MAY 2021

Monthly updates
and information from
The Institute
1) COVID Vaccines
Northeast Ohioans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, albeit slowly. Now our state is gradually changing its stance on masks and incentivizing the vaccine. What's your take? Check out these balanced articles on the topic from The Land and Center for Community Solutions

And speaking of state incentives, Ohio's vaccine lottery website is now active. Vaccinated adults are eligible for a $1 Million cash prize and vaccinated children ages 12-17 are eligible for a 4-year full ride scholarship to a state college. Learn more here:

2) Voter Registrations
Fresh off the heels of a chaotic and polarizing national presidential election, our city has a number of new faces in the running to be the next Mayor of Cleveland. We encourage city residents to be involved, engaged, and informed of the candidates and important issues affecting our region's urban core. Our community will be stronger when more citizens become engaged and vote. Have you checked these resources lately?: League of Women's Voters, CLE Votes, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, and the ACLU of Ohio.

3) Cleveland Consent Decree
Families and Communities Building Resistance
Wednesday June 9th; 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Cleveland families and communities impacted by trauma have found diverse ways to react to traumatic events. Running for elected office, advocating for new legislation, creating foundations, and establishing Neighborhood Watch programs, are only a few of the steps some have taken.  The “Families and Communities Building Resilience” community conversation co-hosted by United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP is an opportunity to share ideas and feelings, identify individual and community support systems, and discuss one’s capacity to give back when facing enormous loss. You can register here for the next session.

TRUE2U Finale Celebration was May 6th
The True2U Finale Celebration took place on Thursday, May 6th. Dee-1, recording artist and motivational speaker, headlined the live event to share an inspirational message and give scholars a meaningful send-off as they look onward towards high school. The event also included guest speakers who spoke about the importance of maintaining a good G.P.A. in high school as well as highlighted some great programs and activities for students to become involved with throughout the summer and academic year. It was a great event full of positive energy and we are very proud of our True2U scholars and excited for their journey head!

Share your story to help babies thrive
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has created a statewide Eliminating Disparities in Infant Mortality Task Force for the purpose of addressing the racial disparity in infant mortality, which is defined as the number of children that die in their first year of life for every 1,000 live births. For Cuyahoga County the disparity is quite stark (see data table compiled by Cuyahoga County here). We know the issue of infant mortality is compounded by centuries of inequities in all areas of life. And we also know that African American families and those organizations and individuals who support and advocate for the well-being of African American families have stories to tell and suggestions for addressing the issues that impact the health of our youngest citizens. The link below provides just such an opportunity. Whether you’re a parent, resident of your community, or organization providing services to pregnant people, the Taskforce wants to hear from you. Your stories and suggestions will help the Taskforce understand the lived experience of African American residents in Ohio. This "Share Your Story" Link expires in July 2021.
GiGi Elder is a long-time advocate for Cleveland's children and for quality education. She is the founder of ILORY'S Educational Services Inc., which is a local educational advocacy company. GiGi has also served as an Educator in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for 23 years.

Elder, a proud mother of two adult children, is an NLC Class 30 alumna. She has mentored for True2U, a program where NLI is a partner, since it began. Additionally, she coaches NLC classes and has served as facilitator of NLI's Community Book Club since its inception last year. This Book Club was launched with GiGi's help and has covered issues of race and social injustice across seven different books.

GiGi states, "I have always been involved in community, and with NLI's training and support, I have gained more skills and tools to assist me with helping myself and others."

"I am a better CMSD employee as a result of NLI, and I am able to see and value other perspectives. With more than 1,000 alum within my reach, I regularly see that indeed iron sharpens iron."

NLI will once again manage the City’s Summer Tennis Program. This summer-long program is for youth looking to learn or develop fundamental tennis skills. The program runs June 7th through July 29th. Registration is free. Due to COVID-19 health guidelines, all tennis lessons will be done by appointment only. Parents must complete the registration linked here, to be turned in to instructors at the court of your choice, or your nearest recreation center. Participants should wear athletic shoes and a hat. To learn more, contact Tasha Fairley at (216) 658-1360 ext. 209 or

True2U is excited to announce the True2U Who I Am poem contest winners! True2U scholars were challenged to put on their thinking caps and get their creative juices flowing to create a poem that illustrates a good representation of who they are. A panel of judges selected one grand prize winner, Jostyn Martinez of Walton School, and seven additional winners. Click Here to visit our website to view the contest winners and their poem submissions.

True2U recently rounded out the academic year by celebrating students who completed the 9th Grade Extension and CollegeBound programs. Both programs are geared to further help students learn about their interests, strengths, goals and build upon their leadership skills as they navigate through high school. The CollegeBound program dives deeper into exploring post secondary options for students. Their final sessions featured a closing ceremony with each student receiving a certificate for their successful completion of the program. We wish all of the participants much success as they continue their high school journey!

The Summer Leadership Academy (SLA) will continue with remote programming this year. The summer program will serve up to 50 students for this enriching leadership training. Beginning June 21st, the SLA will last for six weeks and students will attend a virtual session for 2 hours Monday - Thursday. Each week, the SLA highlights a theme and students will be assigned related projects and other activities to complete outside of the remote group sessions. NLI proudly partners with Youth Opportunities Unlimited to present the Summer Leadership Academy.

Monthly NLC Virtual Alumni Check-Ins continue this month. Join us on Friday May 28th for a casual online gathering. Discuss updates, network and socialize with your fellow alums! We look forward to seeing you! The virtual gathering takes place from 5:30 - 6:30 PM.

Click HERE to access the Zoom link.

Stay tuned for more information on our next Community Book Club. The reading selection will be The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. Registration will soon be opened for this engaging and impactful Book Club offering.

NLI Healthy Communities' next Drive-In Community Baby Shower is Saturday May 22nd. This baby shower, like others we have hosted, is for families who are expecting, or have infants 0 to 6 months. Follow us on Facebook (@NLIhealthycommunities) to know when more events like this will take place. Registration for this event is closed, but If you are interested in volunteering or need more information, please contact

Baby on Board officially began last month. The program serves pregnant families and families with children 0-1 year of age living in 44108, 44110 and 44112, who have transportation needs and are active with a partner family support program. Eligible family members can receive weekly bus passes to help with transportation needs. Yes, this can include Dad!!! If you are enrolled with a home visiting program, speak with your worker about Baby On Board. Not enrolled with a program or just want more information? Call the NLI Infant Vitality Hotline at (216) 658-1355.

NLI is a leading community education organization in Cleveland, Ohio. We
impact the city through our work in: Neighborhood Leadership, True2U
Mentoring, Community Health and Youth Engagement
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