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Community Award Bear

2023 Community Award Recipients Announced

UA is overflowing with groups and individuals who dedicate their time and energy to enriching lives and building community. As needs and opportunities change, new programs quickly emerge that fill any gaps in service and support.

A long-held tradition for the City each year is a celebration of the best in our community, through the annual Community Awards Program. As usual, many nominations were received for the 2023 program, and at the March 18 City Council Meeting, our 2023 recipients were presented awards in the following categories.

Business AwardBusiness – Little One’s Pediatric Dentistry & Dr. Nicole Johnson

Little Ones Pediatric Dentistry (LOPD) has been an amazing addition to the Upper Arlington community since they opened in 2021. They provide exceptional dental care to children in our community and focus on the whole child. Dr. Nicole and her staff go above and beyond to meet children and families’ needs. They have been so patient, knowledgeable, and understanding with my son and other children that I know with extra needs. They also take time to really educate the parents and children and explain the why behind what they are doing.

Beyond the exceptional care they provide, they have continued to contribute to building a better community in so many ways. They support our children, local causes and find ways to bring the community together. Below is a list of that outlines their involvement:

  • Education – Dr. Nicole and staff have traveled to various schools in our community (Tremont, Wellington) to provide dental education in a fun way to students. They have also donated dental kits that include an educational activity book and toothbrush as a way to teach the importance of dental health at a young age.
  • Community Sponsorship – LOPD has sponsored Fall and Spring school events at Tremont, Barrington, Jones and the UA High School. They have been involved with the Upper Arlington Civic Association by serving as a participant at all events to share education. They have sponsored a number of non-profits with financial contributions and their time including the Beehive Alliance – a local non-profit focused on pediatric mental health, Childhood League, the Callahan Murphy Hare Foundation for pediatric cancer research, and Make a Wish Ohio. Lastly, they have continued to nurture the community through the creation of an annual family event where they welcome all to their office for fun, education, and community.

 Congratulations to our additional 2023 Business Award nominees: Littleton’s Market, Overmyer Hall, and Psyched, LLC.

Community Enrichment AwardCommunity Enrichment – Tri-Village Lions Club

The Tri-Village Lions Club motto, “We Serve,” has very much been taken to heart over the last year. Not only have the Lions logged several hundred hours of community service, they have been equally focused on fostering community service by others.

In the fall of 2023, the Tri-Village Lions proposed a program aimed at feeding hungry children in community, providing food for the five-day Thanksgiving break to children in Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights Schools who might not have access to enough food when school was not in session. The proposed initiative blossomed into a community-based coalition dubbed the Tri-Village Packers. More than 1,400 healthy meals and snacks were sent home for the children during that break, including accommodations for special religious or health-related dietary needs. The project was carried out through the contributions and efforts of many segments of our community, with volunteers of all ages assisting with the packing activities. While the Lions brought together all the civic and service organizations that contributed to the effort, they enabled the group’s members to take the lead on specific planning areas to get the job done, making this a truly community effort. Additionally, what was initially proposed as a one-time initiative has blossomed into an ongoing effort to support hungry children in our community.

The Tri-Village Lions does so much more for the community year-round, beyond this new initiative. In 2023 this included: book wrapping projects with Jones Middle School students and UA Senior Center members to provide gifts to families at the YWCA Family Shelter and the Commons on Third; providing Easter baskets for children at the homeless shelter and the Ronald McDonald House; a pancake breakfast in July with proceeds benefitting the Heart-to-Heart Food Pantry; creating pet food packages for the Heart-to-Heart Pantry.

The Tri-Village Lions have demonstrated their commitment to service and to the community throughout the year, both in their efforts and through providing opportunities for service by others.

Our congratulations to the 2023 Community Enrichment nominees: Bonnie DeWitt, Sustainable UA, UA CARES, and the Upper Arlington Softball Association.

Community Relations AwardCommunity Relations – Upper Arlington Civic Association

The leadership team and the fundraising team for the Upper Arlington Civic Association took it upon themselves to create a new event orchestrated by the Civic Association for the Upper Arlington community. This was an idea to help bring our community closer together and feel more welcoming, especially for those who are moving here for the first time.

The event was a huge success with 700+ community members and families attending a fun event at the Tremont Center, and a preview of the new Littleton’s Market outdoor space and food. All of this was supported to get off the ground by the help from the Community Relations Innovation Small Grant and an additional grant from the Upper Arlington Community Foundation.

