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Out & About in Cleveland

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Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) Summer Meltdown at Wendy Park; First Friday Club Lunch; Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio

IMG_3364On Wednesday evening, August 3rd, we went to Wendy Park in Cleveland for a "Summer Meltdown" put on by COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises) where we gathered to network, have a BBQ dinner, and play cornhole and jenga.

We had never played Jenga before. This is the game in which a bunch of wooden blocks are piled on top of each other and the players take turns pulling them out. The game is over when someone pulls out the block that causes the tower to fall. In this case, unfortunately, it was us.

We were pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Moses Smith from Maranatha Software in Painesville, who we had met the previous week at an Eastern Lake County Coffee Contacts, here at this event. We enjoyed talking to and Ms. Millie Stretenovic from Office Professionals who always likes receiving our holiday card every year and Ms. Laura Leonard from Medical Mutual told us that she believes that Margaret W. Wong and Associates does great work.

Other people that we visited with for a few minutes included Dr. Kelley Malcolm, Northeast Regional Director with the Children's Hunger Alliance, Ms. Holly Russell and Ms. Sara Leahy from European Adoption Consultants, Inc. in Strongsville, Mr. Steve Brown from Radio One, North Royalton City Councilman Paul Marnecheck, Mr. Ed Kneitel and Ms. Karen Sobolewski from MGR Industrial, Mr. Jason Moon and Ms. Dawn M. Gainer from Skoda Minotti, Mr. Michael Hood from Martinet Recchia, and Mr. William Moore who has conducted business transactions in 54 countries and 16 currencies.

We were asked several times about how the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election will affect immigration polices and our reply was that we definitely believe that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chartered the better course in terms of comprehensive immigration reform but we will have to wait and see because often times an office holder does not do what he/she said he/she would do during their campaign and a lot would depend on how the U.S. Senate and Congressional elections will go.

Subsequently, we gave our contact information, however, to people who have business and/or humanitarian dealings with Syria and India.

The next morning we went to Painesville Township for a Coffee Contacts with the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce which was held this time at the Buckeye State Credit Union.

It was funny to see two men who we know, both named Matt, standing side by side because one of them is a financial consultant and the other one fixes iPhones which are, come to think of it, two services that we would have a tough time doing without in our society.

Today there were several new members present including Ms. Lucille Brown who is a music therapist. We talked to her for a few minutes and learned that she has assisted foreign-born people before by using the music from their cultures as a springboard to introduce them to the music of our own culture here in the United States and guide them gently through the transition to a very different lifestyle via a combination of psychology and music. Her goal is to empower these people by urging them to express themselves through music.

We didn't know this before but Ms. Brown told us that music therapists have been a great asset to refugees and she, herself, knows several such therapists who are working with refugees in Cleveland.

IMG_3367For lunch on Wednesday, we went to the First Friday Club of Cleveland located at the City Club.

We got there early and thus got to walk around for a while so we met and talked to Mr. Bud Ford who is a good friend of our Ms. Mary Kay Covington. At lunch, we sat with Ms. Carol Kovach from the Department of Communications in the Diocese of Cleveland and her good friend, Mr. Rich Osborne. Both Ms. Kovach and Mr. Osborne were very appreciative of the support that Ms. Margaret W. Wong has given to the Press Club of Cleveland and it turned our that Mr. Osborne's daughter, Ms. Elizabeth Osborne, once worked for Ms. Wong.

The speaker for the day was Mr. Jeff Stutzman, Social Media Coordinator and Webmaster for the Diocese of Cleveland who talked about the potential of social media, despite its pitfalls, to be a powerful tool in terms of spreading God's word and reporting on all of the positive things that are going on in connection with the church. Mr. Stutzman's underlying message was that "social media is a gift from God and we must use it as we use all other gifts."

He talked about how Facebook, twitter and Instagram are being used more and more by people within the Diocese. He also spoke of his adventures when he served on the media team for Pope Francis' 2015 visit to the United States where he performed such tasks as reviewing tweets (thousands of them!) and sending out carefully crafted content concerning the message that the Pope was putting forth.

Of course, Mr. Stutzman realized that social media can be dangerous when not used properly and urged parents to communicate with their teenagers in order to avoid the young people being victimized.

Bishop Roger Gries gave the closing pray today and we learned that his closing prayer at the RNC is on Facebook and has generated 30,000 views thus far and the number is constantly increasing.

Our last event for Thursday was a fundraiser on behalf of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio (PPAO), the political arm of Planned Parenthood, at the home of Ms. Jan Roller in Cleveland.

We were greeted at the gate by Ms. Lauren Bartolozzi, Director of Development of PPAO, who worked hard to set up this event which was hosted by Ms. Roller, Ms. Elizabeth Heller Allen, and Ms. Jill Miller Zimon (the latter of whom could not be there due to a conflicting commitment) all board members of PPAO.

IMG_3391 We enjoyed eating pizza and drinking lemonade while we visited with Ms. Eva Allen, Regional Director of Development for Planned Parenthood, and Ms. Bonnie Bolitho who has taken an interest in a Congolese refugee family and is working with US Together to help them. Ms. Bolitho told us that "it really does take a village" to help these people get settled in their new home.

We also talked to Ms. Anne Hill, Director of Local Government Relations at MetroHealth, who is working on an "innovative school" project involving students at the Lincoln-West School of Health and Science wherein these students will take classes at the MetroHealth Campus several days a week.

Other people present included Ohio State Rep. Nickie Antonio, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Sunny Simon, Ms. Jodi Bonda (who served on the Tri-C Board with Ms. Margaret W. Wong), Ms. Jazmin Long from Global Cleveland, Ms. Marcia Egbert from the Gund Foundation, Ms. Meryl Johnson (candidate for Ohio State Board of Education), and Mr. David Goodman (a former President of Planned Parenthood).

During the program itself, we were addressed by Ms. Iris E. Harvey, the President and CEO of both Planned Parenthood and PPAO, who spoke about the need to elect candidates who will be supportive of Planned Parenthood's mission which is:

IMG_3396 ****to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual.

****to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services.

****to provide educational programs which enhance the understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality.

****to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.

Ms. Harvey told a poignant story of how family planning could have saved the life of her grandmother who passed away at age 16 to illustrate how important this was to her.IMG_3395

We also heard from Mr. Tommy Greene, a PPAO endorsed candidate for Ohio State Rep. for District 16, who spoke on behalf of his own candidacy and that of Ms. Emily Hagen, also PPAO endorsed, who is running for Ohio State Senate in District 24. Mr. Greene smiled as he referred to Ms. Hagen as "his partner in crime" since they are campaigning in the same area and share the same campaign office. He said that Ms. Hagen was an inspiration to him because she has two young children which keep her busy yet she still manages to find the energy to go door-to-door every day.

After the speakers were done, we were preparing to leave when Ms. Jan Roller walked up to us and told us to be sure and let Ms. Wong know that she just loves the beautiful green plant that Ms. Wong sent to her when she recently started a new job. Each day she looks forward to seeing it in her office.

By:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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