Youth leader Cory Dippold lives what he teachesWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cory Dippold is giving young people a reason to return to Toledo.
The Maria Stein, Ohio, native is director of youth programs for Youth Leadership Toledo. The program introduces high school sophomores to the region through firsthand experiences, while emphasizing the importance of community involvement.
“Some of the students who come in haven’t quite made that step yet to be standout leader,” he said “… at the end, they have passion and want to make a difference.”
It’s naïve to think that all students will stay in Toledo after high school, he said, but some might return and give back.
Dippold, 32, graduated from Owens with an associate degree in building maintenance; he also took classes at UT.
Coming from farm country, he appreciates Toledo because he can jump on his bicycle and go to the nearby McDonald’s.
“People are accessible,” he said of Toledo. “It is a big enough city that it has some of the major attractions, and we are closer to even bigger cities.”
Dippold sits on the Youth Commission Board, and he can easily schedule a meeting with a county commissioner — something difficult in larger cities, he said.
Youth Leadership Toledo works with nominated high school sophomores who meet from August to May in monthly daylong sessions.
Leaders introduce the participants to a variety of community issues and concerns, including education, human diversity, conflict resolution and the judicial system. During the final phase of the program, students select and complete volunteer community improvement projects.
St. Francis sophomore Samuel Evola used to think there wasn’t much reason to stay in Toledo.
He planned to leave for college and never return. But after a year with Youth Leadership Toledo, his opinion has changed.
“We get to do a whole lot of different things,” Evola said. “We get to tour the zoo, and we got to tour the emergency response center in Downtown.
“We wouldn’t normally get to do these activities, and we get to go behind the scenes, instead of just going to the zoo.”
Graduates of the youth program can then participate in Youth In Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE) as juniors and seniors. Community Leadership Toledo is the adult program and founder of the youth program.
YIPEE is funded in part by the Toledo Community Foundation and facilitated by the staff of Leadership Toledo. The students raise and donate money to other youth organizations.
One of the more unique ways they raised money was rocking in rocking chairs at Cracker Barrel.
“We are definitely looking into other ways to expand the program,” Dippold said.
Some parents want to get their teens involved, but the school didn’t choose them for the program. One possibility is a one-day leadership training session open to all students in the Toledo area, he said.
“This is my dream job,” Dippold said. “I like to work with young people.”