Written by Keloni Parks, Branch Manager, West End Branch Library
For our twenty-second episode of the West End Stories Project, we spoke to former youth football coach, Mayso Stevenson Jr., who lived in the West End from the early 1950s to the 1980s. While living in the community, he attended St. Joseph Catholic School, Washburn Elementary School, Lafayette Bloom Junior High School, McMillan Adult Center, and Robert A. Taft High School.
After struggling in school, Stevenson received assistance from the Neighborhood Youth Corps, a program funded by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, during what is unofficially known as the “war on poverty.” Carried out by Cincinnati’s Community Action Commission, the program provided participants, aged 16 to 21 from impoverished families and neighborhoods, with counselling, training, and employment to curb juvenile delinquency and dropout rates.
Youth worked all over the county at businesses and local organizations, such as hospitals, police stations, and recreation centers. For his first assignment, Stevenson got the opportunity to work for the Environmental Protection Agency when it was in the University of Cincinnati’s Brodie Complex. “It was the (my) first time ever seeing computers,” Stevenson said.
There were three different versions of the Neighborhood Youth Corps; an in-school program, a summer program, and an out-of-school program. The in-school program provided part-time work opportunities and training for students who were enrolled in school, while the out-of-school program was meant for students who were unemployed and unenrolled in school. After being expelled from McMillan Adult Center, Stevenson participated in the Neighborhood Youth Corps’ out-of-school program and returned to school. “I had some good counselors. Ex-UC football players,” Stevenson recalls. He graduated from Robert A. Taft High School in 1975.
His football highlights from being a Taft Correspondent can be read on the NewsBank: Cincinnati Post (1882-2007) database.
If you or someone you know lived or spent a significant amount of time in the West End, please consider sharing your story. Call 513-369-6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.