Deryck Toles to speak at commencement ceremonyPosted Apr. 15, 2013
Toles overcame significant family and financial hardships in his childhood and developed into an accomplished student athlete at Warren G. Harding High School before graduating from Penn State University (2003) with a degree in business administration.
In 2006, Toles returned to Warren and founded Inspiring Minds, with a strong commitment to helping at-risk youth become independent, fully contributing members of society. Through an innovative after school curriculum, Inspiring Minds gives students opportunities to take trips, tour college campuses, improve academic and athletic skills, and perform acts of community service.
Under Toles’ leadership, Inspiring Minds has shaped the futures of well over 300 area youths – assisting students in improving their academic performance as well as providing preparation for college, vocational school and/or the workplace – in addition to providing more than $40,000 in scholarships.
In 2010, Toles gained national recognition for Inspiring Minds with an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Toles' philosophy is clear, youth of all circumstances should have the opportunity to dream beyond their present-day surroundings and define their own paths to success. He believes that children may be economically and socially under-privileged, but never inspirationally under-privileged.
Toles continues to break new ground with Inspiring Minds. In 2012 he inaugurated a summer athletics and academics program for middle school and high-school youth in Warren City Schools, and will pilot “On My Own” to help Inspiring Minds students learn healthy cooking, household management, budgeting, and other life skills.
Toles is a 1999 recipient of the Watkins Award from the National Alliance of African-American Athletes and was named a Trumbull County Community Star in 2008. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Kent State University at Trumbull, Trumbull County Community Foundation, Northeast Ohio Adoption Services and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.