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 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 Initiative, Columbus City Schools District, South-Western City Schools District, Communities In Schools, and others.
MISSION | VISION | ASPIRATION
To prepare resilient, successful youth who thrive and make positive contributions where they live, learn, and work.
We envision a world in which young people are active decision makers and participants in personal and community transformations.
To create a community of support for young people experiencing barriers to personal and economic well-being through connected educational and workforce ecosystems.
Regina Clemons joined Starfish Alliance in February 2020 as Interim Executive Director and became the organizations Executive Director in August 2020. Regina’s non-profit career started over 25 years ago in social work. She has extensive background and knowledge in nonprofit work holding various positions throughout her career in fiscal, grant management, direct service, and senior leadership. She is a servant leader with core competencies in strategic planning, DE&I, nonprofit management, ideation.
Regina attended Wayne State University in her hometown of Detroit, MI. She holds Certifications of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from Cornell University and Leadership in Human Services Management from The Ohio State University.
“My passion is working with people to address social issues, I thrive on understanding the whole system and finding creative and engaging solutions using relationship oriented and strength-based approaches to create inclusive, mission-driven positive environments for all.”
Courtney helps keep everyone organized and running smoothly by providing support to the administrative and program teams. Courtney has a background in finance and administration. Courtney’s strong sense of devotion for youth programs, and experience through her role as a Parent Engagement Coordinator with Columbus City Schools gave her a deep appreciation on how to improve the quality of life for our youth; one program at a time. Courtney’s biggest joy is being a wife and mom to 3 beautiful daughters.
OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Tiffany Wright, Board Chair
Chief Operating Officer, RAMA Consulting Group
Todd Dougherty, Treasurer
Sr. Director of Finance, Ohio Health Systems
Kim Eckhart, Secretary
Children’s Defense Fund, Project Manager
Curtis Brown, Member
City of Columbus - Dept. of Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Specialist
Susan Simkins, Member
Quantum Health, Corporate Communications Director
Tyrome Alexander, Member
City of Toledo, Director Human Resources
Chris Suel, Member