Thursday, September 11, 2003

Jeff Klima, Give Back Cincinnati


Variety is the spice of giving

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jeff Klima likes a little variety in his life. The kind of variety he gets from volunteering with Give Back Cincinnati, for example.

During the past year and a half with the organization, the Deerfield Township man has painted the gym at Western Hills High School, revamped homes in Price Hill, cleaned up areas of Over-the-Rhine, and coordinated a dinner-and-dancing event for area seniors.

"When you do a variety of activities, you get to know a lot more individuals and make a bigger difference within the community," said Klima, 31, a field services supervisor with Airborne Express.

Klima was skeptical about the organization at first. He liked the concept behind the nonprofit organization of young professionals, which focuses on enhancing Cincinnati's communities through volunteer activities. But he wasn't so sure real people would benefit from their efforts.

His view changed during June's Paint the Town event, when 11 homes in Price Hill were repainted. Klima sat down with one of the homeowners, a woman in her 90s, and chatted for about an hour.

"I think at that moment, getting personally involved and getting that connection - it instantly removed all barriers," he said. "These are people I never would have known or met in other situation, and I'm fortunate to have that experience."

The same thing happened during a Clean Up the Town event in August, when volunteers picked up litter, planted flowers and pulled weeds along the 1400 block of Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine. When Klima spoke to a resident of the neighborhood and explained what the organization hoped to accomplish there, her first response: "Thank God."

"It's that type of reaction and knowing you're making a difference in someone's life that counts," he said. "My reward is seeing people happy and knowing that I had something to do with it."

Even with a busy schedule, working from 4 a.m. into late afternoon most days, he still manages to give back.

"It's a matter of deciding what's important," he said.

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com




REMEMBERING 9-11
Cincinnati remembers in solemn prayers, reflective moments
Schedule of local events
Updates on today's memorials across the country
Emotional impact of 9-11 blunts as world changes
PULFER: Still grieving? Blame the media
9-11 aftermath stays with Loveland man
How Greater Cincinnati marked the first anniversary
Profiles of area victims in the 2001 attacks
3-D graphic of plans for the World Trade Center site
Photos of the attacks on the World Trade Center
Photos of the attacks on the Pentagon
Photos of Flight 73
Special multimedia coverage from Gannett News Service

SPECIAL REPORT: VOLUNTEERISM SINCE 9-11
Strong at first, volunteer spirit has waned
Here's how to get involved
Profiles of local volunteers:
16-year-old helps kids get the chance to dance
Dad impresses by going fishing
Arthritis can't keep her from job
Helping others helps heal
Math tutor gets lesson
When disaster hits, he responds
Mentors ease the teen years
Variety is the spice of giving

EDITORIALS ON 9-11
Two years later, we must not forget
Other voices on the lessons of 9/11

IN THE TRISTATE
Drug suspect a wholesaler, police say
Morgue photographer's appeal refused
Kroger gets its garage, but not before debate
Developer tells plan for mixed complex
ODOT asks $155M for I-75
City rejects $20M condo project in E. Price Hill
1-dose tumor center opens
Regional Report
West End to get new YMCA

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Amos: 2-year steppingstone to college lost in UC shuffle
Howard: Good Things Happening

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Kings waits to broach tax hike
Monthly Chamber lunch like honey for candidates
Wastewater requests have some crying foul
Monroe Police Chief Howard sidelined by heart problems
Oxford half-marathon already draws hundreds
Suspect arrested in day-care purse snatching
'New' Harrison celebrates arts
Other riverfest has a lot to offer
Sewer overflows spout in Warren Co.
Officials at odds over cost of renovating court center

OBITUARIES
Coach helped soccer get a start
Billie Garnett, St. Henry mainstay
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
Woman charged in death of alleged abductor
Ohio moments

KENTUCKY
Independence ex-councilman on probation
Kentucky Briefs
Florence official who stole sued
Boone school board member running for state House seat
Illness strikes N.Ky. schools
Park's reputation undergoing change