Sunday, November 16, 2003

Charity seeks donated coats

Good things happening

Rhonda Jackson of Over-the-Rhine has a special interest in the 5 Cares Coats Drive, which runs through Nov. 21.

The single mother of four needs coats for her children and herself.

"The agency has been a big help to me," Jackson said. "Right now I am unemployed and this help comes at a critical time."

But the month-long drive might not reach its goal of 4,000 coats, said officials from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Channel 5, which are sponsoring the drive.

It started Oct. 22, and to date, 2,000 coats have been collected, including 1,000 new coats donated by Cintas.

"We are falling short and we need for people to step up if we are going to make our goal," said Lamonica Sherman, program coordinator for St Vincent de Paul

Locations to drop coats are available at these Web sites: and

Information: 562-8841, ext. 10.

Blind Employee award

Although she is blind, Karren Besly might be one of the best proofreaders in the city.

That is what she does in the transcription department at Clovernook Center for the Blind, and for her top-notch performance, she won 2003 Clovernook's Blind Employee of the Year award.

"This is quite an honor," Besly said. "I had been nominated several times, but I didn't think I would ever win it."

Besly was in the competition for the national Peter J. Salmon Award, selected from among Blind Employees of the Year winners. She attended the national conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 25-29.

"I didn't win, but it was a great honor just to be nominated for this kind of national award," said Besly, 58. "The conference was great, lots of activity, lots of workshops on developing the skills people with visual impairments need to become independent in the community."

Giving back

Group lends hand

Name: Helping Hands Organization

History: Founded Thanksgiving Day, 2001, by Thomas and Toni Bolser, and Jeff and Leigh Anne Muerer

Where: 8478 Owlswood Lane, Kenwood

Information: 891-4447

Mission: "To reach out and help families, groups, organizations or businesses that are faced with extraordinary challenges," said Toni Bolser, one of the founders. "Our first project was raising enough money to purchase a van for a family in Delhi Township who had a child suffering from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy."

What others say: Peggy May, mother of Megan May, 12, who received the van from Helping Hands: "What the group did for us was tremendous. Getting the van with the equipment has improved our lives on a daily basis. We are able to get Megan in and out of the van safely. We are able to take her anyplace we want to."

Our kids

Musical brothers on top

Facing an audience is no problem for two local brothers who earned superior ratings in the Junior Music Experience competition, at Armstrong Chapel, Indian Hill.

They are Jonathan Knoffer, 11, and his brother,Christian, 8, sons of Rich and Lisa Knoffer, Amberley Village.

The pianists achieved the highest rating among 1,100 music students who performed before music teachers.

"They are wonderful," said music teacher David Hakes of Amberley Village. He said the Music Experience competition, started 20 years ago, gives students a chance to get feedback from a variety of teachers.

"It helps them to understand posture and helps them to face an audience," Hakes said.

Jonathan is a sixth-grader and Christian a second-grader at Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge.

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