Promise welcomes new Ambassador class

Promise welcomes new Ambassador class

In the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, we work to build a cradle to career pipeline for the residents and families of Central, a transformative model intended to build a healthier community.

We recognize that residents must lead the change to be truly impactful in our neighborhood, and our Ambassador program empowers community leaders who serve as partners in designing and implementing the work.

At the May Promise Advisory Council meeting, we welcomed those who recently completed training and are now Promise Ambassadors, bringing our total count to nearly 70 ambassadors.

Congratulations to our latest Promise Ambassadors:

  • Aneesha Lynn Coleman
  • Prisicella Fayne
  • Julius Warfield
  • Yvette Duke
  • Charmaine Jordan
  • Robert Lucas
  • Not pictured:
    • Alquita Ferguson
    • Tarajuana Crowell


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#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is committed to supporting successful educational outcomes for the children of the Central neighborhood. We know that education starts at home, and parents are truly a child’s first teacher. Research shows that the simple presence of books in the home is linked to a child’s educational success.

Promise is proud to have worked with Central residents and partners to establish some of the 11 Little Free Libraries around the neighborhood. These “take a book, leave a book” structures invite residents of all ages to browse a selection of stocked titles and take them home to read.IMG_20181013_121239

As part of the ongoing #PromiseReads initiative, Promise recently presented six new Little Free Libraries to the Central neighborhood, thanks to a generous donation from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. In an October event at the Sterling Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, Promise engagement manager Joe Black spoke to the stewards of the new libraries about what it means to care for and support a Little Free Library.

Stewards all received book donations on behalf of the Kids Book Bank and Cleveland Public Library, as well as a supply from Anthem. Promise Ambassador Gwen Garth, a staple of Central’s art community, plans to fill the library she stewards with crayons, coloring books and additional art supplies for the neighborhood. Felton Thomas, executive director of Cleveland Public Library, and Margaret Bernstein, director of advocacy at WKYC, joined the event to talk about the value of Little Free Libraries in our communities, right alongside the invaluable resource of the public libraries.

The event was broadcast on WKYC. View the clip here.

New Little Free Libraries will be installed or updated in the following locations:

  • Alfred A. Benesch School
  • Boys & Girls Club at King Kennedy
  • Gwen Garth’s Community Garden
  • John’s Church
  • William Patrick Day Early Learning Center

Thank you to those who joined us, as well as to Monica Rudzinski, Sterling branch manager, who welcomed Promise to the library on the first chilly day of fall.




Residents Participate in Ambassador Training

Residents Participate in Ambassador Training

Ambassador Training August 2016This summer, at least eight residents are taking another step to help lead and empower their neighbors in the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood.

They are participating in the 10-week orientation program to become official Promise Ambassadors. They are attending classes, hearing from guest speakers, taking field trips, and doing homework.

In addition to learning more about their neighborhood and Cleveland, they will gain leadership skills. The training is led by the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, a Promise partner.

Primary instructors are Jimeka Holloway and Peter Whitt. Promise Engagement Staff Joe Black and Dawn Glasco have been instrumental in helping identify resident leaders to participate. Dawn is a prime example of how the program works as she participated in the first round of Ambassador training several years ago and has become a full-time Promise staff member.

An awards ceremony is planned for all who complete the program.

If you are interested in becoming a resident leader or Promise Ambassador (or to learn more about program), contact Dawn at or 216.241.9300.

Catholic Health World Tells Promise Story

WorldCatholicScreenCatholic Health World shared the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood story. It came out this month in this cover story.

“Jerome Baker wanted to help his old neighborhood in Cleveland. He took part in a reading program for second-graders, serving in their school as an adult tutor.

At a community event months after he began, a little girl saw him from a distance and shouted, ‘Hey, Mr. Baker.’ It was all the encouragement he needed to continue.

‘Her happy face and waves made me understand that, even in small ways, we are making an impact,’ said Baker, 50. ‘It’s an awesome feeling.'”

The article goes on to detail the beginnings of Promise, its role in the neighborhood, and the difference the volunteers and others in the Promise Neighborhood are making. We encourage you to read the piece to remind or refresh you about the great work happening.

