Making An Impact

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My Urban League Story: Joel Kirksey Jr.

Joel participated in the Elyria Works Now program the Fall of 2019 and is now a Loom Operator at Duraline, in Elyria, OH. When Joel first came to the Lorain County Urban League to be a part of the Elyria Works Now program he was struggling to find work and wanted to be more confident in his ability to present himself to potential employers. Within one week of finishing the program Joel was offered a position with Duraline! Joel tells our Elyria Works Now staff his biggest takeaway was learning that everything he says and does when meeting with a potential employer is a reflection of himself; stating that out of learning this lesson he has gained more confidence when speaking with future employers.

Joel Kirksey Jr.

"The Elyria Works Now program is a plus for the community because not only does it refresh your interview and resume skills, but also lets you sit down with the actual companies and talk to the hiring people way before you even get an interview…"

We are elated to have had Joel as part of the Elyria Works Program and are incredibly proud of the success he has had at his new job! Joel tells us that he enjoys his job and loves how the materials he works with come together to make a finished product. It is partnerships like the one we have with the City of Elyria, which makes Elyria Works Now so impactful for our community and helps to develop a strong workforce


My Urban League Story: Durasia Anderson

As I get older, high school becomes more and more of a blur. However, there are a handful of distinct experiences that will remain separate from the rest. In 2014, I was selected to go on the college tour. Having decided at a young age that I would be the one to break the cycle of poverty in my family, I knew that a college education was absolutely necessary. The Spring 2014 Road to Success National College Tour was the first and only time that I was able to visit schools outside of Ohio.

Durasia Anderson

Attending this tour was one of the best decisions that I have made in regards to my educational pursuits. I learned what to expect in an institution and how to look for the schools that were “the right fit” for me. I can recall meeting the chief engineers of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Seeing a woman from Lorain and an African-American man in such high positions was a very powerful and inspiring experience.

The help from the LCUL staff did not end after the tour. I continued to volunteer with the organization and they were persistent in giving me guidance and support. As I repared for the college admission process, the LCUL staff stuck by my side. They provided advice, ample volunteer opportunities, and even a chance to tell my story a the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Conference!

I felt very prepared when applying to college, and grateful when my acceptance letters and scholarships started rolling in. I decided to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, one of the nation’s top engineering colleges. Before I knew it, I was stepping on campus as one of the first, and possibly the only, Elyria High School graduate to enroll at RPI.

Coming back to the Urban League as a staff member has been extremely gratifying. I am honored to help our youth find their pathway to success. I know first-hand the experiences of a college student; more specifically, the experiences of a low-income, first generation student from Lorain County. I enjoy having a fresh perspective on the admissions process, and I know some of the tips and tricks to ensure that our students are noticed and supported!

Soon enough, I will have graduated with my B.S. in Mathematics from RPI and will be blessed enough to provide our youth with the same kind of support that was gifted to me in my journey. I would not have gotten to this point without the continuous help of the family I made at the Urban League. My goal is to encourage our youth to break barriers by working hard until their fantasies are reality. You never know when you might be making history!


In Loving Memory of Toni Morrison

In Loving Memory of Toni Morrison

In loving memory of Toni Morrison, an award winning writer with a global impact...

Toni was born to the Wofford family in a small house on Elyria Ave. in Lorain. She was an imaginative spirit with a love for language. We thank Toni Morrison for pursuing her dreams. She had the courage to stick with what she loved. Language and literature were her passion. She wanted to tell stories and knew that college was the way to do so.

Toni’s parents worked hard to support her goal of going to college. She was able to attend and graduate from Howard University and later obtained a graduate degree from Cornell University, an Ivy League college in upstate New York.

After college, Toni was married and started a family. All the while, writing short stories. After a divorce, she became a single mother. Working and being the sole provider of her children, Toni did not have much time to write during the day. Once her children were put to bed, she’d work on her pieces for hours. Her stories became a novel, then several novels and she eventually became a professional writer.

Toni had a very specific view of the world and shared this perspective in her literature. Her impact has been global, winning awards like the Nobel Prize in Literature, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and many more. Toni’s legacy will live on, her brilliant words being shared and revered forever. She will be greatly missed. We are honored to be a part of the community that inspired such an intelligent mind.