CINCINNATI, June 16, 2023 – Level Up Cincinnati, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering first-generation college students, is excited to announce a transformative partnership with Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC). This collaboration aims to enhance the mentorship program offered by Level Up Cincinnati and provide valuable training and support to the coaches who play a vital role in guiding and empowering the students.

With a mission to empower children and young adults to overcome obstacles and succeed in education, career, and life, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative has been a driving force in the community for over 35 years. By actively engaging the business community in advocating and supporting youth, CYC has created a pathway to success for over 180,000 disadvantaged students in Cincinnati.

The partnership between Level Up Cincinnati and Cincinnati Youth Collaborative was born out of a shared vision to provide mentorship opportunities to first-generation college students. Jim Rodarte, Co-founder and Executive Director of Level Up Cincinnati, and Amy Thompson, Executive Director of CYC, recognized the need for mentorship and the potential to make Cincinnati a mentorship town. They collaborated to develop a comprehensive program that combines Level Up Cincinnati’s commitment to empowering students with CYC’s expertise in mentorship and support.

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative will provide extensive training and support to the coaches in Level Up Cincinnati’s mentorship program. Thompson shared that, “CYC is proud to support the efforts of Level Up Cincinnati and expand our impact to more young people across Greater Cincinnati. By collaborating with other youth serving partners, CYC aims to amplify the evidence-based impacts of mentorship.” CYC’s training will cover various aspects of mentorship, including understanding the role of a mentor, common pitfalls to avoid and available resources for coaches. Through ongoing training, coaches will develop essential skills such as goal management, resilience, empathy, and effective communication.

By leveraging the years of experience, training, and support provided by Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Level Up Cincinnati aims to scale its efforts and reach more first-generation college students. The partnership will equip coaches with the necessary skills and tools to be effective mentors, enabling them to guide students in their educational and personal journeys. The goal is not only to empower students but also to empower the coaches themselves, allowing them to grow both professionally and personally.

Level Up Cincinnati and Cincinnati Youth Collaborative invites individuals and organizations passionate about mentorship and empowering students, to join their cause. Together, we can shape the future of our community by providing first-generation college students with the guidance and support they need to thrive.

For more information contact Marie Rusincovitch at or Jim Rodarte at

About Cincinnati Youth Collaborative 

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC), has been committed to increasing Greater Cincinnati high school graduation rates for over 35 years by collaborating with schools, businesses and volunteers throughout the community. Since its founding, CYC has served more than 185,000 students by placing positive adult advocates in their lives. Working directly with local school districts, CYC offers mentoring, work readiness, college and career success services and resource coordination to our students. Over the past five years, an average of 95% of CYC senior students have graduated on time from high school. By connecting students with resources and tools for success, CYC continually proves that preparation and opportunity make all the difference in creating bright futures for young people. To learn more about CYC’s services and to discover ways that you can positively impact the lives of our region’s youth, visit 

About Level Up Cincinnati 

Level Up Cincinnati (LUC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering first-generation Black and Latinx college students in the Cincinnati community. Through programming that includes scholarships, mentorship, and personal development LUC helps to bridge the opportunity gap and support students in achieving their full potential. LUC eases the transition from high school to college and maximizes opportunities in the transition from college to career. In collaboration with local business and community partners, LUC is transforming the lives of students and shaping a brighter future for our community. To learn more about Level Up Cincinnati and how you can support this cause, visit