By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
HOPE Toledo hosted its first ‘HOPE Hype’, a three day back-to-school workshop series in partnership with Owens Community College, Aug 2- Aug 4. The students each received care packages with school supplies, toiletries and gift cards in a sendoff celebration culminating at Owen’s Heritage Hall Thursday.
HOPE Toledo and Owens Community College hosted this first HOPE Hype to provide their scholars additional support before starting or returning to college.
“HOPE Hype is essentially a mini-boot camp for students to be prepared, and get excited about, going to postsecondary education and to wrap them with as much support as possible to ensure they are successful,” said Erica Parish, dean of Accreditation and Academic Support at Owens Community College. Sessions covered a range of topics essential to collegiate success including the themes of “Start(ing) off Strong,” “Explore” and “Real World Issues”.
“The inaugural HOPE Toledo Promise Scholars class was in 2020 at Jesup W. Scott High School in Toledo, where students were among the most underestimated and disadvantaged in the TPS district. The program provides cost-free, postsecondary education for 4.5 years, including tuition, room, board, books and fees.
“HOPE Toledo Promise is the first two-generation, postsecondary scholarship program of its kind in which high school students, as well as a parent or guardian, can attend college or trade school for free. It is proving to increase success rates for students while providing the opportunity for overall economic mobility for whole families.” (source: www.hope-toledo.org)
This is the third cohort of HOPE Promise Scholars. All participants are graduates of Scott High School and scholars in attendance Thursday were either entering their first year of college or returning for their second year. The students were sent on their way to Owens, Lourdes University , Bowling Green State University, Central State University, University of Toledo, Cleveland State University, Mercy College and various trade schools, among other institutions.
The event included raffles, refreshments, a speech from the programs first graduate and presentation from Pathways 4 Successful Leadership. The 50 students in attendance received gift cards and care packages with food, schools supplies and toiletries to kick them off for their first semester back to school.
Lakya Layson, Scott High School class of ’21, said “I was blessed to get this opportunity… it’s helped financially definitely but also connecting me to resources… It’s not just about money but it’s about the people in your corner: mentors, teachers, friends, and family that’s not even blood.”
Layson is an incoming sophomore at the University of Toledo majoring in psychology and is a pre-medical student.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned in these three days [in HOPE Hype] is college will be hard… it’s inevitable . It’s about how you deal [challenges] and who you have in your corner…”, said Layson.
HOPE staff congratulated the students as they embarked on the start the new school year. Today there are more than 300 HOPE Toledo scholars pursuing higher education in 13 educational institutions around Ohio (primarily in the Toledo region). Additionally, approximately 25 percent of those scholars have a parent pursuing their dream as well. (source: hope-toledo.org) To learn more or donate visit hope-toledo.org.
HOPE Toledo is a 501(c) 3 organization and encompasses HOPE Toledo Pre-K and HOPE Toledo Promise. The mission of HOPE Toledo is to work with the Toledo community to support and ensure high-quality educational experiences for all youth, from preschool to post-secondary and trade school, with the goal of helping to create generational economic change for the betterment of families and this community. Currently,36 percent of the people in the TPS district are living below the poverty line and more than 80% of kids in Toledo enter kindergarten without the skills needed to learn.
This cradle-to-career approach will better serve area children and, in the long run, help the city progress towards a stronger, more educated workforce. To that end, HOPE Toledo is working with the Toledo community, through public/private partnerships and in tandem with Toledo Public Schools and Washington Local Schools, to develop a plan to deliver high-quality educational experiences for all youth.