Area students to benefit from state mentorship grant

ByG.O. Community Development Corporation

Area students to benefit from state mentorship grant

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ASHTABULA — The Ohio Department of Education this week awarded several Ashtabula County schools a share of more than $6.8 million going to Ohio schools as part of a new state program.The Community Connectors School Mentorship Program aims to give more students access to positive role models, said Michael Perona, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Education. The state received 192 applications for funding from area school districts and each followed the state’s instructions to partner with community organizations and faith-based groups and businesses, he said.Ashtabula Area City Schools District will receive a Community Connectors grant for about $139,000, partnering with local agencies such as Ashtabula County Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Ashtabula Conneaut Telephone Company, Ducro Funeral Services and the City Church of Geneva. The grant lead is G.O. Community Development, a non-profit organization at 3703 Station Ave.”Ashtabula school students are the beneficiary of the services, but the grant is administered by the lead agency. In this case, G.O. Community Development is the lead,” Perona said.Ashtabula Superintendent Patrick Colucci said he’s excited about receiving the grant but he doesn’t know all the details yet.Sally Bradley, who serves as the school district’s Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG) Linkage Coordinator, will be going to Columbus on July 31 to get all the details, he said.”She’s going to come back and tell us,” he said.Bradley could not be reached for comment Thursday, but in an interview in April, she said she works to provide the building blocks to socially construct hope by providing mentors, personal attention for academic learning and social service intervention.Ashtabula school officials weren’t the only ones to receive good news from the Community Connectors program.Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley-Ashtabula County was named the lead on a more than $76,000 grant for Buckeye, Geneva, Pymatuning Valley, Conneaut, Grand Valley and Jefferson school districts to share.Last year, Gov. John R. Kasich proposed the creation of the Community Connectors to give more Ohio students access to positive role models. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive … the grant application process initiated new relationships and conversations in communities across the state on how to inspire and help more young people to reach their goals,” said Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction, in a release. “Our boys and girls need an adult, a mentor they can trust, who can help them reach their potential and show them their future.”Ross’ office will continue to analyze and work with the other grant applicants in the next 30 days in an effort to award $3.2 million in remaining funding. There was a total of $10 million in all.Award winners were selected based on a number of important factors, including the mission and vision of Community Connectors. The program provides $3 for every $1 provided by local partnerships for activities specifically associated with one-to-one mentoring.

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