A change for Tom Ghinder

Tom Ghinder was recently featured in an article in the Akron Beacon Journal. “Why aren’t people working? They’re looking for better jobs, seeking child care or retiring“. In this interview, he talks about how his life changed during Covid and coming out of retirement.

The excerpt that features Tom is below.

“How do you live a quality life? Good housing. Being able to understand the neighborhood and world around you… my mission right now is to figure out a way to bring a universal education support system to Akron.”

Tom Ghinder

‘Unretiring’

Tom Ghinder retired from his tech career in 2016.

At 60, the Akronite is back on contract for the same company where he worked before retiring.

While some retirees are being recruited to fill gaps in the ongoing labor shortage – CNN reported in December that about 2.6% are “unretiring” – Ghinder said he went back in large part to help Akron Promise, the education non-profit he founded with his wife, Daralee Ghinder.

“At the beginning of 2021, Akron Promise had grown enough we needed a
professional director instead of me, an entrepreneur,” Tom Ghinder said.

In April, Akron Promise hired Jeanne-Hélène Roy as executive director to fulfill its mission of helping students at Kenmore-Garfield high school succeed in trade programs or graduate from community college or university.

Eventually, Ghinder said he hopes Roy can expand the program to all Akron
children, preparing for each child for long-term success from the moment they’re born.

Ghinder said he returned to work last year in large part to help pay for Roy and what she can do for Akron Promise.

And in some ways, the pandemic made coming out of retirement easier.

Ghinder’s job analyzing data and systems for large corporations had always
required him to travel, often flying home on weekends just long enough to check inand then fly away again.

He didn’t like the travel, even though he always found the rest of his work
satisfying. “Now, I will always work from home,” he said.

That’s partly because of his niche experience, Ghinder said, but also because clients have grown accustomed to working remotely during the pandemic. Cutting travel also saves businesses money.

But there’s been a lot of other changes in the business world in the five years since he retired, he said.

Ghinder said he’s still learning to navigate cloud storage and when to use business messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams versus email or direct messages.

For now, he’s glad to be back in tech and has no horizon for a second
retirement, especially because he’s working from home.

But even when he does retire again, he said he will never give up serving kids and education.


“How do you live a quality life?” Ghinder asked. “Good housing. Being able to
understand the neighborhood and world around you… my mission right now is to figure out a way to bring a universal education support system to Akron.”

Akron Promise Founder, Tom Ghinder, Op-ed. March 22, 2022, Akron Beacon Journal.

The original article can be found here.

State rankings neglect to tell success stories found in Akron Public Schools
Tom Ghinder

Published 6:00 a.m. ET March 22, 2022

On March 12, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) STEM High School won the 2022 Ohio VEX Robotics Competition. This marks the school’s second consecutive state championship. In addition, Firestone high school finished in the top 10. These wins qualify both schools for the world championships, and all of the competitors and their supporting families, teachers and coaches deserve hearty congratulations.

Akron Public Schools are consistently ranked low among all state districts, yet these rankings don’t accurately measure academic success, opportunity, social emotional learning or myriad other components that constitute quality education.

Rather, state rankings most closely measure parental income. In 2019, the median income for A ranked districts was $95,423. For F ranked districts, the median was $32,658. In all districts, on average, students with economic advantages outperform students without such advantages in ranking criteria.

There are many reasons for which children from households struggling with poverty perform poorly in state ranking criteria, such as housing instability, poor nutrition and health habits in the family, lack of books in the home, generational trauma, etc. For these students, however, unfortunate circumstances need not determine their future. In Akron, students coming from
difficult situations enjoy numerous opportunities and many break the cycle of poverty.

For example, students who choose Akron Public Schools encounter opportunities for an education focused on their interests and desires. APS offers an almost limitless number of programs that often surpass those found in other local schools. Just one of them resides in the STEM cluster — as demonstrated above — not to mention the arts, International Baccalaureate, medicine, marketing and machining, among the dozens of other pathways available to students.

All APS students who excel academically (3.0 GPA or above along with a qualifying ACT score) qualify for a full scholarship to the University of Akron. Students at the I Promise School that meet requirements are eligible for full scholarships to either UA or Kent State University.

