Cincinnati Museum Center celebrates Youth Program graduates

Cincinnati Museum Center is celebrating the successes of several members of a longstanding development initiative who’ve recently graduated from high school and plan to continue their education at the college level.

Started in 1989, the CMC Youth Programs offer local teenagers the ability to participate in a variety of experiential learning opportunities alongside museum staff while they’re volunteering at the museum. The students also receive college readiness and career development coaching.

Participants in CMC Youth Programs

More than 80 young people take part in the program every year. Six members of this year’s class recently finished up their time in high school.

  • Ester Blazer, the School for Creative and Performing Arts: Plans to attend the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP)
  • Mylo Estep, Colerain High School: Plans to attend community college to study museum studies
  • Leah Horn, Saint Ursula Academy: Plans to attend college to become a physician assistant
  • Bethany Strong, Mercy McAuley High School: Plans to attend college to study media and film production
  • Anthony Werner, Sycamore High School and home school: Taking online courses in video game design
  • Scarlet Wright, Mercy McAuley High School: Plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to study early childhood education

“I’m so proud of the work our seniors have shared with us and can’t wait to see how they continue to make an impact,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “The talent and effort of our young leaders create transformational moments for our guests. Every year, I’m so impressed by the skill, perspective and friendships built in our Youth Programs.”

Three decades of supporting young people, their careers

CMC’s Youth Programs started 35 years ago with two student volunteers in the Museum of Natural History and Science. 

Today, the effort has grown to give dozens of young people every year a chance to participate in program development, content delivery, collections support and more throughout the museum. However, academic success is the cornerstone of the program.

To date, all 2,000 program alumni have graduated from high school, with 99% of them going on to enroll in a four-year college, according to CMC. The museum noted that 80% of program participants receive scholarships or financial aid, which CMC helps facilitate through financial aid workshops and scholarship fairs.

“To me, Youth Programs means engagement, inspiration, diversity, service and empowerment, not just for the participants, but for our whole community,” said Calvin Harper, program director.

While Harper is busy cheering on the graduating seniors, he and his team wasted little time welcoming a new group of youth volunteers. CMC Youth Programs have 35 new members signed up for this summer.

CMC’s Youth Programs receives financial support from the Stillson Foundation – Fifth Third Bank, trustee.

“What we learn here is invaluable,” Harper continued. “It impacts us as individuals and as a community, enriching our lives and helping us move forward toward success.”


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