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Annual 50+ Sports Classic Draws Hundreds of Northwest Ohio Athletes

Billie Johnson, right, and Melanie Grohowski light the event torch at the Opening Ceremony.

By Leah Williams

The 25th Annual 50+ Sports Classic sponsored by the Area Office on Aging and YMCA of Greater Toledo took place on Saturday, September 14 across multiple venues in Toledo and Maumee. The opening ceremony was held at the Wolf Creek YMCA. 

Athletes and their families gathered bright and early at the flag pole in front of the YMCA to celebrate the upcoming day’s events. Mr. Cole spoke of the power of healthy living and community as he emceed the program that included brief speeches, a youth hip hop dance, and the lighting of the torch by Area Office of Aging Director/CEO, Billie Johnson and Wolf Creek YMCA District Vice President Melanie Grohowski.

Stephanie Marable, far left, leads the pack during her 100-meter dash heat

According to event organizer Justin Moor, Vice President of Planning and Program Development at the Area Office on Aging, the Sports Classic was the vision of Director Billie Johnson and an incredible testament to aging well.

“This is a really inspirational day where we see positive images of aging – shattering a lot of myths people have about what it means to be age 50 and better,” Mr. Moor said. “In the past, we’ve had 50-year-olds dunking, 90-year-olds running the 100-meter dash, and everything in between, so it’s a really great day.”

An athlete leads the pack in his heat during the track and field competition

Over 200 athletes, ages 50 plus, participated in the classic on Saturday. The participants competed in over 10 sports including bowling, tennis, golf, track and field, swimming, pickle ball, and basketball. Each sports competition was divided into age groups and awards were given to the winners within each age grouping.

When asked about the importance of the event to the athletes and community at large, Ms. Johnson said that, the event was so important in motivating retirees to engage in activities that improve their overall health.

“We are delighted to promote health and wellness and this is what this is all about – to get our 50 plus population out here to be a role model for other retirees in our community so that, we can be healthy, live long, and be as independent as possible,” Ms. Johnson said.

From left to right: Justin Moor, Tom Cole, Melanie Grohowski, Billie Johnson, and Henry Johnson.

While the organizers had their reasons for sponsoring the event, the participating athletes each had their own reasons for competing as well. Terri Wolf, age 60, received a flyer in the mail about the event and said she saw it as a great opportunity to challenge herself at the precipice of a new decade in her life.

“I had a hard time turning 60 so I decided I’m going to go do this. This looks really fun, and I love being active. And so that’s what got me into it, and I’m doing it again in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well.”

Stephanie Marable, 52, said her youngest daughter was the catalyst for her participation. “My daughter forced me. She bullied me,” laughed Ms. Marable who won her heat in the 100-meter dash.

“My daughter runs at University of Cincinnati, and I always used to push her so she said ‘Oh, you’re going to do this mom’ so I did,” Ms. Marable said.

Renard Oliver Sr. woke up nursing a hamstring injury but pushed himself to compete to honor his childhood friend whom he reconnected with at last year’s 50+ Senior Classic.

“I came today in honor of my friend, who passed away 6 months ago, Charlie Ollie who the last time we were here had a great day. He earned 6 or 7 medals, and I hadn’t seen him in about 15 years so I had to be here today for him,” Mr. Oliver said.

The competition started at 8:00 a.m. and continued well into the afternoon. Interested athletes 50 years and older are encouraged to begin training for next year’s competition now, which participant Stephanie Marable said is a great way to stay fit, have fun, and meet others in the same age range who are doing the same.

Center of Hope Family Services Hosts its 2nd Annual Peace on Earth Event for the Community

Center of Hope Family Services Hosts its 2nd Annual Peace on Earth Event thetoledojournal.com

Special to The Toledo Journal

On Thursday, December 20th, 2018, Center of Hope Family Services hosted its 2nd Annual Peace on Earth Holiday event. Sponsors included the William Vaughan Company, Apple Inc., and State Bank. “Peace on Earth is our way of letting families and the community know that we are thinking of them during the holidays,” states Dr. Tracee Perryman, CEO. “Our event is welcoming of diverse cultural holiday traditions, hoping that Peace on Earth is of value to all of us. The holiday season can be a joyous time, but it isn’t necessarily joyous for everyone. Each year, we at Center of Hope strive to bring the community together in unity and solidarity. We create a safe, supportive, warm, welcoming space to let our families and community know that we care about them.”

