Sunday, December 28, 2003

Students give gifts to kids in need

Good Things Happening

Allen Howard

As the song says, "Christmas just ain't Christmas without the one you love." But for 300 kids in the Hamilton County Court system who spent Christmas without their parents, students at the Little Red School House at Mercy Montessori showed them some love.

Their love came in the form of personally made stockings stuffed with items the students purchased, including pens, candy, gum and playing cards.

"The project was part of our Peace Education Program,'' said Maureen Babbitt, public relations officer at the school. "ProKids supplied the students with the first names of the 300 kids. Then the students went out and shopped for the kids. This was a way to show them how to care for their community.''

The Little Red School House students are in grades four through six at Mercy. Teacher Sean Murray coordinates the Peace in Education Program.

ProKids is an advocacy organization that trains people to work with neglected and abused kids.

"We work through the court system,'' said Tracy Cook, executive director of ProKids. "This was an amazing project. The school came to us and said they wanted to do something.''

Cook and ProKids development director MacKenzie Chavez visited the Little Red School House and gave each student candy canes.

Book sales benefit club

Because he feels so strongly about issues he addressed in his book Carrington House, author and orthopedic surgeon John Roberts has donated proceeds from its sales to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati.

Roberts hosted a party at Kenwood Country Club last month and raised $16,000 through sales of the book, corporate donations and contributions from guests.

In his book, Roberts confronts the detrimental effects of adolescent behaviors such as hazing and social alienation.

He said the Boys & Girls Clubs strive to promote the development of self-esteem, values and skills of children.

This was the second book written by the Indian Hill resident. He also wrote Walloon Tales, a collection of folk stories he told to his children.

Roberts said he emphasized the need for compassion and inclusion in Carrington House.

"If there is one message I hope readers take away from Carrington House, it is the importance to recognize the needs of all individuals, especially those who find themselves isolated by today's culture,'' Roberts said.

Faith Matters

DOWNTOWN - Members of John 3:16 Baptist Church on Main Street and the 70x7 Evangelistic Ministry in Highland Heights, Ky., will be celebrating New Year's in an unusual way.

"There are New Year's Eve revelers who like to partake in the spirits. And there are those of us who like to partake in the Word and the Holy Spirit," said Gregg Anderson, founder of 70x7 Ministry.

The joint celebration at the church on Main Street begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a service, music, time for fellowship and a meal and prayer to bring in the New Year.

"We feel it's important to show respect for the One that kept you all year and will take care of you next year," said the Rev. Charles Riggs, pastor of John 3:16. "I think it's great to bring in the New Year praying."

Riggs and Anderson have been hosting the service for more than 10 years as an alternative to other New Year's Eve celebrations.

"I won't complain or criticize people who choose to celebrate differently, but this is how I and others want to bring in the New Year - praying," Anderson said.

The service at the church, 1215 Main St., is free and open to the public, but an offering will be received.

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