Graduates of Kenmore-Garfield High School qualify for tuition and book scholarships to Stark State College from Akron Promise. Project GRAD Akron, the AVID College Readiness System and other programs operate to facilitate preparation and access and some provide scholarships to postsecondary education. Students attending Akron Early College High School graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree, saving two years of college
tuition toward a bachelor’s degree if that is the path they choose.

APS is clearly the district of choice for local education. Don’t let the state of Ohio rankings fool you.

Tom Ghinder is the parent of Akron Public Schools graduates and founder of Akron Promise. In 2017, Akron Promise started the process to implement direct programs for students at Kenmore-Garfield High School. These include the Student Success Team, ACT testing support programs and the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State College scholarship.

Summer Kenmore Connection Article Features Akron Promise Intern Margaret Tulay

From Minnesota to Akron: Margaret Tulay Engages with Kenmore-Garfield
High School Students through Akron Promise’s Student Success Team

by Jeanne-Hélène Roy


Just five years ago, if you’d have mentioned Kenmore to Minnesota native
Margaret Tulay, she wouldn’t have been able to readily identify the reference –
beyond perhaps a brand of appliances sold by Sears. Since then, the University
of Akron education major slated to graduate in December has become a fixture
of Kenmore-Garfield High School (KGHS) where, through her work with Akron
Promise’s Student Success Team (SST), she regularly interacts with Kenmore’s
high schoolers, guiding them to post-secondary pathways and self-sufficiency.

Tulay moved to Akron after having kicked off her college career in Omaha, where she served as goalkeeper for the University of Nebraska women’s soccer team. After experiencing some setbacks there, Tulay, 22, whose father hails from Liberia, chose to continue her degree in Akron to experience living in a more racially diverse area as a means of more authentically connecting with her Black identity. Thanks to the University of Akron’s EX[L] Center’s experiential learning internship program, which strives to help students become locally engaged leaders, Tulay hooked up with Akron Promise two and a half years ago.

In the SST’s bi-monthly meetings with KGHS students, Tulay harnesses her natural sense of leadership to connect with the group, challenging them to identify their personal strengths and goals as well as to devise better time management strategies. Self-assured yet relaxed in her approach, Tulay devises well-crafted activities that prompt students to engage with each other, teaching them invaluable teamwork skills that they can readily transfer to their next chapter of life, whatever it may be.


Tulay relishes the opportunities Akron Promise affords her, especially at KGHS, where she’s able to make meaningful connections with the student cohort, many of whom can identify with her as a young Black woman – a role model not significantly older than they are. In the short term, Tulay hopes to work in the
Akron area, both teaching special needs children and assisting in “taking Akron Promise and making it mobile,” as she remarks, meaning that she’d like to help the non-profit expand to serve more students across the city. In a handful of years, Tulay envisions living in a townhouse in Washington, D.C., where
she can take her career aspirations to the next level, both in the classroom and in effecting change at the policy level.

Akron Promise is a non-profit organization that strives to shape and implement a community-involved culture of education in Akron. Along with other local stakeholders, Akron Promise directs students and families to appropriate opportunities, resources, and supports as it mentors Akron Public School students through high school into post-secondary pathways.


Akron Promise’s Student Success Team currently focuses on
Kenmore-Garfield high school, where it holds bi-monthly meetings, in addition to providing ACT Testing Support programs and FAFSA workshops to prepare students in applying for the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State College Scholarship.


For more information on Akron Promise and the SST, please see:

www.facebook.com/AkronPromise or www.AkronPromise.org.

Or please contact Dr. Jeanne-Hélène Roy, Executive Director at
nena@akronpromise.org (330) 715-5598

Akron Promise article in the Kenmore Connection

https://kenmorechamber.com/images/KC/2021/KEN_CON_87.pdf#page=12

Akron Promise’s Student Success Team Steers Kenmore-Garfield Students Towards Bright Outcomes
by Jeanne-Hélène Roy

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”
–Dr. James Comey, Child Psychiatrist and Education Specialist, Yale University

Dr. James Comey’s simple, declarative sentence – delivered during a 1995 lecture – speaks mountains of truth in K-12 education, where often a strong connection with an adult will inspire students of opportunity to succeed after high school and into adulthood. For Stephanie Martin, a Nursing and Patient Care instructor at Kenmore-Garfield High School, Comey’s words hit home over the course of a discussion with Tom Ghinder, Founder of Akron Promise, an educational non-profit launched in 2015. In 2017, Akron Promise established a direct working relationship with Kenmore-Garfield High School, and two years later the non-profit announced the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State Scholarship.

