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About Us

 

Our Mission

Creating opportunities for families to introduce young children to volunteerism.

Our Vision

We inspire a lifelong love of community service.

Our Values

14753354_1252965864725557_2652405249296826566_oCaring: We empower young children to meaningfully contribute to our community
through creative, hands-on service projects. 

Child-Centered: We encourage compassion through developmentally appropriate activities and messaging.

Family Friendly: We bring families together through easy and impactful volunteerism.

Connection: We are a great community connector — connecting people to nonprofits, parents to kids, families to other families.

Civic Engagement: We help families introduce their young children to community service. 

 

Our Story

Caring Cubs was founded by a group of parents who were looking to volunteer with their kids and repeatedly were met with the response that we should volunteer ourselves and just bring our kids along. We envisioned service projects where the children, themselves, could participate in a hands-on activity, thereby taking personal pride in working toward a greater purpose.  Although many worthy organizations already exist that direct older kids to give back to community, we found that none focused specifically on the youngest members of our society, namely preschool and early elementary aged children.  Hence, Caring Cubs was created to fill that void. The idea is that it is never too early to begin teaching children about philanthropy — the key is to do it in an age-appropriate way.

 

kaitlyn-and-card-2Our Service Projects

Caring Cubs’ monthly service projects focus on a wide-range of topics geared toward very young children — from helping the elderly and the hungry to caring for the environment
and animals. Our projects always focus on how good it feels to be helpful and kind – that volunteering together is meaningful and fun. Click here to view our past service projects.

Hosted by our board members, service projects typically last 90 minutes to 2 hours. We ask families to arrive on time so they get the full experience  — receive instructions, hear speakers, and participate in the hands-on projects. That said, we know that families with young children need flexibility. It is fine to step in and out; it is fine to leave early. The projects are designed to be fun for the whole family while highlighting meaningful community organizations. While projects are geared toward little ones, older kids are always welcome.

Regardless of the seriousness of some recipient organizations, our message is always age-appropriate. With themes of kindness, generosity, and care, we talk about bringing smiles to people who are having a tough day or the importance of taking care of the world around us. Specific information about the bigger picture is always available to parents who desire more, but is not part of our presentations.

 

Join Us

Follow Caring Cubs on Facebook for the most current information.

Join our email list to receive invitations to our events as well as news and updates.

Our Board of Directors

Entirely volunteer-operated, Caring Cubs thrives because of the consistent dedication of our amazing board of directors. Scroll below to meet the members of this remarkable team.

 

Board Members

Shari Nacson, President
Kerry Katz, Vice President
Rob Slonaker, Treasurer
Kelly Rudloff, Secretary
Katie Bell
Kristen Cash
Heather Englander
Betsy Hampton
Melissa McClain
Christin Petrosino
Kristin Schron
Ashley Sparks
Jennifer Stone
 

Founders

Halle and Josh Hara

 


 

Meet our board members!

Most of the board member photos below are courtesy of the very talented Little Boo Photography.

 


 

KATIE BELL Katie Bell 1 (1)

Member Since:  2017  

Committee:  Organizational Sustainability 

Katie was thrilled to join the Caring Cubs board in early 2017. In her role she supports board development and technology needs of Caring Cubs. She has nine years of experience in many facets of the corporate wellness industry, including client management, training, and internal operations. Katie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the College of Wooster and is a proud Wooster Alumni Admissions Advocate.  

Katie lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and two busy, chatty preschoolers. Together they enjoy hiking, checking out the local museums and, of course, volunteering.  

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Veggie U Service Project 

     I had never heard of Veggie U prior to signing my family up for this project. I loved that the organization was not only willing to create a volunteer project for younger children, but they spent some time talking to the kids about what they do as an organization (and brought an example grow kit with plants)! It was really fun to learn about a new organization and their mission.”  

Hobbies:  Planning trips (and taking them!), puzzles, and catching up on my reading.  

Other Affiliations 

  • The College of Wooster, Alumni Admissions Advocates 

KRISTEN CASH  LBP_1782-Edit

Member Since:  2013 

Committee:  Service Projects 

Kristen currently serves as the Vice President and chair of the service project committee. She has many years of experience in corporate marketing and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Baldwin-Wallace. Kristen loves living in the Cleveland suburbs with her husband, two kids, and sweet puppy. They enjoy traveling, cheering for our sports teams, and lots of outdoor time (but only in the warm seasons!). 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Geauga County Humane Society 

     “We had been trying for a long time to volunteer with some local animal shelters and it was well worth the wait! It is such an amazing facility with an enthusiastic education staff. We got to use our hands (making tie blankets) and got to snuggle sweet kittens while we worked! We got to see their amazing farm animal area – the kids even held a chicken! Very cool stuff! It is also where we met our new puppy, who we went back for two days later!” 

