$9.9 million in new Community Connectors Mentoring Grants awarded


COLUMBUS — One hundred sixteen community partnerships will share $9.9 million to mentor approximately 33,000 Ohio students in the latest round of grants in the Community Connectors school mentorship program. Since July 2015, 342 community partnerships have been awarded $29.2 million for programs that give more Ohio students access to role models who can motivate and inspire them and help them develop skills that lead to success in school and the workplace.

“With experience comes wisdom, and Ohio’s students have so much to learn from their community leaders. Through the Community Connectors program, students are encouraged to dream big and learn the skills needed to put their dreams into action,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “We also find that mentors go into the program with the intent of helping others and they end up learning more than they ever imagined from their mentees. These interactions are invaluable.”

In his 2014 State of the State address, Gov. John Kasich outlined a new proposal to bring together families, community organizations, faith- or values-based organizations, businesses and others in support of our schools and to mentor students. From that proposal, Community Connectors was developed and passed by the Ohio General Assembly.

Since July 2015, approximately 41,000 students have been guided by 13,704 mentors, and more than 222,000 one-to-one mentoring hours were logged. Mentors also have provided approximately 304,550 hours of group activities with students. In all, 55 of Ohio’s 88 counties are or have been home to one or more Community Connectors grants.

The state received 197 applications for funding during this round, and each application included a business, civic and faith- or values-based partner organization. The program provides $3 for every $1 provided by local partnerships for activities specifically associated with one-to-one mentoring.

Among the diverse businesses, nonprofits and other groups coming together to help mentor students are: Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, OSU Extension, Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church, Blue Chip Broadcasting/Radio One, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Highlights for Children, Greenville National Bank, OhioMeansJobs Cincinnati, Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services, United Way of Marion, The Mentoring Center of Central Ohio, Huntington National Bank, Lakeland Community College, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio, Appalachian Ohio P-20 Council, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Ross County Heroin Partnership Project, Delphos Rotary Club, Quest Federal Credit Union, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA, Oxford Chamber of Commerce, Wayne Health Care, Dayton Power & Light, and Patheon Pharmaceuticals.

Staff report

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