Three area schools receive mentoring grants

About $6.8 million was shared between 82 community partnerships as part of Ohio’s new Community Connectors school mentorship program. The program, created by Gov. John Kasich, received about 192 applications for competitive funding through partnerships between a business, civic and values-based organization.

The program seeks to provide students with role models to both inspire them and teach them skills that can lead to success at school and work.

Springfield-based Opportunities for Individual Change and Goodwill Easter Seals of Miami Valley received about $93,000 for their Forward Changing Mentoring Program, which will partner about 80 children from Hayward Middle School and OIC’s Learning Opportunities Center with mentors. The program will use a curriculum called The Good Guys, said OIC Executive Director Mike Calabrese, and will be seeking natural mentors from the community.

“Mentoring is always a key component when you’re trying to help both youths and adults who are trying to either reintegrate into society or a kid who struggles socially,” Calabrese said. “We place a lot of value on mentoring.”

Springfield High School also partnered with The Nehemiah Foundation to receive a $77,000 grant for the Clark County Community Connectors Program, which will provide career readiness tools combined with mentoring for students at the new Greater Springfield Career ConnectEd Center, located at the Springfield Center of Innovation: The Dome.

Mentors will come from three different businesses: Speedway, Creative and Now, and Itinerant Studio. The businesses will also work with students on applying skills to real business projects, like creating an advertising campaign for a product at Speedway.

“They will really help integrate everything we’re doing at the Career ConnectEd,” said Springfield Superintendent Bob Hill. “The experts in those fields will provide those kids with hands-on training.”

The Nehemiah Foundation offers mentor training to organizations in Clark County and will modify its program to train the mentors for the program with the school district. The mentors will be matched with students inside the ConnectEd Center, said Nehemiah Foundation Executive Director Shelley Lopez.

“We’re excited to be a part of something that’s so vital to our city,” she said.

In Champaign County, Triad High School received at $75,000 grant to partner with several local organizations.

The Ohio Department of Education will also analyze other applications to award another $3.2 million in additional money. As part of the most recent state budget, an additional $20 million will be provide for the program.

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