College Mentors announces 2019 Inspire Awards finalists

35 Community Leaders to be honored at the 2019 Inspire Awards for Mentoring

 INDIANAPOLIS- College Mentors for Kids is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2019 Inspire Awards, presented by Verizon. These individuals will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 12:00-1:30 pm at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

Accounting, Legal & Finance Business, Retail & Hospitality
Erik Long, Ice Miller LLP
John Wortman, Valeo Financial Advisors, LLC
Philip Sicuso, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
Sue Beesley, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
William Wendling, Jr., Cohen, Garelick & Glazier, PC
Anne Hoblik, IU Health West Hospital
Barney Levengood, Capital Improvement Board
Kyle DeFur, TrueU
Michelle Smith, Corteva Agriscience
Ralph Balber, ALO Property Group
Communications, Entertainment & Athletics Construction, Engineering & Technology
Denny Kladis, Cohen, Garelick & Glazier, PC
Emil Ekiyor, Indy Youth Sports
Jake Gilbert, Westfield High School
Lee Jackson, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School
Willis Cheaney, Butler Sports Properties – Learfield    Sports/IMG College
Becky Hammons, Ball State University & Ontario Systems LLC
Chau Tu, Eli Lilly and Company
John McDonald, ClearObject
Kirsten Smith, Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University
Robert Simpson, Indiana State Police
Education, Government & Nonprofit Health & Science
Melissa Hunt, Vinton Elementary School, Lafayette School Corporation
Tom Waltz, Salesforce
John Lechleiter, Leadership Indianapolis’ Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, Class XLIII
Dennis Goins, Ben Davis High School
Cindy Graham, Goodwill of Central Indiana
Amy Carter, Eskenazi Health
Chris Burns, Marian University
Craig Kwiatkowski, Science Fun for Everyone!
Morgan Krohne, IU Health
Shelly Maersch, IU Health



Youth Mentoring
Ieshia Harris, recognized for mentoring through SHEroes, Inc.
Kizito D. Kalima, recognized for mentoring through Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Inc
Randy Polston, recognized for mentoring through Grace College and Theological Seminary
Rob Albright, recognized for mentoring through coaching at Bishop Chatard High School 
Thaddeus Starks, recognized for mentoring as a youth counselor in his neighborhood

A Mentor of the Year in each category will be announced at the Inspire Awards. These individuals are recognized for their commitment to mentoring in the workplace and community. They have made a difference in the careers and lives of others by providing support, advice, and guidance. One nominator said of a finalist. “Her coaching can be described as providing direction to find your own tools for a job you didn’t even know you could do or wanted to do before the encouragement to explore.”

Finalists in the youth mentoring category are making a difference in the lives of children by serving as mentors. One nominator said of a finalist, “It was immediately clear that he not only cared, but he would go above and beyond to see his students and mentees be successful. He never forgot about me and he invested in me more than I thought possible. He changed my life, and I am here today because of him.”

College Mentors for Kids will award the Inspiring Alumni Award for the first time this year to an alumni of College Mentors who exemplifies the values of College Mentors beyond graduation. The winner will be announced at a later date.

College Mentors for Kids is grateful to our many sponsors, including: Verizon, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; The Ackerman Foundation; Element Three; Fifth Third Bank; Hylant; Indianapolis Power & Light Company; Lumina Foundation, Sherck, Hussey, Johnson, McNaughton, LLC; Van Riper-Woodard Family Foundation; F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company; Indianapolis Business Journal; and Towne Post Network.

Please visit to purchase tickets.


About College Mentors for Kids, Inc:

College Mentors for Kids is a national youth mentoring nonprofit that believes that mentoring transforms lives. We fulfill our mission by connecting kids to college students through weekly on-campus activities that inspire growth, confidence, and brighter futures. College Mentors operates 34 chapters across Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, and North Carolina. For more information, please visit

About the Inspire Awards:

The Inspire Awards is an annual event designed to celebrate mentoring in the workplace and community. Nominations from around the country are accepted and selection committees choose the Mentors of the Year from each category who are honored at the luncheon along with an Inspiring Alumni Award winner. In 2018, the event was attended by over 500 community members. All proceeds benefit College Mentors for Kids.