Marvin’s Story by Consumer Reports

IM Alumni, Marvin Logan Jr., was featured in an inspiring Consumer Reports video about the reality of student loan debt. IM Founder, Deryck Toles, also appears in the video.

Learn more about Consumer Reports’ Student Loan Debt stories here.

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Country acts set to play at Inspiring Minds concert Thursday

A Howland native is coming home to help raise money for Inspiring Minds.

Karli Whetstone, a 2002 Howland High School graduate now living in Nashville, will join Chris Higbee for a concert Thursday at SLOAS Airfield with proceeds benefiting the youth organization.

“Chris is amazing and such a great guy,” Whetstone said. “I opened for him last summer, but this is the first time I actually get to play with him and his band.”

Higbee has built a local following through his annual appearances at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, where the fiddle player and vocalist frequently climbs up to the roof and entertains the crowd from there.

Whetstone will be doing some songs from her new EP, “Country Enough,” which she recorded with producer Tone Def, who she said has worked with such acts as Green Day.

“He’s mostly done things in the rock world,” she said. “I turned him country a little bit.”

“Blow It Up” and “The 2nd Drink” are the tracks that are getting the most attention, and Whetstone said she’ll also sing a few covers that reveal some of her influences.

Inspiring Minds works with students to help them reach their full potential through education and exposure to life-changing experiences.

“We truly appreciate Karli Whetstone coming out to support Inspiring Minds and doing this concert,” founder and CEO Deryck Toles said. “She’s somebody that’s local who’s been able to travel and accomplish a lot, and we’re excited she decided to come back and do this.”

Whetstone said her family has supported the organization since Toles founded it.

“When you give somebody an opportunity, when you give someone an education, it literally changes their trajectory in life,” she said. “You see an immediate change in those kids and their future outlook. It’s so inspiring, no pun intended. I’m proud of the impact he is making in my hometown.”

Proceeds from the concert will help fund the Inspiring Minds summer program.

“We’re serving 300 students in the city, focusing on education, health and wellness and exposure,” Toles said.

Check out photos from the concert!

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Alumni Inspire at 10th Annual Gala

(Warren, Ohio) On Saturday, April 9, 2016, Inspiring Minds alumni lead the charge in celebrating 10 years of impact at the organization’s 10th Annual Gala in Warren, Ohio.

The 10th Annual Gala was the platform for the announcement and presentation of the 1st Annual Inspiring Minds Alumni Scholarship to IM Senior, Heaven Pough.  Pough will be attending Cleveland State University in the fall to study nursing, with the objective of becoming a Pediatric Nurse.

“In previous years, scholarship dollars were raised by the organization, but we felt it was time to change that,” said Kimani Bonner, IM alumni.  “It’s our turn, our time to step up and make a difference.”

Bonner earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Tennessee State University and currently works as a Probation and Parole Officer for the Tennessee Department of Correction.

The evening’s Masters of Ceremonies were also Inspiring Minds alumni, Shawna’ King and Stephon Ford.  King is a graduate of Alabama A&M and a former NASA intern, currently working as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Government in Maryland.  Ford earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Lincoln University and is currently a mentor for Glenn Mills Schools in Philadelphia.

King, Ford and Bonner are all members of the workforce, while simultaneously pursuing their master’s degrees in Engineering Management, Molecular Biology, and Public Administration, respectively.

“This year’s Gala is, hands down, one of my proudest Inspiring Minds moments over the past 10 years,” explained Deryck Toles, IM Founder & CEO.

Toles continued that seeing Inspiring Minds alumni succeeding in their fields, making names for themselves professionally, and coming back to give back to students like them, is exactly what he envisioned for the organization years ago.

“This is just the beginning of our involvement as alumni of this incredible program,” explained Shawna’ King, IM alumni.  “Inspiring Minds showed me that so many people believed in me and cared about my future. Now it’s my turn to make sure that the next generation of young people know that we also believe in them.”

The Annual Gala sold out at over 500 attendees for the fifth year in a row.

Since 2006, Inspiring Minds has served more than 2,000 students, visited 70 cities in 15 states, toured over 70 colleges and explored more than 60 companies across the country. 100% of IM students have graduated high school and continued their education at college or with the armed forces.

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Inspiring Minds marks decade – Tribune

TRIBUNE, WARREN – Saying the past 10 years would not have been possible without support from the community and those who have volunteered their time and talents to help area young people, Deryck Toles thanked those who attended the organization’s 10-year gala celebration.

The event was held recently at St. Demetrios Community Center in Warren where Toles said the event celebrated ”10 years of inspiration and impact.”

“Thanks to all those who helped make 10 years happen and to those who have helped our organization and our young people,” he said.

The goal of the organization is to provide young people opportunities and motivation to overcome obstacles standing between them and personal success. Toles said what is inspiring is so many young people who were in the program have come back and helped with the program.

