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Meet the Dayton Civic Leaders award winners

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

The 2017 Dayton Civic Leaders award winners will be honored at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball on Friday, April 28, 2017.

Dayton, Ohio is home to more than 300 registered nonprofit organizations, and at the heart of them all are volunteer leaders, many of whom are young professionals. These emerging leaders make a sizable impact on the community in many ways. 

JDRF, in partnership with Generation Dayton, will recognize some of the community's standout volunteers at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball at the Dayton Masonic Center on April 28, 2017.

The Dayton Civic Leaders Awards were designed to recognize emerging leaders ages 21-45 within the local philanthropic community who have exhibited leadership and success within their designated nonprofit cause.

The six recipients of the 2017 award were selected among a competitive pool of applicants by a leadership committee of Dayton-area CEOs who are behind the fundraising efforts of the Boa & Bow Tie Ball, which seeks to raise over $145,000 for JDRF Southwest Ohio.

"We received a substantial number of nominations for the 2017 Dayton Civic Leaders award, and are honored to recognize six deserving recipients," said Samantha Redden, JDRF Dayton Development Coordinator. "Young leaders are an essential part of what we do at JDRF, so I know firsthand how critical they are to the work of nonprofit organizations."

This year’s winners will be recognized at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball, and each will serve as a model during the event's unique live bow tie auction. In addition to recognition of the 2017 Civic Leaders recipients, JDRF will also honor their own Volunteer of the Year recipient, Diane Schoeffler-Warren.

What about the Boa & Bow Tie Ball?

The ball is a unique cocktail party that is the first of its kind in Dayton, and will feature entertainment, food and spirits stations with celebrity bartenders, a silent auction, and live bowtie auction. 

More information and tickets for the Boa & Bow Tie Ball can be found at

Meet the 2017 class of Dayton Civic Leaders:

Lauryn Bayliff works for Dayton History and spends much of her time raising funds to educate the public of Dayton’s history. Not only does Lauryn work to preserve the community’s past but she’s also focused on the future. Lauryn has participated in Leadership Dayton, Tipp City Restoration & Architectural Board of Review, Generation Dayton, Association of Fundraising Professionals and more. She is dedicated to the city of Dayton and also her hometown, Tipp City.

Jen Cadieux is one of Dayton’s most involved young professionals. Jen works for the Downtown Dayton Partnership and has served on many different boards in the Dayton area. Some of her most recent involvement includes Levitt Pavilion Dayton, UpDayton, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Generation Dayton, Junior League of Dayton and the Downtown Dayton Plan, Activated Spaces, Pop Up Shop Committee. Jen spends much of her free time giving back to our local community.

AJ Ferguson took on UpDayton’s Director role in 2015. He spends his time with UpDayton supporting other organizations dedicated to growing and changing Dayton. AJ works to engage the people of Dayton to build up the community and make it more attractive to college students and other young professionals. In addition to his job with UpDayton, AJ volunteers for a handful of other non-profit organizations including United Way, Greater Dayton Conservative Fund, and Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District among others.

Jerod Frenzl recently moved to Dayton through AmeriCorps. Quickly he started giving back to the community with his volunteer efforts and his job with Rebuilding Together Dayton. Jerod serves as Generation Dayton’s Community Service Chair and is one of their most involved members. Not only does he dedicate his time to the community but also spends much of his efforts recruiting other young professionals to give back to Dayton.

Cory D.D. Miller was recently voted as one of’s best local celebrities. Cory works for CH Dean and stays well connected in the Dayton area. He’s been involved with many different Dayton organizations and programs including Leadership Dayton, UD Alumni Mentor Program, Crayons to Classrooms Board Member, Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Dayton History Bell Board Member and many others. Cory also started the Beavercreek Young Professional Group.

Lauren Williams works for Capital Senior Living. In addition to her full time job, she has willing stepped into major event leadership roles in the community including chairing Masquerage benefitting Equitas Health in 2015 and taking the lead for Generation Dayton’s GenD Day in 2014. Lauren has also served numerous committee roles with other special events in Dayton including the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day, Paw Patrol’s Foster Program, and Junior League of Dayton. 

My night with Bloom Creative Collective at “Never Sent”

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:07 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.  First, let me ask you one question: Did you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you read all the letters just now? Don’t worry, I did too. And not just once, but every time I have proofed this blog. *Insert frustrated eye-roll emoji*

OK back to the point. A B C D E F G… you get the idea. These 26 letters are the building blocks of our language. The DNA, or ultimate code for our communication. With these letters, we shape and create narratives that boggle the human mind, mess with emotions, ensnare your senses, and most importantly transport you to alternate realities. People have made lifetime careers off these 26 letters.

