Walk the Talk Award

A major component of the Leadership Columbus experience is the Community Impact Project – putting all the leadership rhetoric and information into action.

Participants in the Leadership Columbus Signature Program have benefited the community at large through the completion of small group projects executed during their 10-month study program. The Community Impact Projects reflect leadership in action, and that is why we have created the “Walk the Talk” Awards.

“Walk the Talk” Award recipients include:

Safe Place Site Expansion (2019)
Class of 2019 Group Project Members: Tywan Banks, Jeff Carpenter, Katie Hurley, Lija Kaleps-Clark, Ashley Logan, Melody Reed, Todd Seaman and David Wilson

One in seven children will run away before the age of 18, often due to abuse, violence, or addiction. Huckleberry House is a Columbus non-profit providing food, shelter, and support to these young people with the goals of fostering family reunification and preventing the cycle of homelessness.

Safe Place sites extend Huckleberry House’s front doorstep throughout our community. Fast food restaurants, fire stations and libraries have served as Safe Place sites connecting youth in crisis with Huckleberry House. These sites provide reassurance and safety until the teens are connected with a Safe Place responder.

For nearly 40 years, Huckleberry House has successfully reunited at-risk teens with their families and provided long-term living situations to our community’s youth. However, Huckleberry House’s limited resources and efforts to serve youth in crisis have restricted its ability to maintain existing relationships and cultivate new relationships with Safe Place sites.

The Safe Place Site Expansion team met its goal by obtaining commitments from organizations including All COTA buses and locations, City of Columbus Division of Parks & Recreation, Donatos Restaurants and some local fire and police stations. In addition, they re-established Huckleberry House’s relationship with White Castle Restaurants.

Arch City FLOW (2018)
Class of 2018 Group Project Members: Thom Blair, David Carey, Andrew Good, Gregg Peace, Alexis Perrone and Patrick Shepp

The Arch City FLOW project assisted FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed) through organizational and social guidance, fundraising and volunteer work. In doing so, they were able to increase FLOW’s outreach in the Central Ohio community and create marketing materials that will be used for future FLOW projects, as well as establish partnerships with area businesses and raise funds to support the Linden Township Tree Planting Project. As a result of their extraordinary efforts, 55 large trees were planted around Windor STEM Academy and Rosewind Park in the Linden Township neighborhood. And their efforts will continue over the next few years with the ultimate goal of planting 700 trees in this area. It has been said that “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

SPRING FORWARD! at Franklinton Gardens (2012)
Group Project Members: Regis Duffy, Heather Forry, Deirdre McDonald, Phillip Sineneng, Chris Swank, Alex Trevino, Bobbie Jo Trittschuh

SPRING FORWARD! was a family-friendly evening of fun, food and art held on May 11, 2012 to raise funds for, and awareness of, Franklinton Gardens, an urban agricultural initiative in one of Columbus’s most historic neighborhoods. Held at the 400 West Rich Street Arts Complex in Franklinton, SPRING FORWARD! featured a food truck court, coordinated through Dinin’ Hall, Columbus’s innovative food truck hub. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams was also on hand, donating proceeds from ice cream sales to the event. The folk/country/ bluesy musical stylings of Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes provided entertainment throughout the night, as over 400 guests perused original artwork from the students of Avondale and West Mound Elementary Schools, and bid on auction packages and artwork generously donated by over a dozen local businesses and individuals. The event raised over $12,000 for Franklinton gardens, including $3,000 in proceeds and over $8,500.00 in contributions from corporate sponsors and individuals secured prior to the events The group’s sponsor- ship request also brought further attention to a grant request previously submitted by Franklinton Gardens, which resulted in an additional $10,000.00 grant from Mt. Carmel Health Systems. We salute the efforts of this group in organizing this collaborative, highly successful event!

Columbus GreenSpot (2008)
Group Project Members: Laura Anthony, Adam Ferguson, Matt McCollister, Kirk Phillips and Christine Sadic

The Columbus GreenSpot project team assisted with the design and implementation of the City’s GreenSpot initiative, a component of Mayor Coleman’s Get Green Columbus Program. TheMayor’s program was intended to inspire, educate and recognize community members in their efforts to promote a more sustainable and healthier environment for the current and future citizens of Columbus, The project team developed the program name and logo;prepared an action plan to guide the effort of the City, media partners and sponsors; and, assisted with media relations website content and other support for the July 2008 launch. To date, Columbus GreenSpot has 1,700 members who are dedicated to making a big impact on the health and future of Columbus.

Consider Biking Toolkit (2009)
Group Project Members: Joel Diaz, Chris Malinowski and Kermit Whitfield

This group created a complete guide to implementing employer-based programs that encourage bicycling to work. Citing incentives, such as reducing healthcare costs, attracting and retaining talented employeesm and recognition as an environmental leader, the Consider Biking Two-Wheel Toolkit provides companies with pragmatic reasons why they should promote an acticity that improves the quality of life for residents in Columbus.

DRAC – Downtown Residents Association Columbus (2003)
Group Project Members: Andrea Garner, Sid Hargro, Shyam Rajadhyaksha, Daryll Rardon, John Shockley, Kevin Wood

The Downtown Residents Association was created in response to Mayor Coleman’s initiative to bring 10,000 new residents living in downtown Columbus in the next decade.  In 2003, the DRAC made its debut at City Hop, the tour of downtown homes.  That summer, the group also recruited board members, established its nonprofit status, and raised seed money from Capital Couth, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District and the Downtown Development Corporation.  Today, the DRAC holds monthly meetings and serves almost 650 residents… helping them to “Urbanize their Lives”.

Downtown Dog Park (2004)
Group Project Members: Janet Berry, Suzanne DeWoody, Mary Jane Gerhardstein, Liz Leahy

This team continued the effort to make Columbus a great place to live, work and play. They assisted in the formation of the Downtown Dog Park Association with a passion and commitment to support downtown revitalization. The association’s mission is to establish off leash dog exercise areas in close proximity to urban housing to support the development of a thriving downtown community. To date the group has raised awareness and interest with the Columbus City Council and the Columbus Recreations & Parks Department, researched models for urban dog exercise areas and associations, met with urban dwellers to identify their needs and seek their support, and opened the first dogpark at the cormer of 4th and Spring.

Pink Loves Green (2009)
Group Project Members: Nancy Johnston, Laura Kraus, Christy Borror, Regan Walsh, Tracie Ransom

The Pink Loves Green group marshaled resources to help Komen Columbus bring recycling to the Race for the Cure. The race has been in existence for a number of years and recycling had been on the race organizers wish list. With the help of 22 volunteers, the Pink Loves Green team worked throughout the event to collect trash and move bins to locations where trash receptacles were needed. Rumpke worked with Komen Columbus on this effort and reported that 1.28 tons of materials were recycled after the 2009 Race for the Cure.

STAR Bear Program of Nationwide Children’s Hospital (1999)
Group Project Members: Ray Adams, Eric Colombo, Jim Kapp, John Lane, Donna Teach

STAR Bear, (School Transitions and Re-Entry) was the mascot developed by this group project.  It is a stuffed animal and acts as an ambassador between the classroom and the child undergoing treatment at the hospital.  STAR Bear wears a backpack that carries notes, gifts or other remembrances to and from the child and his classmates from the classroom to the hospital.