Dave Plogmann has been a mentor and board member for more than five years, and this month he shares the values and experiences that keep him coming back.
I became involved with CYC through the strong mentoring program my employer at the time, Luxottica, had (and still has) with Withrow High School. I was matched with a bright young man about six years ago, and we still stay in touch today. He graduated high school and started at University of Cincinnati – Blue Ash in engineering. He ultimately decided to switch to computer studies, and is currently pursuing his degree on the main campus of University of Cincinnati.
Life has thrown some obstacles at this young man, both during high school and up to this day, but he is an impressive young man. We still have lunch occasionally, and connect when we can, and I am grateful that mentoring brought us together.
This positive experience inspired me to join the CYC Board of Directors when the opportunity arose. It was at that point that I really got to see the level of unmet need and the incredible obstacles that CYC students face. The expectations that are put on all kids today at school are well beyond what any of us faced in our youths, but when you factor in things that are out of the ability of kids to control—divorce, incarcerated parents, violence, homelessness—it takes nearly heroic effort to be able to succeed. And that is the beauty of CYC: We have built a model that works and—with sufficient funding and city-wide support—can address the unacceptable youth poverty rates that Cincinnati is facing.
Cincinnati is ranked 2nd in the nation for highest childhood poverty rate, but not many in the city seem to be talking about that. It is all about getting the word out: Every person can make a difference, and together the difference we can make is profound. I know I’ve made a difference in my mentee’s life, and he has made a difference in mine. I know I’ve made a difference in my work as a CYC Board Member, and that CYC has made a difference in the lives of over 160,000 students. So spread the word. Make a difference.
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