Senator Portman ‘Impressed’ by Integrated Services Approach at CityLink

 U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently toured CityLink Center and visited Per Scholas Cincinnati to show his support of Per Scholas’ work with the long-term unemployed and to discuss his priorities as Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus.

During the visit, Portman shared how impressed he was with CityLink’s integrated approach to social services and the support that people can find here. “CityLink Center is helping Ohioans get the skills they need to find good jobs. ” He commented on his Facebook page. “Impressed with Cincinnati’s CityLink Center, where people can go to find an integrated path towards self-sustainability and hope. As Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, I was also glad to see the important work being done at Per Scholas Cincinnati to ensure Ohioans have the skills needed to fill the jobs that are available.”

The Senator took the time met with Per Scholas leaders as well as students of the current IT Support cohort and commented on how determined and dedicated the Per Scholas’ students were.

As Co-Chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Portman wrote and passed an amendment that makes long-term unemployed Americans eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which encourages businesses to hire hire long-term unemployed Ohioans, helping them get back on their feet. He says, “Six years after the recession was declared over, more than 2 million Americans have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer – and even that excludes the approximately 6 million Americans who say they want a job but are not counted as unemployed because they have given up searching.  This provision creates an incentive for employers to hire those folks, the very people who have the most trouble finding work.”

To view the coverage of the Senator’s visit on WLWT news, click here.

Client, Robin Jones is going from Homeless to Homeowner in 2016

Robin came to CityLink in late 2013. She had lost her business of 25 years as a childcare provider and needed a fresh start. She shared that at one point things were so desperate that she became homeless. After landing a job soon after becoming a client at the Center in October of 2013, she then shifted her attention from job search to getting her finances in order. She began working with SmartMoney. She started budgeting, saving and paying down debt. At the time, Robin owned an unreliable SUV that was a drain on her budget due to gas so she set a goal to buy a car through Changing Gears.Not only did she purchase more affordable and reliable transportation through ChangingGears in 2014, she paid it off and not a single payment was late.

Today, Robin has set her sites on a new goal. Owning her own home. When she shared her plans to start looking for a way to buy a house, SmartMoney connected Robin with Habitat for Humanity and shared that she might be a good candidate for their homeownership program. Robin took her time with the paper work, gathered a list of volunteers that could help her build her home and took the process to heart.  Her perseverance paid off…Robin was approved to build her home in Lockland in 2016! We can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in 2016!

In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Robin spent her Monday off getting one step closer to her dream; building sheds and walls for her home and many others that Habitat for Humanity will build across the tri-state this year. Robin will begin construction on her home in the fall.

Read her story on



Sharing the Christmas Story Thanks to Church Parternships

Best in-class social service agencies aren’t the only partnerships that make CityLink a place where hope thrives…our church network is also a BIG part of how CityLink supports clients with holistic care. For the third year in a row, Crossroads Church donated 150 tickets for CityLink clients and their families to experience The Awaited Show. Since we love Cincinnati, we may be a little biased, but it’s the Greatest Christmas Production on the planet earth…and our clients tend to agree! Tons of CityLink families join us again and again for this special holiday tradition. And thanks to Landmark Baptist Church, our clients don’t have to worry about how they’ll get to the show or finding a place to park. Landmark not only donates their church bus, but also chauffeurs us each year to all three performance dates with cheerful smiles and even a few Christmas carols along the way. We are extremely thankful for the continued blessing ‘the church’ is to CityLink’s mission and vision for a city bound together by a common thread and purpose.

Merry Christmas Cincinnati.




‘Tis the Season… For Holiday Portraits!

The carols are playing and the trees are lit – it’s Christmas time at CityLink!  With the holidays upon us, we had an awesome chance to capture some of the season’s joy at CityLink’s third annual Holiday Portrait Project.  Thanks to the talent and generosity of photographers David Slaughter, Tony ArrasmithTony and Team small, Brian “Moose” Girton, Mark Nowak, Diana Kelly-Davis, Josh Beeman, and Todd Kough,

families in our community were blessed with the opportunity to have high quality family portraits taken.  Over 130 families signed up to have their photos captured– each receiving a matted print and digital copies of the entire shoot.  In addition to the photos, CityLink volunteers helped facilitate activities like cookie decorating and nativity story telling for the whole family to enjoy.  We are so thankful for the kindness and generosity of everyone who helped provide our CityLink Family with these lasting and meaningful gifts.

Tony Arrasmith has this to say about his continued involvement with the Holiday Portrait Project:

“If you can imagine an elderly lady who has never had a formal portrait taken in her entire life. Then upon receiving the photo she looks up at you  with tears in her eyes and says, “I didn’t know I could look so beautiful”, then she gives you a 20 second hug. You see beauty isn’t just in the photography.  It’s the visual representation of family, a tangible and lasting bolster of confidence in seeing the possibilities within yourself you hadn’t considered before.  The beauty is the hope these photos inspire.”

