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True2U under way, but more mentors needed




True2U mentors began working with eighth-graders across the District on Thursday, but the program still needs volunteers to help the students plan their futures.

Kevin Baldwin has served as a mentor since the start of True2, now in its fourth year. He and his current protégés at Anton Grdina School spent Thursday reviewing an assessment of their strengths and discussing norms such as “Stay focused” and “Listen first.”

“I have a passion for helping youths,” said Baldwin, who also spends time in CMSD high schools as a representative of College Now Greater Cleveland. “I like to see them discover more about themselves, discover their skills and strengths and apply those to future goals.”

The mentors work with the eighth-graders for three hours one day a month, talking with them in small groups about choosing the right high school and exploring college or career options.

Audrey Davis, the CMSD’s program manager for True2U, said the District has mentors for all of the more than 60 K-8 and PreK-8 schools and the 2,300 eighth-graders. But she said more mentors are needed to keep the student groups as small as possible.

The program expanded annually and as of last year covered all of the schools that have eighth-graders.

When the program began, less than half of the eighth-graders chose their high schools, an option provided under The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint for education reform. Last year, data showed that a large majority took advantage of that right.

Mentors follow a curriculum based on Stedman Graham’s “Nine Step Success Process” identity development model. They facilitate games, activities, discussions and reflection.

True2U is a partnership between CMSD, MyCom, the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Greater Cleveland Faith-Based Initiative.

To apply to be a mentor, go to

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