The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 21, 2013

Geneva graduate receives exceptional volunteer award

GENEVA — Courtney Behm looked up in surprise when she heard her name called. A volunteer with the ACE Mentor Program, Behm, a 1997 Geneva High School graduate, wasn’t at the awards dinner to accept anything.

Behm was honored with the establishment of The Courtney Behm Exemplary Volunteer Award. This award will be presented annually to exceptional volunteers who serve the ACE Mentorship Program.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I was speechless. The recognition was really special,” she said.

Founded in nationwide in 1994, the Architecture Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program is the construction industry’s fastest-growing high school mentoring program with 62 affiliates in 36 states. The program reaches more than 8,000 high school students in the United States each year in events that engage sponsors and volunteer mentors and encourages students to pursue careers in design and construction. The program also provides one-on-one mentorship programs, site tours, and project-based learning.

Students from five Cleveland schools participate in the local program, and this year, 14 students from four Cleveland Metropolitan School District high schools received $63,000 in scholarships through the program.

Students who received scholarships this year are planning to attend Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Akron to study in fields ranging from engineering and construction law to nursing and education.

University Hospitals, together with Gilbane Building Company and Regency Construction Services, Inc., provided the scholarships. This is the third year that University Hospitals awarded $50,000 in scholarships from a $400,000, eight-year pledge made by the hospital.

Behm is a senior sales services manager at the construction management firm Gilbane Building Company.

“Gilbane is a company that is passionate about community outreach and volunteerism among its employees and is a supporter of the ACE Mentor Program nationwide,” she said.

Behm said her role in the program is largely, “behind the scenes.”

“For several years we have awarded an Exemplary Mentor Award. With this new award, now going forward we can recognize someone who has that same commitment as a volunteer,” she said.

The ACE Mentor Program began in 2008 with just 15 students, Behm said, and has grown to include 100 students this year.

“We are giving these students someone to look up to,” she said. “Someone to mentor them and help them grow. We have seen some amazing stories of students who have started in our program and gone on to great things.”

For more information on the ACE Mentor Program, visit www.acementor.org.

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