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Difference Makers

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Difference Makers articles share stories of the local heroes making a difference during the extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic. This section is made possible by Eastwood Mall and named in honor of Mark Eckert, who made a difference in the Mahoning Valley.

This section is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.


 

Youngstown's newest Rotary president plans to focus on city's schools

Youngstown's newest Rotary president plans to focus on city's schools

The new 3rd Ward councilwoman, who is involved in numerous community groups, plans to use her position as Rotary president to support Youngstown City Schools.
Local artists raffle their works for a cause

Local artists raffle their works for a cause

Illustrator David Slebodnick and bone artist Zack Lovitz and have both donated their artwork to local organizations and auctions in the past, including SMARTS and Golden String Radio. Their latest effort raises funds for Campaign Zero.
YSU professor serves as advocate for international students

YSU professor serves as advocate for international students

“I was an international student, so I know how it can be hard and I know what things are difficult. It’s not getting any easier,” said Alicia Prieto Langarica, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Derrick McDowell works hard to tell Youngstown's story

Derrick McDowell works hard to tell Youngstown's story

From a successful protest to a meeting with the vice president, the activist vows to make a difference in his community. “We do matter,” he said. "The world will know."
Local crocheter uses passion to create mask straps

Local crocheter uses passion to create mask straps

Barbara Matherly has crocheted roughly 600 mask straps — or “mask ear savers” as she calls them — for various health care facilities and essential businesses free of charge. 
Youngstown caterer receives hero award for feeding the Valley

Youngstown caterer receives hero award for feeding the Valley

Michelle Stephens uses profits from her Youngstown catering business, Food 4 Your Soul, to run a pop-up restaurant mission on Youngstown’s South Side once a month.
BRIDGE program brings smiles to young readers

BRIDGE program brings smiles to young readers

Barbershop Reading Initiative Developing Growth in Education program provides 20 tablets to city students.
Senior Support Action Group seeks younger Valley volunteers

Senior Support Action Group seeks younger Valley volunteers

Leah Sakacs said her program aims to solve the food, transportation and companionship issues among senior citizens, noting there is “never not a need for volunteers.” 
Youngstown health commissioner serves community during pandemic

Youngstown health commissioner serves community during pandemic

“I love what I do in the city that I love. I hope that we can do things to continue to make it a better place,” Erin Bishop, health commissioner for the City of Youngstown’s Health District, said.
Beloit 12-year-old starts Sophia’s Essential Supplies to help others

Beloit 12-year-old starts Sophia’s Essential Supplies to help others

The initiative was started by 12-year-old Sophia Capron of Beloit, a sixth-grader at West Branch Middle School. She donates baskets of essential items to people who need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.