It seems that message is resonating with the community. The 2018 Peace on Earth attendance doubled from the year before, with about 300 guests partying to festive music. The Lucas County Juvenile Court Lobby was transformed into a “Winter Wonderland” to foster joy, hope, and holiday cheer. Children and families were able to participate in an array of activities. Lucas County Juvenile Court provided craft stations, cookie decorating, and an opportunity for each child to take pictures with Santa Claus. Center of Hope hosted a gift giveaway for all children ages 0-14.

Midway through the program, the crowd paused to honor seven of its Parent Support Program participants. These individuals were recognized for graduating from Center of Hope’s Parent Education Program during the month of December. Others were honored for maintaining employment for 90 days or more through Center of Hope’s workforce development program.

The Central Catholic High School Glee club provided live entertainment, followed by Dr. Tracee Perryman. The Center of Hope ELEVATE program, winners of both the 2018 Ohio Department of Education 21st Century Literacy Achievement, and Excellence and Innovation Awards, performed the finale. The ELEVATE students performed their signature song, “ELEVATE,” which they recorded this summer, and is now available on Soundcloud. Center of Hope concluded the program by sponsored a sit-down community dinner for all guests. For more information about Center of Hope Family Services or its programs, visit www.cohfs.org.

Men of God standing up for Christ at third annual retreat

Men of God standing up for Christ at third annual retreat | The Toledo Journal
Men of all ages participated in the retreat.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

Men from three area churches, Calvary Missionary Baptist, United Missionary Baptist, and Shiloh Baptist participated in a two day retreat, and conference. The event was held on Friday and Saturday, October 5th and 6th, at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike, in Perrysburg, Ohio.

With the theme, “Men standing up for Christ,” which was taken from Matthew 5: 13-16 of the Bible, attendees participated in interactive discussions on topics such as, “Let your light shine,” and “Make your calling and election sure.” Further, group prayer was held both days, there was entertainment by Darryl Earl, a comedian out of Detroit, Michigan, and Rev. Dr. Jerry Boose of Second Baptist Church, delivered the keynote address.

Men of God standing up for Christ at third annual retreat | The Toledo Journal
Darryl Earl, comedian from Detroit, Michigan, kept the men laughing with jokes about church life

Deacon Willie Tucker of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, told The Toledo Journal the amount of men participating for the 2018 retreat had doubled from last year.

“This is an opportunity for men to come together to fellowship, and see how we can implement into the community, what we learn these two days.”

Rev. Troy Brown of United Missionary Baptist Church shared, “This is our second year, as a church, participating in the retreat. The men were really excited about attending.”

Rev. Avearn Ford of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church added that, the young men, who participated in the retreat, gave tear jerking testimonies on how they need Christ in their life.

Men of God standing up for Christ at third annual retreat | The Toledo Journal
Committee members for the retreat are, from left, Rev. Troy Brown of United Missionary Baptist church, Deacon Troy Ogle of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Deacon Willie Tucker of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and Rev. Avearn Ford of Shiloh Baptist Church.

When it came time for Rev. Boose to deliver the keynote address, he told the men that he wanted to give them information that not only tied into the retreat, but could be utilized once they returned to their individual church, and surrounding community.

He asked them, “Do you know who you are? What’s your purpose with Christ? If you understand your purpose, you’ll get in the right position to cause change.”

Rev. Boose continued, “Religion is only mentioned twice in the Bible, but the word kingdom is throughout the book. God rules Heaven. We rule ourselves; the kingdom. And if you notice, kings are never in need within their kingdom. They’ve been given authority in the land, and we, as men, need to recognize we’re kings of our land, granted that authority, by God. When we truly believe we’ve been given that authority, our lives will begin to change for the better.”

Calvary Baptist Church gives away 200 book bags filled with school supplies

Calvary Baptist Church gives away 200 book bags | The Toledo Journal
Passing out the supplies were front to back, Shirley Taylor, Frances Ester, and Bonnie Ogle.

By Journal Staff Writer

Extending the message of Christ beyond the church walls, was the motivating factor of Calvary Baptist Church, 702 Collingwood Blvd, for hosting their second book bag, and school supply give-a-way. Held on Saturday, August 11, the event featured more than school supply give-a-way.

