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This Month’s Impact Maker

‘Chief Evangelist’ Prepares to Hang Up His Robes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – When Jim Cossler leaves the campus of Youngstown Business Incubator early next year – possibly for the last time – the man who has spent his entire adult life working to improve the city of Youngstown will…

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‘Chief Evangelist’ Prepares to Hang Up His Robes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – When Jim Cossler leaves the campus of Youngstown Business Incubator early next year – possibly for the last time – the man who has spent his entire adult life working to improve the city of Youngstown will…

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Nonprofit Gives Underserved Children Head Start

FARRELL, Pa. – Calette Robinson has held the position of administrative assistant at Zion Education Center Inc. in Farrell, Pa., seven months. She’s almost settled in. Her first day was in February. “It was less than a month and then…

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CFMV Reports 2019 Impact, Updates Changes in 2020

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Working to report back to the broader community, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley recently published a 2019 impact report and an update on 2020 in the MidJuly edition of The Business Journal. The report featured…

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Heart Ball Shows How to Succeed at Virtual Fundraising

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In March, the leaders of the Youngstown chapter of the American Heart Association found they had weeks to either cancel or completely rethink the annual Tri-County Heart Ball they’d been planning for nearly a year.  The event,…

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Nonprofits Adjust Operations in Wake of Virus

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Like all entities during the coronavirus outbreak, nonprofits are being challenged to change the way they do business while dealing with financial uncertainty.  Many leaders of these organizations, such as Teresa Boyce, co-director of Beatitude House Ministries…

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Nonprofit Helps Salem See the ‘Brightside’

SALEM, Ohio — Once a month a line of people can be seen stretching down the sidewalk of Broadway Avenue in Salem and around the corner. Whether it’s raining or snowing, hot or cold, it doesn’t matter. Families by the…

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Hile Does It for the Smiles

SALEM, Ohio — Jamie Hile works full-time as a registered nurse and has three children, so it’s safe to say her time is at a premium. Still, for the past six months, she has volunteered at least twice a month…

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Down Syndrome Association Was Born from Need

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Seven years ago, Sandee Timmerman’s niece came to her with what had become a bittersweet announcement: her newborn son had Down syndrome. “My husband and I screamed. We were so excited,” recalled Timmerman.  “Then I said, ‘Wait…

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Marlena Timmerman Brings Greetings, Hope

It’s understandable if a new parent expresses worry over the responsibility of raising a child. It’s a lifelong commitment and you’re guaranteed to make mistakes. That worry is compounded if your child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. So it’s no…

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Hearing Missions Reconnects People

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Wanda Drahos sits quietly in her chair while Dr. Megan Annis sets her hearing aids and her family watches with anticipation. “They’re turned on. Can you tell?” asks Annis. “Yes,” Drahos replies, but the word is unnecessary.…

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Giving Back Is More Than a Job for Ball

While interviewing for a job at the Centers for Hearing Care in Boardman, Gibby Ball found her interests being pulled away from her future employer and toward the nonprofit with which it was affiliated. “I wound up asking more questions…

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Hoyt Center Mixes the Arts with Purpose

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — It takes several minutes of walking – mostly uphill – for Carol Daviei to get from her car to her watercolor class at the Hoyt Center for the Arts. Using a walker, she moves slowly down…

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Wildlife Artist Keeps Students Coming Back

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — With a pale fall sunlight filling the classroom, all attention is on Jocelyn Beatty and the lesson she’s giving. “This will take you about 15 minutes to fill in,” she says, demonstrating to the class how…

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Walnut Grove Provides Place for All to Play

CANFIELD, Ohio — If ever there is a question why the board members for The Walnut Grove spent five years working to build a playground “in the middle of nowhere,” the reactions from parents on social media serve as constant…

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Butler’s Docents Serve as ‘Face of the Museum’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — From school children to senior citizens to babies in strollers, volunteer docents serve the mission of The Butler Institute of American Art by bringing art to regional residents who otherwise don’t often get to the museum. That…

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TAG Displays the Art of Partnerships

WARREN, Ohio — On the last day of Summerfest 2019, five students sit at a table in the lobby of the Trumbull Art Gallery in downtown Warren, putting the finishing touches on their projects – knightly shields made by using…

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In Retirement, Art Feeds Sferra’s Creative Soul

