Finalists announced for eighth annual Duke Energy Children’s Museum Difference Makers Celebration

. January 12, 2016

Tickets now on sale for Feb 6 event at Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center is ready to celebrate the inspiring individuals, organizations and businesses that are making a difference in the lives of children in our region at the eighth annual Duke Energy Children’s Museum Difference Makers Celebration. Tickets are now on sale for the Difference Makers Celebration on February 6 where finalists and honorees from five categories will be honored.

Difference Makers  2016The Difference Makers program recognizes those individuals, organizations and businesses that work to make a difference in the lives of children and the communities in which they grow, learn and play. We asked the community to nominate youth, adults, volunteers, businesses and organizations they knew that were making a difference and inspiring others. The response was overwhelming with nearly 100 nominations submitted from across the Greater Cincinnati region, each nominee demonstrating leadership and compassion, who is making a difference in the lives of children.

A total of 17 finalists in five categories were selected for their contributions to children and the community around them. The Difference Makers program will also recognize one community honoree for their positive impact on the lives of children and their families. The eighth annual Difference Makers Community Honoree and Difference Maker is the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund.

The Reds Community Fund is dedicated to improving the lives of youth by leveraging the tradition of the Cincinnati Reds and the game of baseball. Including the Reds Rookie Success League, Reds Youth Baseball & Softball Funding Program, Field Renovation Program, P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy, “Match” Program and Greater Cincinnati RBI programs, more than 45,000 kids and coaches are connected to the baseball and softball themed outreach efforts of the Reds Community Fund annually.

“We love the opportunity to celebrate the many difference people, organizations and businesses who are working to make a difference in the lives of children in our region,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “This family-friendly event is a wonderful teaching moment where we can shine a light on community spirit and encourage future leaders.”

The finalists by category for the eighth annual Duke Energy Children’s Museum Difference Makers Celebration are:

