‘Each According to Their Gifts:’ Giving Back at the Rocky River Adult Activities Center

Their Sock Runneth Over….

All gifts – whether they be of your time, talent or treasure – are all the same. They are gifts of the self.

Tasha Cifra and Crystal Walker of the Rocky River Adult Activities Center with the giant sock they helped stuff for SocksPLUS this winter.

Tasha Cifra and Crystal Walker of the Rocky River Adult Activities Center with the giant sock they helped stuff for SocksPLUS this winter.

Nowhere is the phrase, “Each according to their gifts” more true than at the Cuyahoga County Board of Disabilities SOUP (Stir One Up Program) in Rocky River, where employees answered the call to support the SocksPLUS campaign at Community West Foundation to help the homeless in our community.

“It was the excitement and passion with which they approached their drive that inspired us. They started collecting socks during the months of December and January and people immediately made donations to help out. Community advocacy are the hallmarks of this remarkable group, which was able to deliver 350 pairs of socks,” reports the Foundation.

Spearheading the drive are two employees of the Rocky River Adult Activities Center at 20120 Detroit Road – Tasha Cifra of Lakewood and Crystal Walker of Westlake.

They took delight in leading the cause to fill the giant sock made by Rocky River volunteer Rose Mary Zverina that was used to collect the hundreds of socks for our neighbors in need.

“I really enjoy helping others, especially kids,” says Crystal, a 6-year employee of the Center.

“I just really like to do it – just jump in and help out,” reports Tasha, who has been with the Center for nine years and serves as a production manager.

The center employs dozens of special needs individuals, working at jobs assembling and boxing items for local companies like the Oatey Co.

The jobs have instilled in the workers a desire to give back to the community. That is why, in addition to SocksPLUS, the Center participates in numerous charitable activities all year long, like collecting for the Rocky River Food Pantry, helping at Beck Center, volunteering with Rec Center Ice Skating and participating in Harvest for Humanity.

Rocky River Adult Activities Center Director Laura Cooper, Tasha Cifra, and Lashawn Knox, Center Employ-ment Specialist.

Rocky River Adult Activities Center Director Laura Cooper, Tasha Cifra, and Lashawn Knox, Center Employ-ment Specialist.

For Crystal, a special cause is collecting toys for the Fox 8 Giving Tree. For Tasha, the annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive stands out.

“I just want to help kids out,” says Crystal. “We take the toys to the station, and they give them to the kids in the hospital. There isn’t a lot to when you are in the hospital, so we want to help.”

For Tasha, the pride she takes in her work carries over into her sense of community spirit. “The kids depend on us,” she says.

SkylineLashawn Knox, Community Integration Employment Specialist for the Center, reports the outreach efforts reflect the CCBD’s mission of bringing a vibrant presence and sense of community to the Center. “We meet once a month at the Garfield Center and we always have a good group of not only our members who want to be involved, but volunteers from the community,” she says. “We also have very good Life Ambassadors who go out into the community and make contacts for us.”

Laura Cooper, Manager, Rocky River Adult Activities Center, says the outreach efforts emphasize the ways her employees can advocate for themselves through their efforts in giving back. “They are finding ways to have more involvement in the community and support the community,” she says. “It is all about spreading the message that everyone can contribute to the community in any way they want to.”

Stay tuned for even more success from this group as they are planning a Christmas in July Sock collection to help out even more. Thank you SOUP GROUP! #SocksPLUS

(Rocky River Adult Activities Center is located at 20120 Detroit Road, Rocky River, Ohio 44116-2421 Phone: (216) 931-7390).

Thank You Fairview Hospital

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