Calvary Baptist Church gives away 200 book bags | The Toledo Journal

Free food, and clothes, as well as games, and horse rides, rounded off the day’s events.

Willie Tucker, chairman of the Deacon Board, told The Toledo Journal that the members of the church wanted to bless the kids who lived in the area of Jones leadership Academy, Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls and Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, by giving away supplies to help with their education.

Last year, the church gave away 150 book bags, and supplies, and Deacon Tucker said they would like to continue to increase that number.

“Jesus asked us to witness to others, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Calvary Baptist Church gives away 200 book bags | The Toledo Journal
Children were able to ride horses at the event. Oscar Temple gets his grandchildren, Amir and Amira Burks off the horse, while grandmother, Sandra Temple takes pictures.

“Many of the kids, who received the supplies, don’t attend Calvary Baptist Church, which is fine with us,” said Deacon Troy Ogle. “So, under the leadership of Floyd Smith Jr., pastor, what we want to do is bridge a gap between the community, and our church,” he said.

“This event is very beneficial,” said Wardell Adams, who brought five of his children to the event. “Events like this are really good for those parents who have more than one child,” he said.

Co-sponsoring the event was businessman, and member of Calvary Baptist Church, Bryan Williams Jr.

Toledo host to fifth Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival


By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

On Saturday, September 7, 2019, the weather was impeccable as was the setting for an outdoor concert and one last summer season fling. On that day deep in the woods at 11:00 am, in The Ottawa Park’s Amphitheater, the 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival got underway with a ten-hour jazz concert.

Relaxing and enjoying the warm sunny day and live Jazz were (L-R) Dennis and Jackie Springs with Dorothy and Ronnie Weathers.

The audience was exposed to several types and styles of jazz music and it was like the old saying, ‘How time flies when you’re having fun.’ This evidently was the motto for the majority of the audience, who attended the concert, the bulk of the audience stayed for the entire ten hours. It was like a mini version of the Woodstock concert in Toledo, only with a different genre of music and different kind of audience.

The musicians on the roster were all accomplished, polished, professionals, a fact that would be very evident doing their performance. Also, if you got hungry, there were vendors selling food and beverages at the door. Again why leave, it was the perfect event on a perfect day.

Audrey Northington (AKA SCAT DIVA) lights up the crowd at The 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival

The show kicked off with The Skip Turner Band featuring vocalist and recording artist, Deborah Gardner. She has also performed here in Toledo with Rev. Dr. Derrick  E. Roberts (deceased), the Sir Kalvin Hughes Trio, The Jamm Band and many others all around the United States.

Skip Turner also granted a guest spot in his set to Toledo’s self-taught musical child prodigy Gregory Buchanan Jr., who sings, plays the piano and the organ, several types of guitars, and the drums. He’s only just beginning and we are sure to hear more from him in the future.

Skip Turner started playing trumpet as a teenager here in Toledo. He went on to become the lead trumpeter playing tradition jazz standard at Toledo area clubs.

(L-R) Trina McCoy, Samuel Peoples, and Caroline Lewis enjoying the atmosphere and the music at this years Jazz festival.

Next up was from Detroit, MI. was Jerome Clark and Friends featuring Dave McMurray on Sax and vocalist Audrey Northington. Guitarist Jerome Clark is well known in the Detroit, MI music scene and he has performed at Bakers Keyboard Lounge for the past two decades as well as many other engagements in the area. In 2009 he completed ‘Water’ his first CD.

Audrey Northington (AKA the Scat Diva), who is currently appearing at Bakers Keyboard Lounge, has been referred to as the female Al Jarreau or little Ella Fitzgerald because of her sassy approach to the blues.

Jazz Festival raffle winners were (L-R) Bruce Cock, Mark McBee, and Marlene Davis shown here with Brandy Jackson and show producer Hugh Ross.

They were followed by the Latin Jazz Players a group from Lorain, OH. They call it the Latin infused Jazz Sound and currently have a CD available.

Next came the Mike Fageros Quartet. Guitarist Mike Fageros is a headliner at Bakers Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, which is the oldest jazz venue in America. His style of playing is best described a cross between postmodern bop, soul jazz, acid jazz straight ahead and the avant-garde without belonging to any the above categories.

