Education

Inspiring Minds Volunteer Donates Tuition Credits

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Denzel Stevens, a junior majoring in telecommunications, will have half of his semester tuition at Youngstown State University covered because someone took the time to volunteer.

Stevens was awarded free tuition vouchers for six credit hours toward completing his degree through Ohio’s “Give Back. Go Forward” program. The initiative offers free tuition credit vouchers for Ohio residents 60 years or older who volunteer at least 100 hours at an area nonprofit. The credit vouchers are good for courses at YSU or Eastern Gateway Community College.

The volunteers can then use their vouchers for themselves, family, friends or community members.

William Henderson, a longtime volunteer at Inspiring Minds, chose to donate his vouchers to Stevens, a former Inspiring Minds student. “Inspiring Minds has become part of my family over the years, and I’m going to take advantage of any way that I can help the kids in the community,” Henderson said.

Stevens expects to graduate in December 2017 and plans to pursue a career in voice acting.

“Words cannot describe how much it means to me that people believe in me and value my education this much,” said Stevens, who is paying for his college through scholarships and financial aid. “These free credits take a lot of stress off me now and in the future.”

Stevens especially thanked Inspiring Minds for the impact the organization has had on his life. “Inspiring Minds showed me that my future was full of possibilities; they took me on college visits, helped me find my career path, and I wouldn’t be here today without them.”

Deryck Toles, founder and CEO of Inspiring Minds, said Give Back. Go Forward is one of the ways his organization is able to impact the lives of young people after graduation from high school.

“While Inspiring Minds serves students in grades K-12, our relationships with students don’t stop after they graduate high school,” Toles said.

Inspiring Minds is a nonprofit outreach organization that works with under-represented youth in the community and aims to engage, inspire and empower students through education and new experiences.

YSU President Jim Tressel also offered his congratulations to Stevens. “We look forward to watching Denzel proceed through school, graduate and become the next great YSU success story,” he said.

Give Back. Go Forward is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Aging, Mature Services, YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College, Inspiring Minds and the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Pictured: YSU student Denzel Stevens, YSU President Jim Tressel and Inspiring Minds volunteer William Henderson, who donated tuition vouchers from the Give Back Go Forward program to Stevens.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.