CYC taps colleges to boost mentoring program

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 16:19:29-05

CINCINNATI - In conjunction with national “I Am a Mentor Day,” the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative announced on Thursday the expansion of its mentoring program to include college mentoring.

Right now, CYC’s program includes one-on-one mentoring opportunities that match an adult mentor with a Cincinnati Public Schools student in second through 12th grade. Beginning this spring, CYC will grow those mentoring opportunities to include pairing an adult mentor with a CPS student graduating from high school and enrolling at the University of Cincinnati, either via its main campus or one of its regional colleges.

“Research shows that mentored youth are statistically more likely to enroll in college, have strong attendance, and have a higher overall positive attitude about the school and the work they’re doing at that school,” said Jane Keller, CYC president and CEO. 

Keller said that the majority of students CYC – a Cincinnati nonprofit with a mission of empowering vulnerable children and young adults to overcome obstacles and succeed in education, career and life – works with are first-generation college students, meaning they are the first in their family to attend college. Because of that, they often don’t have the financial, academic or emotional support required to navigate the college environment. 

“Education is vital to ending the generational cycle of poverty,” Keller said. “Just by returning to their second year of college, students become dramatically more likely to earn their degree. Mentoring is a proven tool.”

In addition to partnering with CPS and UC on the program, CYC also is partnering with The Business of Good Foundation, a Cleveland-based nonprofit that will fund the majority of the program and MentorcliQ, the Web-enabled platform it will use to match mentors and mentees. 

“The Business of Good hosts the fastest-growing mentor partner program in Ohio,” Keller said, “and we’re very excited and honored to be their first partner here in Cincinnati.”

CYC also is partnering with the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, which will provide scholarships for students in the program.

Keller said she anticipates the program will cost $150,000 in its first year and $500,000 over the course of five years. 

The initiative kicks off this spring, when CYC will work to recruit a set of 40 adult mentors to match with 40 graduating CPS students, although Keller said she expects that number to grow to at least 600 mentors and 600 students over the next five years. 

Anyone in the community interested in serving as a mentor can contact CYC. Businesses and organizations also are encouraged to become involved by mentoring or providing internship, seminar or networking opportunities for students.

“I think the reason why this is so significant is that it’s really about the future of Cincinnati,” said UC President Santa Ono. “These students migrating to us from CPS are real people, not numbers, and they’re the future of Cincinnati.”