Hobbies: Crafting, painting, photography, traveling, reading. 

Other Affiliations:  

  •      Solon Early Childhood PTA, Executive Board 

HEATHER ENGLANDER 

Heather Englander 2

Member Since:  2016 

Committee:  Service Projects 

Heather joined the Caring Cubs board after attending several projects with her first son. As a member of the Service Projects committee, Heather helps plan, set up, and host some of our volunteer projects. As Director of the Volunteer Center at BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Caring Cubs has been a natural fit that allows Heather to tie her work skills into her personal goals of giving back to the community and spending time with her kids. Heather is also a proud graduate from the College of Wooster and recently moved from the East to the West side of Cleveland (gasp!).  

Along with her husband and 2 young boys, Heather loves exploring our country’s National Parks, as well as all the great parks, theaters, restaurants, and events Cleveland has to offer.  

Favorite Caring Cubs Project: All of them! 

     “Truly, this is not just a cop-out answer. I love that Caring Cubs demonstrates that there are so many ways for young people to give back. The variety of opportunities exposes children to new experiences and allows them to try new things and be a part of our community. It also encourages them to think of ways they can be a kinder, more caring person in everyday life. The variety is what I think is truly special about Caring Cubs. 

Hobbies: Anything in the great outdoors, new experiences. From theater and music to sports and camping, I love it all (maybe this is why I couldn’t pick a favorite project…). 

Other Affiliations:  

  •     None at this time. Purposefully trying to keep it simple ☺ 

BETSY HAMPTON

Member Since: 2018

Committee: Service Projects

Betsy had been searching for a great organization that would assist her in the quest of teaching her children the importance of volunteering and the joy of “doing for others”. As a result, Betsy is excited to be a part of the planning process for the Service Projects Committee. She received a degree in pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu and applied her craft as Pasty Chef at Oakmont Country Club and as Bakery Manager at the original Giant Eagle “Market District”, both outside of Pittsburgh. For the last six years, Betsy has been a proud full-time mother of two.

Betsy lives on the West Side of Cleveland with her husband, a young son and daughter, and the family dog, a Hungarian Vizsla named “Ginger.” Betsy is very involved with the kids’ scool and at the family’s church. As a family, the Hamptons enjoy swimming, exploring different parks, and going to the local library. They also enjoy helping the Westlake Meals on Wheels organization with weekly deliveries of fresh made food to homebound, elderly residents.

Favorite Caring Cubs Project: The Gathering Place

     “Our first family service project, TGP focses on the challenges faced by, both, a person with cancer and also their family. My children never had the privilege of meeting their paternal grandmother due to cancer, so this service project was of great value and close to our hearts. We made cheerful cards and decorated gift bags. The staff at the Gathering Place was wonderful, as they took the time to take the volunteers on a tour and explain what their organization does and the impact it has on people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience that we partook in together!”

Hobbies:  Cooking, baking, and spending time as a family.

Other Affiliations:

  • Westlake Meals on Wheels, Board Member
  • St. Bernadette PTU

KERRY KATZ, LISW-S  

Kerry Katz 2

Member Since:  2016 

Committee:  Service Projects 

Kerry has over 20 years’ experience in the non-profit world with expertise in child development, program management, and mental health. Kerry lives in the Greater Cleveland area with her husband and two daughters. As a family, they enjoy hiking; playing board games; cooking and playing with our 3 cats! 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project: Making toys and blankets for Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter 

     “The participants learned what is needed in order to properly care for an animal. Food, shelter, love. We were given a tour and learned about what the shelter does for each animal. The families made braided toys and blankets for the animals. In the end, each child was given treats to feed to the dogs. The joy on the childrens faces was incredible! 

Hobbies: Baking; reading anything related to European Monarchies; canoeing and camping 

Other Affiliations: 

  •      Northland College Alumni Association 
  •      PM Breakfast Club 
  •      NCJW/Cleveland 
  •      Suburban Temple Kol Ami 

MELISSA McCLAINMelissa McClain

Member Since:  2018

Committee:  Compliance

Melissa and her two-year old daughter Haessly were overjoyed to discover Caring Cubs after spending several weeks reaching out to local organizations trying to find a volunteer opportunity they could do together.  Giving back to the community and instilling the love of doing so in their children from an early age is important to her and her husband; therefore, asking to join the board to be more actively involved was an easy decision.  Melissa has since joined the Compliance Committee, putting her experience in accounting and bookkeeping to better use.  She also holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music.

