Perspective: Joe Black returns to NYC for National Urban Fellows program

Perspective: Joe Black returns to NYC for National Urban Fellows program

Joe Black, engagement manager

On May 24th, 2016, I jumped on a plane to begin my journey as a National Urban Fellow. Looking back at that day, I vividly remember attempting to balance the joy and anxiety of what I knew would be an advantageous experience.  Now that a year has passed, I must once again begin to prepare to leave for New York City. This time my feelings of joy have been consumed by gratefulness and what was once anxiety is now peace. In short, this past year has been nothing less than miraculous and here are a few reasons why.

Joe Black, Promise engagement manager, in New York City in 2016
Joe Black, engagement manager, in New York City for the National Urban Fellows program. 

The leadership at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland has consistently provided me with opportunities to network with and learn from some of the brightest leaders in the city. These relationships have served as the foundation to some of my most significant achievements over the past year. Furthermore, I have been challenged to step out of my comfort zone and instead embrace innovation “a learned, best practice.”

Secondly, this past year has challenged me more academically than I have ever been challenged in my life. I have written and read more than I can imagine yet what I found most interesting is that my mind has become accustomed to the learning and now I seek knowledge more than ever. Furthermore, I find that my coursework challenged me to understand data and how to use such information to better improve my decision making. With this unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a greater sense of knowing what to do with it, I feel equipped with the skills to help the community in ways unimagined.

Lastly, this past year has been one of action, a year where I have taken upon myself to no longer talk about change but to instead act in pursuit of change. Actions like hosting community tours for Cleveland Police is one example, but there are also subtle examples of that are as important. Actions like committing my time and energy to my family or fulfilling promises that I left undone. Regardless of the size of the action, I find that the most important aspect of action is committing to completion.

Therefore this summer during my time away I will finish my Master’s in Public Administration. I will walk across that stage on July 27th knowing that I upheld my commitment to myself, my family, my organization, and my community.

Read a Q&A with Joe about his experience last summer in NYC here.

Reading paves way to new bicycles for students

Reading paves way to new bicycles for students

A dozen first and second graders in Central have brand new bicycles to enjoy this summer thanks to a program called Read and Ride. Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and the Knights of Pythias Owatonna Lodge #62 host Read and Ride at the three Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary schools in the Central Neighborhood: Alfred A. Benesch, George Washington Carver and Marion-Sterling. Open to first and second graders, the reading program aims to encourage young readers to increase their reading by awarding a bicycle to students who read books during the school year. Students receive one raffle ticket for every book read and then two names per classroom are drawn at the end of the year with winners receiving a new bicycle.

This year’s program set a record for most books read and most scholars participating since 2014 when Read and Ride began in the Central neighborhood. A total of 240 Cleveland Metropolitan School District scholars participated this year with an astounding 1,260 books read, with a dozen bicycles being awarded. In 2016, 612 books were read as part of the program and 165 first and second graders participated.

Miguel Nieves, second grade student at George Washington Carver Elementary
Miguel Nieves, second grade student at George Washington Carver Elementary

“This is my first bike without training wheels,” said Miguel Nieves, second grade student at George Washington Carver Elementary and winner of a Read and Ride bicycle. “I read ten books. My favorite book is Snails and Slugs.”

Read and Ride focuses on the first and second grade students because reading ability and comprehension is a necessity when a student enters third grade. Reading at grade level is meaningful at any age, but third grade is the  year when students make the leap from learning to read to reading to learn. It’s an academic hurdle that, if missed, can leave kids in lagging behind for the rest of their academic career. Research shows that once this type of learning lag exists, it’s difficult for kids to catch up. On a national scale, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s analysis of 2009 NAEP data 83 percent of low-income students test below proficient in reading at the start of fourth grade, as do 55 percent of moderate- and high-income students, leaving the U.S. with a grim overall gap of two-thirds of children testing below proficient in reading.

“The bike raffle really motivates the students to read because it offers them a chance to win something that many of them wouldn’t normally get to have on their own,” said Ms. Robinson, second grade teacher, George Washington Carver Elementary.

The Ohio Department of Education Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students from kindergarten through grade 3 that are behind in reading. Schools will provide help and support to make sure students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade. Therefore, one of the goals of Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is that every third grade student in Central reads at third grade level. Promise Neighborhood works closely with community partners such as the Knights of Pythias and Cleveland Metropolitan School District to create educational support systems outside of the school day.

