Cincinnati Youth Collaborative celebrates mentors

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The Cincinnati Youth Collaborative recognized two generous souls at its annual Mentor Celebration.

The Outstanding Mentor Award went to Monna Beckford. In addition to her work as a community resource coordinator at Evanston Academy, she has mentored with CYC since 2009.

The CYC Ambassador Award was presented to Cincinnati Public Schools Supt. Mary Ronan, a long-term partner of CYC, based on her commitment to CYC’s mission.

“One hour each week can be all that it takes to make a profound impact on a child,” said Jane Keller, president and CEO of CYC. “So many of our mentors go above and beyond, forming life-changing relationships and laying a foundation of success for young people.”

The power of mentoring was made especially apparent by guest speakers Harry Blanton and Patrick Russell. Blanton became a CYC mentor to Russell 18 years ago, and they are like family. “Harry is my rock. I’m 28 years old, and I call him all the time,” said Russell. “I couldn’t think of where I would be in life without him.”

Partnership focuses on keeping students in college

Several community organizations have joined forces to respond to the growing concern that too many college students drop out before earning a degree.

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, University of Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash (UCBA), Accenture and The Business of Good Foundation have all pledged support to a new initiative supporting local college students to ensure their success.

The initiative comes at a time when the city is seeking solutions to the childhood poverty crisis.

“More than 47 percent of our city’s children are living in poverty,” said Jane Keller, president and CEO of CYC. 
The initiative is built around mentoring, which Keller described as “a proven tool” for improving academic outcomes.

The Business of Good Foundation, a Cleveland organization working in Cincinnati, is providing its web-based mentoring platform. CYC will match college-bound CPS graduates with local mentors, and the relationships will be supported by a CYC mentor coordinator.

Dean Cady Short-Thompson of UCBA and Dr. Santa Ono of UC pledged their support to the partnership and the students.

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