Special Guest Performer Toledoan Gregory Buchanan Jr., a multi-talented musician who performed early in the shows displays his raffle tickets during the Jazz Festival show raffle.

Appearing last but not lease was the headliner of the show, Dean James of Houston TX., who is both an alto and soprano saxophonist, and he is about to release his filth solo project entitled ‘GROOVEY SAX’,. Here he introduces another level of original compositions, combined with all the elements that make up a diverse and exciting listening experience. This project is a unique blend of Smooth Jazz, R&B, Latin and Popular music that sets apart his own signature style and sound. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dean James began to play the saxophone at the age of fifteenth.

Toledo musical prodigy Gregory Buchanan Jr. (back right in white shirt) and. his family at the 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival

Somewhere between all the music the Great Lakes Jazz Festival committee took care of business and awarded the’ Great Lakes Jazz Enthusiast Award’ to Toledo’s own Clifford Murphy of the nationally recognizes Jazz Club, Murphy’s Place in downtown Toledo. They also awarded the ‘Great Lakes Jazz Festival Scholarship Fund’ to the Central Academy of Ohio. Monies for this educational scholarship are derived from a portion of the ticket sales of the Great Lakes Jazz Festivals itself. In addition, three audience member won cash prizes in the raffle that was going on during the show. They were Marlene Davis, Bruce Cock, and Mark McBee.

The 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival was produced by Jazz Enthusiast, Radio Host, and DJ, Hugh Ross, who is also known as, The H-Factor. He said, “My dream was to have a festival in Toledo with four or five different genres of jazz, and here it is today. I’m glad the weather cooperated with us and hopefully, this will continue to grow. Toledo has a rich history of jazz such as Art Tatum Jr. and others. My goal is to reach everybody and turn them on to the world of jazz.”

This group having a good time at The 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival.

He went to say, “Toledo has all other genres of music on the radio except jazz, so soon I will have the H-Factor Jazz Show online @ hfactorjazzshow.com. Hugh Ross also said, “Keep your eyes open because we have more Jazz Events coming in the near future!”

Calvary Baptist Holds Third Annual Book Bag Give Away

Students show off they’re brand new free Book-Bags with supplies at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

On Saturday, August 10, 2019, more than 200 central city students and their parents participated in Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away at the church located at 702 Collingwood Blvd.

The giving away of book bags was really only a small part of what was a much larger community event. However, providing the students with book bags with supplies, so they could be prepared for the first day of school was the main objective of the day.

(L-R) Calvary’s Pastor Rev, Floyd Smith Jr. with Lana Pearson and her sister Japzery and her new Book Bag, TPS CEO/Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant, with Tyler Jackson and his new Book Bag, and Mascot The Black Panther: Mr. David Miles and Deacon Willie Tucker: Book Bag Give Away Chairman at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, who was present for the activities, explained why students having a book bag on the first day of school is so important. He said, “Kids really don’t own much in life, unlike adults who when they buy their first house or car, have pride in the ownership. For kids, on the first day of school, their pride in ownership is their book bag and supplies. It is something they own and they do a show and tell with the other kids”.

“The worst scenario is when on the first day of school the teacher says ‘let’s get started, take out your pencil and write this down,’ and one kid doesn’t have any supplies, while all the rest of the kids do. This can lead to anxiety and depression for a student on the first day of school because they don’t have their proper school supplies to get started with the class. Having their own supplies brings about a sense of anatomy and a sense of pride and ownership,” he said.

Beside free Book-Bags, there were free clothing give away, free face painting, free horseback riding, and free food. There was also entertainment from the Party Crashers (a Character for Hire Service) they brought along a Mascot the famous comic book character, The Black Panther (David Miles). He mingled with and amused the kids, while passing out Super Hero stickers, to all of the young people. For spiritual uplifting there was Gospel music from the Glass City Disciples.

Glenwood Elementary student D’Marria Johnson found a pretty brand new dress at the clothes giveaway and a book bag at the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Also, all the free Book-Bags came fully stocked with all the needed school supplies and were ready to go. All you had to be is a school-aged student and you qualify for a free book-bag!

