On Tuesday, the popular WMJI 105.7 FM host chatted with a group of about 50 high school students at Auburn Career Center in Concord Township to tell them why.
“This is just another way to get the information out — (through) someone like a wonderful personality like Jimmy Malone,” said Andrea Tracy, program director for the Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation, a resource center for college information and scholarships.
“The kids click with him. He really gets the message out.” Malone joined efforts with LEAF to deliver tips on various ways to obtain a college education and finance the endeavor. Casually interacting with the group of professional career seekers while they lunched on pizza, he asked questions relating to their goals as well as dispensed a wide array of information.
“Look at colleges you could go to with as little debt as possible,” he advised. “College can be affordable. It might not be the college you want to go to. You just might have to make different decisions. When you graduate, with very few exceptions, (employers) aren’t going to care what school you went to. They’re going to care if you can get the job done.” Malone, a graduate of Shaker Heights High and Ohio University, said he became involved in the mission of encouraging and supporting college for youth in 1995 when he provided small scholarships to help three deserving students.
From there, his interest grew. Since partnering with College Now Greater Cleveland, which manages the Jimmy Malone Scholarship, hundreds of people have been afforded the opportunity to obtain a higher education. About 90 percent of their scholarship students graduate from college. Three have achieved doctoral degrees and several have gone on to earn master’s degrees.
Mentoring, coupled with financial support, is part of the successful equation used to help recipients reach success.
Malone, along with his wife, April and daughter, Angela, regularly visit with the students who are encouraged to keep in contact in order to discuss their problems, successes and challenges.
“Sometimes somebody that says ‘You can do it’ makes the difference,” he said.
Among the many points he stressed during the meeting was applying for as many scholarships as possible. “In my lifetime I’ve never seen someone walking down the street and someone saying to them ‘Hey, I’m going to give you a scholarship.’ You’ve got to apply and let people know what you want to do,” he said. He added that a large part of ensuring students attend college is “getting the financial literacy out to them.”
In 2012, LEAF gave out 58 scholarships totaling $112,750, Tracy said.
For details on LEAF, visit www.leaf-ohio.org. For information on the Jimmy Malone Scholarship, visit www.jimmymalone.com.