Our Story

Starfish Alliance believes in acknowledging the youth experience by valuing their voice and perspective. Our programs are designed in partnership with young people and their supporters through our Program Advisory Board.

Our history of advocating for young people stretches over 16 years.  We recognize and value the abilities of young people to navigate tough environments. For the last 5 years, we have developed and implemented programming that is specifically designed for helping young people navigate the social-emotional quagmires of the 21st century.

Through a trauma-responsive lens we ask, “what did you do to survive” instead of “what’s wrong with you?” Some of our participants are at-risk of long-term system involvement with the child welfare system due to abuse and neglect; the juvenile justice system due to negative social influences; and the welfare system due to the complexities of generational poverty.

Our volunteers and other supporters believe in helping young people navigate their environment and gain exposure to new opportunities.

We facilitate relationship-based program models in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education Community Connectors Initiative, Columbus City Schools District, South-western City Schools District, Communities In Schools, and others .


Promote positive outcomes for young people who are or may be impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems through programming, service coordination, and advocacy.


Youth become productive adults who contribute to personal and community transformations.


To create a community of support for young people experiencing barriers to personal and economic wellbeing through connected educational and workforce ecosystems.




John Dale, Royal Family Kids Camp

Sharon Ryan, Clarivoy

Andre Lampkins, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Jeff Davis, Brioso Roastery and Café

Curtis Brown, Thoughtwell (formerly Community Research Partners)

Doug Worthington, Athletes for America



Epris Curry, Mentor

Montrial Curry, State of Ohio

Robert Shorty, PHR, Starbucks Corporate

Matia Tyus, MSW, Mt. Carmel Hospital

Kelsey Jarrett, OSU – Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Genesis Shine, Columbus State Community College Student

Sabrina Niezgoda, Columbus State Community College Student