For a second year, community organizations, faith or values-based groups and businesses are being asked to partner to encourage mentorship in Ohio’s schools and help give more students access to role models who can motivate and inspire them.
In 2015, more than 4,600 mentors worked with nearly 13,000 students in Ohio’s first successful year of the Community Connectors program, one of Governor John Kasich’s key education initiatives to foster increased student mentorship. “Children need an adult, a mentor, someone that they can trust to build them up and help launch them on a path of success,” said Dr. Lonny Rivera, interim superintendent of public instruction.
The Ohio Department of Education will begin the process today for the state’s $10 million Community Connectors mentoring program. You must submit an intent to apply by April 1, 2016, which can be found at the following link: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/Community-Connectors-Intent-to-Apply.
Applications will then be accepted through April 29, 2016; application and additional information can be found here: http://communityconnectors.ohio.gov/About.
Last year’s program featured projects that included Lorain County teens visiting local businesses to learn about careers in medicine, banking, and information technology; helping a student who had dropped out of Glen Este High School earn her diploma online and start a college career plan; and working with an eighth grade Columbus student, who historically struggled with behavioral and academic problems, focus on the goal of attending the academically high-performing St. Charles High School.
Nonprofit organizations from the faith or values-based and civic communities are eligible to lead projects. They must team up with a business and an eligible public school district to establish a mentorship program. Eligible school districts are those with a high percentage of students in poverty and not graduating on time. All students within that district, regardless of socioeconomic status, will be eligible to participate in the program.
The program will focus on:
• Setting goals to be prepared for 21st century careers;
• Building character;
• Developing pathways to achievement;
• Building resiliency; and
• Believing in a positive future.
Those organizations and schools who partner in mentoring efforts can receive a maximum award of $100,000, with the state matching $3 for every $1 spent.
Several grant application seminars across the state will help organizations understand the program and application process. Those meetings include:
• Tuesday, March 22 from 1-3 p.m. at Cuyahoga Community College, Jerry Sue Thornton Center, 2500 East 22nd Street, Cleveland; and
• Monday, March 28 from 1-3 p.m. at Scarlet Oaks, Community Room, 300 Scarlet Oaks Drive, Cincinnati.
• Wednesday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at Vineyard Columbus, 6000 Cooper Road, Westerville.
To RSVP for a grant application seminar and for questions, please contact Walter Taylor at (614) 644-6748 or Walter.Taylor@education.ohio.gov.
More information about the program can be found at http://communityconnectors.ohio.gov/About.