Who we are
My name is Matthew Skunda and I am the owner and President of Columbus Leather. After years of working with leather, I’ve partnered with many people to start this company. As much as I enjoy working with leather and producing high quality products, I have a greater joy in working with at-risk youth here in Columbus, Ohio, and I’ve felt so fortunate to be able to volunteer with many like minded people. In 2009, some members of our bible study started a youth bible study in the South Linden area of Columbus. We started with two kids and now have 6 groups with more than 200 at-risk students attending our meetings.
So you may be asking…..What does starting Columbus Leather have to do with at-risk youth in Columbus? Good question! A lot of the students we have invested in don’t have the same resources that many of us take for granted. Many cannot read or write well and have little to no family support. One of the biggest challenges we discovered is during transitions from one life stage to another. The transition from high school to adulthood has been particularly difficult. Our students become overwhelmed with the prospect of finding a job and many don’t have anyone to help them though the process of how to find employment, how to sustain employment, and how to thrive in employment.
We have an ambitious goal to start an internship program for our students. Our goal is to have a self-sustaining company that can function as a training ground for them. This company will also provide financial support for this internship. Each high school student who attends Columbus City Schools is required to have 120 internship hours in order to graduate high school. We are currently working with members of Columbus City Schools to create an internship program that can be used throughout the school system to count toward those required internship hours.
We will also be partnering with local businesses. We are seeking businesses who are able to partner with us to give students who finish our program opportunities to interview and potentially obtain employment.
This program will equip our students in three areas.
- Equipping them to find employment
- training in how to fill out applications
- understanding each youth’s strengths to determine what job will be the best fit
- training in how to present yourself during an interview
- Equipping them to sustain employment
- training in how to respond to disagreements in the workplace
- training in strategies regarding how to respond to supervisors we do not agree with
- helping find and sustain transportation to and from work
- training on money management, including how to open a bank account and balance a checkbook
- Equipping them to thrive during their employment
- Training on how to set goals
- How to sustain a positive attitude even in a negative atmosphere
Please contact us if you or your company is interested in partnering with us to enrich our internship program.
Not sure you want to help? Contact us anyway, and we can answer any questions you may have!
Together we can make a difference.