Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake

Serving the educational needs of children and adults in Akron's Summit Lake neighborhood


The Reach Opportunity Center Collaborative (ROC) was established in 2012. It is comprised of a group of nonprofit and public sector leaders, each having their own connection to the Summit Lake neighborhood, all having a profound interest in the well being of the residents of Summit Lake, and all believing that education is the key to improve the quality of life for the residents of Summit Lake. The lead agency is the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA).


In 2011, AMHA, in collaboration with other organizations, submitted and was awarded a grant from HUD to build a facility in Summit Lake focused on cradle to career education for neighborhood residents. Akron Public Schools (APS) provided additional funding for an on-site kindergarten, and the City of Akron provided a long-term land lease for the property on which the facility was built. Building of the center began in March of 2013, and was completed in the spring of 2014.


The ROC Collaborative shares resources and works together to develop innovative programming to address the needs of the residents in the neighborhood.

Program Partners

Steering Committee

Tony O’Leary, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority

David James, Akron Public Schools

Chris Yuhasz, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority

Derran Wimer, Summit Education Initiative

Donae - United Way of Summit County

David Jennings, Akron Summit County Public Library

John Valle, City of Akron

Tonya Block, Summit County Public Health


The mission of the Reach Opportunity Center is to enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Summit Lake neighborhood in Akron, Ohio by increasing educational opportunities through the collaboration of community partners.


The children and families of the Summit Lake neighborhood are empowered to achieve their aspirations through lifelong learning.


Education is the key to self-sufficiency and success.

Collaboration between partners leads to efficiency and effectiveness within our project.

Alignment with other community efforts is essential to assure efficiency and effectiveness communitywide.

Use of Community Resources to assist residents with social issues avoids duplication of services.

Long-term Commitment to the Summit Lake neighborhood is necessary to achieve long-term, fundamental change.

Governance Structure

The governance of the ROC is achieved through the ROC Collaborative. The collaborative conducts its work through a steering committee and a set of topical workgroups. There is also, made possible by the GAR Foundation, a Planning Consultant and Facilitator that provides the coordination and implementation of the governance structure.


The ROC Collaborative has the responsibility to collectively make decisions about services and outcomes for the Center. Two Lead Partners, the chief executives of the AMHA and the APS, guide the Collaborative. The Collaborative deals with executive level functions and topics relevant to all partners. It is comprised of 15 to 20 members each representing one of the participating program providers or one of the community groups with a particular interest or expertise relevant to the project. The work of overseeing the Collaborative is conducted by the Steering Committee. Workgroups are assigned topic specific tasks. The Collaborative meets several times per year.


*It should be noted that the building is owned and managed by AMHA and APS, and they are responsible for making all decisions regarding the facility.


The ROC Steering Committee provides strategic oversight of the Center, and establishes and coordinates the work of the various workgroups. The Steering Committee has the broad view of the organization and program operations, and with this orientation ensures that all program areas and organizational areas are coordinated. They make recommendations to the Collaborative about general oversight of the organization, and provide direction to the workgroups about their program areas. The Steering Committee is comprised of 6-8 members of the Collaborative and the two Lead Partners. These members are experienced executives with expertise in collaborative projects. The Steering Committee also meets as needed, but much more frequently than the Collaborative as a whole. The Steering Committee typically meets monthly.


The ROC Workgroups provide area specific work for the Collaborative. They make recommendations to the Steering Committee for review to ensure that the work of various workgroups is coordinated. The workgroups have up to 10 members and are comprised of members of the Collaborative or their representatives with expertise in the area of focus for that workgroup. Some of the topic areas for workgroups are early childhood programming, adult education/job readiness programming, and organization-wide areas such as long-term finance, marketing, and multi-partner operation issues. These workgroups meet as often and for as long as needed to complete their assigned task(s), and may become inactive when no tasks are pending in their topic area.


The ROC Planning Consultant and Facilitator serves as the backbone support of the project. The Planning Consultant and Facilitator, made possible by the GAR Foundation, plans and implements the overall structure of the ROC and serves on and coordinates the work of the Collaborative, the Steering Committee, and the workgroups. The Consultant operates on the behalf of the Lead Partners and the Collaborative as a whole.