Free tutoring at Cleveland Public Library branches

Free tutoring at Cleveland Public Library branches

Cleveland Public Library is offering free tutoring sessions through out the city of Cleveland and at two of its library branches in Central. The Sterling library and Woodland library have tutoring and homework help available on a variety of school subjects Monday through Thursday. Individual or small group tutoring allows students to receive a level of attention that’s difficult to obtain in large classrooms. Tutoring also helps raise children’s self-esteem as the student begins to experience success.


Tutoring in reading for children in kindergarten through third grade is available from 4 – 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday at the Woodland branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Reading tutoring and support for K – 3 students is offered at the library in partnership with Braxton Education and Technology Consulting. The Woodland branch is located at 5806 Woodland Ave, Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland Public Library Woodland Branch
Cleveland Public Library Woodland Branch

Students who don’t read at grade level by third grade often have a difficult time catching up as they progress through school. If your child is having difficulty reading or could use a more support, now is the time to start for K-3 students and take advantage of free tutoring opportunities available in Central.

All subjects

Both the Sterling library branch and Woodland library have one-on-one or group tutoring and homework help available for kindergarten through 8th grade in math, science, history and language arts. These support sessions are available from 3 – 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and are offered in partnership with Cleveland State University’s America Reads tutoring services. The Sterling library branch is located at 2200 E30th Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

The complete list of Cleveland Public Library tutoring sessions and locations is available here.

Community baby shower promotes safe sleep, hopes to reduce infant mortality

Community baby shower promotes safe sleep, hopes to reduce infant mortality

Friendly Inn is hosting a free community baby shower that will focus on promoting safe sleep practices and offering support to pregnant women who want to quit smoking. The goal of the event is reducing Cleveland’s high infant mortality rates.

When you’re pregnant, everything you put in your body can affect your baby. If you smoke, your baby is exposed to chemicals such as nicotine and carbon monoxide. If you quit smoking before you become pregnant (or during the first 3 months of your pregnancy), your risk of having a baby with low birth weight is the same as that of a woman who does not smoke. Women who quit later in their pregnancy still reduce the risk of problems for their babies.

It’s also important to not go back to smoking after the baby is born and to ask others not to smoke in your home. This will reduce your baby’s risk of having breathing problems. Quitting smoking can be hard, but there are resources available to help.

Moms Quit for Two is a smoking cessation program for pregnant moms. The goal of the program is to reduce the burden of tobacco on society and decrease the number of women who smoke during and after pregnancy. The leading causes of infant death in Ohio are prematurity and preterm births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects, all which can increase when a pregnant woman smokes.

Baby_pinkblanketAvailable at the Friendly Inn Settlement, the program enrolls pregnant moms who smoke. A community health worker works with expectant moms to complete 4 prenatal and 12 postpartum smoking sessions. At each visit, the mom will receive quit support education and carbon monoxide testing. If mom stays smoke free after the baby is born, she will receive a monthly $25 diaper voucher for up to twelve months.

Moms Quit for Two is hosting its second annual Community Baby Shower from 1 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at Friendly Inn Settlement located at 2386 Unwin Road, Cleveland, Ohio. All expectant mothers are invited to attend. This year’s baby shower will focus on safe sleep.

“The purpose of the event is to spread awareness and educate pregnant women in our county with the tools and resources needed to have a successful birth outcome and ensure we will celebrate their child’s first birthday,” said Michelle Boclear, supervisor, Moms Quit for Two. “Currently, our county is ranks 6th in Infant Mortality. We have one of the highest rates of death for African-American mothers in our country.”

The event will include food, games, resources, prizes and educational information. Moms must be pregnant to attend. R.S.V.P. for the event by calling 216.431.7656.

Groups like Motherhood Sisterhood 216 and Our Babies Count are other outlets for moms or moms-to-be to get information and connect to other moms. For tips on how to make a plan to quit smoking click here.

CSU accepting applications for Central Neighborhood Scholarship

CSU accepting applications for Central Neighborhood Scholarship

Cleveland State University (CSU) is accepting applications for the Central Neighborhood Scholarship until April 21, 2017. Now in its third year, the Central Neighborhood Scholarship Program offers two – four year full tuition scholarships to qualifying recent high school graduates that reside in the Central Neighborhood.

