LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education faculty secure grant for community outreach program

Maguth-Koskey-DavisoFaculty in the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education (PIs Dr. Brad Maguth, Dr. Kristin Koskey, and Dr. Al Daviso) have been awarded a $101,498 Community Connectors Grant Award through the Ohio Department of Education. Their 2018 grant proposal was rated among the highest in the state by reviewers, out of 190 applications requesting nearly $20 million for this $8 million round. The grant is designed to give academically vulnerable students access to role models who can help motivate and inspire them, as well as help them develop skills that lead to success in school and the workplace.

“Since 2015, we've received $377,290 in grant awards from the Ohio Community Connectors Initiative, as well as over $200,000 in funding and in-kind support from our program partners, including The University of Akron, Barberton City Schools, Johnson United Methodist Church, Raymond James Financial, and the United Way of Summit County,” says grant coordinator Erin Stevic. “Over the past three years, this support has enabled the program to offer over 8500 hours of mentoring to more than 400 Barberton students in grades 5-12.”

The program connects well-trained adult mentors with at-risk Barberton students. Mentors include University teacher candidates and Barberton community members who commit to meet with their matched mentees for at least an hour per week during the school year. All mentors must pass background checks and receive training before being assigned to mentor one or more Barberton students.

Mentors focus on promoting goal setting, goal attainment, character building, resilience, and academic growth with their students.  Leaders of each community organization meet to monitor both mentor and mentee progress, and provide incentives and rewards to those youth demonstrating growth.

“The mentoring program works with our areas most vulnerable and often invisible youth. Our community partners are committed to ensuring youth understand their worth and have a path towards success in life,” notes Maguth, director of the H.K. Barker Center for Economic Education, said of the program.

“While faculty in the College of Education at The University of Akron have a rich and successful record of mentoring and working with Barberton students, there was a need to rally together other community partners interested in supporting the most academically vulnerable youth in Barberton,” explains Maguth.  “It is amazing how far we’ve come, but a lot of great work is still needed moving forward.”

University students and community members interested in volunteering to mentor Barberton youth should contact Erin Stevic, grant program coordinator, at estevic@uakron.edu, or Sarah Palace, Specialist iC.A.R.E. Mentoring, United Way of Summit County, at spalace@uwsummit.org.

Learn more at https://www.uakron.edu/education/community-engagement/cc/ and http://www.icarementoring.org/.