United Way of Greater Stark County’s Young Leaders Society Hosts STARK SOUP Events to Benefit Local Entrepreneurs

United Way’s Young Leaders Society hosts the third of three events in the 2017 STARK SOUP series on Sunday, October 8 at 6 pm at the YWCA Canton. The proceeds from the event PLUS a $1,000 matching grant will go home with the winner. The STARK SOUP series is a micro-grant program that supports Stark County community projects focused on health, education and financial stability - the impact areas of United Way of Greater Stark County’s BOLD GOALS. Bold goals are United Way’s essential building blocks for a better quality of life.

STARK SOUP offers a supportive space for creative people and a relational hub where people can connect. The rest is up to the attendees, but wonderful things can happen when people come together and SOUP stories are evidence of that. STARK SOUP is a community dinner that exists to take the innovative ideas from remarkable individuals and organizations in our community and put life to them.

STARK SOUP MICRO-GRANT APPLICATION (Application closes at noon on September 15, 2017)

General admission tickets to the upcoming dinner are $10 and include soup, salad, bread and a chance to vote for one of the four presented project proposals. Each speaker has four minutes to talk about their project idea, how it will advance United Way of Greater Stark County’s BOLD GOALS and answer four questions from the audience members.


  • Operation: Flags of Freedom is planning to add an additional education aspect to its Memorial Day weekend event. They are going to create a passport program with different education activities at each “port”.

  • Daniel Greer from Urbsee would like to create and distribute a Downtown Canton exploration map that will be displayed in strategic areas around Downtown.

  • Heather Kuhns, a school psychologist at North Canton City Schools would like to put together sensory toolkits so every student at Orchard Hill Intermediate School and Greentown Intermediate School can benefit from the opportunity to utilize sensory tools.

  • Christina Ziga-Budd would like to bring a GiGi’s Playhouse to Stark County. GiGi’s Playhouse is a down syndrome achievement center where families and people having down syndrome can go and participate in activities, therapies and tutoring FREE.

At the event, attendees eat, talk, and network then vote on the project that they believe benefits Greater Stark County the most. At the end of the night, the spoon ballots are counted and the winner goes home with all the money raised PLUS a $1,000 matching grant from United Way’s Young Leaders Society. All are invited to support these innovators and dreamers from our community in pursuit of their passions!

DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND, TICKETS HAVE SOLD OUT FOR THIS EVENT. 20 tickets will be available at the door of the event on October 8 at 6PM at the YWCA of Canton. Thank you for all of your support!

We hope that you will join us for dinner on Sunday, October 8 at 6 PM at the YWCA of Canton to support these innovators and dreamers from our community in pursuit of their passions!


Christina Weyrick & Joe Rozsa are planning an event called Stark County FLAVOR to raise awareness and funds for the work being done to settle refugees and immigrants into the Stark & Summit County communities through International Institute of Akron. They’re hoping to build a network of volunteers & advocates to share true information about refugees and immigrants; as well as provide an event template for other communities to adopt and implement. Beyond education and volunteer opportunities, FLAVOR will help to share the most important story of all - to remind everyone that we are ALL descendants of immigrants and to build greater solidarity within our community.

Lisa Benton will speak about the Massillon Community Garden Coalition, which serves as a collaborative network of Massillon and Western Stark organizations, whose mission is to coordinate community gardens. If they obtain the micro-grant on April 23, funds will be used to add raised beds, underground watering systems and special needs tools to two garden sites, Ability Garden & The Franklin Park Neighborhood Visions Garden. Their goal is to make garden sites more accessible for those who are developmentally disabled and/or mobility challenged.

Tenicia James, Mission Outreach Coordinator for Mercy Medical Center, is developing a new program called Wednesday Walks to be held in NE Canton by St. Paul Square. Wednesday Walks will offer a safe environment for individuals to get out and walk in their community and encourage healthy habits.

Stephen Dages is a junior at University of Mount Union and will pitch his program, Mount Mentors. This collaboration with Pathway Caring for Children brings a group of foster children to the campus where they are partnered with student mentors every other week during the school year. The children and their student mentors share a meal together and connect with an activity during each visit. Stephen’s vision is that Mount Mentors will be adopted and implemented as an official ongoing student program.

At our January STARK SOUP event, Skylark Bruce won $2,310. Skylark Bruce is part of the Canton Sunday Picnic, a volunteer group that feeds hungry people in our community every Sunday. They will use the grant money to make improvements to their kitchen to help increase their efficiency and storage of donated food.

In 2016, SOUP events funded $4,130 into community projects. In addition to the $4,130, YLS matched $3,000. 2016 SOUP winners include Better Future Facilitators, Maranda Weigley and Jason Pigott. Better Future Facilitators received a $2,400 micro-grant for their program that enables high-potential homeless citizens living in shelters opportunities to co-create and own their own small business. Anti-Hunger Games was created by Maranda Weigley. She received a micro-grant of $2,700 to help provide weekend food for students that receive free or reduced cost meals at school. Jason Pigott received $2,130 to launch virtual reality technology in his 7th grade classroom.

One of our STARK SOUP events was filmed live, so to get a better idea of the format and style of this unique program watch what STARK SOUP is all about

If you would like to sponsor a portion of STARK SOUP, please contact  Carrie Clemens

Thank you to our 2017 SOUP Sponsers!

Golden Ladle Presenting Sponsor 

Wooden Spoon Sponsors



In-Kind Donations

Cheryl Henderson