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Difference Makers

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These stories of the local heroes making a difference during the extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic are made possible by the Eastwood Mall as part of our Community Leaders Program.


Once Upon A Time Art Line owner uses her creations to help others

Once Upon A Time Art Line owner uses her creations to help others

“I didn't really want to make profits off of what I do because it was just [for fun]. But then I realized that I can actually, you know, make these and use those profits toward helping others,” Christa Franklin, owner of Once Upon a Time Art Line, said.
Gals That Brunch talks pandemic, giving back and its first anniversary

Gals That Brunch talks pandemic, giving back and its first anniversary

Organized by Jess Irwin and Katy Haybarger, the group hosts a monthly brunch at a local eatery while supporting a variety of local charities and small businesses.  It will celebrate its first anniversary Oct. 24 with its first in-person event since February. 
Valley Facebook group allows users to be 'Blessed' with donations

Valley Facebook group allows users to be 'Blessed' with donations

On the “Kind Hearts, Blessed Souls” page, users can either post in the group and ask for assistance, or choose to “bless” someone else under one condition — money cannot be exchanged. All items must be donated. 
ONE Health Ohio 'Dietetics Team' awarded Siggi’s Starters grant

ONE Health Ohio 'Dietetics Team' awarded Siggi’s Starters grant

They plan to use the funds from the grant to build a community garden in the greenhouse at their location on Glenwood Avenue. The garden and greenhouse are tentatively aimed to be completed sometime during 2021.
Through ‘Got You Covered,’ Boak & Sons donates roof to veteran

Through ‘Got You Covered,’ Boak & Sons donates roof to veteran

“We have employees who are veterans,” owner Sam Boak said. “I myself am not, but I'm blessed that men and women have gone out there, represented all of us in this country and protected us."
Advocacy is the calling for Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past's Penny Wells

Advocacy is the calling for Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past's Penny Wells

“When we see an injustice, we need to stand up and do something about it, whether it be participating in a march, whether it's saying something to people, whether it's organizing and working on voter registration, or getting people out to vote, or just letting people know that you've got to stand up for what you believe is right,” the executive director said.
YSU Foundation and Black Periodt fundraise For Black student fund

YSU Foundation and Black Periodt fundraise For Black student fund

Food passports cost $20 each for a 2020 Tour of Black-Owned Restaurants, including Charlie Staples Famous Bar-B-Que, Hook Fish and Chicken, In the Truck Eatery, Rev’s Ribs, RBG Eatery, R and J Smokers BBQ and The Pitt Boss. Proceeds will be donated to the Penguin Social Justice Scholarship and the Arlene Floyd Grant and Scholarship fund.
Girard company launches new T-shirts line to stir Sweet Memories

Girard company launches new T-shirts line to stir Sweet Memories

From Good Humor to Popsicle to Dum Dum Lollipops, New Dawn Design's new line hopes to reacquaint the community with vintage brands T-shirts — and to help Akron Children's Hospital.
Valley celebrates emerging leaders during Wick Park ceremony

Valley celebrates emerging leaders during Wick Park ceremony

Jon Howell said he believes the 30 and under age group oftentimes gets negative attention and not enough recognition. The Mahoning Valley Diversity Dinner planning committee’s mission is to highlight leadership in the community.
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.