Take for example Kevin Durant. Newly added to the Golden State Warriors in 2016. For a career of putting a ball in a basket, his net worth is up to about $60.6 million and that’s not counting the 10-year endorsement contract with Nike that is worth as much as $300 million. Now let’s compare him to J.K. Rowling, whose estimated net worth from the Harry Potter Franchise is just shy of $1 billion — which is a fraction of the $15 billion brand she created.

The picture I am trying to paint is that words are powerful. We combine and rearrange these 26 little letters to create infinite combinations of words, phrases, and sentences that invoke our greatest emotions. This is exactly what Bloom Creative Collective did with their event Never Sent: an evening of words, art, nostalgia.”

Bloom is a female-based creative collective started by four friends (Briana Anello, Ashley Bethard, Morgan Bush, and Jenna Black). Their goal is to create a safe space for artists to come together, explore their creativity, and embrace the messiness of this process through workshops, experiences and collaborative projects. They believe that being creative is about learning to be vulnerable. Their space is one of support, not competition.

Never Sent is the first event Bloom has put on, with many more to come. Held within the offices of Catapult Creative in downtown Dayton, Never Sent’s ambiance was that of home. From the moment you walked in, you were welcomed with a calming spirit and an energy that couldn’t be explained. Hand-made refreshments coupled with a spread of light hors d’oeuvres cleansed your physical palate as well as prepared your mental palate.

With a backdrop of roses falling into a sea of twinkle lights, Bloom set the stage perfectly for its speakers. The best way I can describe the feeling of the background for the speakers; it was as if a warm blanket was wrapped within a hug to protect each speaker.  Almost like armor or some sort of supportive coat of protection.

The Speakers

Jessica Warner – “My friend Tina once said to me, ‘You were basically a Marxist feminist Tasmanian devil with fashion sense,’ and I can’t think of any better way to describe myself.”

Karen Maner – A native Daytonian, Karen Maner earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Eastern Washington University, where she served as the Assistant Coordinator of the Get Lit literary festival. Since returning to Dayton, she’s dedicated herself to organizations that unite the community through storytelling and the arts, serving as a board member for UpDayton and Friends of the Dayton Metro Library and working as the Communications and Project Manager for Culture Works. Her writing has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading and Colorado Review and made the Notable Essays list in Best American Essays 2014.

Stephanie Coates – Mom of three little humans. Clumsy tree climber. Traveler. Purveyor of words and baked goods. Love Poets are the worst. I’m alright though.

Ashley Bethard – “A note on my poetic sensibilities: if it’s got rust, dust, or a deep and troubled history, I will fall in love. This explains every good and terrible decision I’ve ever made.”

Natalie Sanders – Actress at Dare to Defy productions, writer, artist.

Bridget Flaherty – Corporate Powerhouse turned Gypsy: In 2016, Bridget walked away from a corporate leadership position, sold her house and everything in it and took to the road. She hiked the Grand Canyon, drove the Pacific Coast Highway, went to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, jumped off a cliff into Crater Lake in Oregon and witnessed Old Faithful blow in Yellowstone. She now writes and shares stories and leads workshops for both business and personal development.

Much like my cholesterol, this event was filled with emotional highs and lows. With readings about “Conversations I Have With You When I Am High,” extremely descriptive narratives of Jeff Goldblum’s intimacy scenes in the movie “The Fly,” playing truth or dare of the heart, an admission of how one cannot authentically process grief, and a heartfelt poem-letter to one’s daughter. “Never Sent” promised an evening of memories, but delivered a night of emotions from the past.

This event wasn’t out to make money, or gain a foothold in the artistic community. You won’t see the evening news do a five-minute piece on what lives the event saved. Never Sent’s mission was to strengthen those who needed the emotional endurance training that they have been unable to find. To help build upon a foundation, some that were fractured, and to create something so unbelievable, that hearing it only did it fractional justice.

Mission Accomplished.

You can follow Bloom: a creative collective on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to school to-do list: Start thinking about school supplies now

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 1:40 PM

Oh, we know. The start of school is almost two months away. Is it really time to go back-to-school shopping already?

Probably not, but here’s what you can do.

  1. Find the school supply list. Look on your school’s website. Can’t find it there? Ask a fellow parent in your grade or in the grade ahead of your child for the list.
  2. Take a picture of the school supply list and put it on your phone.
  3. If you happen to be in a store during the summer and see a good price on something, you can grab it.

