What did you do this summer? Travel? Hit the pool? Now that summer is winding down, I'm reflecting on what we did, and by "we" I'm referring to the Acadia team and the surrounding business community. Let me elaborate.
Last month, we wrapped up an annual community project that we couldn’t do without the help of some very dedicated people and local businesses here in the Dayton, Ohio region. Every year, I help coordinate and implement a program called the Reds Rookie Success League of Dayton. The Reds Community Fund began this program over 10 years ago to serve inner city youth in “Reds Country,” with programs stretching from Louisville, KY to Dayton, OH. The Reds Rookie Success League is fueled 100% by volunteers.
The goal of the program is to teach children ages 6-12 the Six Stars of Success: Cooperation, Integrity, Respect, Education, Determination and Spirit, also known as CI-REDS! Baseball and softball are the vehicles used to communicate this message. Of course there is a lot of additional character-building along the way. It is truly a labor of love, and the community, including Dayton-area businesses, gives so much each year.
On any given day, we teach baseball and softball skills interspersed with visits from local professional athletes and law enforcement, nutrition coaching from the local hospital, robotics demos from local manufacturers, and cooperation and discipline lessons from GiYu Dojo and Joga Somatic Arts. Every step of the way, the Six Stars of Success are reinforced. Without community, we could not pull this off each year ("this," meaning serving 250 kids at absolutely no cost to them or their families).
The Dayton (and surrounding) community stepped up big time in 2015. I am proud to have worked with each and every one of these organizations and the individuals associated with them. The following *Miami Valley entities contributed volunteers, food, cash or sponsored a child:
- Acadia Lead Management Services
- Action Sports Center
- City of Dayton
- Covelli Enterprises' Panera Bread
- Dayton Children's Hospital
- Dayton Classics Baseball
- Dayton Dragons Baseball
- Dayton Police Department
- Dorothy Lane Market
- GiYu Dojo
- Hot Head Burritos of Fairborn
- Joga Somatic Arts
- Kettering Sports Medicine
- The Kroger Company
- Mark A. Kreusch Memorial Fund
- Ohio Robotics
- One Bistro
- Pizza Factory
- Skyline Chili
- Staub Manufacturing Solutions
- United Dairy Farmers
- Walmart (local operations)
- Wright State University Softball
It is abundantly clear that local and small businesses are the backbone of a community, and Dayton, Ohio and the Miami Valley are no exception. In hindsight, I can see all that it takes to bring this program to fruition, and we’re very fortunate to have these Community Champions to help make it happen. In addition, there are hundreds of individuals that give their time. Every day, each child ate a healthy lunch thanks to our Community Champions. With all the bad news we hear on the airwaves, we need programs like RRSL to remind of us of all that is good in the community.
I’d like to add a special note about the Dayton Police Department. Officers attended RRSL each and every day, interacting with the kids and teaching them the true meaning of community partnership. Thanks to this, campers were treated to special activities such as climbing into a SWAT vehicle, learning about police equipment, hearing stories from motorcycle police and interacting with the special K-9 units - all in a positive community setting.
Smiles were everywhere. The point I am trying to make is that if you’re a business owner and have a chance to make a difference, find a cause and dive in.
*Yes, this part of the country is actually called the Miami Valley, named for the Great Miami River.