Neighborhood Leadership Institue | Tru2U mentoring program kicks off program year activities with help of Triston McKenzie
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Tru2U mentoring program kicks off program year activities with help of Triston McKenzie

Tru2U mentoring program kicks off program year activities with help of Triston McKenzie

Press Release
January 11, 2021

Tru2U mentoring program kicks off program year activities
with help of Triston McKenzie

Cleveland Indians pitcher serves as high-profile mentor to Cleveland 8th graders

(Cleveland) Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie is one of 170 volunteers signed up for the 2020/2021 True2U Mentoring program. The program, which pairs local professionals with all Cleveland Metropolitan School District 8th graders, allows for mentors to share what they have learned throughout their careers and guide students on a course for success as they begin the transition from middle school to high school.

The Indians pitcher joins hundreds of volunteers to provide important advice, guidance and leadership to Cleveland students.  “I’m thrilled to be a mentor for the boys at Valley View (Boys Leadership Academy). The opportunity to potentially have a positive impact is very exciting to me,” states Triston McKenzie, who along with his fellow mentors, will participate in his first mentoring session this month.

Molly Feghali, True2U Program Director from Neighborhood Leadership Institute, coordinates this mentoring program. “We are incredibly excited and grateful for the volunteer efforts of our mentors and the commitment of our partners over the past six years. Considering the challenges we currently face with COVID-19 restrictions and limitations, it is truly a testament to their dedication that we are still able to serve all of the 8th graders in CMSD.”

Feghali continues, “Triston joining us this year is a really special event for True2U. We’re excited to see how he, and all of our volunteers, work to make an impact on students’ lives. We are proud to have him join our continually growing roster of mentors, which now tops 1,000.”

True2U is a volunteer program that gives mentors the opportunity to share what they have learned along their career path with current 8th graders. The program includes an engaging curriculum and the associated training to do it well. True2U started in 2015 and now serves all 2,500 8th graders in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. True2U mentors are dedicated facilitators who can help students find their strengths, explore their interests and career pathways, evaluate their high school options, reflect on and embrace their core values, and build a personal brand based on their values.

True2U is presented by Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Neighborhood Leadership Institute, Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Partnership and Greater Cleveland Faith Based Initiative.

Anthony Battaglia, Director of Career and College Readiness at CMSD adds, “Our eighth graders are at a pivotal stage in their education and benefit greatly from the guidance provided by all of our volunteer mentors. We appreciate Triston McKenzie’s willingness to take time out from the rigorous schedule of a professional athlete so he can share his unique perspective with our scholars.”

With a summer to prepare, a comprehensive virtual strategy was developed for this current academic year. True2U commenced activities with a kickoff on December 4, 2020, featuring recording artist and motivational speaker, Dee 1. Five mentoring sessions will take place online, with mentors assigned to 8th grade classes throughout the District. All necessary resources for student and mentors are hosted online, including curriculum preparation materials, video trainings, and other resources.

The first mentoring session takes place during the week of January 11th. Four more mentoring sessions will follow over the course of the spring semester and the True2U Finale Celebration is scheduled for May 6, 2021.

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