WARREN, Ohio — In the basement of the Trumbull Art Gallery downtown, six artists sit at long tables working on pottery and ceramics projects. Mugs, small bowls and windchimes are painted as the artists chat among themselves, surrounded by shelves…

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Piggyback Supports Families Facing Adversity

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — By all accounts, Landen Fitzgerald is a typical 8-year-old boy. He plays football during recess at McGuffey Elementary in Youngstown, likes making sandcastles and enjoys playing games with his siblings. For about four years of Fitzgerald’s life,…

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When Warning Signs Surface, They Intervene

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Aubryanna and Preston Traenkle are your average 9- and 7-year-old siblings. They enjoy hot dogs, getting their faces painted and immediately are curious why their mother is talking to a reporter. But they have already endured much…

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Warren Family Mission Offers Shelter, Food, Recovery

WARREN, Ohio — On a bitterly cold morning in late March, some 500 area residents stood in a line snaking around the Packard Music Hall parking lot, waiting for a chance to bring home some extra food. One of those…

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Boys & Girls Clubs Encourages Youth to Reach Full Potential

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Reggie Watson lines up his shot at one of the pool tables at The Boys & Girls Clubs of Youngstown. The table barely comes up to the 7-year-old’s chest, so he has to raise his right arm…

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Common Wealth Plants Sustainability on Elm Street

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Shannon Blackshire had all but given up hope on making her passion into a business until a conversation with a neighbor changed everything. Six years ago, Blackshire and her family moved from Lake County to the Wick…

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United Returning Citizens Guides Transition for Ex-Felons

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Danielle Littles starts his day at 2:30 a.m., drives to Cleveland and local markets to buy produce and brings it back to his store, Community Farmers Market, 4069 Hillman Way, Boardman. He sorts the food for deliveries,…

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Art Education for Those ‘Who Need it the Most’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — On a Tuesday evening, long after working professionals have gone home for the day, the first floor of the Ohio One building in downtown Youngstown bustles with activity as students fill the classrooms and workspaces at Students…

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Nonprofits Reassess Impact, Funding Sources

By Jeremy Lydic YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Come 2019, changes to the way nonprofit organizations report the results of grant-funded programs will demand higher accountability – and directors say that’s a good thing. At least, it’s good in that it will…

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The Way Station Makes Lifelong Impact

COLUMBIANA, Ohio — For more than 20 years, Timothy Colaizzi of Columbiana worked as a long-haul truck driver and was a driving instructor at TDDS Technical Institute in Lake Milton. But a few years ago, an adjustment in his health…

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Merger Gives YWCA Mahoning Valley Greater Impact

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After more than a century of serving the needs of women in their respective cities, the YWCAs of Youngstown and Warren merged in May to form the YWCA Mahoning Valley – and that combination is already having…

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Creating Opportunity with Training and Clay at HopeCat

SHARON, Pa. — Wearing medical scrubs and a white lab coat, Calette Robinson applies a blood pressure cuff to Martina Moore, her classmate at the Hope Center for Arts and Technology. The class of eight is in the center’s lab…

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Walker Shapes Clay and Learns Lessons for Life

SHARON, Pa. — To some, the process of “throwing clay” might seem perfectly straightforward: Put the clay on the pottery wheel, shape it, fire and glaze it. But for Christian Walker, the process parallels many aspects of life. Walker was…

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YMCA’s Impact Goes Well Beyond Fitness

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In September 2017, Richard Balog had “a bump” a bit smaller than a tennis ball surgically removed from behind his ear. His doctor said there was a 2% chance it was cancerous. “Well,” Balog says, “I ended…

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Tom Gacse & Loretta Pflug, YMCA of Youngstown

Tom and Loretta talk about the LiveStrong program at the YMCA of Youngstown.

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Animal Welfare League Finds ‘Forever Homes’

WARREN, Ohio — When Lezlie Chronister’s husband’s dog died, he wanted to get another. But Chronister’s answer was matter-of-fact. “I was like, ‘No. I don’t want another dog,’ ” she says. “We’re not getting a dog. It’s just another thing…

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France Teaches Kids Pet Responsibility

WARREN, Ohio — Alpha might be the perfect dog to help teach kids about pet responsibility and safety. He never bites. He doesn’t jump or bark. He obeys all commands perfectly. He won’t make a mess. And, he’s light enough…

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