Assets Toledo 68th Graduation Class Holds Ceremony

Moni Featchurs, Assets Toledo Board of Directors; Oliva Holden, Assets Toledo Executive Director; and Cheryl Folsom, Assets Toledo Board of Directors

By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter

Assets Toledo welcomed family, friends, alumni and the community to celebrate the 68th graduation class on Friday, March 31, 2023. The occasion was held at Toledo Mennonite Church on Nebraska Avenue. Oliva Holden, Assets Toledo executive director, opened the occasion with an official welcome, the Assets prayer was recited and comments from Moni Featchurs, board member, were shared.

“I am so excited to see each of you. Thank you to each of the graduate’s families for sharing your loved one with me and allowing us to learn from each other,” said Holden,

The graduation included Sonia Flunder-McNair, CEO and founder of SONIA Organics, LLC as the guest speaker. Flunder-McNair shared tips on how to remain in business.

“It’s important to incorporate wellness into your lifestyle. You must work with blinders on because your path and your life ministry are yours. Always keep the community first. Remember to have a big support system and don’t over work yourself,” McNair told the graduates.

Immediately following the speaker, each graduate was introduced by Holden, received a certificate with a gift and gave a personal testimony about the program.

“I saw the flyers several times and even though I worked 10 hours every day, I needed to take the time and invest in myself,” sai Melody McKelvin.

“I am an active member in my community and I’m here to make a change. I feel the need for change. I see the crime and know a change must be made. I want to help the young men and women in my community,” said Antwan Oxner.

The 68th graduation class included: Salimah Allen, Brenda Aranda, Christopher Barringer, Taylor Bates, Aiyona Brownlee, Richone Brown, Chervonne Curry, Fontella Fortune, Kenya Franklin, Christian Hair, Alasia Harris, Whitney Jones, Shaquell Marshall, Melody McKelvin, Tracy McNeal, Antwan Oxner, Lailanai Tompkins, Eric Thompson, Alondria Wright and Eddie Mae Wyatt.

According to Holden, Assets Toledo has graduated 3,900 individual and 89 percent of those individuals remain in business. Each graduating class must complete 13 weeks of coursework which incorporate presentations from industry professionals and access to resources. Assets Toledo has served the Toledo community for decades and provides business and entrepreneurship training in collaboration with partners and funders.

The list of partners includsd: Bob Anderson of The Leadership Circle; Bob Bobek of Gilmore, Jasion & Mahler, LTD; Linda Fayerweather of Toledo Lucas County Public Library; Kelvin Friesen and Marc Fruth of Saunder Manufacturing, Marcus Goodwin of House of Emmanuel, John Monaghan of VZN, Devon Gordon of Digital Guidance Professionals LLC, Ebony Carter of Small Business Development Center, Felicia Sanchez of KeyBank and Jerrika Brown of The Brown Agency. Funders include: Small Business Administration, St. Vincent/Mercy Hospitals, The Anderson’s Foundation, Key Bank Foundation, Jumpstart Inc, Edward & Mildred Roth Family Foundation, Art Tatum Zone, Pathway, LISC and several individual contributors.

The Assets Toledo Board of Directors are: Steve Elzinga of Erie Orchards & Cider Mills; Moni Featchurs of Premiere Screening LLC; Jason Ridley the branch manager at Key Bank; Brent Ringenberg of Hass-Door Company; Cheryl Tyler Folsom, a retired union representative; Laurnetta Baylis and John Harris the CEO of Black Kettle Bar-B-Que; Assets Advisors: Judge Myron Duhart of Sixth District Court of Appeals and Marcus Goodwin of House of Emmanuel.