. People should come because it’s an experience to visit, and they will like
the artists.”

Impact: “I love to challenge the public perception of people with disabilities.”

Judith Lamb

Crayons to Computers provides nearly all the supplies Lamb needs for her four Grant County elementary art rooms.

What: “Crayons to Computers has all kinds of stuff, and I love to go there and figure out a project [for my students] to do. They have all this felt now, so my fourth graders are sewing emojis, and they are using buttons for the eyes. I get the pencils, erasers, markers, glue, and boxes to put supplies in—everything comes from them.”

Why: “I’ve been going to Crayons to Computers for 19 years. I don’t have a budget to supply my art rooms, so I rely on them.”

Impact: “They really supply my schools. The staff is so nice. If I really need something, they find a way to give it to me.”

Inga Petry

Music lessons are a big part of many children’s lives, but for Petry, who was born without arms, her cello practice got a boost from the engineers at May We Help.

What: “The engineers and I built one cello stand, and we were like, How can we make it better? We’ve been taking this idea and seeing how far we can go [with it]. We made a travel stand and all my bow holders.”

Why: “I wanted to play cello, and obviously you play that with both of your hands.
I had the cello laying on the floor on a pillow, but it would rock around. With the
cello stand it wouldn’t move. The way we designed it, it was lifted up, and it wasn’t
necessarily touching other things. They designed it so brilliantly, because it has
such a full sound.”

Impact: “There was never a time in my head where I thought I couldn’t
play this instrument because I didn’t have arms. They are so good at what
they do. They actually kind of became second grandparents to me. I’m
so grateful.”

Katie Pohlmeyer

A surprise wave of donations from the NFL’s Buffalo Bills fans made it possible
for the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation to impact more local families in need,
including the Pohlmeyers.

What: “Cincinnati Children’s reached out to us, because they were aware of the foundation and thought we would be a good candidate. They ran out of funding to help, but then these Bills fans hundreds of miles away started giving, and that meant they could approve more grants. We were lucky recipients, covering some of our medical expenses.”

Why: “When my [4-year-old] son Simon…was two weeks old, his aorta pinched shut. He was rushed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where he was stabilized, and a couple days later had open-heart surgery. Just last year they gave him the ‘all clear’ to play sports, run, do all the fun things kids do.”

Impact: “You’re reminded of all this good in the world. It’s all a cycle. We should all be doing everything we can, and for complete strangers to help my son out is incredible.”

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