“I love working with the schools on Read and Ride every year. I was an avid reader during elementary school and rode a purple and white bicycle similar to the bikes we give to participants. It brings me joy to see the long list of book titles turned in by the students and the smile on their faces when we conduct the awards ceremony,” said Dawn Glasco, engagement coordinator, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. “Last year, a parent said that her first grader had begun to read at a third-grade level.  That’s what Read and Ride is all about – progress.  I’m thankful to be a part of such an exciting and rewarding experience.”

Marion-Sterling Read and Ride 2017 winners.
Marion-Sterling Read and Ride 2017 winners.

The Read and Ride program started in Longview, Texas in 2008 by Pythian Lodge #28. Over the years the program has expanded to several other Pythian Domains, including Ohio. In 2014, Supreme Chancellor Keith Stookberry expanded the program and made it nationwide. The Knights of Pythias has a long history of working in the community, both locally and nationally.

“What I enjoy most about the program is the enthusiasm of the children despite all the disadvantages they endure. My heart goes out to them. I see myself in them. I admire them,” said Stan Wolski, chancellor commander of Owatonna Lodge #62, domain of Ohio, Knights of Pythias.

All bicycles for the elementary Read and Ride program are provided by the Knights of Pythias.

 

 

Word from Lowell: Don’t just give residents a seat, give them the mic

Word from Lowell: Don’t just give residents a seat, give them the mic

Lowell Perry Jr., Executive Director 

We often overuse the term “community engagement” when those of us in the nonprofit sector talk about bringing people to the table to become involved in the work we do. This desire to “engage” folks in our missions includes volunteers, donors, board members, and yes, the people we serve. A big priority for Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood this year looking beyond just giving the people we serve a seat at the table. Instead, we are trying to be very intentional about ensuring that the people we serve are empowered with appropriate decision making authority in matters which directly affect them. It’s about recognizing the difference between engagement and integration.

Community engagement is more transactional in nature. Engagement alone rarely leads to a lasting outcome. To use a basketball analogy, it is similar to inviting someone new to your team, but never allowing them to get off the bench and into the game. In this scenario, they have no real chance to impact the outcome of the game, even when it is on their home court! They might as well be spectators.

Integration on the other hand, is a longer-term, transformational event. Not only is this new team member a part of the whole, they are also afforded an opportunity to get into the game and make plays.  Most importantly, their contribution is critical to winning the game.

Lowell Perry Jr., executive director, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood
Lowell Perry Jr., executive director, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood

One of the five overarching goals of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is that residents must lead the change in their community to achieve lasting impact. For this to happen in real terms, it means residents must be full-fledged team members in trying to win the game. That is why with every Promise Neighborhood activity or committee, we make a real effort to ensure that a resident leader is at the table and that their voice is being heard. Even with this well-intentioned approach of listening to the voice of our “customer”, we know that we still must do much more, or we risk falling into the age old trap of doing things to and for people, rather than with them.

In this new world, the voice of the community must be heard more than just from surveys, it must be heard at the decision making level, not after the so-called experts have made the decisions. The resident community must be afforded some authority to direct their own paths, or else transformational outcomes cannot happen.  It’s can no longer acceptable for our key public to be placed in the position of merely reacting to a set of “solutions” that they had no real role in helping to craft.

To create this cultural shift, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is working with Enlightenment Consulting to develop an intentional strategy to include residents in board rooms and committees of every single stakeholder of the Promise Neighborhood.

That means giving up a little power to those individuals us “experts” must admit we subconsciously believe aren’t as insightful as we are. This is the essence of patronization. To paraphrase an old saying “if we can teach someone how to fish, they can now fish for themselves” forever.  Stop handing out fish!  The inconvenient truth is that if we stop handing out fish, we won’t be able to take credit, right?  So we must ask ourselves – what is most important: taking credit, or positive outcomes for those we claim we are in the business to serve? If it is the latter, we must adopt a mindset of integration over that of just engagement.

I don’t know about you, but I want a real say on an ongoing basis on issues that directly affect me. That cannot be possible if I am not integrated into the decision making process from the onset of seeking solutions to challenges facing me personally. That is why Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is placing a finer focus on what we achieve rather than what we do.  And residents are involved from start to finish in the process.

