Provides free career training, job and post-secondary education assistance, industry-recognized certification and supportive services for young adults ages 14 to 24 year round. For youth in kindergarten to 8th grade they offer summer day camps. These services are free to those that meet TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and/or WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) eligibility guidelines. Please call for eligibility determination.
100 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Provides free after school programs for elementary and middle-school aged youth, programs including academics, enrichment activities, and health and fitness. The ASAS Columbus program serves at several Columbus City School locations (specific schools are listed on their website as they change from time to time).
1743 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43221
ASAS Columbus: columbusasas.org
ASAS Ohio: asasohio.org
Offer one-to-one community-based and school-based mentoring programs for youth in Franklin, Union and Delaware counties. In Franklin County, they reach out to Spanish-speaking youth and families through their Hispanic Mentoring Program.
Offers a low-cost outdoor leadership program for Franklin County youth ages 9 to 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.
Park Address: 1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, Ohio 43119
Serves youth ages 6 through 18 from across the city. For a low cost, the nationally-acclaimed Club provides members with access to after-school and summer programming oriented around three pillars: Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Character & Leadership. Club members have access to tutoring, gym space, teen-specific areas, field trips, career-readiness opportunities and mentoring.
Provide holiday assistance, housing and emergency assistance, free dinner and host a free summer program through CDF Freedom Schools. Call for serving times and days.
501 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Heart of the City Freedom School: broadstreetumc.net/hocfs
A free summer camp for military children ages 8 to 15. Priority enrollment is given to children of wounded, disable or fallen servicemen and servicewomen. The camp is a week-long helps kids learn new skills, build character and make new friends while enjoying the outdoors. Complete their online application for enrollment or call the hotline below for more information.
801 North West Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Camp Kesem at The Ohio State University (OSU) supports children in the Columbus community whose parent has cancer, by providing a free summer camp experience and year-long peer support. Camp Kesem is operated by student volunteers and serves approximately 150 campers ages 6-16 every year.
PO Box 3501, Columbus, Ohio 43210
A free violence reduction program offered to youth ages 14 to 21, living in zip codes 43207, 43203, 43223, and 43211 evening activities. The recreation centers located in these zip codes are open until 10 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. Visit the website to apply to the program.
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
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 various programs fall under six categories:
788 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
A non-profit that offers mentoring and leadership development, bullying and violence prevention programs, summer camps, job readiness programs, college and university tours to elementary school, middle school and high school youth. CND also offers emergency support services on a case-by-base basis, parenting services and addiction counseling for adults.
Offers interactive experiences, exhibitions and more. COSI features live shows, special events, family programs, single day and summer camps; and career exploration, homeschooler and free teen tech studio workshops. They offer a special “Family Access Membership” that is available for families who get WIC, Ohio Directions (EBT) or Ohio Medicaid.
333 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Offers summer day camps, homeschool programs and workshops for young children. They have nearly 2,000 acres of plant collections, gardens, hiking trails and natural areas for people to explore. Scholarships are available.
7770 Jacksontown Road Southeast, Newark, Ohio 43056
(740) 323-2355 or (800) 443-2937 Toll-free
Program: Offers youth and their families mental, emotional and behavioral health programs and services. Licensed social workers and counselors provide counseling and clinical treatment programs addressing a range of issues including school concerns, sexual abuse, delinquency, domestic violence, family conflict, substance abuse and mental health issues. They also offer parenting classes, free kindergarten readiness programs and after-school and summer programs at their two youth centers.
Eligibility: male and female, ages vary per program
Cost: government insurance (Medicaid, Molina, Caresource), private insurance and self-pay (sliding scale fees based on income); most programs are free
Referral: individuals may refer themselves or be referred by someone else for the counseling programs, for psychiatric services they need to be referred through a Directions for Youth counselor
Intake: (614) 294-2661
Helps immigrants and refugees from all countries establish roots and gain self-sufficiency in Central Ohio. They offer job training, English language classes, after school tutoring for children, case management for victims of domestic violence and much more. They provide all of these services at various sites throughout Central Ohio. Visit the website for a list of all the program sites.
Main Office: 1060 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
Provides a free camp experience for children with serious medical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, sickle cell disease, asthma and arthritis. 24-hour care is provided by specialized doctors and nurses, and the camp is free. Campers step outside of their sickness to experience activities such as canoeing, swimming, high rope experience and more. The camp is a member of the Serious Fun Network.
5260 State Route 95, Mount Gilead, Ohio 43338
Provides refugee youth ages 11 and up education, year-round soccer programming, after-school tutoring, academic enrichment summer camp, leadership training and other resources and support to empower them to succeed in academics, soccer, and to positively impact their wider communities. Tuition is free and they offer free lunch.
