A letter from our founder and executive director:

Hi Cleveland!

Last year I started The Kids of 216 as a response to the need for young people to have a better sense of direction after high school and to help pave the road to full-time employment for youth interested in technical and trade work.

Our program’s summer employment opportunities were created around one simple idea: learn and earn.  We employ our students to learn as pre-apprentices in residential construction and help them obtain a career certification.  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.  The best part?  The students learn the construction skills by working on special community and residential renovation projects, significantly contributing to community revitalization efforts in the Cleveland Metropolitan area.

In leading this organization, it is now my duty to ensure that the children in this program learn to be respectful and 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