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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 our Community Leaders Program.


Youngstown native, Academy for Urban Scholars partner for 24-Hour U-Haul Project

Youngstown native, Academy for Urban Scholars partner for 24-Hour U-Haul Project

The Youngstown Police Department’s community police unit is also getting involved by collecting donations for the project including young adult and adult clothes, jackets, shoes, hygiene products and non-perishables.
Sophia Buggs: Planting food knowledge — and produce — in the Valley

Sophia Buggs: Planting food knowledge — and produce — in the Valley

Sophia Buggs, owner of Lady Buggs Farm and a Mahoning Valley Food Access coordinator, is working to aid food access and education in the Valley.  She was nominated for the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown’s Women’s Hall of Fame for her efforts to revitalize the community. 
Valley native paves his way with 'The Chris Gunther Show'

Valley native paves his way with 'The Chris Gunther Show'

Chris Gunther of Youngstown grew up with the goal to be one of the biggest media personalities in the world. Now, he’s working to make that dream a reality with his own local, web-based interview show. 
TEMA Roofing Services matches ‘Shop Local! Give Hope!’ donations

TEMA Roofing Services matches ‘Shop Local! Give Hope!’ donations

The first “Shop Local! Give Hope!” program delivered $500 each to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and the Salvation Army of Youngstown.
Campbell man donates homemade wooden flags to law enforcement

Campbell man donates homemade wooden flags to law enforcement

Michael Skaleris normally uses his passion for woodworking to make handmade crafts and toys. He has shifted his focus to handcrafting wooden flags in support of local law enforcement and public service workers. 
LaFrance Cleaners offers free cleaning for job interviews

LaFrance Cleaners offers free cleaning for job interviews

Owner Stephen Weiss said the store has provided this service since the Great Recession in 2008. “We've been a part of the community for a long time, and it's something that we can do to help,” he said.
The Federal hosts toy drive in former employee’s memory

The Federal hosts toy drive in former employee’s memory

The charity event, called “Merry Moh-Mas,” was in memory of former employee Mohammad Musleh, who died during summer 2019. It yielded hundreds of Christmas presents and more than $1,300 for local children in need last Friday. 
East Palestine woman’s initiative aims to 'Share Coats'

East Palestine woman’s initiative aims to 'Share Coats'

Share Coats officially became a nonprofit organization in August, but Megan Wagner-Buckley said she and her family have collected coats since 2016 when East Palestine Middle School asked the public to donate coats for students. 
Healthy Community Partnership director focuses on innovation to end disparities

Healthy Community Partnership director focuses on innovation to end disparities

Sarah Lowry, who grew up in Hubbard, spent almost six years working for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as a Northeast Ohio regional representative after graduating from Youngstown State University. She took on the partnership role in 2018. 
Youngstown band seeks ‘Better Days’ in the entertainment industry

Youngstown band seeks ‘Better Days’ in the entertainment industry

Apocalyptic Lovers will donate some royalties to MusiCares, which was organized by the Grammys to provide a financial safety net and resources for folks in the music industry during times of need.