Meet Our Star Students: Get to Know the Cleveland Foundation’s Saint Martin de Porres Student Work Team

Photos of four Saint Martin de Porres students
(L to R): James Velesaca, Allyson Dixon, Daijah Blackman and Kimar Reed

Over the past 14 years, more than 47 students from Saint Martin De Porres High School have joined the Cleveland Foundation staff during the school year as part of Saint Martin’s Corporate Work Study Program. These students work five days per month in paid roles that supplement their tuition and provide important career exploration, relationship building and skill development. Our Saint Martin students provide essential support, working on projects with various teams throughout the foundation. In this blog, the 2019-20 Saint Martin student workers share a bit about themselves: 


James Velesaca

“My name is James Velesaca, and I am a freshman at Saint Martin de Porres. I chose this school because my brother graduated from here and my sister is a junior, so I have a bit of knowledge of the school. I also liked that Saint Martin has a Corporate Work Study Program, which helps us learn real life experience at jobs. I love how my days are going so far in Saint Martin. My favorite quote was written from a soccer player: “as long as there is a 1% chance, we will have 99% faith.” It really hit me with a deep motivation and for me it means to never give up and that nothing is impossible. I love soccer and want to become a professional player when I get older. I also want to be a chef like my dad because he inspires me with his amazing creations. I am the youngest in my family but a funny thing is that I’m taller than all of them. I want people to think of me as a respectful and responsible person. I want to make my family proud but mostly my parents because they have gone through hard problems and I want them to know that I tried my best for them. I like to learn things that will help me with my future and I think working here in the Cleveland Foundation is going to be a great help for me.”

Allyson Dixon

“My name is Allyson Dixon, I am a sophomore at Saint Martin de Porres High School, and my favorite thing to do in my free time is either sing or listen to music. I am the youngest out of five siblings. Something my mom always told me when I was younger was “no matter what you’re going through or obstacles you face, always have a positive mindset and hope for the best, but always prepare for the worst.” I enjoy Saint Martin because most of the teachers actually care about you and the education being provided for you. I also enjoy the fact that they are not only preparing you for college but they are helping us get through college. My dream careers would either be a CIA investigator or a cardiothoracic surgeon. During my time here at the Cleveland Foundation, normally I’m either in Advancement helping with projects or I’m here in Admin Services helping with restock and other tasks given to me.”

Daijah Blackman

“My name is Daijah Blackman, I am a junior at Saint Martin de Porres High School, and some things I like to do in my free time are listen to music and watch Netflix movies. A favorite quote I have that I’ve always been told by my dad growing up is “work smarter, not harder.” I like this quote because over the years it has taught me to think about something before I just do it and possibly mess something up. One thing I enjoy about my school is the Corporate Work Study Program that helps us get ready for the real world and see what real jobs are like. I also like the college and career readiness classes that we have this school year that help us get ideas of what colleges to look at and what majors we want to do. When I go to college I would like to major in cosmetology or mental health counseling. I started working at the Cleveland Foundation in early November 2018. Ever since then I have loved this job, and I am very glad to be back. My work day is every Wednesday and rotating Fridays. When I am here I usually work in the Administrative department helping with restocks and other simple tasks, and I also work in the Advancement department helping with different projects including meeting setups.”

Kimar Reed

“Hello, my name is Kimar Reed, a senior at Saint Martin de Porres High School. I am a multi-talented person who enjoys giving entertainment any time and at any place. I have been involved in choir, theater, dancing, and stepping for all four years of high school. I’ve been Saint Martin’s Quake Step Team Captain and Choreographer for three years. In my spare time, I enjoy talking to my friends and family. I dedicate most of my time to my Step Team productions while giving myself the opportunity to work on my dream of being a singer on Broadway. I’ve done one sport in my high school career, which is Track and Field. I am the Student Council President of the 2019-2020 school year. I enjoy going to church because it helps me build my character through Christ. I want to go to Hampton University, majoring in psychology while minoring in theatre or fashion. I absolutely LOVE fashion and designing new ideas for the people around me. I’ve worked at the Cleveland Foundation for my whole four years and I am appreciative for all they do for me. I am in the Administrative department, making sure everything stays up to par.”

We look forward to working with these talented students through the remainder of their academic year! Learn more about the Saint Martin de Porres Corporate Work Study Program here