Gina & Jeffrey Rotsky and a close friend and partner in business, Eric Stephenson, founded the Rotsky Foundation for Mentors in 1993. The Foundation was created to provide hope, motivation and encouragement to Cleveland Public School students.
The not-for-profit, 501.c.3 foundation, which has close connections with Case Western Reserve University, partners inner-city middle school students (protégés) with local professionals (mentors) that work in a field of interest to the student.
The Rotsky’s fund the program personally with additional funding provided by donations from private foundations, local corporations and fundraising events. Currently we offer scholarships in our protégés freshman year only. Eventually, through a comprehensive corporate support program, the Foundation will be able to offer even greater incentives to students in the form of college scholarship money for four years.
The immediate goal, however, is to ensure the educational success of each and every student involved in the program. First and foremost mentors stress the importance of a high school education and encourage student protégés to set a personal goal of expecting to attend college.
Protégés generally enter the program during their 8th grade school year. Once a mentor has been teamed up with a protégé, the hope is that they will remain partnered throughout high school and college and eventually, as the student enters the professional work force. Our ultimate dream is that protégés go to college, succeed, and then come back to the foundation to be mentors
Mentors are asked to meet with their protégé at least once a month and have a minimum of two phone conversations with their protégé, each month. Although there is a minimum of three contacts per month, many of the program’s mentors go above and beyond that, spending time with their protégés socially, as well as professionally.
Currently, the Foundation offers four annual events in which both the mentors and protégés are invited to attend including: Day in the Life of a CWRU Student, when protégés shadow a CWRU student for a day & then dinner is served;
College Campus Visit, a day bus trip to tour a different college campus each year; Summer Picnic & Olympics, a picnic at the Cleveland Metroparks where protégés & mentors compete against one another in different sporting events (families are invited); and the last is a philanthropic event to help some organization in need.
Mentors have also been gracious in hosting Foundation events at their place of business. For example, in the past students have been invited to tour the offices and studios of Fox 8 News with mentor Tony Rizzo.
There are numerous opportunities available for volunteers, parents, corporations and small businesses to become involved in The Rotsky Foundation for Mentors. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact the Foundation at (216) 556-4793.
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Mentor n. a wise and trusted counselor.
Protégé n. a person who is aided in his career by an influential person.