Mentoring program launched in Springfield

Sen. Sherrod Brown listens as Lorence McNeal, 17, talks about the importance of having a mentor Friday at the Greater Springfield CareerConnectED. Brown was on hand for the launching a mentoring program called “Springfield My Brother’s Keeper.” Bill Lackey/Staff
Caption
Sen. Sherrod Brown listens as Lorence McNeal, 17, talks about the importance of having a mentor Friday at the Greater Springfield CareerConnectED. Brown was on hand for the launching a mentoring program called “Springfield My Brother’s Keeper.” Bill Lackey/Staff

Sen. Sherrod Brown launched a mentoring program at the Springfield City Schools on Friday.

Brown, D-OH, was at the Springfield City School’s dome Friday to help launch My Brother’s Keeper, a program he said can make a big impact in Springfield and Ohio.

“A lot of people in our society of all races aren’t dealt good cards in terms of two parents involved, making a difference that way and this can fill some of those needs,” Brown said.

My Brother’s Keeper is a program started by former President Barrack Obama and aims to connect young minority men with mentors in the community. Brown said there are now more programs in Ohio than any other state.

“They are formalized mentoring programs with young men of color with people in the community who can give them direction,” Brown said of the program. “We are seeing them make a difference.”

“This can matter a lot in a young man’s life,” he said.

The program does not necessarily try to get kids to go to college, Brown said, unless that is where they want to go.

“The goal is to get to help students have direction, whether they want to go to Wright State or Clark State, whether they want to be a carpenter, whether they want to join the Air Force and work at Wright-Patt,” he said. “I just want them to have the ability to make those choices and fulfill what they want to do.”

Springfield City School’s already does a lot of that through YouMedia and CareerConnectED at the Dome. Springfield Superintendent Bob Hill said the program can help the school’s mentoring grow.

“This program gives us an additional connection to try to expand what we are currently doing and get a wider audience and recognition which can then, in turn, pull more mentors and put out more opportunities for students to be successful,” he said.

Hill said the school will have more meetings and discuss how to utilize the program to get more money for the mentoring programs.

Springfield City Vice Mayor Joyce Chilton attended a sit down meeting with Brown and school leaders Friday and said the mentoring program is important to the city. She said having someone to guide kids can be the difference between them finishing high school and building a career and getting into trouble.

Lorence McNeal is an incoming senior at Springfield City and said working with Sawyer Schneider, a mentor, has helped him develop music skills he hopes to use in the real world.

“It’s a great opportunity to do this in school because if I didn’t have this I probably wouldn’t be making music at all,” he said. “I would probably be wasting my time at home or in the streets and neither of those really have good outcomes.”

He said because of his mentor, he has decided that he wants to attend college after school and is looking to attend Wright State.

Schneider said expanding the mentoring program at Springfield would mean more kids are given a better chance to realize their dreams.

“Mentoring is important because it gives kids an opportunity to work with someone a little older in a field that they are passionate about,” he said.


By the Numbers:

70: My Brother’s Keeper programs throughout the United States.

20: States that My Brother’s Keeper programs are in.

3,500: Kids that have been impacted by My Brother’s Keeper programs so far.

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