The scholarship will be awarded to two students entering their freshmen year at Cleveland State University in fall 2017. These students will have the opportunity to retain their scholarships up to their senior year in 2021-2022. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and satisfactorily complete 12 credit hours per semester. It is also expected for them to continue presence in the Central Community through civic engagement.

Cleveland State University campus
Cleveland State University campus

In addition to the scholarship, selected students will receive a mentor and will participate in regular leadership development activities. The scholarship will be awarded to the students that display a clear commitment to their education, promising academic success and embody the spirit of the Central Promise Neighborhood.

Joseph Bowman (New Tech East) and April Willis (John Hay High School of Architecture and Design) were 2016 scholarship recipients. Joseph plans to major in computer engineering and April plans to study Film, Television and Interactive Media.

The scholarship is a result of the collaboration between the university and Central neighborhood and is aimed at increasing higher education opportunities for the neighborhood’s youth. The Central Neighborhood Scholarship is designed to express Cleveland State University’s commitment to community investment and a belief that the institution should have a direct impact on the immediate community. Since it is located in the Central neighborhood, CSU would like to have a particular focus on the residents of the community.

Eligibility Requirements:

To qualify for a scholarship, students:

  • Must be Citizens of the United States or permanent residents.
  • Must be members of the Central Neighborhood (Proof of Residency (2 Forms) – acceptable Forms: School records, utility bill, voter registration card, any document issued by this State or county, city, or the federal government, housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax statement.
  • Must have applied or have been accepted to Cleveland State University and intend to enroll full-time at CSU following high school graduation.
  • Must be graduating from Central Neighborhood’s core high schools by May 2015.
  • Demonstrating superior scholastic ability with a GPA Range: 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale.  Please send official transcript.
  • Submit an essay of no more that 1,500 words that serves as evidence of leadership and involvement, outstanding character, service to community and school).
    • Briefly describe your future plans.
    • Please detail your recent leadership experience.

View and download the scholarship application here:

Read more about the scholarship requirements and expectations here:

Word from Lowell: Promise 2.0 How shared data and resident voice will lead the way

Word from Lowell: Promise 2.0 How shared data and resident voice will lead the way

Lowell Perry Jr., Executive Director

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood (CCPN) community partners, residents, and Promise team members gathered together in March as part of a collaborative think tank to discuss the evolution of the Promise mission. The strategy session focused on two key characteristics that are essential for collective impact initiatives such as Promise:

  1. A shared data system that helps to better inform decision making
  2. Significant resident integration into all aspects of the initiative

Exploring a shared system and identifying opportunities for Promise Ambassadors to have decision making power in CCPN will be a significant focus for our team this year.

Shared measurement creates bigger impact

We live in a very data driven society. Most philanthropic investors, whether government, individual, or institutional, want to see performance metrics that illustrate how their investments are making a difference. Yes, we social profit organizations still have to provide the anecdotal information that pulls at the heartstrings. However, in today’s philanthropic market, people tend to invest in outcomes, rather than programs. A collective impact endeavor, such as Promise, needs to be able to measure how the aligned organizations are moving forward together, as opposed to each entity reporting outcomes individually in their respective silos. As the backbone organization in the CCPN “cradle to career pipeline” initiative, we see it as our responsibility to drive measurement alignment among our partner organizations.

A model of a possible Promise Data Office as presented by CWRU.
A model of a possible Promise Data Office as presented by CWRU.

During the recent Promise partner think tank, our partners from Case Western Reserve University Center for Urban Poverty and Community Development outlined a model for a Promise Data Office (PDO). The vision is that this PDO will not only collect, but also analyze, relevant information in a confidential manner with the sole purpose of enhancing the cradle-to-career journey of children in CCPN. This shared information will set the foundation for a so-called early warning system which can predict the need for appropriate intervention as required to ensure no child slips through society’s cracks.

When we are successful in identifying and implementing a data platform that is beneficial to all CCPN entities, we will have a more three dimensional picture of the children and families we serve. One day perhaps, this model will form the genesis for an expanded Promise footprint. The ultimate result will be more CCPN children and families being introduced onto the world stage as college students and/or professionals, ready to make their mark!

