Cleveland's real-life fairy godmother changes lives

Cleveland's real-life fairy godmother

CLEVELAND, OH - In the middle of a sea of eighth graders playing instruments at the Cleveland Music Settlement sits 63-year-old Mim Conway on the flute, proud to be playing alongside her 25 kids.

Conway has watched her kids grow since they were in the first grade.

"She will always tell me that she loves me and that she's there for me," said Francis.

That's how Conway, a retired social worker, rolls since she invested a small inheritance seven years ago on little strangers.

It was an investment entirely meant to empower a class of first graders in the South Collinwood neighborhood.

"It's an opportunity to really get to know them. To really have an impact and influence that really changes lives," said Conway.

These are her "Dream On Foundation" kids, who she has helped through the years with academics, athletics and the arts.

"She's always the first one I show my report card to because she says 'OMG! You see what you can do?' " said Jalia Tyner Gaston, a Dream On Foundation kid.

"She's trying to put me in sports camp this year because I asked her," said 13-year-old Jaylin Jackson.

"I would say if she wasn't in my life, I wouldn't be where I am today," said Nyandia Ballah, who is an honor student.

All 25 kids are choosing the best high schools now for the fall, and Mim is making sure each of them graduates and goes on to the college of their choice.

"I can go to any college and believe in my dreams," said 13-year-old Jordan Bennett.

All of their education is paid for by the foundation.

"An Ivy League school, anywhere she wants to go! Put her finger on a map and they'll make it come true," said Michele Ballah, Nayandia's mother.

Mim is the constant force of motivation for the parents as well.

"She's like an angel to us because things we have prayed about...opportunities for our children," said Michele Ballah.

Those children shined playing their instruments at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.

The entire Dream On family was treated to experiences most had never had and to the priceless opportunity to learn the roots of jazz up close and personal.

%INLINE%

"Anything we could think of that we would want for our children, they made it possible and we are just very grateful," said Michele Ballah.

At WKYC Channel 3, we celebrate See The Possible and Mim Conway. She saw their potential and empowered them to grab it.

"Where can I make a difference in the lives of some families and in future generations?" asked Conway. "And in my heart of hearts, I really do believe education is the key out of poverty."

"It literally is. Once we learn something, we pass it on to our children," said Michele Ballah. "I'm just as proud as can be. It made me go back to school. I started a career back at Tri-C. I needed to be an example."

It's the gift that keeps on giving for good families, sometimes poor, who just get stuck under bills and the daily grind of trying to make it all work.

"This is not only a gift for these families, but it's a gift for Cleveland, Ohio because we're helping people to become contributors," Conway smiles.

 

 


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment