It began in 1989 with a group of concerned citizens with a modest goal—to improve their community.
“They started doing some mentorship and trying to get students to graduate high school and stay away from drugs,” says Kari Roll, director of development and community relations for what has become the Community for New Direction (CND) in Columbus, Ohio. “At the time, the pregnancy rate and the dropout rate were really high, and there was gang violence. We got started by trying to intervene in that environment. The work these volunteers did was successful and got the attention of community funders. It grew from there.”
CND has been providing inner city youth with opportunities to change their circumstances for 30 years.
“Our curriculum is an evidence-based, substance abuse and violence prevention program that’s nationally used,” Roll says. “We use that through an in-school program at more than 20 city schools, an afterschool program at three locations, and a summer day camp, providing year-round services for students.”
In addition, a team of four intervention specialists works within the community to reduce violence, specifically targeting gangs, helping members make better choices and working to get them off the streets, out of gangs, and into secure jobs.
But it’s not just the youth it works to help. Roll says after working with children, the nonprofit realized that entire families often needed help, as well.
“Some of the parents were dealing with addiction,” says Roll, so CND added services that provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment for adults.
A helping hand
Participants in CND’s programs come voluntarily on their own or are referred by other organizations and schools. Word of mouth and a great reputation also fuel CND’s success in helping the community.
Another helping hand comes from Huntington colleagues who have served on CND’s board of directors through the years.
“As we’ve grown, our relationship with Huntington has grown,” Roll says. “They have given us connections when we were expanding and needed to buy additional properties. We’ve also been able to receive funding, and they’ve been a great advocate for our agency. They have a passion for helping kids.”
About the organization
Name: Community for New Direction (CND)
Phone: (614) 272-1464
Mission: Through innovative programs and positive relationships, CND empowers individuals to achieve their potential.
How you can help
Visit cndcolumbus.org and click on the "supporters" and/or "donate" tabs.