To begin to make the PDO reality and determine the best platform, Promise is collaborating with DigitalC to begin meeting with partners to conduct a data capacity assessment. We will then reconvene in May to begin mapping out a model for the PDO.

Residents lead the change when voices have power

Perhaps the most important aspect of any successful community endeavor is that the residents are leading the change. If the people most affected by the actions of the organizations delivering services are not involved in every aspect from planning to execution, then long-term success is slim and none, and slim just left town. Over the past six years, CCPN has put resident leadership development and engagement efforts at the center of our work. Our professionally trained Promise Ambassadors serve on every standing committee, including the Advisory Council, work closely with community partners, and Ambassador input is included in every Promise solutions strategy put forth.

We recently graduated a class of nine new ambassadors this past August. Our partners, Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) and Enlightenment Consulting, lead the training effort.  The next phase of training involves moving from engagement to integration. Ambassadors are gaining additional expertise in areas they are most passionate about.  I encourage all community partners to be intentional about integrating Promise Ambassadors into their work, including being in a position to influence services design and delivery. CCPN has arguably the best resident leader effort in the Promise Neighborhood Initiative National Network. This is a true testament to the intentionality of the Promise team and partners, and the resident leaders themselves to be engaged in the process.

Central-Cedar transformation takes shape with opening of Sankofa Village

Central-Cedar transformation takes shape with opening of Sankofa Village

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) hosted a grand opening ceremony to celebrate the new Cedar-Central Development called Sankofa Village on Friday, March 10, 2017. Sankofa Village is a 15.2-acre residential phase of the Cedar Transformation Plan, the redevelopment plan that has resulted from the Cedar Choice Neighborhood Planning grant award.

“Sankofa Village is an investment in the Cedar-Central neighborhood that provides quality housing to its residents,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “It is another example of how we’re working together to make Cleveland a better place to live, work, play, and do business.”

Sankofa Village
Sankofa Village

Sankofa Village Phase I is a 61-unit four-story elevator building with units that consist of one-bedroom, full-bathroom, kitchen with energy-star range, range hood and refrigerator, living space, and closets. Sankofa Village Phase II is a 50-unit development of townhomes housed in five separate buildings. The site is 2.74 acres and has two parking lots, two playgrounds and will meet Enterprise Green Community Standards as well as LEED Neighborhood Development guidelines.

“Sankofa Village embraces the rich history of the area and serves as a catalyst to help transform the neighborhood by connecting people and creating new opportunities for residents within this community,” said Jeffery K. Patterson, CMHA Chief Executive Officer. “CMHA is pleased to have the opportunity to enhance the neighborhood based upon the input of various community stakeholders and residents.”

Ralph A. Falbo, Inc. and Pennrose Properties will develop and manage the properties and CMHA is the sponsor, property owner, partner, lender, and provider of Section 8 operating subsidies through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.

“Sankofa Village is an excellent example of what cooperation across the board can produce from CMHA to the developer, contractor, architect and the city. Congratulations to all for a job well done,” said Ralph Falbo, Owner of Ralph A. Falbo Inc.

“My son and I like Sankofa Village because it is a dynamic location and so close to downtown Cleveland with great access to the freeways. The materials used to build the townhomes are wonderful. The inside of the units are great, with an airy, open floor plan. I like the vaulted ceilings and large windows that bring in excellent, natural light,” said Monica Brentson, resident of Sankofa Village.

The goal of this Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant is to employ a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program will transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and leverage investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improve access to jobs. In addition, Choice Neighborhoods will ensure that current residents will be able to benefit from this transformation by preserving affordable housing or providing residents with the choice to move to affordable and accessible housing in another existing neighborhood of opportunity.

More information on how to apply for residency at Sankofa Village is available here.

Legal Aid Society program provides second chances

Legal Aid Society program provides second chances

A $100,000 grant awarded to Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice is helping CMHA residents seal past criminal or juvenile records.

The Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP) provides a “second chance” that is meant to help young people, under 25, who live or have lived in public housing or receive vouchers through what’s commonly referred to as Section 8, to get past hurdles to things like finding work or affordable places to live. Through the grant, the Legal Aid Society will pay for a lawyer to help residents go through the expungement process or other legal matters that can often be expensive and overwhelming.