Magazine Recognizes Ambassador

DeloresGrayWomanofDistinctionOur own, Delores Gray, was featured in a recent issue of Women of Distinction Magazine. Delores is a tireless community leader in Cleveland Central and one of the original Promise Ambassadors. She was recognized with a plaque featuring the article at the Promise Advisory Board meeting in January. We’re glad to see Delores recognized for all her great work!

Ambassadors Help Cleveland Transformation Alliance

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance hired Promise Ambassadors to collect data on its behalf as of Dec. 5. By mid-January, over 200 quality school reviews have been conducted with families and students in the Promise Neighborhood.

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance is a public-private partnership dedicated to growing a portfolio of quality district and charter schools. The alliance works to ensure every child in Cleveland can attend a quality school, and every neighborhood has great schools from which families can choose.

The Central 50

Join the men and women who Promise to stand up for Central’s children. We’re working to be 50 strong.

The Central Neighborhood of Cleveland has always produced leaders and extraordinary citizens. Jessie Owens, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Dandridge, Carl and Louis Stokes, current Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. Extraordinary citizens aren’t always famous. Instead, many are working quietly to make a difference in their community. Eleven Central Neighborhood residents recently stepped forward to become leaders and emissaries for the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and more importantly for the children in Central.
The purpose of Promise Neighborhood resident leadership development is to further empower residents and stakeholders to lead, build, sustain and monitor the planning and implementation of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood through a process of relationship building, connection and advocacy.

First 11, and now 19 more graduated from their training program at the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, which “develops grassroots leadership to contribute to rebuilding the bonds of community and improving the quality of life for neighborhood residents throughout the Greater Cleveland area.” The next group of Promise Leaders are being trained right now.

Read the stories of the first of the Central 50:

A life-long resident of Central and a mother of three children (including a set of twins), Kyra Alexander recognizes the assets in Central Promise Neighborhood including the talent and loyalty of its residents. In addition to her work as a resident leader with Promise, she is CEO of a community youth group, Your Child and Mine, and serves as a mentor in, Distinguished Men of Excellence, a program for at-risk youth. She states “I used to be one of the people that I am now trying to help.” Kyra is proud “of realizing her own worth” as she is currently taking classes to obtain her degree in criminology and sociology at Cleveland State University.

Jerome “Romeo” Baker co-founded Men of Central (M.O.C.) in 2006. The organization was formed because of the lack of participation of adult male involvement with the youth of the community. The mission of the organization is to provide mentoring to youth ages 8 to 14 years of age in Ward 5 in the Central Neighborhood of Cleveland. With their numerous partners, M.O.C. focuses on assisting youth with after school tutoring, social development, gang prevention, recreational participation (basketball, boxing, football, swimming, baseball) and the arts. Through hard work, patience, diligence, and preservation they proudly celebrate their new division “Women of Central” with a focus of women mentoring young girls.

A Central area resident since 2004, Antoinette Monique Edrington says she enjoys living in Central because, “it is the center of Cleveland and everything is going on in and around it.” This rising leader and mother of four children (including a set of 20 year-old twin college students) is ready to help families cope with the stresses of everyday life and bring hope to the neighborhood. Antoinette is eager to help bring “old-fashion” family values to the Central Promise Neighborhood. She is the Local Advisory Council (LAC) president for CMHA Cedar Estates and she is dedicated to restoring her neighborhood to greatness.

Annie Glover is a self-defined social worker who is planning to attend Cuyahoga Community College this fall to add the degree to her years of grassroots experience. “I love helping people solve problems,” proclaims Annie a resident of Central for 15 years. She is the president of the Local Advisory Council (LAC) for CMHA Outhwaite Estates. As a mother of three adult daughters and nine grandchildren, she also works with the Families and Students Together (FAST) program at Friendly Inn Settlement House and serves on the Care Alliance Board at Carl and Louis Stokes Academy. As she watches the opportunities for improved education for youth and adults grow in the Central Promise Neighborhood, she is eager to help youth and seniors set life goals and become healthy active citizens.

