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Upward Bound

Hamilton (OH) – A good trade in baseball benefits both teams. A great partnership offers benefits far beyond the principal participants.

So it is with the budding affiliation between the Fitton Center for Creative Arts and the Miami University Upward Bound Program.

In the works since September, the first-ever Upward Bound volunteer event with the Fitton Center took place March 19.

Hamilton High School sophomores Maria Reynoso, Martha Garcia and Leslie Morales – along with Upward Bound Program Director Ashley Hopkins and staffer Jessica James - joined forces with Fitton Center Assistant Director of Education and Outreach Caroline Digiovenale to prepare craft materials for upcoming community engagement events.

The results went beyond a win-win and into the realm of win-win-win-win.

Not only did the trio accumulate needed volunteer hours and help lighten Digiovenale’s load (win-win), they also gained practical experience in community arts, enjoyed social time, learned about arts education at the Fitton Center and additional volunteer opportunities (win-win-win).

Plus, their work directly benefitted more than 200 guests who visited the Fitton Center tent during the Liberty Township Easter Egg Hunt March 23 (win-win-win-win).

“It was a great night,” Digiovenale said. “Having a small group made it casual, a low-pressure environment. The students felt comfortable asking a lot of questions about getting into the arts field, and what college could look like. We had a really nice discussion about different paths you can take in college and where they might lead professionally.

“They were a huge help, which in turn helped made the egg hunt such a success. We actually went about half an hour past our end time because they were so committed to finishing the work. Three girls affected 200-plus people’s happiness just with some scissors and some generosity. It’s wonderful to see those ripples extend into the community.”


And they will continue. Two of the girls filled out applications to become regular Fitton Center volunteers on the spot.


According to its website, “The Upward Bound program at Miami University is an intensive, year-round college preparatory program that provides access to academic support, college and career advising, service and leadership development, mentoring and networking, and cultural activities to participants throughout their high school years.


“Upward Bound empowers students to become individuals who think critically, self-advocate, lead, and succeed in a global society. The mission of MU Upward Bound is to support students’ personal growth, academic achievement, and overall success and well-being, while encouraging and preparing them to graduate with a four-year college degree.”

Does your organization have an interest in the arts and some time to volunteer? Call Caroline at 513-863-8873 ext. 136 or write to for information on how to get involved.

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.


Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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