Deacon Willie Tucker, the church chairman for the Give-Away explained, “This whole thing started when we used to have a community picnic and we gave away five bicycles. There was a little boy who really wanted a bicycle but he didn’t get one, and he was so disappointed. So, one of our sponsors suggested we give away something where a lot more kids could benefit from our events, and he suggested a book-bag giveaway. So that’s what we did and this is our third year doing so, and it’s been very successful. This year, we will give away over 200 book-bags with supplies”.

“That sponsor, Williams Homes, who suggested we give out book-bags is still with us today, along with some of our other sponsors.  As, we as a church, reach out to serve the community around us. We are grateful to our sponsors for their help and donations. God has blessed us and we are just passing that blessing on”, said the Deacon.

Invited to attend by Calvary Baptist Church The Members of The Party Crashers (a Charter for Hire Service) enjoy the Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Rev. Floyd Smith Jr., the pastor of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church commented about the giveaways saying, “Our title is Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and what missionary means is that we must reach out beyond these four walls into the community and try to bring people to Jesus Christ. We also try help with their spiritual needs as well as with their physical needs”.

Providing soulful Gospel music for the Book-Bag Give Away were the Glass City Disciples.
Not only did the kids get free Book-bags they also enjoyed free horseback rides at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give- Away.
(L-R) Calvary’s Sister Sheilatt Green, Sister Jewel Parker, and Herb Gabriel enjoy freshly grilled hot dogs served by Calvary’s First Lady Robin Wilson-Smith at the Book-Bag Give-Away.

“I believe with this give-away, we touching some lives and we are giving the kids what they need to be successful. If we can plant that seed, even a little bitty mustard seed will grow into a great big giant tree. That’s is what we are trying to do today, plant those seeds,” said the pastor.

Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the 73rd Anniversary

Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the 73rd Anniversary The Toledo Journal

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

For two Sundays in a row, February 17 and 24th, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 73rd Anniversary with an afternoon service at the church. On the 17th, Rev. Dr. Jerry Boose from Second Baptist church was the main speaker. On the 24th, Rev. Dr. Willie Perryman from Jerusalem Baptist Church did the honors. Both ministers brought members of their congregations, as well as, their church choirs to join in on the celebration.

The theme of this year’s program was from Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, Instead Pray about everything,” This theme was most appropriate because it reaches back to Indiana Missionary Baptist Churches humble beginnings.

It was in the mid-forties when Rev. W. J. Stephenson, the pastor of Central Baptist Church in north Toledo realized that his church was going to lose its property due to an upcoming freeway project that was going to slice through the heart of north Toledo. He became worried that many of his parishioners that lived in the central city would have a difficult time getting to church after the expressway was built.

Faced with this dilemma, Rev. Stephenson did what a man of God should do! He turned to his Heavenly Father for help, and his help came. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he decided to resign his position as pastor of Central Baptist and open a new church in the central city where the majority of African Americans lived during that time period. He then contacted a fellow pastor, the Rev. E. J. Benton along with some established church Deacons, Trustee, pastors, church Mothers and other church-going people for a meeting.

At this meeting which took place on February 20, 1946, at 819 Ewing Street in the central city, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church was officially organized and Rev. W. J. Stephenson became the church’s first pastor. This was a position he would maintain until he passed away in July of 1959. Also present at this meeting were a group of teenagers, and unbeknownst to everyone at the time in this group, was one who was the new church’s hope of the future. A young man by the name of John E. Roberts who was there that night, would grow up, and one day become one of Indiana’s most influential and beloved ministers.

As the new church progressed it quickly began to grow and it wasn’t too long before everyone became aware that they were going need a larger space to properly worship the Lord. Now they had a mission fulfill. So, they started a building fund to build a new church building. Soon enough money was raised to purchase a property at 640 Indiana Ave. 

Missionary Baptist Church celebrated a mission fulfilled as they marched singing God’s praises all the way from the old building on Ewing Street to the new one on Indiana Avenue. Since that time the congregation has continued to grow and so has the original structure. In time came the addition of a ground level sanctuary, the upper-level sanctuary, the Stephenson-Roberts Hall and a spacious parking lot to accommodate its large growing congregation.

Since the passing of the founder, Rev. W. J. Stephenson in 1959, the church has had several pastors including the Rev. T. Wiggins in 1960, and the Rev. F. H. Alexander 1961 through 1963.

