ABC Awarded Four Community Connectors Grants Totaling $483,700

High school students (in red) and elementary school students (in blue) tour Central State University as part of the mentoring program.

Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC) announced today that it was awarded four Community Connectors grants totaling $483,700 that will be used to support mentoring programs in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) during the 2018-2019 school year.

The four grants are:

In these programs, ABC works with CPS to create and manage mentoring programs that pair high school students and elementary-aged children with adults or older students to develop year-long mentoring relationships. Through various activities, experiential learning opportunities, and mentoring sessions, student participants will engage in setting SMART goals to be prepared for 21st century careers, character building activities, developing pathways to achievement, building a sense of resiliency, and believing in a positive future. The mentoring programs also provide activities that foster financial literacy, entrepreneurship skills, and career readiness. A total of 465 students participate in the four programs.

Specific activities within each program vary depending on the needs of the students. For example, last year at John P. Parker a group of paired high school mentors and elementary students toured Central State University and learned about college, the importance of getting good grades, and how to prepare for a post-high school education. Service is a theme that is also emphasized in the program. The students participated in a food drive, and started a gardening project in which they were responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an on-site pumpkin patch. Also, the high school students held fundraisers to raise money for the elementary students to take a field trip that followed several key Underground Railroad sites from Kentucky to Canada.

Rachel Stallings, ABC Program Director, said “Mentoring programs such as these encourage children to believe in a positive future and provides them with key problem-solving and social skills that are necessary to be successful in life. ABC is proud to work with CPS on these important programs, and we are honored to be the recipients of the four grants.”

Community Connectors began in 2014 when Ohio governor John Kasich and the Ohio legislature joined forces to design a program to strengthen communities, encourage mentoring opportunities and create new pathways for civic engagement that would result in higher educational achievement, higher levels of well-being and health, and workforce readiness for Ohio. The Community Connectors program helps reach these goals by bringing together students, their parents, schools, communities, faith- or values-based organizations and businesses to work together to mentor local children.

UPDATE: Would you like to see how these grant funds are continually impacting the lives of CPS students?  Check out this News Story, (Aired on October 29, 2018) featuring Girls To Women, one of the initiatives that ABC is helping to implement in 20 local schools.