“Look at all the kids here and what they have accomplished. They are doing well,” he said.

Donations help cover swimming lessons, college visits and a summer enrichment program.

“Our kids are so diverse. They have different dreams and different aspirations,” Toles said.

He said the Rebecca Williams Community Center and other places where youth could previously go to in the area are now gone.

”Young people live to learn and to pursue opportunities,” he said.

Dr. Lance Grahn, dean of Kent State Trumbull, said a month ago the campus hosted nearly 100 Inspiring Minds students with each child given an opportunity to see what college is like.

“We had the amazing opportunity to host the students. They had the chance to experience some of the courses they might have when they go to college. They also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Guion Bluford, who was the first African American astronaut in space,” Grahn said.

Bluford is an American aerospace engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot, and former NASA astronaut.

”He showed them they can dream big,” Toles said.

The youth also had hands-on experience with chemistry, theater and aeronautics. For some, this was their first time on a college campus.

“In order for young people to be successful and make different decisions now, they need to know what their future holds, and this exposure and boots-on-the-ground approach gives them that experience,” he said.

Renda White, K-8 coordinator for Inspiring Minds and also a parent, said the organization needs transportation to get students to the after-school and summer programs.

Several parents and grandparents also spoke, thanking donors for making it possible for their children to have a place to learn outside school.

Statistics presented at the event included for the past 10 years, over 2,000 students have been served; 70 cities have been visited in 15 states, including one trip to Puerto Rico; more than 70 college visits; more than 60 companies toured; 120 cooking lessons; and 300 swimming lessons.

Sharing their stories were former program participants Shawna King, 24, of Warren, who is pursuing a career in electrical engineering with the U.S. government in Maryland. She is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management at University of Maryland Baltimore College.

Stephen Ford, 24, has been an Inspiring Minds student, volunteer and mentor since day one. He is a mentor with Glen Mills Schools in Philadelphia, where he counsels students in a juvenile facility. Ford earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lincoln University and is pursuing a master’s degree in neuroscience and mollecular biology.

Also at the event, the ”Community Impact Award” was presented to the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which teamed with IM to develop long-term mentoring relationships between service members and students.

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Thought Leaders presented by The Business Journal

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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WARREN – 5th Annual Summer Enrichment Program

Learn More!

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Inspiring Minds want to know – Air Reserve works with local students

VIENNA – In a few weeks, Kemani Adamson expects to enter the Air Force through a delayed entry program.

“I want to study physical medicine,” the 18-year-old Warren G. Harding graduate said.

Adamson, inspired as a young man through his father’s U.S. Army service, was a special guest Thursday evening at a joint event of the 910th Airlift Wing of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and Inspiring Minds.

“This is my first time on the base. I am here to check out what they have to offer,” Adamson said.

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Former boxer speaks to Inspiring Minds students in Warren

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former heavyweight boxer Earnie Shavers grew up in Braceville and graduated from Newton Falls High School. He jokingly says his family was so poor, they spelled poor with only one “o” because they couldn’t afford the other one.

Shavers, now 71, still has relatives around Warren, and he was back in town Wednesday to visit. That afternoon, he spoke to 35 high school students in the Inspiring Minds program.

Shavers was given a tour by Inspiring Minds founder Deryck Toles. The organization is located in the former Saints Cyril and Methodius School in Warren.

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Inspiring Minds youth ‘inspired’ by big cities

WARREN – Society tells young people that they should aspire to be a doctor, a lawyer, or even an astronaut, and that they should attend the top schools in the country.

Deryck Toles, founder and executive director of the Inspiring Minds youth organization agrees and raises the question “how can you dream about something you’ve never seen?”

That’s exactly why 30 Inspiring Minds high school students took a five-day exposure trip to Indianapolis and Chicago this summer. Toles said students had the opportunity to visit four colleges, tour two industries and explore five different cities.

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Toles Announced “Nonprofit Professional of the Year”

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber will honor eight individuals Sept. 3 at its annual Salute to Business breakfast  at Mr. Anthony’s banquet hall in Boardman.

The event begins at 7:30 and includes a talk by Bo Pelini, Youngstown State University’s head football coach, as well as a preview of the 169th Canfield Fair.

Awards will be given in six categories, the chamber announced in an email to members. Honorees are:

  • Sharon Hrina, vice president, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, Business Professional of the Year;
  • George and Spiro Bakeris, owners of the Ohio Commerce Center in Lordstown, Business Advocates of the Year;
  • Deryck Toles, founder and president of Inspiring Minds, Warren, Nonprofit Professional of the Year;
  • Kevin Reilly, executive vice president, Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, Salute To Labor Achievement;
  • Eric Ryan, president of JAC Management Group and Eric Ryan Productions LLC, Entrepreneur of the Year;
  • Bob and Peppe Smith, owners of Camelot Lanes, Boardman, Small Business Person of the Year.


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