On January 21, 1965, the young teenager, who attended that first organizational meeting in 1946, the Rev. John E. Roberts became Indiana’s fourth pastor. He later elevated his status in ministry by graduating from the Toledo Bible College in 1975 and was Valedictorian of his class. From this point on he became known as Rev. Dr. John E. Roberts.

Under his leadership, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church has become one of the most influential churches in the city. They are known for their community involvement for reaching out and helping others.

As for Pastor Roberts, he is a minister who lives his ministry, 24 hours a day, in and out of the pulpit. If you meet him out in the world, he’s probably going to ask you two questions. One, ‘your name,’ and two, “are you saved’? He’s a man who understands that his main purpose in life is to help us ordinary folks find out way into God’s grace and into his heaven.

At his church, he is a continual inspiration to others and has also mentored dozens of young men in the field of ministry, many who have gone on to have their own churches.

As the church celebrates its 73rd anniversary, he had these words of divine wisdom for his congregation, he said, “Truly God has blessed us and smiled upon us, and I thank Him for it. We must never forget that Central Baptist gave birth to Indiana. Thank God for Rev. W. J. Stephenson and the pioneers like him that were with him paving the way. We must constantly pray for our church and its ministry of redemption in a lost world as we constantly live our lives in a way that honors Christ and his teaching.”

Herbert Mickler, PAL baseball coach retires after 31 years of service

Herbert Mickler, PAL baseball coach retires | The Toledo Journal

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

During his 31-year tenure as the head coach of the Police Athletic League, PAL, Padres baseball team, Herb Mickler won 15 championships, including the 2017 championship in which his team went undefeated.

But on Saturday, August 5 at Gunckel Park, located on Division and Belmont, a retirement party was held for Coach Mickler; officially ending his 31-year career.

Not only were family members and former players in attendance, but Toledo city leaders including Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, and Councilman Larry Sykes.

Herbert Mickler, PAL baseball coach retires | The Toledo Journal

Valerie Hughley, Coach Mickler’s daughter, organized the event. “I’m giving my dad this party because he was not only a great man to me, and my two siblings, but to so many other kids in the city,” she told The Toledo Journal.

“I know this retirement is not the end,” said Tami Mickler, daughter. She said, when her father completes one job, he goes on to another.

Brett Revels has been Coach Mickler’s assistant for the past four years and will be taking over as head coach.

“I have big shoes to fill,” he said. But during the past four years, Coach Revels said he learned a lot from his mentor that will make the job go smoother.

“Coach Mickler taught me to have patience with the kids. Some of them come from totally different backgrounds then others, which requires more patients, was just one of the valuable lessons I learned from him,” Coach Revels said.

“This is overwhelming,” Coach Mickler said about the large turnout of people in attendance at his retirement party. “It makes me feel good seeing so many people here,” he said.

The former 1953, National Golden Gloves, Lightweight Champion, somewhat confirmed his daughter, Tami Mickler’s suspicion of not totally retiring.

Coach Mickler laughed and said, “I’m not going to totally stop helping kids. I’m going to still work with them and try to help them do well in life. There are too many kids out here that need help.”

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

For 25 years, the Area Office on Aging, AOA, along with their community partners, have been hosting the Senior Safari at the Toledo Zoo. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, while re-visiting the zoo, all in an entertaining environment is the purpose of the event. But for 2018, participants received much more when the entertainment on Tuesday, September 18, was Motown’s The Vandellas.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, welcomes the seniors to the event, while Jerry Anderson, retired media personality, and the Master of Ceremony, looks on.

Before being entertained by the legends of Motown, Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, told The Toledo Journal that attendees were first, encouraged to participate in a one mile walk around the zoo. September is “Falls Prevention Month,” she said, and the walk is to bring awareness to falls, and ways to prevent them. Also, the walk encouraged exercising, as one of the ways to help build muscle, and bone, both of which, could help decrease the chances of falling.

“We’re hoping those who participate in the walk, each take at least 10,000 steps today,” Mrs. Johnson said. “One of our partners, Silver Sneakers, donated 100 pedometers, so seniors can keep track of their steps,” she said.

Sarah Vandevender, a pharmacist, said, various things can contribute to falls, such as dizziness. Some medications, as well as having low sodium, and potassium, could increase the chances of falling. Low magnesium, she said, could lead to muscle cramps, which could also increase the chances of falling.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Pete Peterson rolled the dice to see what exercise he had to do. Lunges weren’t a problem for him, being that he works out regularly.

