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Making the Leap from High School to College

The jump from high school to college can be a difficult transition. For students like Anthony Frazier, a junior at Middletown High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, that just got a lot easier thanks to United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Through a new partnership with the Middletown High School Future Center, United Way is piloting a speed-mentoring program designed to equip students with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to successfully transition to college.

Anthony, who was one of approximately 60 students who participated in the first speed-mentoring session held in February, spoke highly of the program. “I would definitely recommend speed-mentoring for pretty much anyone to help them be more confident in life,” said Anthony. “It also helped me from an interview standpoint and having more preparedness for that.” 

The Future Center, which is in its inaugural year, was looking for a new program to help their students prepare for the next step in their educational careers. It just so happened the program aligned perfectly with United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Bold Goals for the region: 85% of youth will graduate from high school prepared for the next step; 45% of adults will have an associate’s degree or higher; and 90% of the labor force will be gainfully employed.

“Once we looked at what our mission was, and looked at the goals and mission of United Way, I knew this would be a great partnership,” said Anisha Daniels, program manager of the Future Center. “I was truly impressed with the Bold Goals, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Once that collaboration happened and we got our groups, it was all about preparing the students.”

The Future Center, which operates under the auspices of United Way agency partner, Community Building Institute – Middletown, is making a lasting impression. Terry Sherrer, a director of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, had been involved in United Way’s speed-mentoring programs in the past and thought a partnership with the Future Center would be impactful. 

“The program originally came from the mind of [United Way of Greater Cincinnati – Eastern Area Director] Sarah Ghee,” said Terry. “I really respected the program, and I knew it was needed in Middletown.” 

While the program affords students the confidence they need to excel in the classroom and beyond, it’s just one of the many ways United Way of Greater Cincinnati is supporting youth success. In the past year, they have contributed to a 180% increase in quality early care and education programs locally, underscoring the importance of investing in students so that they may lead successful lives. That impact can be felt in the lives of Middletown High School students.

“As we’re [supporting] our juniors and seniors, who are preparing for the next step, we always want to be sure we’re preparing programming that is beneficial to them,” said Anisha. “After the event, several students started telling other students; they were speaking so excitedly about it. We had people who were game-changers and could offer opportunities to our students. It was a win-win for all!”