I conclude with another overworked term – empowerment.  How many times do you hear well-meaning organizations talk about empowering people? Webster describes the act of empowering to mean to give power to; authorize; to enable. If we are not handing over some decision making responsibility to the people being affected in the process, and therefore allowing for true self-determination, then we are only talking at them and not speaking with them. This change will obviously not happen overnight but we committed to passing the ball to our residents and giving them the power to make some plays.

KinderKits help Central children prepare for kindergarten

KinderKits help Central children prepare for kindergarten

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is helping Central children prepare for kindergarten by providing KinderKits to 100 Pre-K students who will be entering kindergarten in Fall of 2017. Pre-K students at George Washington Carver Elementary and Marion-Sterling Elementary will have the summer to explore and learn using their KinderKits, a child development tool meant to help children learn basic concepts ahead of entering kindergarten.

Supporting families throughout their journey from cradle-to-career is the core mission of Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. KinderKits are an accessible, easy-to-use resource that supports a fundamental skill such as reading and can impact the future of a child’s academic future.

“By distributing KinderKits, we are empowering families to transform their homes into an extension of the classroom,” said Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. “The KinderKits allow both parent and child to reinforce the skills learned in Pre-K to hopefully deter summer learning loss so that children aren’t starting Kindergarten with a deficit.”

In 2015, when 26 kindergartners walked into Benjamin Colas’ classroom for their first day of school at Alfred A. Benesch, Colas was surprised to learn that only one of them knew the alphabet. Two of the students recognized numbers, and many had never held a pencil before.

KinderKits are stocked with household items that families can use for learning.
KinderKits are stocked with household items that families can use for learning.

This meant that instead of preparing the students for first grade, Colas had to spend months trying to help catch students up on basic concepts like counting and categorizing.

As the school year went on, he came up with an idea to create a child development tool families could use at home to help make incoming kindergartners more likely to succeed at school. So Colas developed a kit that comes in a drawstring bag and consists of everyday items — like shaving cream, cereal and beans — that most families have around the house.

KinderKits are designed to empower parents and caregivers to take an active role in their children’s education. Each KinderKit comes with instructions for parents and caregivers on how to use the items for educational activities. One activity instructs them to smear shaving cream on a surface and help children use their fingers to draw numbers and letters. There’s also Play-Doh and a mat with different shapes, which children can use to mold the Play-Doh, and start to recognize and identify shapes. Parents and caregivers can use Froot Loops to help children sort by color, count how many pieces are in a pile, and calculate how many are left after the child eats some of the cereal.

Colas noticed that even though his students didn’t seem prepared, it wasn’t because their parents and caregivers weren’t concerned. He said one mother told him she wished she had known the expectations for her child upon entering kindergarten.

Colas is working with Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood partner Starting Point, a childcare and early childhood education nonprofit to distribute the kits to families as well. Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood early learning navigator Tatiana Wells said the kits have the potential to give incoming kindergartners the boost they need to keep up with their peers.

KinderKits come in a drawstring bag that can also serve as a first book bag.
KinderKits come in a drawstring bag that can also serve as a first book bag.

“If they are failing in kindergarten, they are not going to be able to succeed in other grades, and it could hurt their chance of success throughout their academic career,” Wells said.

In 2016, Starting Point helped Colas distribute about 250 kits to childcare centers and families in Central. The long-term plan is to distribute Kinder Kits to the families of every incoming kindergartner in Cleveland.

 

Cleveland takes next steps to be considered for Say Yes to Education

Cleveland takes next steps to be considered for Say Yes to Education

Cleveland and the Say Yes to Education non-profit have begun working to offer free college tuition to all graduates of the city school district by 2019. Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit organization that partners with communities around the goals of college readiness and affordability, announced today that Cleveland has satisfied some of the earliest milestones on the extensive path to becoming a Say Yes chapter.

The bold promise of Say Yes is to bring together an entire community to ensure each of its children has the opportunity –and the support – to go to college. Using last-in-dollar scholarships as a catalyst, Say Yes partners with communities to create systems intended to help every child progress along the pathway to post-secondary success. If the school district and several local agencies clear key benchmarks in the next year to 18 months – including raising large amounts of money – Cleveland will become the fourth city to partner with Say Yes to provide scholarships that allow graduates to attend public colleges, trade schools and a few private schools without tuition bills or loans.

girl_chalkboard“If selected as a Say Yes city, we can create an opportunity for Cleveland students, regardless of economic circumstance, to go to college. Say Yes would help support their growth and aid in high-quality educational opportunities for those who traditionally would not have access. This is an excellent example of community partnerships contributing to equitable prosperity for all Clevelanders,”City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement.