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:

     “I simply love the wide variety of opportunities Caring Cubs provides.  We get to work with organizations involved in nature (i.e. the CVNP clean up), caring for animals (Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter), the elderly (arts and crafts at Arden Courts) and more.  What a wonderful way to introduce my daughter to the array of avenues she can take to help her community!” 

Hobbies:  Running, hiking with my family, scrapbooking, and traveling.

Other Affiliations:  None at this time


SHARI NACSON, LISW-S  

Shari Nacson 1

Member Since:  2012 

Committee:  Organizational Sustainability 

Shari has served as board president since 2014. With expertise in child development, non-profit management, and community engagement, Shari loves being invited to talk and write about the benefits of family volunteerism!  

Mostly a mom, Shari also works a freelance editor and as a consultant in child development & nonprofit management. She lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband, daughter, and barky dog, Norah (who often chimes-in during Caring Cubs calls).  

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Scarves for Bellefaire JCB Homeless Youth    

     I was so inspired by the excitement in the room as families cut and tied fringe for scarves. This was the first time we used gift tags, which changed the outcome into a stack of beautiful gifts with heartfelt messages to teens who might be feeling lonely.” I felt we did justice to young cubs by framing it this wayas a way to be empathicwithout scaring them about homelessness. I imagine that a homeless youth receiving one of these scarves would truly feel cared about for at least a moment.”  

Hobbies:  Audiobooks, running, Cleveland’s elusive sunshine.  

Other Affiliations:  

  •      Member, Cleveland Psychoanalytic SocietyEarly Ages Healthy Stages CoalitionSWRJ  
  •      Literacy Tutor, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Schools  
  •      Contributing Writer, 500 Pens: An Anti-Hate News Project and The Heights Observer 

CHRISTIN PETROSINOChristin Petrosino 3

Member Since:  2014

Committee:  Service Projects

Christin joined the Caring Cubs board after several years of volunteering with her family. Currently a stay at home parent, Christin has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master of Education in Higher Education and Counseling, both from Ohio University. She previously worked at the Ohio State University in the University Exploration program, helping undergraduate students select their majors. She spends her free time volunteering for the Hudson City Schools, at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, and she is also the president of the local chapter of the  MOMS Club®. Christin lives in Hudson with her husband and three children.

Favorite Caring Cubs Project: Making toys and blankets for Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter 

     “My husband and older kids love dogs, and this was their first experience going to a dog shelter. After being given a facility tour, we made toys and blankets for the dogs, and the kids were allowed to give the dogs treats.This project inspired my family to start volunteering at a local animal shelter on our own.”

Hobbies:  Reading, running, baking, and spending time with my family

Other Affiliations:  

  • MOMS Club® of Hudson, President

KELLY RUDLOFF

Kelly Rudloff 1

Member Since:  2010 

Committee:  Board Secretary, supports all committees  

Kelly, our longest serving board member, has served as Executive Director, President, and is currently the Secretary. Kelly has professional experience in event planning, fundraising, and adult learning.  Kelly received her bachelors degree from Baldwin Wallace University, a Master’s of Education degree from Cleveland State University, and is now a proud stay-at-home mom. 

Kelly lives in Brecksville with her husband, three daughters, and a kitten!  Their family keeps busy running between all of the girls’ activities, visiting their grandparent’s farm, and volunteering together. 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  April 2013 Tree Planting in Cleveland Metroparks 

     “Picking a favorite project from the past 7+ years is very difficult. Caring Cubs has been fortunate to volunteer for many local organizations and give young families the opportunity to volunteer for organizations they may not be aware of or able to volunteer for on their own. ONE of my favorite service projects is planting trees in the Rocky River Reservation with the Sierra Club and the Cleveland Metroparks. Unofficially known as Caring Cubs Forest, my oldest daughters love to visit the trees they planted on that freezing cold April day. 

Hobbies: Pinterest and home improvement projects, gardening, and chauffeuring my three daughters to their activities! 