Why do it now?

  • Back-to-school sales are fabulous and amazing, but not always on every product.
  • Tax-free weekend also doesn’t equal good deals on everything. Often, you’re really only saving the tax (0.825 percent) verses another sale that is 10 percent, 20 percent, half off, etc.
  • Once everyone starts looking for the same common school supplies, store shelves get depleted. Let me tell you about the year we couldn’t find graph paper. It wasn’t pretty. I might have sat in the middle of a Walmart at 10 p.m. on a school night and cried, only to realize I was being ridiculous.

» Girl receives priceless graduation gift from grandmother: Memories

What if I can’t find a list because there is no list because my kid is in high school or middle school?

  • Ask parents (or kids) in the grade ahead of your kid what they needed.
  • Go ahead and stock up on items you know your child might need: composition books, binders, pencils, pens, notebook paper, printer paper, etc.

» Mic turned off during speech when valedictorian criticizes administration as authoritarian

What we didn’t do was test how much we would have spent if we went online to a place like Amazon instead of hitting stores. So, we did. We took the same list from last year and found these results:

For the third-grader, we would have spent $110.71 to complete his list on Amazon, compared with $61.15 at Walmart for the same list.

For the eighth-grader, $85.04 on Amazon, compared with $28.20 at H-E-B.

Was it easier to shop online? Well, it wasn’t as hot and there weren’t people in our way, but many of the specific items were hard to find. You had to scroll through a lot and there were way too many options. We also would have had to buy a lot of extra stuff to get the specific things we needed because often things were packaged deal.

Find more back-to-school columns we’re written this summer and look for at least one a week here at

12 Instagram accounts that get me excited about Dayton

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

A hobby of mine that helps me relax is taking photos.  Now I am not a master photographer by any means, but I like to think I have a good eye for capturing some beauty.  I do not have a big editing studio, rather I spent a few bucks on a couple photo editing apps on my iPhone.

With that said, I thought it would be fun to make a quick list of 12 accounts, in no particular order, that I enjoy viewing on a daily basis.  These accounts are a mixture of restaurants, people, organizations, music, and all sorts of other things.  So do yourself a favor and give these account a follow when you can.

1) @entropic


2) @oldscratchpizza


3) @belleofdayton


4) @bonnettsbooks


5) @girlaboutdayton


6) @linkdyt


7) @rebelrebeltattoo


8) @dayton_architecture


9) @nightbeastband


10) @_jhock


11) @3rdsundaysdayton


12) @daytonpedalwagon

Photos show shocked mother after breaking 50-year family history of baby girls

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:56 PM

A mother was surprised to learn she delivered a baby boy (not pictured) after a 50-year family history of girls.
Jane Khomi/Getty Images

A Columbus, Georgia, mother’s look of surprise after delivering her second child was caught on camera, and images of her expression are amusing the internet.

Today reported that Dara Crouch, and her husband, Eric, 30, chose to keep the gender of her newborn a secret. Already a mother to 3-year-old daughter Neyland, the labor and delivery nurse didn’t know until April 25 that she broke a 50-year family history of baby girls.

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“I just knew I was having a girl,” Crouch, 29, told

As it turns out, Crouch delivered a boy.

Her surprised reaction was caught by her friend and photographer Neely Ker-Fox. The images were posted on Ker-Fox’s Facebook page

“All of our reactions were genuine that she thought it was a girl,”  Ker-Fox told ABC News. “We all saw that very vulnerable moment and we started crying when we heard it was a boy.”

“I look kind of crazy in them, but I think they’re great," Crouch told ABC News. “We have something to look back on; had we not had a photographer in the room, we would've never seen that.”

The boy was a long time coming, according to Crouch, but that wasn’t why she was so surprised.

“The last boy that we know was born on my side of the family is 50 years ago, but quite honestly, it has little to do with the shock in the picture. I really just thought it was a girl, I really did. We already had a girl and I guess I kind of saw us as ‘girl parents.’”

Now 7 weeks old, Liam is “doing great,” Crouch says.

“He loves to eat and watch his big sister play … and he loves to smile at his daddy.”

Ker-Fox told CBS News that of the 100-plus births she’s photographed in six years, this one is extra special.

“Never have I had a mom look directly into my camera,” she said. “It was such an unexpected photo to grab for me. Her face was genuine shock, which melted into pure and instantaneous love for her son.”

Crouch told the