Staff Spotlight: Abby

As our organization grows, we are always excited to announce new and talented team members. We welcomed Abby to our team mid-January as the Support Coordinator. Abby will be wearing multiple hats as she helps the organization achieve success across various departments.

We asked Abby some questions to get to know her a little bit better, read her responses below.

  • Why are you excited to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks Team?  
    • I think that Sweet Cheeks is filling an incredibly crucial need in the community and I am really excited to be a part of this team doing such great work! I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can about being a part of a non-profit organization as well. Plus, everyone here is so nice and welcoming, which always makes things more fun.
  • If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why?
    • If I could write a book about my life, the title would probably be, “It’s Worth a Shot.” I chose this title because I love to try new things and have new experiences. I try to be open and willing to pursue new and different things and oftentimes you end up with an awesome experience or at least a memorable adventure.
  • What advice would you give to your teenage self?
    • I would tell my teenage self to keep trying new things and not to worry. It will be fun along the way and you will find your groove eventually.
  • What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
    • After a busy day, my favorite thing to do is curl up on the couch with my boyfriend, our two dogs, and some soft blankets to watch some trashy reality TV. I would call it my guilty pleasure, but I am not ashamed! It is just so good!
  • If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
    • I think that I would choose to be able to control the temperature around me. I am almost always freezing and if I’m not freezing, I’m probably sweating, so it’d be nice to be able to be at a more comfortable temperature.

Staff Spotlight: Kara

We are excited to welcome our new Program Manager, Kara Wardon. Kara brings a wealth of knowledge and has a beautiful spirit to match. We are glad to have her a part of the team. Check out her bio and some fun facts below!

Kara was born and raised in the Greater Cincinnati area, where she graduated from NKU with her BA and went on to complete her MA at Mount St. Joseph University. Kara comes to Sweet Cheeks with a decade of supply chain experience across several global corporations. Prior to joining our team, she spent several years focused on serving youth who are at risk in our city as a local non-profit program and project manager. In addition to that work, Kara also has a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion. She occasionally teaches a course on Christian Justice at Mount St. Joseph University and has also served as a founder and the leader of a team at her previous organization which worked to educate staff and address bias and prejudice as it relates to race, gender, nationality and class. When not working, Kara enjoys volunteering at her local church, reading, hiking, camping and creating art. She also likes traveling nationally and internationally. She has visited Italy, Switzerland, France, India, Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel and Ireland – and hopes to visit more countries in the future. 

Why are you excited to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks Team?  I’m excited to use my gifts and skills in a way that helps protect the health and well-being of children in our communities.

If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why? I think I’d title my book “When Life Gave Me Lemons, I Opened a Lemonade Stand.” It takes the idea of making something good out of something bad a step further and asks how it can be used to serve others as well – which is what I’ve learned to do with my own difficulties and struggles. 

What advice would you give to your teenage self? I’d tell my teenage self to quit smoking and focus on schoolwork and tennis.  

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day? Going for a 3-5 mile hike, ideally with my dog.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? I’d love to be able to travel the same way Dr. Strange from the Marvel Universe does – just pop in and out of space to whatever destination I want. That’d be amazing!

Welcome Haley to the Team!

The Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank team is excited to welcome Haley as the newest addtion to our family. Haley will be working as a development intern with the guidance of Ann Loch. We are grateful to have her on board as she has already shown tremendous talent through her innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Check out her bio and some additonal fun facts!

Haley Thompson is an entrepreneurship student from Miami University who enjoys spending her free time outside with family and friends. She can often be found reading in the sun, hiking with her parents, or playing with her twin brother and dog. She met Megan Fischer and learned about the diaper bank through two Miami programs: Social Innovation Weekend and Advancing Women in Entrepreneurship. Haley is excited to join the Sweet Cheeks team as their summer intern and hopes to add to the incredible impact SCDB already has on her hometown.

Why are you excited to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks Team?

I love the mission of Sweet Cheeks and everyone has already been so great and welcoming! I’m excited to be part of such an awesome team who gets to have an impact in the community.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Italy – I love the history and culture of Italy. It also just looks like a really beautiful place… and they have gelato!

If you could only eat one item for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Spaghetti, I never seem to get tired of this meal.

If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it? 

I would be outside reading, especially if I lived near a beach.

If there were a holiday in your honor what would it celebrate?

Now introducing…Adventure Day! Where you try something new just because you can. It celebrates living life to the fullest and experiencing new things.

Enjoy Every Moment

The nation is on the verge of reopening the economy, and parents are anxiously waiting for the moment when childcare centers are able to reopen as parents return to work.

Mixed feelings and emotions are surfacing for parents. Some mothers have enjoyed spending these days with their kids, homeschooling them, constantly feeding them, and enjoying those special moments to reconnect and bond. On the other hand, some parents have had a continual hustling and bustling of life as an essential worker, and instead of life slowing down, it has actually done the reverse.

