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The True2U mentors working with CMSD eighth graders are on the same team as Cleveland Guardians pitcher Triston McKenzie and outfielder Steven Kwan.

True2U helps the students identify their strengths and interests and begin planning their futures. McKenzie is in his second year of mentoring students at Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy; Kwan, in his first year, will also volunteer at Valley View.

Largely in recognition of McKenzie’s work for True2U, he has been named the Guardians’ nominee for Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award, one of MLB’s most prestigious individual awards. The award honors a player for character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field.

McKenzie first met with students at Valley View via Zoom and eventually spoke to the children in person. He told the eighth graders how Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in the Major Leagues, influenced his career. The pitcher, who also aspired to be a doctor, told the students how he made the decisions that led him to play professional baseball.

Volunteer True2U mentors work with the students throughout the year to help them explore their strengths and interests, think about career possibilities and select which CMSD high school is best for them.

Mentors will meet with the eighth graders for two hours once a month from October through April. The volunteers also will have an opportunity to meet twice for a half-hour with seventh graders to share information about career paths.

True2U, which was started in 2015, partners with the District’s new Planning and Career Exploration, or PACE, program. PACE is designed to help all students develop a plan to obtain living wage jobs. Students begin with career awareness in the sixth grade before progressing to planning, workplace experiences and transition to the workforce.

To learn more about True2U, go to