YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A youth mentorship program has helped Youngstown students become successful, and now it wants to help even more kids.
The Ohio Urban Renaissance Center in downtown Youngstown has been around for four years. The non-profit organization mentors area youth, getting them prepared for their next steps in life.
“We come from this same poverty, this impoverished area, and you realize there is just an opportunity to meet the need and pass on your experience and things you’ve done in life to help them out,” said Kevin L. Scott, executive director of the Ohio Urban Renaissance Center.
Mentors like Scott hope that by sharing their experience, it will help kids facing the same issues.
“I’ve had friends that have been to jail, family members who’ve done drugs, experienced the same traumas these kids face every day. So it’s easier to relate to them and share how I got through those things,” Scott said.
The organization has already helped over 100 kids in the Valley, offering mentorship programs from sports to STEM learning.
“The pandemic has definitely affected some of the programs but a lot of our programs were already set up to run digitally and virtually. So we were already communicating digitally because we meet these students at their medium,” Scott said.
Ryan Forney, vice president of the Ohio Urban Renaissance Center, is another mentor. He says over the last four years, the center has enrolled 12 students into college, four of which who went on to play collegiate basketball.
“We just want to keep that going. We want to bring more of the city’s youth in and give them more outlets and prepare them for their futures and give them experiences they might not necessarily get anywhere else,” Forney said.
While the center is based in Youngstown, Forney says they’re always looking for new kids to mentor in the surrounding areas.