The Student Success Team
Since the implementation of its scholarship program, Akron Promise also inaugurated the Student Success Team (SST), a mentoring group available to assist the entirety of Kenmore-Garfield’s 786 students. Staffed by Mike DiFalco, the school’s Academic Achievement Coordinator, and Margaret Tulay, an Education major at the University of Akron, the crew welcomed Akron Promise’s new Executive Director Dr. Jeanne-Hélène (Néna) Roy last week; since the SST’s inception Ghinder served as the group’s third member.

On bi-monthly SST meeting days, learners arrive with their APSissued Chromebooks in tow, ready to participate in goal-setting activities while relishing sandwiches provided by the team. Skills taught range from time-management to ACT prep and résumé-writing. Seniors learn to complete FAFSA forms as well as to compose college application essays and apply for jobs. The SST continues to monitor seniors after graduation as they segue into the workforce and/or enroll in college programs.

Flexibility: Celebrating the Individual
Ghinder attributes the program’s success to its underlying flexibility. Rather than approach mentoring with a one-size-fits-all mindset, the SST practices a version of “radical hospitality,” which in this context entails meeting students where they are to address their own expressed needs.

By considering each student’s unique circumstances and goals, the SST not only provides directional assistance to learners, but also cultivates qualities that can’t be found in a manual: respect and empathy. When met with direct eye contact and supportive words, humans tend to respond in kind. Part of the SST’s philosophy, then, is to transcend mentoring models that adhere to a rigid structure, as well as to bring a “human touch” into the equation.

It Takes a Village
We all know that nobody can brave it alone in the world, and this aphorism certainly holds true in the case of the SST’s efforts. Without the help of invited guest speakers who periodically hold lunchtime Q&A sessions and parents/community members who assist in transporting students to field-trip destinations, the SST wouldn’t be able to extend as many options for enrichment as it does to learners. The relationships Kenmore-Garfield students form with engaged adults in their midst are ultimately bonds for life, bonds passed down from one generation to the next.

For more information on Akron Promise and the SST, see:
https://www.facebook.com/AkronPromise
https://twitter.com/AkronPromise
http://www.AkronPromise.Org
or contact:
Dr. Jeanne-Hélène Roy
nroy.66@gmail.com
330-715-5598

ANOTHER ROUND! 11/6/20 VIRTUAL BEER TASTING FUNDRAISER!

November 2020 Scholarship Fundraiser

Virtual Beer Tasting Event – Christmas Ale Edition!

(Summit County, Akron, Ohio –Oct. 2020) – Back by popular demand! Akron Promise will host another Virtual Beer Tasting event to help raise scholarship funds for Akron students. This time you’ll get to taste four of this season’s holiday beers from four local breweries.  Please join us on Friday, November 6, 2020, from 7-8:30pm. 

Once again, there will be commentary by Rick Armon, renowned beer writer and author of “Ohio Breweries” and  “Fifty Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio”.  There will be discussion with the participating breweries: Akronym Brewing, Eighty-Three Brewery, Lock 15 Brewing Company and Missing Falls Brewery.

To participate in this VIRTUAL event, make a donation of any amount to Akron Promise at http://bit.ly/AP2020FundTasting (or by mail, below).  Donations of $50 or more get all four holiday beers to taste during the event.  Please respond by Nov. 1 to be sure you get your 4-pack.

“For many Akron students, a major barrier to post-secondary education is money. For the third year in a row, Akron Promise will remove that barrier for up to ten Kenmore-Garfield High School students,” shared Tom Ghinder, Founder of Akron Promise, Inc. “We believe all students deserve a chance at a post-secondary certificate or degree, leading to a satisfying career and quality of life. In addition, Akron Promise is trying to shape the culture of education in Akron to help ensure that all students have access to appropriate supports, resources and opportunities.” 

