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April 20, 2018

LINC Career Madness Helps Prepare the Next Generation

What happens when you get more than 50 Young Professionals and over 130 high school students together in a gymnasium? Chaos – but a controlled chaos in the best way! That’s exactly what happened at United Way LINC’s Career Madness event at the Central Parkway YMCA on March 22.

Each YP volunteer was matched to a station based on their career, and shared college and career experiences with the students, who came from United Way agency partner GRAD Cincinnati. The stations were STEM, healthcare, public service, creative, business and other.


“The great thing about this event was that everybody who participated got something out of it,” said Emma Crouser, Sr. Associate of Individual Engagement at United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “The volunteers were able to help students interested in their field and network with other early career professionals, and the students received valuable advice about approaching schooling and careers.”

In keeping with the NCAA March Madness Tournament theme, the students received a blank bracket to help them navigate the event. They had to talk to at least three YP volunteers, and either complete a free throw contest or talk to a fourth volunteer to complete the bracket. Once they had filled out their bracket, each student was entered into a drawing for prizes that included Beats By Dre headphones, an Amazon gift card, Amazon Echo Dot and a Bluetooth wireless speaker.


“We received great feedback from the students, and know that some of them were still talking about it at school the next day. They loved the basketball theme, and we know that several students were able to truly connect with the volunteers regarding shared passions” said Crouser. "It was definitely a positive experience for them overall.”

Gary Heiman, 2018 United Way campaign co-chair and president and CEO, Standard Textile Co., Inc., helped kick off the first LINC event of the year by welcoming volunteers and students. During the lunch break, everyone got to experience another special guest speaker, Aprina Johnson, Community Coordinator for the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. She gave a vocal performance and led attendees through exercises designed ease uncertainty about what next steps students should take in their lives, schooling and careers.


“I’d personally like to give a big thanks to the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati for hosting us at their Central Parkway location, and to GRAD Cincinnati executive director Patricia Stewart-Adams for making our committee’s vision of this event a reality!” says Crouser.


Interested in learning more about LINC or Young Professional engagement with United Way of Greater Cincinnati? Contact Emma Crouser at or at 513-762-7242.