Grace Ehemann – Grace has coordinated a social media effort aimed at addressing bullying and restoring one’s self-image after students have experienced bullying. She also organized a benefit concert to support Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Surviving the Teens program.
Piper Hawkins – Piper inspires children to read, and writes and publishes her own books, all before the age of 10!
Morlan Osgood – Morlan’s STEMs For Youth is a youth mentoring organization that inspires youth to develop interest and skills in STEM subjects. Over the last five years she has spent over 3,000 hours creating and implementing STEMs For Youth and hosts several summer camps, after school classes and workshops.
Mariah Reynolds – Mariah began her own service group that helps the community and engages teens in the world of volunteerism. In the last five years she has volunteered over 500 hours and, among her many volunteer initiatives, she purchased stuffed 1,200 backpacks full of school supplies for St. Joseph’s Orphanage, the Boys and Girls Club and low income students.
Charles “Chip” Gerhardt – As chief advocate for “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act),” Chip has made a major difference in our community and nationwide for the rights and inclusion of those with Down Syndrome. For eight years Chip worked with political leaders at federal and state levels to develop and pass this piece of legislation to better the lives of those with disabilities.
Jessi Huston – Born in Calcutta, India with cerebral palsy, Jessi has evolved into an advocate battling bullying and helping others with disabilities. This past year she started the non-profit organization “You’ve Got the Power” which provides funding to help individuals that need assistance in funding handicap accessible modifications within their homes.
Zethree Hydrick-Yarbough – Zethree founded Reaching Self Reliant Students to help students and parents secure scholarship money for college. Drawing on her own experiences as her son prepared for college, Zethree’s goal for other families is to avoid loans and securing a debt-free college education. Her work has helped over 2000 students obtain scholarships and financial aid for college.
Reed Maltbie – Coach Reed uses youth soccer to impact children in Cincinnati. Through positive reinforcement he helps children excel beyond the game and provides a positive environment that reinforces their self-esteem, builds their ability to work as part of a team and helps them develop good communication skills.
Steve Rock – Steve works with youth employees and volunteers to teach them how to garden, helping to eradicate the Madisonville food desert by tending to over 500 gardens. He’s taught over 50 “Garden 101” classes and hosts monthly gardener gatherings.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati (IHNGC) – IHNGC provides meals, shelter and supportive services that get families back on their feet and keep moms, dads, kids and their pets safe while they work to overcome homelessness. In 2015, IHNGC helped 278 children, not only providing for basic needs but also offering a Child Enrichment program that provides daily after school activities, field trips, homework help and developmental screenings to keep kids in shelters on track during a challenging time in their young lives.
Madhatter’s Closet – Madhatter’s Closet helps to clothe and feed children at Oyler School by allowing students to “shop” clothing, personal hygiene and other items that have been donated by the community. The organization has also donated over 2000 books to students and provided brand new sneakers for Oyler’s first cross country team.
4 Paws for Ability – To increase empowerment for children and veterans with disabilities, 4 Paws for Ability places service dogs with those in need. These task-trained service dogs help increase individual’s independence and enhance their lives. More than 150 dogs have been placed in Ohio alone.
Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP – Mountjoy Chilton Medley Accounting for Kids introduces financial concepts to children in a fun and interactive manner. Accounting for Kids also encourages financial and business professionals to mentor disadvantage children, providing enrichment not only for children but for the adults. What began with the partners of Cooney, Faulkner, & Stevens tutoring children in math and financial concepts at a local elementary school has grown into a non-profit organization that helps children across the region.
Polar 3D – Polar 3D has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati to open a 3D printing lab so this technology learning opportunity is available to all students. The company has also placed its printers in Boys and Girls Clubs across the nation, bringing hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities to children and teens from underserved schools without access to 3D printing technology.
School & Youth Group
Aiken New Tech High School Students – A group of 45 students from Aiken New Tech High School have been working tirelessly to raise money for others, despite many of their own personal struggles to financially meet their needs. These students are models of what compassion and service to others means and the value of education.
Children for Change – Children for Change empowers high school students to be mentors for elementary school students, teaching them how to be the future leaders of their community. Through a combination of volunteering and onsite training at Milford Elementary Schools, Children for Change has demonstrated the importance of being a vehicle for change in their community. Students involved in Children for Change have worked with several organizations around the region, including the Over-The-Rhine Senior Center, Joseph House and Sem Haven Nursing Home.
DePaul Cristo Rey – The Work Study program at DePaul Cristo Rey fosters professionalism, inspiration and determination in low income students by pairing them with professionals in the community. Students in the program spend on day each week working in a professional setting and earing scholarships that help pay for their tuition. The program helps them build relationships in the professional sector and encourages students to take charge of their own lives, recognizing that Cincinnati is their city, too.
These finalists will be recognized for their inspiring work and dedication at the eighth annual Difference Makers Celebration on Saturday, February 6. During the event, we’ll share the finalists’ stories and celebrate the strides they’ve taken to better the lives of children in the Greater Cincinnati region. You’ll also have an opportunity to engaged with fellow Difference Makers during the family-friendly event and encourage others to become further involved in their community. And, being an event focused on improving the lives of children, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum will be open exclusively to all Difference Makers Celebration attendees until 9 p.m. To purchase tickets visit or call (513) 287-7000.

The eighth Duke Energy Children’s Museum Difference Makers Celebration is presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation, Francie & Tom Hiltz. Special thanks to our sponsors: Dinsmore & Shohl LLP; Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP; AT&T; Alison & Lee Bushman; Dr. Elsira Pina & Dr. Charles Mehlman; For Good Media; Johnson Investment Counsel; Allison & J. Brian Kropp; Dr. & Mrs. Francesco Mangano; Truepoint Wealth Counsel, LLC; Joseph & Elizabeth Wiles and Family; and Zaring Family Foundation.

For more information and for a list of previous Difference Makers, visit

Category: Museum News

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