The Columbus Urban League (CUL) is a community‐based, non‐profit, advocacy organization that works to empower African Americans and marginalized groups through economic, educational and social progress with programs, classes and services. There initiatives fall under six categories:
788 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
Provides free after school programs for middle school youth ages 12 to 15, with programs ranging from kickball, to poetry and drama. This program serves youth at several schools and Blackburn Recreation Center.
1743 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43221
The community-based program matches children ages 5 to 14 with an older Big Brother or Big Sister friend. The school-based program in Franklin, Union and Delaware counties allows students to meet once a week at their school with a mentor who can help them reach career and academic goals. In Franklin County, they reach out to Spanish-speaking youth and families through their Hispanic Mentoring Program.
1855 East Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229
Offers a low-cost outdoor leadership program for Franklin County youth ages 9 – 12. Based at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park just west of downtown Columbus, Bold Columbus provides fun and educational experiences, including group challenges, leadership training, team games, nature education, arts and crafts, outdoor cooking and more.
1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, Ohio 43119
Serves youth ages 6 to 18 from all over Columbus. For a very low cost, the club provides members with access to after school programs, gymnasiums, play areas, teen centers and libraries at 2 locations in Columbus. They have summer programs and scholarships available as well.
Bexley Public Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Delaware County District Library
Grandview Heights Public Library
Licking County Library
Marysville Public Library
Pickaway County District Library
Pickerington Public Library
Plain City Public Library
Southwest Public Libraries
Upper Arlington Public Library
Wagnalls Memorial Library
Westerville Public Library
Offers support services for families, with classes at different sites throughout Franklin County. They have free GED prep and ESOL classes for adults, and basic skills literacy classes for adults, as well as vocational training programs for adults (like nursing). They also offer low-cost online adult classes.
270 East State Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
The Columbus Metropolitan Library has 23 branch locations throughout Columbus, Ohio where you are able to. Examples of all their free services include: adult learning and GED classes, technology training, ESOL, adaptive services, research and consumer tools, Storytime, Ready for Kindergarten classes, summer reading club, homework help, Reading Buddies and more.
96 South Grant Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Offers youth ages 14-21, living in zip codes 43207, 43203, 43223, and 43211 evening activities to help reduce violence. Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday the recreation centers located in these zip codes are open until 11:30 pm to keep the youth occupied with arts, educational and recreational activities. Gang and violence mediation and intervention are also provided.
1111 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
Offers academic programs and a safe place to learn and play after school and during the summer for a very low cost. Children can get homework help, tutoring and a nutritious snack and/or hot meal. They also offer anger management, substance abuse, violence prevention and recreation and enrichment activity (like field trips, drama and art) programs are offered.
Offers City of Columbus middle-school youth, ages 10-15, the opportunity to gain real life skills by working on projects and attending exciting events that will guide them towards becoming positive leaders in their communities. They meet different people and see different places throughout the city. Participants will need to be recommended by their principal, assistant principal or teacher in order to be considered.
1111 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
The School’s Out summer program allows children ages 6 to 14 to take part in a variety of fitness activities all day, Monday through Friday, at 4 recreation centers in Columbus. This program is open to residents of Columbus that meet certain income guidelines, for a very low cost. It is designed to meet the needs of working parents.
Their elementary and middle school youth programs include: Young Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) an anti-bullying, violence prevention and leadership development program for schools and a summer day camp. CND’s programs for older youth focus on leadership development, job readiness, secondary education and employment opportunities. Their high school youth programs include: a job readiness program titled Future Opportunities Created for Urban Students (FOCUS), intergenerational mentorship, an annual historically black college and university tour and a violence intervention program titled Application for Purpose Pride and Success (APPS). CND offers emergency support services on a case-by-base basis, parenting services and addiction counseling for adults.
Offers after school and summer programs for youth ages 8 to 17. The free program includes life skills education groups, homework help, computer lab, tutoring, fitness and recreation, art, music and dance programming and meals provided. They also have a teen pregnancy prevention group called, My Best Self, serving high-risk boys and girls, ages 11 to 18, in local schools throughout Franklin County.
Provides several services to the Ethiopian community in central Ohio, as well as African, Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants. Services include after school programs and mentoring, youth leadership opportunities, college preparation and summer programs for youth. They provide ESOL services for adults as well.
Offer free adult education classes (like GED preparation, ESOL, job training, computer lab) with free childcare services and transportation, community engagement programs, health and wellness programs and services, and youth programming (like after school homework help, mentoring, summer programs, internships and career exploration).
