Great news - Zoomates has been recognized as an outstanding community service project by the True Hero website! For those that may not know, Zoomates is a collaboration of the Cincinnati Zoo and the University of Cincinnati with Project Connect. We pair a homeless student (grades K-8) with a college student as a mentor and have organized activities together at the school and the zoo. (one of our 08-09 South Avondale Zoomates pictured right)
Rachel Ernst, the UC coordinator for the 08-09 Zoomates, submitted the project to True Hero and it came in 7th, winning a $1,000 grant! Rachel is really my inspiration for starting this blog because she created such a fabulous one for Zoomates (you should take a minute and check it out!).
We are really excited about this year coming up. We are going to be working with students at Hays-Porter in the West End, and we are expanding the program to a weekly schedule. Our hope is that the kids will form even more connection to their mentors and to school -- promoting our number one goal for homeless students: school stability.
We're so proud of this program, the True Hero Award, and of our many other collaborations with the University of Cincinnati. Congratulations to Rachel, Kathy, Elizabeth, Mike, and everyone else in UC's Center for Community Engagement.