Although the group is entering its third year, Student Philanthropy, part of the Maginified Giving program, is one of the less-known groups at McNick. Magnified Giving was founded by philanthropist Roger Grein, who donates thousands of dollars every year to service groups in schools across the city. Grein himself was a disabled orphan, but was able to break past his setbacks and become the success he is today. As a way of giving back, he gives each of the participating school philanthropy programs $1000 to donate to the non-profit organization of their choice.
“We have a really strong service program at McNick. We are constantly getting out and doing good work,” moderator Mr. Sam Roflow said. “However, Student Philanthropy is something different that I appreciate. It comes at a new angle, inspiring students to find another way to help those in need by supplying money so people can help themselves.”
The students, who are all upperclassmen, spend an extensive amount of time considering which charity deserves the donation. Last year, they chose Boys Hope Girls Hope, donating $1250 so the group could continue their own long term service project and purchase in-school supplies for kids.
This year, the decision has been narrowed down to two different categories-children with disabilities and children in poverty. In the “children with disabilities” category are CTRH, Safe Haven Farms Inc., and Building Blocks for Kids. The GLAD House and Bake Me Home are the two organizations in the “children in poverty” category.
CTRH, or Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship, is an organization whose mission is to “provide a comprehensive recreational and therapeutic horseback riding program for children and adults with disabilities.” They believe that people with disabilities should have access to experience anything their peers can, and feel the program makes an obvious difference in the lives of the riders. Their entire program depends on the donations of time and money from volunteers.
Safe Haven Farms Inc. is a farming community that offers both residential and temporary programs for people with autism. They allow entire families to stay on the farm and live the rural lifestyle, which the program believes establishes many important values in their patients’ lives. It allows them to feel the value of contributing to a community in a safe environment. Right now, the farm is currently in the process of adding a horse barn so they can have a therapeutic riding program.
Building Blocks for Kids was created to help the families of children with health-related needs. Often, the children’s treatments are very expensive, and the families struggle to afford it all. Building Blocks for Kids works with the families to find alternative resources and/or give financial aid. Since 2003, the organization has helped more than 300 children, but there are periods were funding is scarce, limiting what they can do.
“I really hope that we choose Building Blocks for Kids as our charity. They not only provide basic care for people with disabilities, but they also help them and their families live better lives,” senior Maggie Dames said. “In general, I think we should pick an organization that caters to children with disabilities because they are an intricate part of our community, with vibrant personalities and a lot to offer. They deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.”
The GLAD House’s main mission is to help kids overcome emotional and behavioral issues they’ve contracted as a result of living with a family member suffering from an addiction. They hope to break the cycle of this struggle, and prevent high risk youth from inheriting the same condition as adults. The program works with the children in small therapy groups, teaching them how to cope and live healthy lives.
Bake Me Home was created in 2008 by Alison Bushman and her twin daughters in hopes of helping a local homeless shelter. They have since expanded their program, and cater to a number of shelters. Their main goal is to give disadvantaged mothers and their children bonding experiences, such as making cookies and taking family portraits. They hope to lighten the spirits of the families and help the families stick together during tough times. They also send cookies and care packages to soldiers overseas.
“Bake Me Home is my favorite out of all the programs,” senior Taylor Roberts said. “I love their whole concept and the idea of small acts making such a big difference in the families’ lives. It really allows them heartwarming experiences that they wouldn’t get otherwise.”