303 East Sixth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Faith based, non-profit organization based in Columbus’ Hilltop community. Some of their programs include Hilltop teen club, teen free store, basketball at their gym, their no-cost Westside CDF (Children’s Defense Fund) Freedom School, mentoring program, produce distribution, free legal clinic and more.
1665 Harrisburg Pike, Columbus, Ohio, 43223
Children and teens can learn about homeownership, outreach, construction and become involved in their local communities.
3140 Westerville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224
33 North Grubb Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Engage 9-15 year-old boys of color from zip codes 43206 or 43207 whose families earn 200% of poverty or less. Offer fun, healthy safe experiences during the school year and throughout the summer, building academic, career, artistic, and physical strengths. Many activities overlap with Columbus Urban League initiatives, placing the young men in summer internships, hands-on digital learning opportunities, drug, alcohol and violence prevention activities and other initiatives based upon their individual needs.
33 West Eleventh Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Dedicated to supporting youth ages 12 to 20 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and questioning. They offer a range of programs and activities, all of which are free, including discussion groups, social activities, leadership training and support for gay-straight alliances.
603 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Offers year-round soccer camps and health education for at-risk boys and girls ages 4 to 18. The cost is free, including uniforms and equipment.
340 North 20th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
LEAD is a STEM education and financial literacy organization serving Franklin and Delaware County 3rd – 12th grade students. They offer programs including STEM clubs, leadership training, STEM camps, mentoring, as well as the E-STEM Chapters, which give K-12 grade students an opportunity to be exposed to STEM and business concepts to gain high positions in Corporate America, or to become entrepreneurs. Some services are free. Scholarships are available.
PO Box 361061, Columbus, Ohio 43236
Offers several free services to the Hispanic community including:
100 East Campus View Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43235
Offers free money management/financial education workshops, HUD-certified, City of Columbus approved homebuyer education, nutritional education programs (EFNEP and SNAP-Ed); community 4-H Youth Development clubs, school enrichment, after-school and STEM programming for a minimal fee, urban agriculture education programs and more.
Franklin County Office: 530 West Spring Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
This free program focuses on academic achievement in the areas of math and reading for students in grades 1 though 8. Program participants receive tutoring, proficiency test preparation and personal development during the school year and summer.
Provides many free services for children and adults in Columbus, including a free lunch summer camp, a free legal clinic, ESOL classes for adults, and referrals to health services and jobs. They also provide one-on-one homework help and tutoring to children whose parents attend the ESOL classes.
4653 Trueman Boulevard, Hilliard, Ohio 43026
Provides a variety of services for Somali youth and adults.
3422 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43224
After school programs, summer programs, youth employment programs, tutoring and early childhood care from ages 6 weeks old to 4 years old are provided for at-risk youth living in the Linden area. They also have a Choice Food Pantry, community garden, bike loan program, Christmas gift programs and family services.
1500 East Seventeenth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43219
Provides free programs to teens at COSI, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, WOSU@COSI, and Transit Arts to allow them to discover or pursue their interests by connecting them with mentors, digital and cultural resources, and each other. Open studio, one day workshops, drop-in hours and scheduled events give the teens hands-on experience and professional supervision.
Wexner Center for the Arts
1871 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210
LiFEsports is a free youth development program dedicated to serving economically disadvantaged children in the Columbus community. Their programs include a sports summer camp for youth ages 9 to 15, a youth leadership academy preparing youth ages 15-18 for college and future careers and community-based sports clinics throughout the year. Transportation is free to all campers via buses.
2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43210
The weekly school-based mentoring program pairs Upper Arlington, Marble Cliff and Grandview Heights teen mentors with children enrolled in the after school programs in the Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights school districts. They award at least two college scholarships each year to volunteer teen mentors and also offer several summer camp opportunities.
3600 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221
This year-long program is for youth in grades 7 and 8. Under the leadership of YMCA professionals and peer mentors, participants learn leadership skills. This program is available at most YMCA locations in central Ohio.
4515 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43206
The YWCA Kids Place serves the Westerville, Gahanna and New Albany school districts. The programs are offered within the elementary school buildings, offering easy transition for the students. Morning and afternoon programs are offered in Westerville and New Albany. In Gahanna, they offer afternoon programs. The hours are dependent upon each school district but all programs are completed by 6:00 p.m. Students from the ages of 5 though 12 years old are eligible and the program costs are dependent upon the needs of the family. There is a registration fee per family, per school year. Click here to register, or call the YWCA administrative office directly for child care costs.
65 South Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215