“Always, speak to your pharmacist, or primary care physician, first, about taking preventive measures,” she said.

Following the one mile walk, Silver Sneakers, had four stations set up along the route to the Malawi Event Center, where vendors, lunch, and the performance by The Vandellas would take place. At each station, seniors would roll large dice that had six different exercises on each side. Jumping jacks, lunges, and leg lifts, were among some of the exercises that participants were encourage to do. Every senior that participated in an exercise, at each station, would receive a free gift.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
The Vandellas made their way through the crowd, people stood up and danced, including Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, seen on the left.

Once inside the Malawi Center, numerous vendors focusing on healthy lifestyle, or services offered to seniors, passed out information about what they offered, gave health screenings, or distributed free fruit.

After a healthy lunch, attendees were treated to 30 minute performance by The Vandellas, in which many seniors could be seen dancing to the group’s songs.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Lucy Mayer had to get a dance in with the Vandellas.

At the entrance into the zoo, seniors prepare for their one mile walk. The goal of the day was each walker tries to reach 10,000 steps.

UT Excel sponsors 35th Annual Conference For Aspirating Minority Youth

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

On January 26, The University of Toledo’s office of Toledo Excel and the UT Joint Committee presented the 35th Annual Conference for Aspirating Minority Youth. This year’s theme was, ‘Onward and Upward, Persisting Through Barriers and Obstacles’.

Indeed, a fitting topic for the ambitious minority youth of today. Like most of us, when we dream our dreams, we only dream the good things. We never imagine something bad might happen, or something or someone may try to stand in our way. For many this is knowledge that only comes with age and experience.

This year’s conference sought to give the young folks a heads up, as well as, solutions to the problems they might face as they venture into the world to pursue their goals in life. Understanding that those situations which seem impossible to solve at the time and try to block your way can be overcome with persistence and sheer determination is valuable knowledge. Knowing these facts and other methods of survival is definitely an advantage in life and that was the message of the day.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn drove this messages home even more during his address, telling the students, “You must learn how to persist. Persisting requires us as aspirating minority youths to be willing to change and adjust to our environment. You must persist through barriers.”

Adding, “Someday you will encounter something or someone, who tries to keep from reaching your goals. You must understand that you must not let anything or anyone come in between you and that, which you are designed to do. Persist through the barrier and discover your why. Why you are here and what you are designed for and find your inner light. As we pursue our greatness in the face obstacles and barriers never forget that deep inside if us there is a light that will always be there, and even in our darkest hour we must turn inside and connect with that light and let that light shine,” he said.

Dr. Strayhorn is the Founding Chief Executive Officer of, ‘Do Good Works Educational Consulting LLS’. He has written over 10 books and is internationally recognized as a student success scholar and the foremost authority on issues of equity and diversity.

Following Dr. Strayhorn, in the second session of the program, was speaker and UT graduate Christopher Scott who showcased his new book, “7 Secrets to Surviving College.” Mr. Scott who has a Masters of Education Degree said, ‘I’m here today to uplift and teach our high school and college bound students the 7 secrets that it takes to navigate college and be successful in this world. I say take no losses in life. Mr. Scott is the founder of Reach to Teach National, an organization that provides motivational service to youth across the country.

An estimated crowd of over 350, seventh through 12th grade students, parents and members of the community attended this annual free event.

Knowing that his students would benefit from the Excel program, Dr. Romulus Durant, Toledo Public Schools (TPS) superintendent, brought students from his TPS program called, ‘Young Men and Young Women of Excellence,’ a peer to peer mentorship group.

Dr. Durant said, “I try to get our students involved in community activities so they can become a part of the community, and one day contribute even more to the community as an adult. We want our youths as well as all youths to continue to aspire. We are TPS proud and very excited to be here today.”

Toledo Excel was established in 1988 and is a community project bringing various groups together for a common purpose. That purpose is to help underrepresented students including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans go to college, be successful there and graduate.

Director of Toledo Excel is David Young

The first Annual Conference for Aspirating Minority Youth was held in 1985 and continues to grow in popularity ever since.

The current Director of Toledo Excel is David Young.