Rockin’ the Boat

Inner City Youth Opportunities
June 2021
09:00 AM EDT
June 2021
09:11 PM EDT

About Our Auction

The purpose of this auction is to raise funds for the programs that ICYO hosts for the inner city children. It allows all ICYO students the opportunity for a new start with a focus on their education.

Your generous and caring investment provides a low income inner city child an opportunity to continue their summer learning through tutoring to help bridge the educational gap due to Covid-19.

Without the generosity of the community, ICYO would not be where we are today. Thanks to your support we have been able to mentor, tutor and positively impact kids in our area for 28 years!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping bless the ICYO students!

About Inner City Youth Opportunities

Inner City Youth Opportunities (ICYO) was founded in 1993 as a 501(C)3 non-profit organization by Cincinnati residents Jeanne and Philip Bell, Indian Hill residents, to help low income children living in the inner city that were experiencing family problems and struggling to become better students, both academically and socially. Their goal was to help these children develop the ability to resist negative peer pressure and increase the skills needed to achieve their dreams by remaining in school and graduating from high school.

While tennis may seem purely recreational, the Bells met with the founder of the Israel Tennis and Education Center that had successfully integrated tennis and education. Jeanne and Philip Bell wanted to use tennis to help children in the inner-city areas of Cincinnati, Ohio develop their talents and abilities and be successful in school. Their investigation and ideas resulted in a pilot program using tennis to teach 25 children tennis including goal setting, better communications, problem solving, self-discipline, how to manage losing and winning, leadership skills and personal accountability for life choices. Those children all attended Washburn Elementary School in the West End and were chosen by the school counselor, Douglas Shear.

As relationships developed between the children, Jeanne and Philip Bell, ICYO staff, tennis instructors and volunteers, Jeanne Bell realized that as a result of a lack of an adult’s attention to their education and a lack of guidance from adults important in their lives, many were failing at school due to truancy and behavior problems that resulted in frequent suspensions. She realized that any hope of success for these children demanded that these needs be addressed. In response, she expanded the original scope of ICYO by adding academic intervention and youth development programs to the organization resulting in its current structure. ICYO’s method is unique, as it uses a long term, comprehensive, year – round program at no cost to participants, and provides transportation to and from all ICYO activities.

The ICYO program was originally based on The Israel Tennis Centers, first established in 1979 as a network of fourteen tennis centers throughout Israel that successfully incorporated tennis and academics for children. Children learned to appreciate important values that may not be as easily adopted in the home or school environment. Through ICYO’s academic intervention program, ICYO staff and many volunteer tutors work with the youth to help them become intrinsically motivated to learn, or simply put, to instill the love of learning.

All ICYO’s programs help build self-esteem, encourage goal setting, and teach anger-management, leadership and social skills. It also facilitates trusting relationships that often lead to the child taking advantage of other problematic opportunities. ICYO’s strategy of “developmental asset building” focuses on nurturing athletic skills, support for academic success, commitment to learning, and responsibility and accountability for one’s choices. It sets boundaries for appropriate behavior and encourages mentoring from adults, older students and program graduates. ICYO also has a strong commitment to develop strategies that accentuate the positive building blocks of human development per the model of The Search Institute and their “40 Developmental Assets.”

The ICYO pilot program was so successful in Cincinnati, that Jeanne Bell was invited to join the Midwest USTA Minority Participation Committee in Indianapolis, IN to promote the ICYO organization and facilitate more USTA programs that combined Tennis and Education.

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