For more than two years, an exploratory group in Cleveland has been working to secure an affiliation with Say Yes for Cleveland’s youth. Six partners – City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Cleveland Foundation, College Now and United Way – are leading the effort. These partners are seeking to make the case that Cleveland would be a good fit for the Say Yes approach, leveraging the ongoing success of the Cleveland Plan, the region’s strong history of collaboration as demonstrated by innovative and committed public sector leaders, and an organized and robust philanthropic and nonprofit sector committed to enhancing the lives of all Greater Clevelanders.

Already, the public-private partnership that submitted the application has participated in extensive vetting, including on-site visits in Cleveland, by Say Yes’ senior management and advisory board.

“Under the Cleveland Plan, CMSD is graduating more students, and students who are better prepared for college; however, the number of Cleveland students enrolling in postsecondary education is declining. If we succeed in being selected, Say Yes can help Cleveland reverse that trend through scholarship access and support services students need from kindergarten through 12th grade. The potential of Say Yes provides hope and opportunity for the people of Cleveland to play a significant role in the revitalization of the city and the region,” Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon said in a statement.

The Cleveland group, along with others, will now spend the next 12 to 18 months working with Say Yes to determine the possibility of Cleveland becoming a community-wide affiliate. This work includes, but is not limited to, determining scholarship parameters and criteria, raising a significant portion of the funding required to support the scholarship endowment, and identifying necessary in-school and out-of-school supports and services and related public and philanthropic funding sources to meet the development needs of every child.

This next phase will require input and work from all aspects of the community – parents, children, teachers, school administrators, social-service organizations, businesses, government officials, residents, and more. Cleveland’s potential selection as a Say Yes partner community would enhance the work already being done to improve all the factors that influence Cleveland children’s academic success and to ensure they are ready for college or career.

Read more about how Say Yes work on Cleveland.com.

Marion-Sterling students bring magic to “Cinderella” performance

Marion-Sterling students bring magic to “Cinderella” performance

Students at Marion-Sterling brought the magic of Cinderella to their annual spring musical on Friday, May 12 at the Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus’s Little Theater.  The third through fifth grade scholars at Marion-Sterling were one of only four Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools selected to perform a Disney-inspired musical, and the only CMSD Investment School.

Cinderella_4The students sang, danced and performed the classic version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella to a packed-house.  The story is based on the French fairy tale Cinderella by Charles Perrault. The story is about a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a Princess and finds her Prince.

“The kids enjoyed the story and being on stage. They really did shine,” said Ashley Gulley, site coordinator, Marion-Sterling Elementary School. “The crowd laughed and cried together throughout the production. The students were so happy to show case their talents.”

Promise Neighborhood engagement manager Joe Black attended the Marion-Sterling production of Cinderella and gave it a rave review.

“The performance was absolutely amazing. All the students involved seemed to have fun include the stage crew,” Black said. “The cast had natural chemistry as each actor seemed to feed off the energy of the others. Overall, I couldn’t be more proud of the students, their families, and the school for putting on such an amazing production.”

Community mural project call for participants

Community mural project call for participants

The community mural project “A Bridge that Bridges” is extending it’s message of unity, justice and togetherness to include the Cedar Ave. bridge connecting downtown Cleveland to the Central neighborhood. Campus District, Inc., Neighborhood Connections and Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. lead the mural project and are actively seeking residents and community members interesting in helping develop the concept and design for the second installment of “A Bridge that Bridges”.

Residents and community partners of A Bridge that Bridges mural project.
Residents and community partners of A Bridge that Bridges mural project.

Last year the E. 22nd St. Bridge was painted with the words “unite”, “racial divide”, “courage” and “believe” alongside colorful illustrations.  It’s called “ A Bridge that Bridges” because it connects the Central neighborhood to the downtown business district. Similar to last year, the lead organizations on the project hope to work with a diverse group of residents and stakeholders to create artwork for the mural project that addresses race.

