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State: Non-religious Groups Can Now Seek Mentorship Grants

State officials say they have clarified a religious requirement attached to new $10 million student-mentorship grant program.
 
The Ohio Department of Education says it's expanded the definition of a faith-based organization to include non-religious groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio had objected to the requirement. The group said in a letter last month that mandating that all Community Connectors proposals include a church or faith-based organization "raises serious questions about the constitutionality of the mentoring program."
 
The program is among Gov. John Kasich's key education initiatives. Its aim is providing students with adult role models from their communities.
 
The department's clarification now allows schools to partner with organizations whose mission is based on the belief that every child's life has a purpose.