united way calls for volunteers to help with cleveland schools transformation

United Way of Greater Cleveland has been a steady supporter of Cleveland's schools for years. The charity organization is now looking for some outside assistance as the city works to change the fortunes of the struggling district.

United Way is inviting volunteers to invest their time and talent in conjunction with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's initiative to transform its underachieving schools. The CMSD volunteer opportunities have not yet been defined, but United Way president and CEO Bill Kitson knows help will be needed once the new school program launches in the fall.

"We're taking names and we'll get back in touch with people this summer," says Kitson. “We need our entire community to wrap around our kids, their families and their schools.” 

Enrichment programs, mentoring and after-school enrichment opportunities are just a few of the changes afoot for the 13 Cleveland schools impacted by the strategy, the first part of The Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools.

Interested volunteers can sign up online or call United Way 2-1-1. The organization will contact potential participants when opportunities fitting their skills and interests arise. Helpers might be needed to walk to children to school, or to assist with neighborhood cleanups around school facilities.

"There are so many ways to utilize the community," Kitson says.

United Way officials would like to get a couple of hundred volunteers engaged as soon as the schools open. The group views education as a key to the city's success, and publically supported CMSD's 15-mill levy that passed last November.

"Getting a neighborhood involved in its schools goes beyond education," says Kitson.

SOURCE: Bill Kitson
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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