Program is a ray of hope in these turbulent times

Ron Soeder has helped many young people struggling to find their way to get on a better path through his work at Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. His most recent effort is Pathway to Resilience, a pilot program to provide at-risk teens and young adults with the tools they need to pursue meaningful employment and make a positive difference in their communities.

“It’s been a pleasure to have these young men in our building every day to understand what they are going through and where they are coming from,” says Soeder, president of the nonprofit. “It’s just a great experience for all of us.”

As you’ll read in this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature, the first group of participants in the program were recently brought up to the 57th floor of Key Tower to meet with some of the men and women who are leading and sponsoring Pathways to Resilience. They were in awe as they peered out the windows overlooking Lake Erie, downtown Cleveland and beyond on this bright, sunny day.

“We know it takes a lot of work and a lot of courage to change,” said Bassem Mansour, co-CEO at Resilience Capital Partners, which launched the program in conjunction with Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. “The easiest thing to do is not change and keep doing what you have been doing.”

Upon completion of the program, participants will be eligible for employment with sponsors, which includes both large and small Cleveland-area employers.

“The key to this program is support from local businesses and corporations partnering with Pathway, which will lead to employment and better choices for our youth,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press release about the program.

I was fortunate to attend the event at Key Tower and listen to some of their stories. In these difficult, uncertain times that are filled with so much conflict and tension, it was refreshing to take a look inside a program that is making a positive difference in society.

The young people who are part of Pathways to Resilience have been given an opportunity to make a better life. It won’t be easy.

As LeBron James once said to Sports Illustrated, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” These individuals understand that and they’re committed to put in the work so they can reap the rewards.

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor for Smart Business Cleveland