The Starfish Story

Making A Difference To That One

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can't return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water."

The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference."

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean.  Then he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)


Our Story

Our history of advocating for young people stretches over 16 years. Some of our participants are at-risk of long-term system involvement with the child welfare system due to abuse and neglect; the juvenile justice system due to negative social influences; and the welfare system due to the complexities of generational poverty.

We recognize and value the abilities of young people to navigate these tough environments. So for the last 5 years, we have developed and implemented programming that is specifically designed for helping these young people navigate the social-emotional quagmires of the 21st century. Through a trauma-responsive lens we ask, "what did you do to survive" instead of "what's wrong with you?"

Starfish Alliance believes in making a difference to that one by acknowledging the youth experience, through valuing their voice and perspective. Our programs are designed in partnership with young people and their supporters through our Program Advisory Board. We deliver school-based programming targeting these youth.

Our goal is to align and integrate with school districts to increase students positive behaviors, improve their high school graduation rates, and prepare them for post-secondary opportunities including employment, education, enlistment, or entrepreneurship.

Our volunteers and other supporters believe in helping young people navigate their environment and gain exposure to new opportunities.

We facilitate relationship-based program models in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education, Community Connectors InitiativeColumbus City Schools DistrictSouth-Western City Schools DistrictCommunities In Schools, and others.


Mission | Vision | Aspiration

Our Mission

To prepare resilient, successful youth who thrive and make positive contributions where they live, learn, and work.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which young people are active decision makers and participants in personal and community transformations.

Our Aspiration

To create a community of support for young people experiencing barriers to personal and economic well-being through connected educational and workforce ecosystems.


Our Board Members

  • John Dale (Chair), Windsor Roofing, Royal Family Kids Camp

  • Kimberly Eckhart (Treasurer), Columbus State Community College

  • Jeff Davis, Brioso Roastery and Café

  • John Delia, Housing Joint Venture, Inc.

  • Curtis Brown, City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods

  • Brad Wrightsel, Wrightsel & Wrightsel

  • Zach Gerhardt, ClearPath Benefit Advisors, LLC

  • Susan Simkins (Development Chair), Brand Relevant Consultancy

  • Tiffany T. Wright, HandsOn Central Ohio

Our Team

Reegina Headshoot.jpg

Regina Clemons

Interim Executive Director

Regina has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management. She takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development. She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking, and drives material business advantage.   She is an inspirational leader who tells stories that inspire action while at the same time is grounded in financial information that levers the business.  


Program Coordinator

Nakai has over 20 years of direct experience in the Early Childhood Development field including college level courses in ECD and work experience as a teacher, tutor, cofounder of a local young ladies club, after care owner and operator, and Assistant Director in a child care facility. She has been a parent for over 14 years, 7 of which she has home schooled.

She has a passion for youth, and is eager to bring students into the 21st-century using a unique combination of her education, and coupled with her business background and experience as an entrepreneur and public speaker.

As a Texas native with ties to Maryland and Ohio you can find Nakai rooting for the Cowboys, The Ohio State Buckeyes, and any team with LeBron James. 


(614) 931-0583

1105 Schrock Road, Suite 100

Columbus, Ohio 43229

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©2019 by Starfish Alliance.