A letter from our founder and executive director:

Hi Cleveland!

Nearly 10 years ago I had a high school teacher who gave me a second chance in school, and it changed the direction of my life indefinitely. The most amazing part of my story is that I was given that second chance more than once.

For some high school students in Cleveland, these second chances are harder to come by. The Kids of 216 is designed to give another opportunity to students working to achieve high school graduation and provide access to higher education and career pathways for these young people interested in vocational programs and skilled trades.

Our program’s summer employment opportunities were created around one simple idea: learn and earn. The “Learn and Earn” campaign is the surest and most sustainable way to economic and workforce development.  We employ our students to learn as pre-apprentices in skilled trades that will direct them to technical or trade positions or better higher education paths.  Combined with intense financial literacy seminars and life skills curriculum, we believe each student that comes to us will learn to work their way out of poverty.

It is now my duty to ensure that the children in this program learn to be respectful, responsible, and take ownership of their homes and lives. It is my dream to see this program instill a sense of possibility and achievement in our students, and we pledge to continue to support them in becoming productive and engaged residents.

These children truly are the future of Cleveland and have both the potential and power to transform the inner city. On behalf of all our Kids, thank you for believing in the power and promise of Cleveland youth.




Stephanie Buda