Sunday, June 8, 2003

Childless and single groups find some company

Catching up

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two recent Enquirer stories on organizations got some great responses from Tristaters.

An April 25 story spotlighted an international organization called No Kidding!. The group boasts more than 10,000 members in 82 chapters around the world, providing social support for singles and couples who decide not to have children.

The story also included information on the then-fledgling Cincinnati chapter. Founder Rhonda Dossenbach says the chapter is now soaring in numbers.

"Since the story ran, our membership has doubled," says Dossenbach. We had 24 members. After the story, our numbers jumped to 51 subscribers on our Yahoo! newsgroup. A lot of people I talked to are really excited about the group. They said they're glad to see something like this in Cincinnati."

Dossenbach says two-thirds of the new members are single women, although some couples have also signed on. She says she even a got a surprise call of approval from a mother of three.

No Kidding!'s Cincinnati chapter plans to continue meeting online and having face-to-face meetings during lunch or brunch on the first Saturday or Sunday of each month.

For more information on No Kidding!, call 235-6481 or e-mail

Another group examining their lifestyle options were the singles featured in a story May 16. Progressive Daters, a Cleveland-based company, sponsored its first speed dating event exclusively for African-Americans. The three men and nine women (ages 25-45) did round-robin, three-minute meet-and-greets with the possibility of finding a new love.

Maybe it was the smaller number of participants, maybe it was one of those weird things where everything went right, but everyone who attended matched with at least one person. That means every woman who participated was selected by at least one of the men and vice versa.

"I've never seen anything like it," says organizer Mike Donnellan. He says his normal successful match rate is 80.3 percent.

That's the good news. The bad news is only one of the participants who reported back said a date resulted from the evening's meetings.

Miriam Hilton, 37, of Dayton, one of the event's attendees who made a match, said she did "take the initiative and sent him three e-mails," but she got no response.

She says she's not upset about the cyber cold shoulder. "It was a wonderful experience and to step out of 'comfort zone' to boot. I would do it again, in a heartbeat."

Charles Jones, an Enquirer employee, contributed his thoughts for an additional story on the speed-dating event. He says he did spend time with one of the women after that evening; they remain friendly.

"We're just taking it slow," Jones says.

Donnellan says Progressive Daters plans to offer another event for African-American singles in late July or early August, depending on the number who register on PD's Web site.

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