Volunteer Spotlight: Diann Blizniak
November 13, 2023
While paging through Movers and Makers Magazine last spring, Diann Blizniak paused when she saw an article about The Chatfield Edge’s “Celebrating Our Scholars” luncheon. Having retired (mostly) about four years ago, she found herself looking for something more—a volunteer opportunity that spoke to her. She was familiar with the Ursuline’s educational legacy (her daughter graduated from Ursuline Academy) and knew immediately that she wanted to get involved in the mission of The Chatfield Edge.
After growing up on the West side of Cincinnati and graduating from Mother of Mercy High School, Diann became a first-generation college student when she graduated with an education degree from the University of Dayton. She taught in Catholic schools for three years and then pursued her MBA. She used her marketing skills at Coca Cola USA and later at a non-profit counseling center. But the classroom called her back.
Diann’s son, who was gifted and given busy work because his school didn’t know how to support him, led her to the next step in her career journey. “I knew if I was going back to teaching, I wanted to help gifted students,” she said. Diann earned her gifted certification from Miami University and certification for her superintendent’s license from Kent State.
Self-described as a lifelong learner, Diann recently went back to the classroom to take an American history course “just for fun.” She developed a new level of empathy for today’s students, something she passes on in her role as an adjunct faculty member at Xavier University where she observes teachers who are earning their gifted certification.
In reflecting on her new role as a mentor with The Chatfield Edge, Diann hopes she is able to help students gain self-confidence and become more self-reflective, looking at what is working and what needs to be tweaked. “Education can make all the difference in the world. School can change your life,“ she commented. “Sometimes people just need an encouraging word to believe that they can succeed.”
The Chatfield Edge is growing and needs more mentors to accompany its first-generation and non-traditional students who are enrolled in college, trade school, and certificate programs. We provide training for our mentors who meet with students about four times each semester to encourage them along their path to gain success in life through education. To find out more or to sign up to be a mentor, contact David Hesson, Director of Programs, at email@example.com or call 513 875 3344 x 115.