Other Affiliations:   

  •      Shoes and Clothes for Kids, Board Member  
  •      Brecksville-Broadview Heights Preschool Mothers Club, Member 

KRISTIN SCHRON 

Kristin Schron 3

Member Since:  2017 

Committee:  Service Projects 

New to the Caring Cubs board, Kristin joined the Service Projects Committee where she has been learning about the project planning process. She has a business marketing and retail background and holds a BA from Ohio University. Kristin lives in Chagrin Falls with her husband, three young children and two yellow labs. She enjoys volunteering at the kids schools, church, and Caring Cubs! 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project: Annual Toy/Book Collection & Cards for Heroes Project 

     “This was the very first Caring Cubs project that I attended after hearing about the organization from a local Facebook group. I felt so inspired by the event and the mission of the organization that I asked to become a part of the Caring Cubs board. I hope to become a role model for my children, teaching them the importance of volunteerism and community service. 

Hobbies: Tennis, running, cooking and family time at the lake. 

Other Affiliations:  

  •      Chagrin Falls PTO 
  •      Chagrin Falls Booster Club 
  •      UMW  
  •      USTA 

ROB SLONAKER 

Rob Slonaker 2

Member Since:  2016 

Committee:  Compliance 

Rob has been Treasurer since January 2017. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the financial services industry and is currently the National Fiduciary Services Manager for Key Private Bank in Cleveland. Rob holds a Bachelor’s Degree from John Carroll University. 

Rob lives with his wife and three boys in Strongsville. He is actively involved in his boys’ activities, which include youth sports and Cub Scouts, among others. He has been a youth soccer and football coach in Strongsville. He is the Race Chair and member of the leadership committee for Strongsville Cub Scout Pack 226. 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Annual November Tri-C Project 

     This is a truly inspiring sight to behold:  a small organization like Caring Cubs, partnering with others in the community, and making a big impact just ahead of the holiday season. It warms the heart to think about the children that will benefit from the toy collection and music shakers, and the veterans and military families that receive the holiday cards made by our families. Seeing our families in action, and in particular our kids working hard while having fun and giving back, is what Caring Cubs is all about. 

Hobbies:  Golf and basketball (mostly driveway ball with my boys now) 

Other Affiliations:   

  •      Strongsville Cub Scout Pack 226 

ASHLEY SPARKS 

Ashley Sparks 2

Member Since:  2016 

Committee:  Compliance 

Upon joining the board, Ashley began managing the organization’s bookkeeping. Ashley has a wealth of professional experience that includes healthcare fundraising, economic development, and small business support services—all with strong roots in the Northeast Ohio community.  Ashley holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Bowling Green State University.  She currently lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband, two young children, one dog, and four chickens.  

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter 

     We adopted our dog from the shelter many years ago. It was great for my daughter to see how we helped give our dog a loving home and to understand that there are many other animals who dont have loving homes and need one.Plus she loved giving treats to all the dogs! 

Hobbies:  Cooking (and of course eating), crafting, leisurely bike rides and exploring Cleveland. 

Other Affiliations:  

  •      Cleveland Bridge BuildersClass of 2012 
  •      Cleveland Museum of Art Column & Stripe 

JENNIFER STONE 

Jennifer Stone 2

Member Since:  2015 

Committee:  Service Projects 

Jennifer laughs about how she learned of Caring Cubs. At the pool with friends one summer, she heard of a “volunteer club for kids” from another mom. She quickly connected with Caring Cubs through email and started attending projects with her daughter. While her friend never attended, Jennifer went on to join the board in 2015 and continues to serve with her children. Passionate about children’s health and volunteerism, Jennifer considers Caring Cubs to be the perfect fit for her family! She educates many youth in our community as an advanced clinical nurse in pediatric sleep medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. In fact, many of the service projects she’s coordinated have benefited University Hospitals or one of her patients. Bringing her husband, daughter and son together to serve others is a rewarding experience that she genuinely looks forward to again and again. 

Favorite Caring Cubs Project:  Dream Catcher Kits for Rainbow  

     “This was the perfect service project for me because it merged so many of my passions: kids, the hospital, sleep medicine, volunteerism, and education. It was fun to assemble bags of beads, yarn, stickers, and plates to donate to the Family and Child Life Services Department. I loved teaching the families that attended about patients hospitalized at Rainbow, encouraging empathy for kids that have to sleep away from home, and helping assemble kits to wish them sweet dreams as they heal in the hospital. It was so rewarding to donate the kits to the hospital units that I not only worked in as a young nurse, but also stayed in as a parent with my own kids when they were ill.  Its my pleasure to create these moments of perspective for families attending our service projects. 

Hobbies: Family bike rides, camping, shopping, organizing 

Other Affiliations:  

  •      Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital 

 

For more information about joining this outstanding group of volunteer board members, please email caringcubs@caringcubs.org.