State Superintendent Learns about Walnut Springs’ Success with Community Connectors

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Community Connectors leader Tim Brown asked students and mentors for feedback.



In his 2018 State of the State address, Ohio Governor John Kasich outlined a new proposal to bring together families, community organizations, faith- or values-based organizations, businesses and others in support of schools and mentoring programs.  Community Connectors provides matching grants that will help give more Ohio 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. 

As a prelude to the governor’s remarks, which were delivered at Otterbein University in Westerville, members of Kasich’s education team, including State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, visited Walnut Springs Middle School to speak with students and mentors involved in the Ohio Department of Education Community Connectors grant-funded mentoring program.  

Beginning last fall, at Walnut Springs, 30 students and 30 adults started participating in one-on-one mentoring through the leadership of the FCA Character Development Mentoring Program lead by Tim and Karmen Brown.  On March 6, some of those pupils and their mentors had the opportunity to meet with Superintendent DeMaria to express their appreciation for the program and share their thoughts about the value of being involved with school mentoring.  “It’s nice to have another adult to talk to about what I’m going through,” the students explained.  “My mentor is always there – he is constantly encouraging me and checking in to make sure that I’m doing well and am staying on track.  This program is more than mentoring - it’s like family.”

The ODE Community Connector’s grant provides funds for a one-year program implementation.  Westerville City Schools is partnering with FCA again this year to apply for grant funding in hopes of expanding the program to an additional middle school next school year.