“We wanted to use this opportunity to have discussions about that, about structural racism about individual racism and create a mural I can connect the two and brings it back together,” said Kaela Geschke, Community Organizer, Campus District Inc. told WEWS News Channel 5 of the bridge project last August.

During the three month mural project, the group will meet ten times for two hour sessions to engage in intentional conversations about race while designing the artwork for the bridge. Neighbor Up’s Make Art Talk Race practice will be used to help guide the discussions and design process. According to Gwen Garth, co-creator of Make Art Talk Race, the practice gives neighbors and community members a safe, constructive place to talk about racism and release pent-up anger or guilt that they may not even be aware of through creative expression.

What YOU can expect from the project:

  • A rich and nurturing environment for personal and group development
  • Light refreshments each session
  • A professionally facilitated process for both the conversations and artwork
  • FUN

What the project expects from YOU:

  • A commitment to participate in all ten sessions
  • Shared learning with peers based on your experience and knowledge
  • Open-minds and hearts
  • Respectful and honest conversations

Sessions begin on Tuesday, June 6 and will conclude on August 29 with to be determined  mural project unveiling and community celebration. If you are interested in learning more or would like to apply to be part of A Bridge That Bridges mural project, contact Kaela Geschke at Campus District Inc. via email at kgeschke@campusdistrict.org or phone at 216.287.4535.

ciCLEvia Central planning brings out the inner-child

ciCLEvia Central planning brings out the inner-child

On Tuesday, May 9 from 6 – 8 p.m. more than 15 Central residents and community partners gathering at Care Alliance’s Central clinic for a CiCLEvia Central design and planning meeting. Hosted by CiCLEvia and Burten, Bell, Car Development, Inc. the community planning meeting was the first step in designing Central’s first ever CiCLEvia Open Streets Cleveland festival happening Sunday, July 16 from 4 – 6 p.m.

Attendees were asked to build their favorite childhood memory of a street.
Attendees were asked to build their favorite childhood memory of a street.

CiCLEvia temporarily closes portions of city streets to cars and opens them to people to play, walk, and roll. The event transforms Cleveland streets into a public space for residents to try different forms of people-powered movement and meet new neighbors and friends. CiCLEvia Central will close off a stretch of Quincy/Community College Ave.

Tuesday’s planning meeting focused on bringing out the inner child in each participant. Attendees formed small groups and used arts and crafts materials to build activities and events they would like to see at CiCLEvia Central. Residents and community partners were discussed the following topics:

What activities would you like to create to combine fun and fitness in your neighborhood?

Building a favorite childhood memory of a street

Many ideas focused on recess and field day games such as races, four-square, lawn games, basketball, football and kites. CiCLEvia routes will feature themed activity hubs so the group at the planning meeting came up with ideas for hubs including a “gym class” hub and a “ultimate field day” hub.

“People were really excited to think of different ways we could use the street for all sorts of games, similar to what happened on the last day of school when many of us were young,” said Emma Maloney, CiCLEvia executive team.

A second CiCLEvia Central planning meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, with location to be determined.

Planned by a coalition of health and sustainability advocates, as well as neighborhood champions around the city, ciCLEvia is a movement that began in 2016 along West 25th Street and continues to grow and connect with additional Cleveland neighborhoods. CiCLEvia promotes a culture of health through active living and sustainable transportation in Cleveland’s neighborhoods, with activities such as yoga, Zumba, boxing, dancing, live music, and more.

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is partnering with CiCLEvia to bring the event to the Central neighborhood. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is an event sponsor.

Job opportunity for grassroots organizers

Job opportunity for grassroots organizers

Greater Cleveland Congregations is currently seeking to recruit, train, and develop the next generation of grassroots organizers. Greater Cleveland Congregations is a multi-faith, multi-racial, county-wide organization made up of congregations, community organizations and schools from across the county organizing poor, working and middle class families on issues like education, jobs, criminal justice, healthcare, and gun violence. The organization is looking for people from community organizations, colleges, graduate programs, seminaries, business and law schools, political campaigns, and other professions who are interested in exploring careers in organizing. Candidates selected will primarily focus on key issue areas of Education and Criminal Justice.