Dawn Glasco, has lived in the Central area since 2004 with her son, a recent graduate of East Technical High School. She has served as a long-term substitute teacher for Cleveland Metropolitan School District since 1999 and current serves as a Prevention Educator with Cleveland Treatment Center/Project Safe. She is currently working on obtaining her chemical dependency license in 2012. She is excited to listen other people and share her unbiased advice to improve some of the attitudes and outlooks of other residents the Central Promise Neighborhood.

Darcel A. Arrington, faith –based Organization Leader
After a 35 year teaching career, Darcel retired from the Shaker Heights school district. She is a life-long member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church where her father continued the tradition of her great grandmother who started the family legacy, attending the church in the 1920’s. Darcel is an active member of St. Andrew’s serving as the first female in the history of the church to serve as the Senior Warden, head of the church’s governing body. She is also a member of the alter guild, she assists with the community meal ministry, she coordinates the outreach ministry to George Washington Carver K-8 School and Promise Academy High School. She also works with the church’s community garden and supports their work with the City Mission. Darcel is one of six children.

De’Etta (Resee) Brown is a life-long Central resident. Since 1980 she has worked to engage and uplift youth and adults in her community. A graduate of John Adams High School, she attended International Correspondence School for Interior Design in Scranton, PA in 1984. She has taken course work at Tri-C in business administration. Currently, she teaches healthy cooking class at the East Tech Schools as Neighborhood Resources (SNR) site. In 2005, after the tragic death of Brandon Davis, she started the Northeast Central Area Akidz Club to provide youth with positive educational and recreational activities year-round in safe environments. She has served as the Cleveland Police Athletic League (PAL) volunteer program coordinator since 2005. In role as Arbor Park Tenant Council President, she coordinated the annual family Christmas party and toy give-a-way at Arbor Park. De’Etta also started the Girls Garden Initiative Program that teaches girls ages (9-14) how to garden and earn money selling the vegetables they grow. Most recently, she serves as a member of the Promise Neighborhood Connections grant making committee. She is a long-time member of Tridestone Baptist Church. De’Etta is the proud mom of two daughters and four grandchildren.

LaSandra Johnson, a Central resident for 15 years, has a passion for inspiring and supporting youth. She has served as a Student Parent Organization (SPO) member at Carl and Louis Stokes and seeks out opportunities to support other parents. Outreach is something LaSandra does naturally as she provides hats, gloves, book bags to youth, and in the summer months, she gives away fun and delicious treats. A graduate of Cleveland Christian Academy, she is a Certified Nail Technician and a trained State Tested Nurse Assistant. LaSandra mentors young people in the community and is planning to bring the first kids salon to northeast Ohio. This social entrepreneur aims to teach style and beauty lessons, but also plans to help youth with personal hygiene, self-esteem and personal image. My Comfort Zone is project that LaSandra is currently raising funds to support. This program asks young people to write an essay that describes how a bedroom make-over would enable them to relieve stress, study better, and be more creative. In return, the winners will receive everything needed to make their personal space a comfort zone. LaSandra is the proud mom of three beautiful daughters: Antoina, Nikia, and Foxii.

LaShunda Lee, is a Central resident who is passionate about supporting, motivating, mentoring and engaging youth. During the school-day, she can be found at Marion Sterling K-8 School assisting teachers and staff. Ms. Lee, as she is affectionately called by the youth, can often be found offering advice to and nurturing students in school and in the community. As the founder of The Solomon Movement, she spends countless hours after school, tutoring youth and helping them to prepare for meaningful performances as a drill team, in talent showcases, and spoken word performances. LaShunda is the epitome of a “caring adult” with a natural gift for building relationships with youth and helping them to reach their full potential.

Fred Seals is what he calls, a “replanted” resident of Central. He attended Sterling Elementary when Marion Sterling was two separate schools, Marion Elementary and Sterling Elementary. He currently serves as the Vice President/Secretary of the Local Advisory Council (LAC) for the Cedar Estates High Rise. He is also a member of the Progressive Action Council (PAC) for CMHA. Fred is a contributing writer and photographer for Campus District Newspaper. He was recently appointed to the CMHA Police Athletic League (PAL) management team for the Cedar Estates. Fred is a retired US Airforce member and Vietnam Veteran. He is the proud father of one son and four grandchildren.

