The Aspiring DOctors Precollege Program, launched last year at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cleveland, has been awarded a grant of more than $83,000 from a state program that supports student mentoring. The Community Connectors grant is the largest funding award the program has received and the largest grant for the Cleveland campus since it opened in 2015.
Grant writer Alisa Kaufman said the award “affirms the tremendous inroads the Heritage College, Cleveland, has made within the greater Cleveland community in less than two years of operation. Our partnerships with Warrensville Heights School District, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Effective Leadership Academy cement our presence as a key Cleveland institution working on the frontlines to address community problems and provide collaborative, innovative solutions.”
Community Connectors, launched in 2014 as an initiative of Gov. John Kasich, provides about $10 million each year in three-to-one matching grants. The money is meant to give more Ohio students access to role models who can motivate and inspire them, and help them develop skills that lead to success in school and the workplace.
For Fiscal Year 2018, Community Connectors has awarded $9.9 million in grants to 116 programs statewide, including an award of $83,038 to Aspiring DOctors. The money will be used to fund personnel, supplies and expansion of the program, according to Terra Ndubuizu, senior director of campus administration at the Heritage College, Cleveland.
The expansion includes a bigger role for Effective Leadership Academy as a partner in Aspiring DOctors. ELA, a Warrensville Heights-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering leadership skills in students, had put on a single conference in the spring for high school seniors in the Aspiring DOctors program, during which they learned networking skills and how to navigate different personalities and set effective goals.
The Community Connectors grant will fund ELA to develop and oversee program content for five full-day conferences, including one conference for sophomores, two for juniors and two for seniors. It will also support development and implementation of after-school club programming for 7 th and 8 th graders, one day a week for 16 weeks.
The after-school program for middle schoolers will focus on teaching self-leadership, effective communication, collaboration and critical thinking. “These students will receive mentoring from ELA staff and medical students about college and career options,” Ndubuizu said. “In addition, they will work together on Community Connector’s core principles, such as goal setting, to prepare them for their transition to high school.”
The middle-school program, she said, will aim to draw students into Aspiring DOctors when they’re older, but “all project activities will be designed to help students envision a positive future for themselves, whether it be in terms of high school graduation, college placement or workforce entry.”
Aspiring DOctors is one of two OHIO programs to receive Community Connectors grants for the coming year; the other is the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ Kids on Campus program, which received a $100,000 grant to support a community/business mentoring program for 75 juniors and seniors at the Tri-County Career Center in Nelsonville, Ohio.
For more information on the Aspiring DOctors Precollege Pipeline Program, visit https://www.ohio.edu/medicine/about/campuses/cleveland/student-life/precollege-program.cfm.