WARREN, Ohio – What began in 2004 with four students meeting monthly with Warren native Deryck Toles to help with homework has evolved into an organization that has touched the lives of more than 5,000 young people through its after school and summer enrichment programs
Over the last 15 years, Inspiring Minds, a nonprofit organization founded by Toles, has served young people ranging from kindergarten age through their careers. Inspiring Minds focuses on five areas – education, college and career readiness, exposure to new experiences, health and wellness, and personal development.
Inspiring Minds students have visited more than 75 cities in 20 states and three countries, toured over 90 colleges and universities, and have been exposed to more than 80 companies and industries. “Exposing our students to different people, places, cultures, careers, and opportunities is vital in helping them to find their purpose in the world,” Toles says.
With chapters in Warren, Youngstown, Philadelphia, New York, and Raleigh-Durham, the network of opportunities continues to grow.
“We have graduates studying neuroscience, engineering, psychology, law, education and nursing,” Toles says. “There are also alumni starting their own businesses, working for companies around the world, and becoming leaders in their communities.”
In 2021, all Inspiring Minds seniors graduated from high school, maintaining the organization’s 100% graduation rate over the past 15 years.
Other highlights included the 15th annual gala, which celebrated both Warren and Youngstown students; 10 years of summer enrichment programming; a multi-chapter exposure trip to Florida; 20 paid summer internships with local businesses; and numerous community collaborations and projects.
“In 2022, we’re looking forward to more impact,” Toles says, “such as serving more students in more cities, exposing them to new opportunities, and investing in our communities.”