Regardless, of what side you fall on, what I have realized in this time of the pandemic is the importance of our loved ones. Each moment that we have with each other should be cherished and appreciated. It’s time for all of us to humble ourselves and let all the petty mellow drama in our lives fade away, and remember what is truly important. The gift of life.

May 2nd is Baby Day!

National Baby Day is tomorrow, and it celebrates just what the title says, “babies!” How can you not love the cute chubby cheeks and listen to the infectious laughter of a happy baby.

According to the actual goal of National Baby Day is “to celebrate the smallest and newest members of our species, and reflect on all the wonders and joys they will face as they grow up.” Babies represent a new beginning and bring a wonderful innocence to the world. National Baby Day is an opportunity to be mindful of this and to treasure every moment of the precious newness of life.

How will you choose to celebrate this day? As a mother of a 2 year old, and expecting another in a few months. I will celebrate by posting one of my favorite photos of Madison, and I hope you join me by remembering those precious moments with your little one.

Staff Spotlight: Morgan

We are so pleased to welcome Morgan as our brand new Community Engagement Coordinator. She joined us just a couple days before the COVID madness began, and has jumped in to be flexible and help with whatever needs to be done. She is in charge of all our volunteer coordination so you’ll be seeing her a lot around the warehouse very soon! She’s also taken over all our social media channels–which is why you may have noticed everything looks so great!! 🙂

Morgan Whaley

Morgan is a wife and mother of three girls and is deeply invested in serving others. She is a woman of God and her faith fuels her passion to serve and love others. Morgan graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Communication degree and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration on social justice.  Morgan’s heart is to advocate for underserved and overlooked communities and she aims to show others what it means to love through her work with Sweet Cheeks. Morgan says, “I am so humbled to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks family. The work that Megan has started is a true blessing to the Cincinnati area. I am excited to use my talents and skills to support such a phenomenal organization and engage people across all industries to show the diaper need in our communities.” Read on for a little Q&A with Morgan!

Why are you excited to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks Team?   
I am excited to be a part of Sweet Cheeks because it is not often you get to see how an organization grows and expands services. I know that Sweet Cheeks will be around for years to come, and I want to be a part of this ground-breaking movement in our community.

Tell us about your kid(s):  I have a 13 year old stepdaughter Saniya, who loves to sing and dance. Madison is 2 and loves to talk and play outside when she can. I am also expecting another girl late July 2020.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  I would travel back to Kakamega, Kenya. It was there that I took my first mission trip in 2018 and I truly fell in love with the people I met. I was a part of a team that helped build wells for schools and orphanages and seeing a different way of life was humbling and inspiring.

What are you reading right now? 
I am a Bible scholar, and currently studying the women of the Bible, so most of my reading comes from other articles and books that help in my studies.

If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it? 
I would use my extra hour to pamper myself. It is so important to take care of yourself from the inside out. I would definitely do something that takes care of my mind and body. 

If there were a holiday in your honor what would it celebrate? 
Any Holiday in my honor would have to celebrate the life of Jesus through acts of service to others. 

The whole Sweet Cheeks staff at our February Mardi Gras Party!

You can reach her at [email protected].

National Volunteer Week 2020

National Volunteer Week means something different this year. Volunteering for your favorite nonprofit or organization is more important now than ever. There have been many nonprofits that have had to close their doors amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Some organizations closed because of finances, while others closed due to the lack of support and involvement from staff and volunteers. According to the latest volunteer data from NonProfit Source, “People aged 35-44 and 45-54 are most likely to volunteer (28.9% and 28% respectively) while 20-24 year olds have the lowest rates (18.4%).” We see here that older generations of our nation’s volunteers are the majority.

Currently, many older volunteers have elected to discontinue their volunteer services, and understandably so, due to being a part of a more vulnerable community for Coronovirus cases.

Volunteering is more important now than ever. It is time for younger generations to take the lead on volunteerism in our communities. Sometimes in the midst of crisis there is beauty that arises beneath the surface. We have seen communities growing stronger, and the rhetoric that surrounds the atmosphere is one of hope and faith in this country’s future.

We celebrate our volunteers not just this week but each day. Everyday people are risking their own health in service to others and their communities. It is an honor and privilege to serve during this time of “war”, and what a blessing it is to see the hearts of people coming forward and coming together to serve those who need us the most.

Thank YOU for changing the bottom line for families in need through your past, present, and future volunteering at Sweet Cheeks!

