Spend a “day ON, not OFF” through service projects this Martin Luther King Day!

On Monday January 15th, 2018, volunteers all across Cincinnati and throughout the United States will be participating in a day of service. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorates the civil rights movement and honors the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by celebrating Dr. King’s birthday as a “day ON, not a day off” through service projects. “The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration . . . Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress.”

The Cincinnati Community ToolBank is proud to support several local services projects with out blue tools during their successful day of service this Jan 15th. We encourage you to give back or get involved in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s National Day of Service!

Here are a list of volunteer opportunities taking place on or around the 15th:

Jan 15th: Moved to Action; MLK Day of Reflection

  • Public · Hosted by Public Allies Cincinnati 12:30-3:30PM                                                                          Carl Lindner YMCA 1425 Linn Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45214
  • A guest registration and release form will need completed for Carl Linder YMCA is necessary to attend this event. Please call for details 

Jan 15th: Postponed – MLK Federation of Colored Women’s Club Workday

Here are a list of events taking place in Greater Cincinnati on or around the 15th:

Jan 13th Gallery Talks: Have We Achieved MLK’s Dream?

Jan 13th Just Listening: A Workshop on Listening as an Act of Justice

Jan 13th -“13th on the 13th” Ava DuVernay Film Showing

Jan 15th MLK Day 2018: If Not Now When? #MLKNowOrNever

Jan 15th- The Killing of History: MLK & How to Build the Movement Today

Jan 17th- More than a dream: Dream Act 2018

Jan 20th- 2018 Cincinnati Women’s March – Hear Our Vote!

Jan 23rd Violins of Hope

General Volunteer Opportunity Search:

PS: Planning on attending an event OR are you hosting one of your own? Make sure to share pictures and comments with us on FB, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #MLKDay and #ToolsForChange and tag @cincinnatitoolbank

Happy volunteering!

The Cincinnati ToolBank Team

SELF helps put Cincinnati ToolBank to the test

The year was 2012. In Hamilton, a city just north of Cincinnati, an organization known as Supports to Encourage Low-income Families or SELF, had a problem that Housing Coordinator John Post described as “a logistical nightmare.” Two years prior, SELF piloted a “Blitz Week” where 100 volunteers would paint and repair 20 homes over the course of a week. The effort was so successful that SELF made it a permanent program and the number volunteers doubled to 200 in 2011. “We only had 10 ladders,” John confessed.

The effort would require another 75 more and numerous other tools. Since buying them was too costly of an option, they borrowed them from all over the community–friends, homeowners, other organizations, and even rented a few from local hardware stores. This also meant John had to come up with a system to keep track of every borrowed ladder, schedule pick ups and returns, and guaranteed that any broken or lost ladder would be replaced with a brand new one. The good news is they were able to pull it off and news spread about the great work that SELF was doing in Bulter County. Cue 2012: 300+ volunteers will be showing up this summer for Blitz week with a goal of serving 50 homes. What is John going to do now?

Meanwhile in the West End of Cincinnati, Kat Pepmeyer and her small but mighty squad of AmeriCorps volunteers were working hard in preparation of the impending August 8th, 2012 grand opening of the nation’s newest ToolBank affiliate. She was excited about the transformation of warehouse space, which a few short months ago had plants growing inside the building. By June, the space is shimmering thanks to the help of volunteers, The Home Depot and a huge donation of tools from Crossroads church. To Kat, the only thing better than having all the tools at the ToolBank is putting this stockpile to good use in the Greater Cincinnati area.

As John is working on rounding up tools for the next Blitz, he hears from a friend about this new organization that loans tools to non-profits. John contacts the ToolBank and puts in his order for some ladders (and a few other items) and the rest is history. When I met John, he was returning their latest tool order for this summer’s round of Blitz weeks–of which there are now three total camps. He agreed to meet with me and tell me more about how being a member of the ToolBank has been benefited their work. The first thing I noticed was how proud John is that SELF is the first client of the ToolBank. As he showed me around and introduced me to other members of the SELF staff he made sure to mention that “We are the first and oldest client of the ToolBank!”

In 2016, SELF had 1400 volunteers (22,500 volunteer hours) serve 140 homes while building 20 wheelchair ramps–the most ever. This year they are anticipating over 25,000 volunteer hours and closer to 150 homes served. Since being a client of The ToolBank, SELF has also launched a new property renovation program to buy and fix foreclosed homes. “To be honest with you, having resources like the ToolBank has helped our growth. We’d still be wallowing in the mire and doing one camp…trying to figure out how we are going to do that. This has enabled us to do more.” He said at one point during the interview.

One of the events even paid dividends for the Cincinnati ToolBank when an AmeriCorps volunteer took a photo that won a contest resulting in a $1000 prize for both organizations. It’s clear that SELF and ToolBank are natural allies and an impactful partnership. John has the last word on that sentiment.”The ToolBank has been a blessing. It can’t be overstated…For a small organization getting quality tools in a timely manner to do the jobs that we need to do is daunting. It has enabled us to triple our capacity…We have to do everything we can to keep things simple if we are going to be able to continue to grow…The ToolBank has been one of the primary groups that has helped us do that.”