Posted by: COSI | June 2, 2011

Free College Tuition Through COSI!

OK—I’m not meaning to excite any parent reading this, but that is the wonderful truth for 41 youths from the Columbus Public Schools who have been a part of the Miracle-Gro Capital Scholars program that COSI has led for the last seven years. There were tears flowing and chests swelling as we celebrated the high school graduation of 37 of these youth just the other night at the Lincoln Theater ballroom.

We shared the joy with our board company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, and the Hagedorn Family, which had the vision and have provided the tremendous financial commitment over the years – and looking forward – assured college tuition for the students who completed the program with a 2.5 GPA and are accepted into an Ohio university or college.

This has been a vast partnership and labor of love for the last seven years of activities and support, with COSI providing the leadership, staffing, and coordination for the program. Scotts provided mentoring and internships, our Franklin Park Conservatory friends provided activities and opportunities, and many others contributed of their time and talents, but most importantly the children (now young adults) and their parents made a commitment to excellence.

This program, our partnership efforts, and the generosity of the company and the Hagedorn family are so notable that we had Mayor Coleman, former Governor Strickland, Dr. Gene Harris (Columbus School Superintendent), state senator Charleta Tavares, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown all in attendance and speaking to celebrate the accomplishment!

Most telling was the many hands that shot up when I believe our former Governor asked how many were going to be first in the family to go to college. Over 80 percent of the youth will be paving new paths to college within their family!

Tifani Kendrick, her direct team here at COSI, and the many other COSI team members who have provided support and assistance are all to be commended.

While we are proud of the reach of COSI’s impact, with over one million engagements on and off-site last year, it still boils down to each and every individual for whom we’ve provided an opportunity for inspiration and learning. And to that end, many of the young adults shared a number of stories of how that has played out in their lives, such as Shayla Martin.

This extraordinary young woman exemplifies how COSI is seeking to reach and empower young people in our community. Shayla has been involved with COSI’s Miracle-Gro Capital Scholars program since ninth grade, and is already giving back in a leadership role at COSI as co-chair of our Teen Advisory Council. As she graduates, she is articulate of her dreams and aspirations after being accepted at The Ohio State University. But it is most rewarding to our team to hear her say, “COSI believes in me and has provided me opportunities to be a leader. Because of that, I will be the first person in my family to attend college.”

Feels good to be part of an organization with this type of partnering and shared impact.

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