City helps kids do a good turn

The Columbus Dispatch - Editorial Board

Columbus City Council has carved out $25,000 to help guide some of the city’s more vulnerable children into the right kind of “gang”: One that teaches American values such as helping other people at all times and being helpful, friendly, courteous, brave, thrifty — and always prepared.

Councilman Michael Stinziano sponsored an ordinance that teams the city with the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of American and MY Project USA to launch Scout programs on the West Side that, while open to all, will target refugee and immigrant children in the Wedgewood neighborhood.

The city and scouts want to get kids into positive peer groups before they can be groomed by gangs.

Zerqa Abid, founder and director of MY Project USA, said that she hopes the Scouts will help “change minds from being a refugee to being a loyal, productive citizen.”

Boys ages 10 to 18 will be organized into packs or troops, and a co-ed venture for girls and boys in high school will begin in August.

The best way to prevent kids from falling into trouble is to keep them busy with productive activities. This effort will keep both the kids and community safer.

Local dad pushes city to address changing table access in public restrooms

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — The City of Columbus is using grant money to help get changing stations for babies installed in restrooms.

The grant will help small businesses that want changing tables in its men's rooms or changing tables in both restrooms.

It's an effort that all started with a dad who became frustrated with public restrooms that didn't offer changing tables in restrooms.

Ethan Hansen still remembers the day and place when he faced that challenge as a new dad.

Hansen said he was watching his 4-month-old daughter while his wife was at another event. When Hansen needed to take his daughter to the restroom, he had everything he needed, but the most important thing was missing.

"I took her to the bathroom and there was absolutely no where to change her diaper whatsoever. I ended up changing her on the floor in front of the urinal, which is not where anybody wants to change their daughters diaper," said Hansen.

Instead of complaining about the problem, Hansen challenged the city to address it. Hansen asked the city to change the zoning code so that changing tables would be a requirement in all public restrooms.

Hansen is happy to see progress being made a little more than one year later.

The City of Columbus announced the new grant program at Sweet Carrot in Grandview Heights, Thursday afternoon. Sweet Carrot already accommodates moms, dads and caregivers.

"When we built this store and were working on the design and amenities, it wasn't even a question of whether or not we'd have changing tables in the restrooms," said Angela Petro, the Founder and CEO of Sweet Carrot.

The grant program is about $25,000. The city said it's Recreation and Parks department will also install equally accessible changing stations in 30 recreation centers throughout the city.

Council Grant Program Allows Businesses to Apply for Equal Access Diaper Changing Stations

Who: Councilmember Michael Stinziano

When: Thursday, June 15 at 1pm

Where: Sweet Carrot1417 W. 5th Ave.

What: Councilmember Michael Stinziano is announcing funding for a new grant program for small businesses and organizations to increase equal access to diaper changing stations for all parents and guardians in the City of Columbus. Businesses and other organizations will be encouraged to apply for changing stations to grant equal access to their facilities.

In addition, the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks will also install equally accessible changing stations in 30 recreations centers throughout the City.

Stinziano Supports Funding for Aging in Place

Yesterday, Columbus City Council unanimously passed ordinances 1288-2017 and 1287-2017, both of which were initiated by Councilmember Michael Stinziano, to support the operation of two senior service organizations participating in the nationally recognized Village Movement. 

South Columbus-based Village Connections and Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, Village in the Ville programs will both benefit from $10,000 of grant funding to assist 50 and older residents to remain in their homes and as active citizens in The City of Columbus.

“We know from the Age-Friendly Columbus survey that our older residents want to age in their homes. As Columbus’ older adult population continues to grow, we as a community need to think of creative ways to support lifestyles and needs of older adults—Columbus’ villages are doing just that,” said Stinziano. 

The Village Movement works not only to ensure that older adults are able to age in their homes, but also in the community. This movement fosters interdependence between neighbors who support aging members, in addition to honoring the contributions of younger members. We see villages as playing a vital role in our future as an Age-Friendly city, as they are already championing the value and wisdom older adults bring to our neighborhoods.

“Supporting the efforts of Columbus’ villages will spur expansion of services provided and neighborhoods influenced. Further, villages have proven to be successful models for championing older adult engagement in governance and civic engagement roles. This commitment to planning with, not for, older adults also supports the vision of the Age-Friendly Columbus initiative,” he continued.

Village Connections, established in 2014, is a grassroots membership organization of neighbors helping older neighbors to stay independent and active in their community as they age. Village members are age 50 and over and live in the neighborhoods of German Village, Merion Village, Schumacher Place, the Brewery District, and Downtown. Village members have access to a wide range of services, including transportation, yard work, and home maintenance provided by a group of dedicated volunteers. Passage of ordinance 1288-2017 allows an additional 40 Columbus residents to join Village Connections at a subsidized annual rate.

Village in the Ville, established by the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC) in 2016, is a membership-based organization, also focused in helping older neighbors stay independent and active in their community. The Village serves neighbors age 50 and over residing in the greater Clintonville-Beechwold area. Village members have access to referrals to resources and a wide range of volunteer-provided services including transportation to appointments and errands, health and wellness support, social outings, financial planning and disaster preparedness. Passage of ordinance 1287-2017 provides support to the Village’s operating costs.

Councilmember Stinziano Announces June Community Hours

Councilmember Michael Stinziano will hold Community Hours in June across the City to listen to issues and concerns of Columbus residents. 

Community Hours offer citizens the opportunity to tell Councilmember Stinziano what is important to them and how he and City Council can help.  All members of the Columbus community are encouraged to attend.

“Significant issues confront our diverse city every day. I want to hear, firsthand, from my constituents about what concerns them as we work together to make our neighborhoods the best places to live, work, start a business and raise a family in Ohio,” said Stinziano.

Councilmember Stinziano will hold June Community Hours at the following locations: 

Saturday, June 3
Panera Bread—Polaris
1391 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus, OH 43240

Saturday, June 10
Gethsemane United Methodist Church
5081 Carbondale Dr., Columbus, OH 43232

Wednesday, June 14
Global Gallery Coffee Shop
3535 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214

Wednesday, June 21
Columbus Metropolitan Library—Martin Luther King Branch
1600 E. Long St., Columbus, OH 43203

Thursday, June 29
Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op
1069 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43222

For additional information contact:
Stephanie Megas