Raised in the Central neighborhood, Delores Gray returned to live in Central two years ago. She is eager to help neighbors rebuild the trust and family-like atmosphere that existed when she grew up there. She believes that the new housing and expansion of the educational resources in Central set the stage for success. “My goal is to connect the community together in unity.” Delores is on her way to achieving this through her work as the Local Advisory Council (LAC) president at the CMHA Cedar High Rise and as the Zone G Precinct Representative in Ward 5. In addition to serving as a Central Promise resident leader, she has served on the East Tech Alumni Association for more than 30 years. As the mother of an adult son, Delores is passionate about bringing resources, opportunities, and a sense of protection and caring to the families of the CMHA Cedar Estates.

A resident of Central for more than 50 years, Lillie Hunter is dedicated to creating solution-driven change in the Central Promise Neighborhood. A mother of two adult children, Lillie has advocated for East Technical High School as a parent, member of the Alumni Association, in 2002 as a member of the Small Schools Initiative Design Team and as co-creator of the Student Parent Resource room in the school. She is the site coordinator for the East Tech Schools as Neighborhood Resources (SNR) program. Lillie continues to mentor youth in a program she created called Youth Economic Social Service (YESS). An avid gardener, Lillie raises plants and flowers that she sells each summer to provide funds for East Tech seniors who can’t afford to pay their senior dues. She is proud of being a Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland Alumna and of the growth taking place in Ward Five.

Carol Malone is “working to reinvent herself professionally and socially” as a community ambassador to many organizations, including Positively Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Film Commission, and the American Heart Association. Carol is proud of her well-rounded daughter, Samara Malone, an honor student at East Technical High School and her rich personal, historical and family attachment to the Central neighborhood. As a Central Promise resident leader, she believes “people need a vision of a community beyond what is currently” and enjoys creating opportunities to share information and resources to neighborhood residents.

Born in the Central neighborhood, Malfert Shaw has returned to live in the Central area for the past six years. He believes the prime location of the Promise Neighborhood in Central and its access to everything is key. He is active with the local LAC and PAC board and an active member at Philemon Baptist Church. In addition to serving as a Central Promise resident leader, he enjoying working with children and meeting parents through his work with the summer lunch program that he’s been involved with for the last three years. A father of 11 adult children, Malfert is passionate about improving the educational system and the socialization skills of youth.

A Central area resident since 2004, Quiana Singleton enjoys living in Central because it is historic and she enjoys the activities like the Harper library for her two children. As she works with the Promise Neighborhood Initiative, she anticipates the neighborhood will have more activities for teenagers including participating in her community garden club on Outhewaite. Quiana attends Word Church at East Technical high School and enjoys participating in Friendly Inn activities on a regular basis.

Greta Stakely-Humphrey is an East Tech graduate of 1973’. She served two years on the High Stepper Squad and was awarded the Martha Holden Jennings Scholarship Award. In 1977 Greta received a Bachelors of Liberal Arts Degree from Bowling Green State University where she focused on three areas of study (Education, Psychology and Sociology). Beginning her career with the Ohio Department of Children Services (Certified Facilitator), she served nine years as a facilitator of a residential facility (Jones Home). In 1986, Greta moved on to the Cleveland’s Board of Education where she held various positions servicing students and parents (Department of Transportation, Office of Attendance/CMSD Representative-Juvenile Court and Youth Employment Services). She is currently serving the District with the Office of Student Hearings & Appeals, CMSD District Hearing Officer where she ensures due process rights of students and conduct hearings with students who violate the student code of conduct. In addition, she is a founding member of the BGSU Cuyahoga Black Alumni Chapter and founding member and Vice President of the East Tech Class of ‘73 Scholarship/Reunion Committee. Greta is happily married to an East Tech Alumnus, Joseph Humphrey ET ‘66, and they have five wonderful children and three grandchildren.