Akron Promise is a 501c3 organization.  For more information or to register for this event, please go to http://bit.ly/AP2020FundTasting.  To make a direct donation, mail checks to “Akron Promise” at 66 Melbourne Avenue, Akron, OH 44313. 

Tom Ghinder

Founder, Akron Promise, Inc. 

Cell: 330-329-4855    

Email: tghinder@gmail.com

Press Release – Akron Promise Virtual Beer Tasting!

2020 Scholarship Fundraiser

Virtual Beer Tasting Event 

(Summit County, Akron, Ohio –June 2020) – Akron Promise will hold a Virtual Beer Tasting Fundraiser on Friday, June 26, 2020 from 7p.m. – 8 p.m.  All proceeds go to the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State Scholarship Fund.  

Four Akron brewers will talk about their beer and one component of beer making. There will be commentary by Rick Armon, renowned beer writer and author of “Ohio Breweries” and  “Fifty Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio”.  Participating breweries are Akronym Brewing, Eighty-Three Brewery, Lock 15 Brewing Company and Missing Falls Brewery.

Donations of $50 or more get a flight of beers to taste during the event. 

To participate in this VIRTUAL event, make a donation of any amount to Akron Promise at https://tinyurl.com/AP2020Fundraiser (or by mail, below).  Please respond by June 22 to be sure you get your flight.

“For many Akron students, a major barrier to post-secondary education is money. For the third year in a row, Akron Promise will remove that barrier for up to ten Kenmore-Garfield High School students,” shared Tom Ghinder, Founder of Akron Promise, Inc. “We believe all students deserve a chance at a post-secondary certificate or degree, leading to a satisfying career and quality of life. In addition, Akron Promise is trying to shape the culture of education in Akron to help ensure that all students have access to appropriate supports, resources and opportunities.” 

Akron Promise is a 501c3 organization.  For more information or to register for this event, please go to https://www.facebook.com/donate/712692782826679/.  To make a direct donation, mail checks to “Akron Promise” at 66 Melbourne Avenue, Akron, OH 44313. 

Tom Ghinder

Founder, Akron Promise, Inc. 

Cell: 330-329-4855    

Email: tghinder@gmail.com

May 18 Golf Outing & Other Akron Promise Updates by Daralee Ghinder

Equal access to college, technical training and other post-secondary opportunities takes more than scholarship money. The focus of Akron Promise is to help KGHS graduates become enrolled, enlisted or employed. This article is an update on the work of Akron Promise at Kenmore-Garfield High School. Please save the date and mark your calendar for our annual fundraiser, a golf outing and dinner on May 18th at Mayfair Country Club. All proceeds will go to the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State Scholarship Fund. (Non-golfers are invited to attend the dinner). Details and tickets are available at here.

Akron Promise continues to support scholarship students at Stark State College. This ongoing effort includes working closely with the SSC administration to ensure persistence and success.

Twenty KGHS students are receiving ACT (American College Testing) support at a twice weekly “ACT Bootcamp”. Improving an ACT score by just a few points can be life-changing with regard to college acceptance and scholarships. Much appreciation goes to High Point College Coaching and instructors Lara Wilson and Rich Wilson, and grants from both the Akron Community Foundation and the GPD Employee Foundation. In addition to the ACT bootcamp, Akron Promise is working with the Kenmore-Garfield Football team on academic achievement and ACT preparation at their weekly Study Tables.

Since “it takes a village,” there are many opportunities for the Kenmore community to help. Akron Promise needs:

* Golfers (and non-golfer dinner guests!) for the May 18th Fundraiser
* Donations (cash for scholarships & raffle items) and sponsorships for the golf outing
* Additional Akron Promise Board Members
* Mentors for students (No experience necessary!)

If you are interested in helping, need more information about any items mentioned in this article, or additional information about Akron Promise, please contact Tom Ghinder, Founder of Akron Promise, at tghinder@gmail.com or 330-329-4855.   You can also keep up with us on our FaceBook page.

Published in the Kenmore Connection, Winter 2019 (Vol. 20, Issue 4)