Qualities of a Successful Organizer:

    1. Native intelligence – not necessarily degrees, but the ability to think, reflect, communicate, challenge the conventional wisdom, make judgments in complicated situations, and show flexibility.
    2. Anger and edge – not temper, not ideological fervor, not an abstract commitment to “the people,” but a clear sense of what’s wrong, impatience in the face of that wrong, and a drive to address it.
    3. Relationality, especially across race and culture – ability to build deep trust with people, especially people unlike oneself, people of other races, classes, orientations, faiths, etc.
    4. A track record – some evidence, in high school, college, the local community, the workplace of attempting to relate to people and to respond to situations that seemed to demand responses; and some success in whatever field, career or endeavor has occupied the individual’s time.
    5. HUSTLE

Bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Successful candidates will participate in an organizer training period before being offered a position as an organizer. Greater Cleveland Congragations trainees and organizers are full-time, salaried positions with health care benefits.

Over 5 years, Great Cleveland Congregations has organized victories to help pass three Cleveland Municipal School District levies. These three levies will bring over $100 million dollars for operational purposes and build/renovate over 40 schools. Greater Cleveland Congregations led the fight to reduce low-level nonviolent crimes charged as felonies which resulted in a 25 percent overall reduction over four years. In 2013, GCC was the leading organization to form the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition made of hospitals, foundations, community organizations and faith communities. GCC pushed for Medicaid by door-knocking in key neighborhoods, organizing statewide actions, and gathering thousands of signatures for support. In 2014, the state of Ohio expanded Medicaid and as a result over 750,000 Ohioans now have access to healthcare.

Greater Cleveland Congregations is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the nation’s first and largest network of faith, community and civic organizations. IAF has seven decades of experience winning tough battles across the nation including: winning the first living wage ordinance in Baltimore, establishing crisis intervention centers in Chicago to decriminalize mental illness, expunging hundreds of records to allow citizens a fresh start in NYC, building 39,000 affordable housing units along the East Coast and nearly $1 billion in school construction financing in Baltimore.

If interested in this opportunity, please send one-page or less story of self that tells why you want to be an organizer or why you became an organizer and a short (1 page or less) resume. Include your contact information (address, email, mobile number) and send to: James Pearlstein, GCC Leader Organizer at james@greaterclevelandcongregations.org.

AT&T, CMHA launch tech scholarships for residents

AT&T, CMHA launch tech scholarships for residents

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and AT&T have partnered to announce AT&T will be offering 100 Udacity Nanodegree tech scholarships to select CMHA residents. The AT&T Aspire to Tech Scholarship program will provide residents tech-focused coursework for free to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Connect Home communities across the nation, including, CMHA. The Nanodegree program offers the chance to build cutting-edge skills that are in demand in today’s economy. The application deadline is May 23rd, with classes will begin on June 12th and run through February 2018. Please visit the link below to apply for this opportunity or for more information.

CMHA and AT&T announced the tech scholarships during an event at Outhwaite Community Center.
CMHA and AT&T announced the tech scholarships during an event at Outhwaite Community Center.

Nanodegree programs offered through this scholarship are self-paced, online coursework that provide students highly in-demand skills needed to help obtain tech-related jobs. The courses help students and job-seekers develop skills in areas such as web development, mobile development and data analytics. As part of the program, Udacity leverages partnerships with Google, AT&T, Facebook and other industry leaders to create real-world projects that employees of these companies are constantly challenged with solving, giving the tech scholarship students a hands-on experience.

AT&T Aspire to Tech students can take Nanodegree courses focusing on:

  • Intro to programming: Start a career in tech
  • Front-end web developer: Build beautiful websites
  • Android basics: Develop mobile apps

Scholarships are available to:

  • Students who participate in at least one activity of an AT&T Aspire supported organization including: All Star Code, Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code, Genesys Works, Hack the Hood, One Goal and Year Up
  • Residents of ConnectHome pilot communities such as CMHA.

Participants should expect to dedicate a minimum of ten hours a week over the eight months Nanodegree course period. Tech scholarship winners will be notified by email on June 6, 2017. Nanodegree classes begin on June 12, 2017 and run through February 2018 for this spring tech scholarship class. Through this partnership with AT&T, CMHA continues to bridge the digital divide through the ConnectHome initiative, offering low-cost internet to CMHA residents in an era where such access is necessary for upward mobility.

To apply for this opportunity or for more information click here. Note: Interested applicants have to create a Udacity account or sign-in with a service like Facebook in order to reach the Aspire to Tech application page.