LENOX Non-Profit of the Month: Inner City Youth Opportunities (ICYO)
For 26 years, Inner City Youth Opportunities (ICYO) a local non-profit 501 (C ) 3 has been providing a safe, stable place for Cincinnati’s inner-city low-income youth K-12 to go after school and during the summer. Our mission is to teach practical life skills to develop responsible, educated and caring youth. Our model works by starting with young people who need us most. The ICYO program was originally based on The Israel Tennis Centers, a 37-year old network of fourteen tennis centers throughout Israel that successfully incorporates tennis, academics and mentoring for at risk children.
ICYO Tennis Program: In the beginning, ICYO’s method of incorporating tennisresulted in 25 youth who attended Washburn Elementary School in the West End learning through tennis communication skills, problem solving, self-discipline, how to win and lose gracefully, and accountability for their choices. The tennis program also helped build self-esteem, encourage goal setting, and teach anger-management, and social skills. Many of our players participated in Novice and USTA Tournaments. In 1996, to deepen the impact of the youth served in our Tennis Programtwo additional programs were added: Academic Interventionand Youth Development.
The Academic Interventionprogram focuses on homework assistance, academic tutoring in all subjects with an emphasis on early childhood literacy (grades K – 4), reading comprehension, language arts, writing, math, life skills and character development. The program provides a safe, stable environment to help youth pass to their next grade level and be successful in school. In addition to homework help, the program also offers supplementary individualize academic lesson plans for all subjects for each student that attends including the Steve Spangler Science Club, educational field trips and our new “Raising Young Gardeners to the Teaching Kitchen” with emphasis on learning & cooking healthy foods and using produce from our own garden plot and a Juice Plus Aeroponics Tower Garden.
We believe in fostering strong and open relationships with parents and teachers and through the schools’ portals, with parental permission, we track grades, behavior and attendance of the students to make sure they are continuing to stay on track. We provide our students with access to dedicated, trained professionals who can provide guidance in adopting healthy lifestyles and pursuing educational objectives.
The Youth Developmentprogram consists of our summer camps with community partners, educational and sports field trips for our youth and year-round field trips to the Cincinnati Nature Center our community partner. These experiences give our students an opportunity beyond their neighborhoods that most families wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. It allows our youth to connect socially and interact with other youth their age in Greater Cincinnati of all economic, cultural and racial backgrounds and provides an extra incentive for the hard work they do in school and at our Learning Center. We are also planning a 2019-2020 Financial Literacy Education program to help our junior high and high school students plan their future after high school graduation.
Inner City Youth Opportunitiesprovides free transportation to and from all programs and there are no costs to our low-income poverty level families to participate. We encourage all ICYO youth to remain in the program until high school graduation and participate in our Leadership Program.
Inner City Youth Opportunities is located at Mid-City Executive Center, 1821 Summit Road, Suite 210, Cincinnati. OH 45237. For more information call 513.731.7312 or visit icyocincinnati.org