JRAP assistance is available to those who meet the following requirements:

  • Under 25, live in CMHA public housing and have a criminal (adult or juvenile) record
  • Under 25, used to live in CMHA public housing and can no longer live with family who are still in CMHA public housing because of a criminal (adult or juvenile) record?
  • Live in CMHA public housing with a household member who is under 25 and has a criminal (adult or juvenile) record

LegalAidLegal assistance through the program could also come in the form of assistance in restoring a suspended driver’s license or dealing with court fines or fees. More information on the legal problems JRAP can help with is available on a flyer here. recently did a feature on the program and highlighted the story of a young mother who participated in the program and was able to have her record sealed and ultimately land a job:

It was basically the “dumbest thing I ever did.”

That’s how a 22-year-old Cleveland mother remembers the winter day she and a few high school friends got caught stuffing clothes and merchandise into their bags at a mall store in Strongsville.

It later led to her arrest, owing $700 in bail, a theft conviction, probation, rejection after rejection from jobs, limited housing choices and the mounting stress of having to rely on her grandma to help support her son while she sorted the whole mess out.

What the young woman needed was simple enough — for her misdemeanor conviction to be expunged. It seemed, though, like a huge hurdle.

Criminal record expungements are in high demand on Cuyahoga County, with the number jumping from 100 in 2015 to 2,000 last year, according to the county records.

Director of Resident Services Kristie Groves told in an interview that the program fits in with the CMHA’s aim to promote self-sufficiency for its residents, whether that means getting a better job, housing or overcoming other legal hurdles to success, like civil and criminal legal barriers.

The Legal Aid Society is hosting a community legal clinic at Woodhill Estates Community Center June 20 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Pancake breakfast serves-up parent’s guide to special education

Pancake breakfast serves-up parent’s guide to special education

On Saturday, March 4, 2017 dozens of families gathered at East Technical High School for a pancake breakfast, but the main course was an informational seminar on special education. The half-day event featured sessions designed to help parents and families get a better understanding of how to support children on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and how to get more academic support for children in school.

Families enjoy breakfast at East Technical High School .
Families enjoy breakfast at East Technical High School .

A partnership between Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Cleveland Transformation Alliance, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and Cuyahoga Community College, the event was designed to raise awareness of the important role parents play in a child’s education and to increase participation in parent-teacher meetings. Research shows that parent involvement in education can predict a child’s academic success. The benefits of parent involvement increase dramatically if a student has learning differences or is on an IEP.

After enjoying a family breakfast, attendees split into groups with adults heading to seminars and children attending drumming and dance classes with the help of City Year Cleveland volunteers.

Timothy Goler, founder and chief executive officer if HBCU Preparatory Schools Network, served as keynote speaker and delivered a passionate, inspirational and personal account of how parental involvement is the most essential factor of a child’s success at school, and often, in life.

“More than anything else in this city, we need conscious, committed, loving parents. Spend quality time with your kids. Don’t just tell them you love them, show them you love them. Give them affection,” Goler said in his address. “Whether you believe it or not, you are the example of success your children will envision. The best way to make our schools stronger is to make our families stronger and more loving. The foundation for school success starts with the family.”

After hearing from Goler, adult attendees chose from a variety of workshops hosted by experts from the CMSD special education department, Cuyahoga Community College Access department and Milestones, an organization dedicated to providing resources to families of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Children get a lesson on African drumming.
Children get a lesson on African drumming.

Workshops were held on the following topics:

  • Middle school to high school transition: how to prepare and what to expect
  • Choosing a high school that meets the needs of your child
  • High school to college transition: How Tri-C supports children and adults with making the jump to higher education
  • Parenting children with challenging behaviors and building the parent-teacher relationship

“We hope the event is able to eliminate some of the stress and intimidating factors that can often go along with the special education process,” said Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. “It’s really special to see the community, school district and residents rally around this cause and put this event together because ultimately we need educators and parents working together. This event was a true demonstration of the parent-teacher partnership we want to happen.”

The day concluded with giveaways, including 20 Dave’s Supermarket gift cards courtesy of Cleveland Transformation Alliance, one iPad Mini and one Beats by Dre headphones set.

The pancake breakfast was part of a larger initiative by Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance to build better partnerships between schools and families.