This small group lead the entire UACA team of over 40 volunteers to bring a fun night of celebration while raising awareness of what the Civic Association does for the City of Upper Arlington and Upper Arlington Schools. I hope you will recognize their success and a new tradition (and a resurrection of the old Newcomers Event the Civic Association hosted during the 1930s-1950s) that has been started for Upper Arlington and the Civic Association to bring our community together and celebrate all of our uniqueness and commonalities.

Our congratulations to the 2023 Community Relations nominees: The Upper Arlington Citizen Police Academy, and Rainbow UA.

Senior AwardSenior – Howard Warner
Throughout his lifetime, Howard has been quietly contributing his energies, skills and gentle demeanor to help others. A barber by trade and former owner of Howard’s Barber Shop on Lane Avenue, Howard has shared his skills and professional knowledge in various ways:

  • He has provided haircuts free-of-charge for orphaned and homeless children at Hannah Neil House;
  • He has helped prison inmates learn the barber trade;
  • He has shaved the heads of women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer at the Over My Head Boutique at the Bing Cancer Center; and
  • He has helped new immigrants to the U.S. become established as successful barbershop business owners.

Howard has regularly fed and supported the homeless at the Open Shelter and has donated countless hours to the Joint Organization for Inner-City Needs, connecting people with much needed social services. Never one to turn down an opportunity to serve, Howard is a founding member of the City’s Community Relations Committee, which was formed in the fall of 2020, and he is loved and admired by his fellow Committee members and Staff.

Our congratulations to our second 2023 Senior nominees: William Blaine, Jr., and Jane Jarrow.

Youth AwardYouth – Wellington School Green and Apiary Clubs

Founded in 1982 by a group of local entrepreneurs as Columbus’ first co-educational, independent school, The Wellington School is dedicated to helping students find their purpose and realize their potential for tomorrow’s world. This work is continually affirmed in our students who display a forward-thinking perspective that embodies the school’s values to be empathetic, ambitious, responsible, authentic, and curious. That way of thinking about the world is reflected in two upper school (grades 9-12) clubs – the Green Club and the Apiary Club, both of which focus on developing and offering education about sustainable practices that balance the use and protection of natural resources while ensuring that all people can have healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.

The Green Club, advised by Joya Elmore P ’36 ’38, director of environment-based learning, is undertaking various initiatives to help the Wellington community reach zero waste and support a campus ecosystem welcoming to native species. The Club, under the student leadership of Lilly Vance ’25, recently undertook a waste diagnostic study, in partnership with Green Scope Consulting. During the study, students weighed compost, recycling, trash, and liquid waste materials to help the school better understand the school’s waste output and ensure materials were being properly processed. The Club also partners with a larger, all-school initiative called ReWilding Wellington. Rewilding Wellington, which seeks to ensure our campus serves pollinator species, was initiated by parents Jodi Kushins P ’29 and Joya Elmore P ‘36 ‘38, who serve on Wellington’s Learning Environments Committee. Their combined efforts have led to the removal of invasive honeysuckle on Wellington’s campus, making room for native plants. Their current projects reflect the long-term work they have done in assisting with the school’s gardening, outdoor education, and composting programs.

The Apiary Club, advised by Trent Neely P ’30, upper school science, and led by students Katherine Armitage ’25 and Sigal Judd ’25, splits its time, spending half its time educating Wellington’s 700 students ages three-18 about bees, pollination, and native species and half its time attending to the hives. The Club also started its own honey business, Wellington Honey Co., which sells honey to Wellington community members. In supporting the wellbeing of local bees, their efforts have expanded to recruiting upper school students and faculty to remove invasive species and plant bee-friendly trees and plants on campus.

While much of the Green and Apiary Clubs’ work is on campus, Wellington sits within the Upper Arlington community. The work they do at 3650 Reed Road to create less waste, provide a pollinator-friendly area, and remove invasive species betters the environment in which we all work, live, and go to school. Both groups are a testament to Wellington’s commitment to sustainability, and their generation’s desire to protect and conserve our natural environment. They continually work to educate one another, and the adults in their lives, to build a better, more sustainable future. Their ambassadorship, determination, and growing expertise are inspirational and worthy of celebration.

 Our congratulations to our additional 2023 Youth nominee: Josh Brown.

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