Staff Spotlight: Program Manager Jean Hodge

It has been an exciting 2018 so far for Sweet Cheeks. We are so happy to introduce you to our new Program Manager, Jean! She will be taking over getting our diapers out the door, communicating and coordinating with our partner agencies, and scheduling our volunteers. Jean brings us a wealth of experience with project, personnel, and financial management. She was most recently at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore building relationships within the community. Read on to learn a little more about Jean!
Jean Hodge Program ManagerName:  Jean Hodge
Day Job: Sweet Cheeks
Sweet Cheeks title:  Program Manager
Why are you excited to be a part of the Sweet Cheeks Team?  Sweet Cheeks is the perfect place for me to help alleviate the pain of childhood poverty in our city!  The need is great and there is much to be done, but I believe that the focused approach of Sweet Cheeks is impactful and provides some relief for families living in poverty.  I am excited to help Sweet Cheeks grow and to serve more people in our community.
Tell us about your kid(s):  My two boys keep me busy and teach me something new every day!  Cooper is a college sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, where he competes on the swim team, studies psychology and philosophy and works at an iconic used bookstore.  Henry is a middle school student who is the most passionate sports enthusiast!  He plays basketball and baseball and he is your go-to guy for any sports news or stats you may need.  He dreams to become a bracketologist to combine his love of sports and math.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Italy.  Food, wine, culture, scenery.
What are you reading right now? The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney.
If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it? To read!  So many books on my list!
If there were a holiday in your honor what would it celebrate?  Peace on Earth

Sponsor Spotlight: Paramount Advantage

Today’s sponsor spotlight comes from a health care system that takes a multi-faceted approach to helping improve the lives of low-income families in our region. Paramount Advantage, an affiliate of ProMedica, has created a suite of services designed to help families in need. “We believe our responsibility to our community reaches beyond what you might expect from a health care system,” Paramount says, “We invest in the health of the entire region, working with dedicated community partners to influence policy and to provide preventive medicine, health education, heal​thy food assistance, and financial assistance to those who need it most.”

In addition to providing a care plan of healthcare services that complements programs like WIC and Medicaid that families might already be utilizing, Paramount has taken a special focus on making sure the tiniest members of our community are as healthy as possible. “The most important gift you can give your baby is early and regular pregnancy care,” Paramount said. By creating a pregnancy care reward program to encourage pregnant moms to schedule and attend their prenatal and postpartum doctor’s appointments, they have set up an incredibly important first step to ensuring babies are born healthy. Many families don’t have access to a reliable personal vehicle, and another Paramount program makes sure that families can get to their appointments on time by providing transportation to medical visits.

As parents know, the stress of taking care of a tiny human being doesn’t end after a safe delivery and healthy newborn arrives. Paramount promotes Text4Baby, a free mobile health service for pregnant women and new moms. Paramount explains that “text messages include helpful information on how to have a healthier pregnancy, nutrition, immunizations, and sleep safety.” We are so honored to have an organization that cares so much about healthy families partnering with us to help end diaper need in our community. Thank you for your support!

Sponsor Spotlight: Q102

Q102It’s hard to know where to begin when trying to explain the impact the folks at Q102 have had on Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank. We were less than 6 months old when we first met with Mollie Watson and then the rest of the Q team and told them about this crazy thing we started. Their response was one of the most impactful votes of support we’ve received. They said they wanted to help us grow and succeed and get to an incredible place in the future. We thought about what Sweet Cheeks might look like if we were all sitting around that conference table 30 years from now, and let me tell you, that dreaming was something the most ambitious strategic plans are made of. “Our partnership with Sweet Cheeks has been especially rewarding as we have been a supporter from the beginnings of the organization,” Patti Marshall, Q102 Program Director, said. “We are honored to to be a small part of the growth and continued success.”

The Good Vibes RV featuring our adorable Morty!!

Q102 and their audience are generous supporters of organizations in the Tri-State area. “Q102’s audience has such a large percentage of moms,” Marshall explained. “We are a reflection of our audience and what they care about.” And lucky for Sweet Cheeks, that audience is passionate about keeping babies happy, healthy, and clean. Q102 considers it to be “an honor and an obligation to support the community we all live in”, and they have walked the walk so well that they are nationally recognized by the National Association of Broadcasters for their community service.

Diaper Dash, WKRQ, Q102, Mollie Watson
Promoting the 2016 Diaper Dash on Mollie’s show!

Being included with the family-owned Hubbard Interactive community, and specifically Q102, has given us opportunities and connections beyond our wildest dreams. People (including our board chair!), diaper drives, donations, events, publicity, promotions, sponsors and more have come our way because Q102 took a chance on a young organization and believed in our ability to help change the lives of hundreds (some day thousands!) of kids in the community.

Q102, Mollie Watson, Bottoms Up for Babies, Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank
Q102 at one of our Bottoms Up for Babies Happy Hours!

We will forever be grateful that Mollie decided to meet with us, agreed to be part of our first Board of Directors, and has spent countless hours wrapping diapers, hosting events for us, promoting us on the air and being one of our most enthusiastic and positive supporters. We are humbled and honored to have you and the Q102 family as part of our Sweet Cheeks family.