YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Inspiring Minds group helps the Valley’s underprivileged youth by exposing them to events and places they wouldn’t normally see. Thursday night, they held their first big fundraiser since the COVID-19 outbreak started at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.
Although the format of the 15th annual Inspiring Minds fundraising gala is different than in years past, the group still hopes to raise enough money to leave an impact on students’ lives.
Last year, because of the outbreak, the fundraiser was only a drive-up event.
This year, having their biggest event of the year outside in Youngstown is a welcome sight for those involved with the group.
“It’s nice to see people’s faces, have them out here interacting with our kids — that’s the biggest thing, it’s all about our kids,” said high school program coordinator Jalaya Provitt.
Inspiring Minds’ mission is to show what is possible for students by giving them experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.
“Our goal is just to expose underprivileged youth to all different types of opportunities that are out there. Things that they wouldn’t normally see, we expose them to those things,” Provitt said.
One student is Kaia Toles. During her time with Inspiring Minds, she was introduced to nursing, and the group has kept her focused on that career goal. Now, Toles attends college in Kentucky on a full-ride scholarship.
“I’m studying nursing. I want to start at either Cleveland Clinic or Akron Children’s. My end goal is to end up at John Hopkins. I want to do something with babies, something on the maternity floor or in the NICU,” Toles said.
Provitt is happy with the community’s support Thursday night and knows it will help impact more kids’ lives in the future.
“I just want to thank everybody for supporting us. We definitely appreciate it. It goes a long way and we see the fruits of everyone’s labor by the smiles on our kids’ faces,” Provitt said.