Letters of Support

A Student’s Story


EYEJ Committee Members

When we formed EYEJ in late summer 2013, none of us had any idea if what was in our heads would actually work. Now more than a year into the speaker series, we are happily surprised to see how much it means to the students. The fact that we’re reaching kids in our own community makes it even more special and I’m excited to be part of it.

Gloria Sturghill — EYEJ Committee Member

EYEJ allows for a chance to lift young people and allow them to see the possible beyond the now.

David Faulx — EYEJ Committee Member

As I observe EYEJ in action, I see both sides — the students and the facilitators — having their perspectives changed, broadened and deepened.

Pamela Beck — EYEJ Committee Member


EYEJ Speakers

Our youth are victims of misinformation about ways to navigate life successfully and they need to have an opportunity to talk with professionals in their community about all of the tools that are needed to be successful (not necessarily rich) in life; identifying a goal (interest, career, graduating), developing a individual and realistic plan to achieve goals, the importance of education and how to maximize that education, how to maximize a “mentor” relationship and career choices, in a safe environment where there is a “real” conversation that includes acknowledgment of the current conditions they live in and with everyday that often does not support the information that was shared with them and may prevent them from seeking information and ways to reach their dreams.

Alan Bedingfield — Relationship Manager for United Way

As an African American man, EYEJ provides me with an opportunity to help change the world through sharing my life with adolescent African American boys.

Brian Shields — Rev. & Staff Chaplain
Healing Services Coordinator of Cleveland Clinic

My experience with eighth grade boys at Buckeye-Woodland tells me that these students want and need some down-to-earth-help in dealing with difficult inter-personal conflicts and relationships. They are hungry for this kind of effort and I believe we helped them.

Rick Stege — Lawyer & Partner to Stege & Michelson Co., L.P.A.

EYEJ presents meaningful opportunities for volunteers to engage in a structured conversation with young people in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District about core life issues.

Ben Beckman — Lawyer at Jones Day

Using our resources has a lot to do with our freedom.

Delonte Marshall — EYEJ Speaker Volunteer

What is academic scholarship based on? It’s based on work ethic and determination. Its based on how you value yourself.

Theo Hudson — EYEJ Volunteer Speaker


Plymouth Church

The EYEJ program is exceptional because it brings people of faith from diverse backgrounds together to further the cause of justice for our most vulnerable youth. The EYEJ program exemplifies what is possible when talented people put their faith into action on behalf of others and what sets the EYEJ program apart from other projects. It is the wisdom and vision of EYEJ’s leaders and the broad-based support those leaders have inspired.

The Rev. Dr. Shawnthea Monroe — Senior Minister, Plymouth Church UCC, Shaker Heights


Buckeye-Woodland / CMSD School

It is with pride and pleasure that I submit to you a statement of support and commitment for the EYEJ Program. As a principal at Buckeye-Woodland School, I have firsthand knowledge of the wonderful work your program has done to help our at-risk scholars know that with perseverance and persistence in the classroom they too can succeed. Your program is comprised of a diverse group of people, with many that like them that has been able to move out of the various situations and succeed. We need more programs like yours that take time and come into the school and be mentors to the male and female scholars. Buckeye-Woodland Pre-K — 8 is a partner with you, and it is our sincere hope that this program will receive continued funding for many years.

Doris Redic — Principal of Buckeye-Woodland School, a Cleveland Metropolitan School


Youth Group Unlimited General Letter of Support

Because we know the importance of role models for our young people, we are very supportive of the EYEJ program.

Carol Rivchun — President, Youth Group Unlimited



I really like it when EYEJ comes — the speakers really listen to us!

7th grade girl — Buckeye-Woodland School

I feel more comfortable talking to a teacher if I have a problem now.

8th grade boy — Buckeye-Woodland School

The speakers are really good and they understand us.

8th grade girl — Buckeye-Woodland School

Going to Cleveland State was great — I think I want to go there and be a teacher.

7th grade girl — Alfred-Benesch

I learned how much money it actually costs to live. Life is expensive!

8th grade boy when asked about his takeaway from a discussion.

One thing we need more of in this world is love, compassion and understanding.

7th grade boy when asked about the differences between wants and needs.

Wow! My mom really makes a miracle happen every month.

7th grade girl when asked about her takeaway from the discussion.

Even though everyone has their flaws. You all are beautiful and intelligent in your own way.

8th grader — Miles Park School

Your community is your surroundings and your area and the people that communicate with you.

7th grader — Anton Grdina

A community member is someone who works with each other and helps people with homework.

7th grader — Anton Grdina

One thing I learned today was to pay attention to what community you are a part of.

7th grader — Anton Grdina