Saturday, February 16, 2019 Medina 27°


Paying it forward can have low cost, high value

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All Fired Up owner Amy Hudak explains to children participating in Pay It Forward Storytime about some simple ways they can do something nice for someone else Wednesday afternoon in Medina. NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE


MEDINA — A dozen children gather around the wooden tables at All Fired Up pottery store as owner Amy Hudak welcomes them to Pay It Forward Storytime.

For the next hour, the kids listened to a story and painted their own piece of pottery.

Seven Pay It Forward Storytimes in all will be held at All Fired Up, 233, S. Court St., through Dec 7. They are sponsored by Tina Zarlenga in memory of her son, Ryan, 5, who died in 1993.

“He loved art and he loved being creative, and my sister has a brain injury and she started finding enjoyment coming here,” Zarlenga said.


Tina Zarlenga, left, and Hudak are shown Wednesday. Zarlenga has been finding ways to pay it forward in memory of her son Ryan, 5, who died in 1993. NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE


Zarlenga began paying it forward 10 years ago, and 2017 marks the second year she has been sponsoring the story times at All Fired Up.

Zarlenga purchases the studio time and ceramic ornaments for the events, so there is no cost for the families attending.

After her welcome, Hudak told the children what it means to pay it forward, and how they can do simple things for other people that would not cost any money.

She then read a story before offering each child a choice of a ceramic figure to paint.

Wednesday’s options included Christmas ornaments in the shape of a gingerbread man, holiday stocking or star.

After Hudak explained how to paint ceramics, the children crafted their own keepsake ornament.

“His birthday used to be such a sad day for me, and seeing all the kids has just made it so much more enjoyable,” Zarlenga said. “I find joy in it now instead of the sadness.”

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or

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