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
1450 East Dublin-Granville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229
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
280 Reeb Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207 (Only adult education and workforce development)
A faith-based, non-profit organization based in Columbus’ Hilltop community. Some of their programs include a teen club, teen free store, basketball at their gym, their no-cost Westside CDF (Children’s Defense Fund) Freedom School, free legal clinic and more. Visit the website or call for program locations.
33 North Grubb Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Offer fun, healthy safe experiences during the school year and throughout the summer, building academic, career, artistic, and physical strengths for boys of color ages 9-15 years old from zip codes 43206 or 43207 whose families earn 200% of poverty or less. 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
Works with high school students from under-served communities to educate them about and prepare them for careers in the legal profession. They provide year-round, four-year academic and professional programming to participants. The program is free to all participants, and students are provided bus passes and lunch.
1700 Lake Shore Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43204
A STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and financial literacy organization serving Franklin and Delaware County 3rd – 12th grade students. They offer programs including STEM clubs, workshops, leadership training, summer camps, and mentoring. Their E-STEM Chapter gives youth an opportunity to be exposed to STEM and business concepts. Some services are free. Scholarships are available.
PO Box 361061, Columbus, Ohio 43236
A national, non-profit organization that helps develop academic and leadership skills in public high school students who come from low- income households or will be first-generation college students. LEDA Scholars are recruited as juniors in high school, and spend the following summer at the Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute, housed on the campus of Princeton University. The 7-week summer program is free and includes leadership study, writing instruction, standardized test preparation, and college guidance.
501 Seventh Avenue, New York, New York 10018
Current 9th and 10th grade students who attend or whose home Columbus City School is South or Marion-Franklin are able to have homework help, cultural field trips, college tours, test prep, career exposure, a six-week college-going experience with work-study opportunities and more. This program is free for eligible students. Visit the website for more information and how to apply.
700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43205
Offers several free services to the Latino community including: homework help, educational after school programs and summer camps; translation and interpretation services, ESL and citizenship classes for adults; tobacco free program, free car seat checks, and support group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Works with families and children, farmers and business owners, community leaders and elected officials to build better lives, better businesses and better communities in Ohio. Many programs fall into four categories, including;
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
Supports military kids through activities and programming specifically targeted to youth of the guard and reserve. Programs include camps for youth and teens, family workshops and free days at the zoo. Most programs are free or for a very nominal price. Programs are open to all Ohio military members.
2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Offer various services for Central Ohio families throughout the year. Their services include: an in-residence rehabilitation program, after school learning centers for youth to get tutoring and homework help, job help, Christmas assistance; free meals and produce giveaways, furniture assistance, housing and rent assistance, utility assistance and veteran support services. Visit the website for their Family Thrift Store locations in Central Ohio and for more information on each program.
Link to Family Thrift Store list: co.salvationarmy.org/CentralOhio/family-stores-in-central-ohio
Offers free service learning programs to schools with students ages 8 to 14 years old and through family programs for youth ages 5 to 14 years old. Their programs provide positive outcomes for students in areas of critical thinking, research and observation skills, civic engagement, leadership and teamwork.
16 Orchard Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43214
Offers free programming and connects families facing suburban poverty in Hilliard to resources. Programs include a summer lunch program for children, ESL classes, a legal clinic, a monthly job readiness clinic, winter coat store and more.
Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) at Mill Run
3500 Mill Run Drive, 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 rising high school seniors with a strong interest in computers, engineering and science with the opportunity to gain skills needed to pursue careers in STEM fields. The Summer Academy includes seminars and hands-on projects, designed and taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty, teachers and graduate students. Students admitted will not be charged tuition, housing or dining fees.
Carnegie Mellon University – Office of Admission
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
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
Offers after-school, in-school and summer youth programs, family needs assistance, reentry programs, counseling services, drug treatment, crisis intervention and more. Visit the website for a detailed description of their services.
510 East Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Provides programs focused on 3 areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Their programs, services and initiatives are for men, women and children of all ages covering health and fitness, swimming, age-specific activities, child care, camps and more. Visit the website or contact a YMCA center for more information.
Full Facility Branches
Early Childhood Resource Network+ (ECRN+)
YMCA Administrative Offices: 40 West Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Provides free open studio space and one day workshops for teens, at select Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, to give them hands-on experience with music programming, audio recording, videography, video editing, digital art, fine arts and more.
Provide affordable housing for women recovering from drug-related, alcohol-related, and mental illnesses. Services include: wellness and recovery support, computer and internet access, employment assistance, financial literacy classes, GED program and more. The YWCA Family Center provides emergency shelter and critical services including, family assistance, family advocacy, childcare, employment and resource center to help central Ohio families find housing. The YWCA Kids Place offers affordable childcare during the school year and summer programs for families in Gahanna and Westerville school districts. They also provide leadership training for high school girls and women in their 20’s.