CAN DO Access
In 2009, five local organizations joined together to form the CAN DO ACCESS partnership. The goal is to strengthen the educational aspirations and achievements of young people in our community. Central Ohio Technical College, A CALL TO COLLEGE, Newark City Schools, Denison University and The Ohio State University at Newark are jointly tacking the problems of low high school graduation, college attendance and bachelors degree attainment in the Newark community. Early college awareness programs are key to overcoming personal and cultural barriers to educational achievement.
CAN DO ACCESS is an acronym that draws on the first letter of each partner organization:
A Call to College – A community supported non-profit organization that promotes college attendance in the Newark City Schools district. Central Ohio Technical College – A fully-accredited two-year technical college serving more than 4,300 students. The college offers over 40 associate degree and certificate programs and has campus locations in Newark, Coshocton, Mount Vernon and Pataskala.
Denison University – An independent, residential, liberal arts college located in Granville, Ohio. It serves more than 2,000 undergraduates and offers 48 courses of study as well as 12 pre-professional programs.The Ohio State University at Newark – A regional campus of The Ohio State University that offers general studies coursework applicable to all undergraduate degree programs at Columbus campus. In addition, the Newark campus offers six bachelors and three masters degree programs. Newark City School District - serves the city of Newark, Ohio, a light industrial community of approximately 45,000 residents. Located 35 miles east of Columbus, Newark serves as the seat for Licking County. Slightly more than 6,300 students are enrolled in the Newark City Schools, prek-12, and the district is approximately two and a half times larger than any other district in the county. The district’s 2007-2008 graduation rate was 68.8 percent (the state average is 84.6 percent), and 62.2 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged.
Partnership Synergy: Although Newark City Schools students face multiple barriers to successful college attendance and completion, they do possess two remarkable advantages. First, Newark students attend one of the few high schools in Ohio that have a nonprofit organization committed to helping qualified graduates make college more affordable by awarding Last Dollar Grants and by providing assistance with completing the Free Application For Federal Student Aid Form. Since its inception in 1991, A CALL TO COLLEGE has awarded over $1.75 million of scholarship assistance and has advised thousands of seniors and their families on the financial aid application process. Second, almost every student lives within 10 miles of three excellent institutions of higher education. Each of these diverse schools represents a unique niche: a two-year technical college (Central Ohio Technical College), a regional campus of the flagship state university (The Ohio State University at Newark), and a national liberal arts college (Denison University). Historically, each college has invested generously in local schools, but in disparate ways, and for the most part, independently of one another.
This partnership harnesses several strengths of the five institutions and channels these assets toward a common goal: initiating a collaborative, sustained effort to increase college aspiration and awareness in Newark elementary and middle school students. Denison and Ohio State Newark each support student organizations focused on community volunteerism and they each offer service-learning classes in which students volunteer in the community as a part of their required coursework. Denison’s John W. Alford Center for Service Learning is nationally recognized and a model center. Central Ohio Technical College sponsors CollegeASPIRE, a summer program designed to expose low-income youth to exciting career fields through on-campus, hands-on workshops. College ASPIRE is entering its fourth year. The Ohio State University at Newark’s Office of Access and Engagement will enter their second year of Destination College this spring. Destination College is a parent program built around the college access and offers a Kids College Club component for children K-5. These resources provide excellent platforms for promoting college aspiration, and they dovetail with the specific early awareness outreach occurring in the Newark City Schools.
Our Futures in Licking County is a coalition of people who believe that OUR community’s youth are OUR future. Key community sectors involved include: youth, parents, the business community, media, schools, youth serving youth, law enforcement, religious or fraternal organizations, civic and volunteer groups, healthcare professionals, substance abuse agencies and other agencies involved in reducing substance abuse. These groups are working together to implement research-tested strategies for improving the behavior and future prospects of Licking County youth.
Our Futures has adopted the Simple Gifts Initiative, championed by Dr. Dennis Embry of the Paxis Institute. Simple Gifts (KERNELS) are scientifically proven methods to influence behavior. These kernels are the foundation of the coalition’s strategies to achieve their objectives. The Ohio State University Newark is represented on the Leadership Board, Operations Committee, and Education Committee – advisory boards which enable Our Futures programs and activities to make a lasting impact on the Licking County community.
The Office of Access and Engagement is a member of OCAN, the statewide coordinating body for college access programs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is dedicated to helping children reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth. The Newark campus partners with BBBS on two mentoring/tutoring initiatives – Lunch Buddies and ClemReads.
Lunch Buddies - The Lunch Buddies mentoring program matches Ohio State Newark faculty, staff, and student volunteers with second, third, fourth or fifth grade students from local elementary schools. Currently we have programs in three of the elementary schools in Newark: McGuffey, Ben Franklin and Carson. As a big, you have lunch with your student and then spend one-on-one time during recess. It is important to keep these matches as long as possible; therefore, the commitment is for 45 minutes, one day per week for the entire school year.
ClemReads - The ClemReads tutoring program matches Ohio State Newark faculty, staff, and student volunteers with an elementary school student to strengthen their reading skills. Tutoring sessions last 30 minutes and the program takes place at John Clem Elementary.
Big Brothers Big Sisters creates successful mentoring relationships for all children who need and want them, contributing to brighter futures, better schools, and stronger communities for all.
“The reward of being a Big Sister is seeing my Little Sister’s face every time I walk into the room…This experience will be with me the rest of my life.”
Interested in participating? Want to become a Big Sister or Big Brother?
Marcy Melanson, Access Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gayle Waite, Big Brothers Big Sisters, email@example.com