p1000716One cannot help but smile when meeting Jayren Andrews. His ease of manner, and warmth of heart is readily apparent upon introduction. He is a confident and purposeful young man who takes pride in sharing his dreams, and is humbled by his accomplishments. He speaks of his trials and tribulations as “defining moments of character,” and believes that learning from one’s failures is the key to success. Jayren is a model of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC) way, and reminds us of the importance of CYC’s vision that “all children will achieve their full potential.” By providing our vulnerable youth with a caring and sustaining adult role model, we help our at-risk students obtain the tools they need to graduate high school and go to enrollment in college, enlistment in the military, or employment in a gainful career.

Jayren does not shy away from giving credit to those who have made a difference for him on his CYC journey. A graduate of CYC’s College and Career Success program, he often refers to his CYC advisor, Jamie Wilson, as being the central figure who helped him conquer the college admissions process, and motivated him to find the college that was the right fit with his long-term goals. He also credits CYC and Ms. Wilson with helping him master the skill of “self-discipline and discovering what it means to really go for what you want.”

He explains, “Knowing I had Ms. Wilson’s support, I was determined to make any scholarship we applied for be the best that was submitted.” She was “determined to drive me 100%.” Without internet access at home, this sometimes meant that Jayren would need to meet Ms. Wilson at Shroder High School as early as 6am to be able to work on his applications before the start of his classes.

Ultimately, Jayren’s perseverance paid off. He found the right fit at Northern Kentucky University, and was accepted into the Haile/US Bank College of Business for the Fall 2016 semester. He was also awarded CYC’s Outstanding Student Scholarship for his commitment to academic excellence, and remarkable leadership acumen. Jayren was an award winning public speaker during his senior year at Shroder, has served on Mayor Cranley’s Poverty Task Force, and is president of the Avondale Youth Council.

Jayren was recognized at our 2016 Dream Makers Celebration for his hard work and dedication as a CYC student. Ms. Wilson has praised him for “truly being a student of character and sincerity, and describes him as being “dependable and humble with a voice that can change the world.”

Reflecting on his high school experience, Jayren speaks openly and candidly. He says, “I was once told that life is what you make it. Throughout my high school career I have grown dramatically, changing my understanding of life. CYC made me work harder, because the harder I worked, the more opportunities I saw. And from there, with a lot of opportunities, I could weigh all of my options and figure out where I wanted to go, and which step would take me closer to where I wanted to be.”

All of us at CYC could not be happier for Jayren as he goes on to college, and look forward to providing additional support to him on this new and exciting chapter.

Ms. Wilson says fondly, “I sincerely look forward to watching him achieve his dreams.”