It is with great excitement that WordPlay Cincy announces the advancement of one of its longest-serving and most dedicated leaders, Reba Hennessey. After playing an integral part of building WordPlay into a successful, sustainable organization, Hennessey is taking a bold new step of her own: she is founding a new and innovative non-profit operation--one located right here in Cincinnati.
“At WordPlay, we are so proud to nurture growth and leadership development not only in the young people who engage in our programs, but also in all members of our WordPlay family, including and especially staff,” said Libby Hunter, Co-Founder and Executive Director. “At WordPlay, we grow leaders. We are so proud of this and of all Reba has accomplished with and for WordPlay and all that she will accomplish moving forward.”
Hennessey has been shifting her time at WordPlay as she worked with Hunter and Board members on a strategic approach to a new hire based on current staff strengths and capabilities, as well as current and future needs. “We are so very lucky to have Reba be a part of this transition process, and we agree it is a unique opportunity to better position our organization for our future,” Hunter said. “After a series of important internal and stakeholder conversations, we’re launching a search for a Development and Communications Director.” See the job posting here.
Hennessey, who has served as a Board member of Community Matters in Lower Price Hill since 2016, has worked alongside community partners to create Your Store of the Queen City, a nonprofit that will operate a fresh grocery and deli based on the community’s vision. Designed to address neighborhood needs and provide a healthy, affordable, welcoming space for buying food and making connections, Your Store already has support. Working with Price Hill Will, Community Learning
Center Institute, the Women’s Business Center of Ohio Economic & Community Development Institute, and with the fiscal sponsorship of Community Matters; Your Store—much like WordPlay Cincy—offers an innovative approach to community building and collaboration.
“I’ve learned so much from every person at WordPlay,” Hennessey said. “The smallest children, the talented teen writers, my coworkers and personal mentors, like Libby Hunter and the Board of Trustees, have given me invaluable memories and lessons that will forever be a part of our organization’s approach. Now I’m thrilled to be working with neighbors in Price Hill to put what I’ve learned into a different kind of equity work, to nourish people in new, sustainable ways: with convenient access to whole foods and recipes rich with family culture, with jobs that build leadership among community members, and to do it in a safe, community-created space where neighbors connect as they shop.”
Hunter added that while Hennessey’s work is taking her in new directions, plans are already in place for Your Store to partner with WordPlay on programming for youth. “Working with trusted community partners—like Your Store—provides even more opportunities for us to connect and support more youth and communities,” said Hunter. “That’s the WordPlay way, and we are so proud of the work it inspires and the futures it helps shape.”
WordPlay Cincy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization building literacy through the arts in Cincinnati, Ohio. WordPlay’s mission is to create spaces for young people from kindergarten through young adulthood, to fulfill their potential by discovering, honoring and sharing their voices. WordPlay’s in-school and community programs are free of charge to the families who participate, thanks to support from donations large and small.
Your Store of the Queen City is a nonprofit corporation founded to create sustainable, resident-driven, non-profit for-impact retail assets that meet community-defined goals; increasing both wellbeing and economic opportunities for long-term neighbors in Cincinnati's areas of concentrated poverty. Your Store’s first project will be opening and operating a fresh grocery and deli on State Avenue in the neighborhood of Lower Price Hill. For more information about Your Store, sign up for their email list here or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.