Beth Hoobler Mann’s desire to do good is constant, and thousands of the region’s children have benefitted from that desire.
Mann was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and moved to Hudson, Ohio with her thick Jersey accent at the age of 4. After a “very happy, Andy-of-Mayberry childhood,” Mann attended Bowling Green State University, where she met her future husband, Doug Mann.
In 1980, Beth graduated with a bachelor’s degree in child and family services, and in 1982, earned a masters in child psychology. After college, Mann worked as a bartender, where she says she received a great education as well.
“I have three beautiful, brilliant and beloved children. When they had the nerve to grow up and lead their own lives, I became involved with FLOC (For Love of Children). It has become my most focused passion,” Mann said. “The fact that all of our volunteers are so incredibly motivated to help the little ones we care so deeply for just drives me each and every day.”
FLOC, a Dayton-based non-profit organization, serves over 6,000 children in the Dayton area who are abused, neglected, in the foster-care system or in need of community resources — especially since the onset of the pandemic. It was established in 1980 and consists of an entirely volunteer-based team of over 2,000.
Mann has served as the president of the board for nearly 12 years. FLOC is 100% volunteer-supported, and there is no paid staff.
“Beth Mann is decidedly the most generous and caring person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” said Karen Kelly Brown, marketing director at the Dayton Mall. “Her organization is instrumental in helping with the success of the Dayton Mall Non-Proft Co-Op. Beth is also my silver lining of the pandemic, because that is how our business relationship and therefore our friendship blossomed. I’m honored to know her.”
Mann is our Daytonian of the Week, and she dedicated this article to her mom, Betsy Hoobler, who, “over her 93 years, has shared the gift of her wit, wisdom and warmth with so many.”
“Mom, you are my sunshine,” Mann said.
❤️What inspires you to do the work you do?
To be able to create joy in a most difficult world for the children we are lucky enough to serve — that is the most inspiring aspect of what we do at FLOC. We get to live in the moment of a smile newly created because people in the Dayton community care that much. I think at this point we have well over 2,500 volunteers. It becomes infectious — the realization that what you’re doing makes a profound impact on a young life. We have 12 very strong programs in place. Our website, flocdayton.org, has details.
We work very closely with the dedicated people at (Montgomery County) Children’s Services, and with several low-income schools in the area. When a need is individually presented, we’re there.
Our largest program would be Christmas for Kids, where over the years we have placed gifts under the trees of well over 30,000 at this point. This past Christmas, with COVID-19 being a reality, a very special, compassionate and kind group of people gathered gifts for kids being served through Children’s Services in a very safe and socially distanced way. Every year, families send me pictures of what their Christmas look like. And it is always merry, and it always brings a tears to my eyes.
❤️What has it been like navigating the non-profit through the COVID-19 pandemic when so many more children are in need?
When Covid first hit, we teamed with a number of nonprofits and, in a huge effort, we fed over 160,000 in our community. We have a very strong tutoring program in place, with Zoom meetings happening each and every day.
We have been partnered with the fabulous people at the Dayton Mall throughout the pandemic, offering essential and nonessential items to thousands of families in need. With the help of Global Pragathi, we have provided frozen turkeys and meals throughout the holidays, and throughout the year. We are very careful with social distancing.
❤️What is it about Dayton that makes this the community you choose to continue to serve year after year?
Throughout the 14 years I have been blessed to be a part of FLOC, I have received thousands of requests. Some are very bizarre, some are easier to assess. In all that time, I have never received a request that we could not fill. Every single request has been honored. I thank our beloved Dayton for that. This is the most generous, supportive and gracious community. People here just want to put their hand out to help. It is magical to be a part of the whole.
❤️What have been some of the most rewarding memories you have with FLOC?
Our FLOC board consists of 20 of the kindest souls. They come from all walks of life, many different professions, and all host a heart of gold. When we had board meetings in person, each meeting would honor a child who had no idea why they were present. That child had been recommended to our board by someone who had witnessed something really special in that child, whether it be something the little one had done for the community, for a fellow student, something to recognize and honor. This is called our Grant A Wish Program.
Every month, for years, we have sent kids to camp, given them a computer, provided special classes- you name it. By the time the child attending our board meeting understood what was happening, and how much our board was excited to be providing such joy, we were typically all in tears. Now, we’re doing this remotely, and the phone calls I get to make in providing whatever is needed to our Grant A Wish child — you just can’t bottle that feeling. It is precious.
❤️How has your leadership with FLOC changed you as a person?
It has been such a gift to serve in the role of president of the board for FLOC. I have met so many beautiful people, have learned so much about the joy of humanity, and my heart has grown with every volunteer who inspires such effort into making the world a better place for the children we are lucky enough to serve.
I want to thank my very favorite person on the planet, Doug Mann, for spending his life with me on this venture. Every night, we sit and plan our next big idea and the next day, watch it go into fruition, and it is just so very fulfilling to witness.