Born and raised in Cincinnati, Katie Burroughs now devotes her life to making her hometown a better place in a new role as director of the nonprofit
. She learned about community involvement through Walnut Hills High School’s community service program as well as her parents’ dedication to volunteer work.
Burroughs left home to study English at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, and then received her law degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After practicing in northern Virginia, though, Burroughs returned to Cincinnati.
She worked as a prosecutor for the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and was exposed to children living in horrifying conditions. The experience fueled her passion for mentoring children living in poverty.
Then last year, she served as co-president of the PTA at Pleasant Ridge Montessori, where her two children attend school (her twins attend preschool). She realized the impact education has not only on children’s lives, but also the life of a community.
Burroughs had attained her professional goals as a prosecutor, so she felt ready to transition into a different, more proactive role in changing children’s lives.
“By getting involved in education, my hope and desire is that we will touch lives and in the end there will be fewer people at the back end, where I always saw them [as a prosecutor],” Burroughs says. “If you can direct a kid in the right direction, or just give them that glimmer of hope, or show that someone believes in them and that there is a life outside of poverty and the environment that they’re in, then just may be my former coworkers won’t see them on the back end.”
Burroughs is settling into her new role at Adopt-A-Class, a local nonprofit that connects under-resourced students with professional mentors. Founded by Bill Burwinkel, Adopt-A-Class currently works with 24 schools, reaching about 8,000 students.
The mentors, typically groups of professionals, form pen pal relationships with the students throughout the school year. Weekly, mentors who are available go to classrooms for activities.
Burroughs hopes to increase the number of classrooms adopted. Although there is a waiting list for new schools to get involved, Adopt-A-Class wants to finish meeting the needs of the schools that they are already committed to.
“You can’t solve every problem; you’re not going to save every child—I’m not naïve—but you can touch lives,” Burroughs says.
• Refer a friend to Adopt-A-Class
• Attend the Rusty Ball
and choose Adopt-A-Class as your charity.
By Stephanie Kitchens