Heights residents among those who will pitch their visions for change
Four Cleveland Heights residents are among those who will present 28 visions of creating positive change in Cleveland at Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m., at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland.
Heights High graduate Brian Hall, 20, will pitch “Bee Friendly Neighbors”—an idea to establish beehives in Cleveland and suburban backyards. Hall tends bees at a hive on his grandfather’s farm in Portage County, and wants to provide those interested with a bee box, pair them with experienced beekeepers to maintain the hive and teach participants about bees, and sell honey and wax products at local markets. “A lot of people misunderstand bees,” Hall said. “This is a great opportunity for Clevelanders to learn about nature, learn how important bees are, and do something to get involved.”
Melissa Libertini, 29, recently moved to Cleveland Heights. Along with co-presenter Kareemah Hairston, she’ll be pitching “C-School”—a pilot training and coaching program with a personal app to teach techniques in conflict management, resolution and transformation.
Hillary Lyon, 43, and co-presenter Liz Maugans will pitch “Elevating Local Art—an initiative to make local art accessible to the public and give artists visibility and opportunities to sell their work. One way they envision boosting the arts scene is by encouraging real estate projects to showcase local art. A Cleveland Heights resident, Lyon is a founding member of Artful, an organization based in the former Coventry School building, that provides affordable studio space and supports artists’ mission to create, sell and display their art.
Allison Meyer, 28, is a Cleveland Heights resident and Case Western Reserve University law student. With her pitch, “Never, Ever Give Up,” Meyer wants to encourage people to share stories that will motivate others to persevere when facing adversity. Meyer developed the idea after her mother died and she sought out stories of how others worked through grief, as well as opportunities share what she was going through. “Sharing your story can be the greatest thing for you and for others,” she said. Meyer envisions displaying on a large wall and on a website stories that answer the question: What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?
Community leaders will judge the pitches in preliminary competitions and select one finalist in each of six categories: Authentic Cleveland Experiences, Community Change, Economic and Workforce Development, Educating for Tomorrow, Health & Wellness, and Quality of Life.
Finalists will pitch to all in attendance, and the audience will vote to select the winner. The winning pitch receives $5,000, runners-up each receive $2,000, and every presenter can make connections to help their ideas become reality.
The annual event is presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens Bank. For additional information, and to register to attend, visit www.cleveleads.org/accelerate or search #AccelerateNeo.
Michael Bennett is a 30-year resident of Cleveland Heights and vice president of external affairs for the Cleveland Leadership Center.