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$8 Million in New Community Connectors Mentoring Grants Awarded

Seventy-one community partnerships will share $8 million to mentor approximately 33,000 Ohio students in the latest round of grants in the Community Connectors school mentorship program. Since July 2015, 413 community partnership applications have been awarded $38 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.

From July 2015 through October 2017, approximately 83,000 students have logged nearly 750,000 one-to-one mentoring hours. Mentors also have provided approximately 541,319 hours of group activities with students. In all, 69 of Ohio’s 88 counties have been home to one or more Community Connectors grants.

The state received 190 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: Cleveland Police Foundation, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Hardin County Ministerial Association, Workforce Partnership of Shelby County, Memorial Health System, Springfield Museum of Art, PNC Bank, Ottawa County Community Corporation, Highlights for Children, Otterbein University, MENTOR Central Ohio, Ross County Heroin Partnership Project, Hopewell Federal Credit Union, GE Aviation USA, Mansfield NAACP, Fifth Third Bank, Soul Republic United Restaurants, Miles McClellan Construction, Rotary Club of Westerville Sunrise, iHeartMedia Cleveland, Wayne County Career Center, Solid Rock Church, Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8, Ohio University – Chillicothe, Communities in Schools, OhioMeansJobs.

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