-Tony Arrasmith, Arrasmith and Associates, LLC 


Big Family






Shop AmazonSmile This Holiday Season

Support Charity While Holiday Shopping
For those of you gearing up to take on the cold and crowds to score on holiday bargains, THERE’S ANOTHER WAY!  Instead of dodging elbows, shop this season’s deals from your sofa and do some good while you’re at it!  When you shop with AmazonSmile and select CityLink Center, Amazon will donate .5% of the price of your purchases to CityLink.  AmazoneSmile is the same Amazon you know, making it really easy to make a difference AND put a dent in your holiday shopping.  Don’t risk getting frostbite.  Shop with AmazonSmile.

Moving from here to there

People are the lifeblood of communities and the way that people flow is critical to the overall health of a city.

The regional indicators report recently released analysis how Cincinnati compares to our peer cities regarding public transportation and subsequent articles have highlighted the findings.



The report highlights the challenges of accessing employment with only 58.9% of jobs within the reach of our public transportation system, compared to the leader in the peer group of Denver with 86.6% of their jobs reachable with transit.

So why is this important?  

Our goal at CityLink is to help individuals reach their full potential which includes living wage employment through partnerships with CincinnatiWorks and PerScholas.  With public transit limiting access to jobs, our clients’ employment options are limited, period.

The panel discussion at the report release highlighted that a key criterion for business’ decision to locate new operations (and new jobs) is employee access to public transportation.  The resulting circular reference hampers our region.  Lack of transportation connectivity creates difficulty in connecting potential employees to employers, that same difficulty inhibits job growth which is needed for critical mass, and critical mass is needed to add new transportation routes.

We were invited to participate in a task force evaluating options to improve our region’s connectivity and hope that the city continues to take bold steps to improve life for all of our community members.


Don’t Miss the Last Volunteer Orientation of 2015!

vol orientation picBelieve it or not, it’s already November and we’re getting ready to host the last volunteer orientation of 2015!  Join us on November 6th and explore the many ways that you can use your time and talent to support individuals and families in need.  You’ll hear more about how CityLink Center is fighting poverty in Cincinnati and how you can join the dedicated army volunteers who truly fuel the Center’s mission and vision for life-change in our city.  Come learn about the 25 different volunteer roles at CityLink and how you can make a difference – in whatever capacity, frequency, or duration you can.  We hope to see you there!

Sign up for Volunteer Orientation HERE!

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.” – Unknown

Smashin’ Success!

MashUp 20152

In case you missed it, on October 2nd, nearly 600 Cincinnatians showed up and flat out rocked CityLink’s third annual MashUp.  Talented local performers collaborated to create a series of incredible performances that illustrate the mission of CityLink Center and artistically convey why we seek bold life change to flip our city.  While taking in the sights and sounds of the gifted performers, guests enjoyed food and drinks from some of the city’s best restaurants and vendors.  MashUp 2015 was a blast, as well as a huge success in raising awareness and funds (over $60,000!) in support of our mission.  We’re looking forward to seeing you at MashUp 2016!

If you missed out on MashUp this year, it’s never too late to join the movement!

Make a donation.  Check out volunteer opportunities.  Keep on Praying for Cincinnati.

Per Scholas Celebrates Largest Graduating Class

In August, Per Scholas welcomed 24 determined individuals to begin an intense 8 weeks of IT training. On October 23rd, those same individuals graduated, 24 strong, as IT professionals. This graduating class, the third of 2015, set records for both class size (24) and graduation rate (100%)!perscholas grad

The event’s keynote speaker, Reán Young, discussed the exciting world of opportunity available to IT professionals in our rapidly changing culture. Young encouraged the graduates to be teachable and to continue on a path of lifelong learning.

In his valedictorian address, graduate R. David McClain expressed his excitement for the future of this class, taking a moment to share some of the unique gifts and talents of each one of his classmates. We share in the enthusiasm for the future of this bright class as they move on to join the nearly 100 Per Scholas graduates who have been placed in the IT field since Per Scholas began operating in Cincinnati two years ago. Congratulations to such an awesome group.

Per Scholas, a resident partner at CityLink, is a free IT training and certification program with a mission to break the cycle of poverty by providing technology access and education in under served communities while creating opportunity, closing the skills divide, and achieving diversity.


Per Scholas is accepting applications! Check out Per Scholas online or call 513-357-2000 for more info.

Plus, they celebrated their inaugural Toss for Techs Cornhole Tournament on Tuesday October 27th.
Check out all the fun pics here!

Thank You Praxis

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”.

This year, I’ve been incredibly blessed to be a part of Praxis a faith based accelerator for non-profits that my good friend Joe Hansbauer (who now heads Findlay Market) introduced me to.  Praxis selects 12 non-profits to build into each year, and this year CityLink was one of those twelve.  This week is our final gathering as fellows.


It has been a privilege to walk with and learn from a group of fellows from across the US and world, who I now call friends.  These individuals are leading amazing organizations, following God’s call, and addressing critical social issues around the globe.  We were built into by a group of insightful and generous mentors who have stretched us personally, spiritually, and professionally.  I leave this program with new hope, strategies, and tactics for CityLink to further expand our mission to show God’s love to those in need by providing an integrated path to holistic well being.

Thank you to the Praxis team and network for an inspiring year.