Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds In The Rough, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to combat the negative influences that commonly affect young women living in urban communities.  DIR aims to provide young women with dependable mentors, educational resources, and an array of opportunities to pursue their personal aspirations.

Along with transforming teenage girls in to professional, educated, and successful young women, DIR also envisions reducing the incidence of teenage-pregnancy and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Molding young women into poised and effective leaders of the global community is fundamental to Diamonds In The Rough.

Diamonds in the Rough Treasurer and Executive Board Member, D’Erra Jackson, shares a little about the organization:

“DIR is a non-profit mentoring organization designed to empower inner city (female) high-school students to achieve their dreams. We pair a college student or recent graduate with a high-school student to serve as a positive role model or big sister if you will. My friend, Tia, started the group after her first year of college. She’s from the inner city of Cleveland, but despite the difficulties most inner-city youths face (poverty, poor education, lack of positive guidance), she was able to go to college. Tia stressed how difficult it was applying to college because she did not have anyone to turn to. Specifically, no one in her family had gone to college so no one could help her with the process. She, essentially, had to do it own her own. So, Tia decided to take on the challenge of helping others just like her.

Tia founded DIR in 2008, but the actual summer program did not start until 2010. Essentially, our summer-enrichment program runs for 5 weeks from June to August. Each week represents our 5 core values: post-secondary education, professionalism, health awareness, financial literacy, and positive values/morals. For each core value, we host workshops where we educate the girls on the value and engage them in discussions and activities; we end the week with an event. For example, for the post-secondary education value, we have workshops where we explain how to apply for FAFSA/scholarships, how to choose the right school, how to write personal statements, etc. We also host a panel discussion with current college students or recent graduates. We end the week with a college tour. We’ve toured schools in Ohio, DC, and Maryland. This past summer we visited Eastern Michigan University. At the end of the program, we host a scholarship luncheon where we award a Diamond with a $500 scholarship.

Our Diamonds love what DIR stands for and are proud to be a part of the group. They, particularly, express their love for DIR in the testimonials we have them prepare for the scholarship luncheon. Some of our girls come from broken homes, some lack self-confidence, some have never considered the topics we discuss, and some are simply influenced by negativity. They appreciateDIR because it not only builds new, healthy relationships with girls they may not have necessarily been friends with, but it also gives them a chance to escape all the negativity and achieve their goals.”

Diamonds in the Rough, a Cleveland Community Development Organization that empowers young women.