Who We Are

Our Mission Statement: “Building relationships with our neighbors & sharing hope in brokeness”

Our Core Values:

B: Believing in the power of hope (in Christ to save)

L: Living where we serve (by being consistently present in our community)

O: One to one (relationships and discipleship)

C: Christ in us (in all that we do)

  • We shape and form lives, one at a time as a mentor and as a neighbor, sharing life together to encourage and nurture positive choices and goals
  • We are one family, all children of God.
  • We provide growth opportunities, creating a positive ripple effect in the community making changes that impact their families. Over time, this can flow from one-to-one:  changing families, blocks and communities.
  • We find our self-worth through healthy God and relationships that we model in neighborhoods where relationships and spiritual perspectives are broken or marred.

BLOC Story

Dwight and Stephanie Young began BLOC Ministries in 1998 after working as youth pastors for more than a decade in Cincinnati and in Knoxville, Tennessee.   As community pastors, they’d seen students and adults whose lives and neighborhoods were breaking or broken.  The Young’s realized that many students slipped between the cracks: not involved in school, church, social clubs or any productive pursuits.  Yet these were the ones who were usually at the highest risk for dropping out, drugs, teen pregnancy, crime and other risks of urban streets.

BLOC was created to build connections and safe spaces for students, families and adults to thrive and succeed in spite of difficult circumstances.  We’re a faith based non-profit that focuses on healthy personal relationships and activities that help build hope, purpose and vital life skills.  

We started with one after school site in the Village of Cleves. Along the many hours of playing basketball or board games, eating pizza or quizzing on spelling words, connections were formed.  Students shared their deepest fears, highest hopes and hardest life struggles that they or their families faced.

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So BLOC persisted on this journey, connecting students to resources – or developing them ourselves if the programs weren’t in the neighborhood.  We found approaches that helped at-risk students progress from pain and fear to wellness and faith. Over the last decade, we’ve expanded our afterschool programs to also include East, West and Lower Price Hill.

And as we got to know them, the students introduced us to the needs of their families.  BLOC established community meals and emergency food and furniture panties.   We also created free community events, so that families could be enriched, have fun and connect more together.

As neighbors living in the same neighborhoods as those we serve, we are in this journey together. Living here means we can easily do things like invite them over to share dinner or watch a movie with our family.  We can bring groceries after hearing that a parent lost his job.  We can visit in jail or the hospital, and be there in good times and bad.

We’ve added housing with our EPOH program, when we saw the needs of students who wanted to stay in school but had nowhere else to turn.  Going deeper into specific needs, we started hospitality houses for urban women and a residential home for women post rehab.  And seeing the lack of opportunities for the many we meet who want to work, BLOC began a jobs training program.  Through this, we coach urban men and women in life and job skills that can help them break the cycle of poverty.

Along the way we’ve added an urban arts center and a soon-to-be completed sports performance training center focusing on student athletes, to address other gaps in services in Lower Price Hill.

BLOC exists to offer opportunities for change to over 3000 urban students and adults each month.   We serve primarily in 4 distinct neighborhoods:  East, West and Lower Price Hill (Cincinnati’s urban west side) and the Village of Cleves (our original site in western Hamilton County, Ohio).


Board of Directors

There are a number of individuals that spend their time to help BLOC work and function, day-to-day.  For a list of our Board of Directors, please click below.

List of Directors

  • Larry Blundred
  • Fritz Geer
  • Jerry Maas, President
  • Joan Morgan
  • Daniel Rajaiah
  • Gina Dubell Smith
  • Brian Fox
  • Johnnie Carroll
  • Dwight Young

Staff Members

BLOC has assembled a dynamic staff of individuals that live and work in the neighborhood BLOC serves. They have a common love for God and have dedicated their considerable skills, time and talent to building relationships, one to one, and build disciples. Each is provided housing within the neighborhood and a stipend. Each staff member raises funds for their own compensation as well, of which only 15% goes to BLOC for overhead.

Mike Altman - Artistic Instructor
Eli Blackford - Director of Cleves
Jordan Bunch - Director of BLOC Sport Performance
Andrea Holtman - Director of Weightless Anchor
Loren Cowdrey - Redeemed Home Staff
Sue Dickens - Art Program Director
John Ellis - Manager of BLOC Wood Shop
Andrew Farie - EPOH House - Boys Director
Clay Gaddis - General Manager of Bloc Coffee Company
Kaitlin Grear - Director of Housing
Jim Green - Manager of BLOC Screen Print Shop
Karen Green - Executive Asst. & Admin Dir. Redeemed Homes
Larry Groves - Director of BLOC Food Ministries
Rhett Harkins - Coffee + Culture Coach Bloc Coffee Company
Lisa Jones - Director of Girls Wanted
Tim Jones - Pastor (Cleves)
Dave Konrad - Director of Outreach, Manager - Cleves Pantry & Cleves Garden
Abbey Mahan - Redeemed Home Staff
Charleston Martin - Weightless/Redeemed House
Ashley McDonough - Redeemed Home Volunteer Coordinator
Jenna Martin - Chief Financial Officer
Rob Muirheid - Director of Construction
Stephanie Russo - Grants Director
Chris Staser - Director of Ministry Operations
Joanne Stehura - Community Pastor
Keion Staser - McPherson After School Leader
Kelsie Staser - Director of Women's Ministry
Gary Walton - Director of BLOC Print
Joanie Webb - Manager For His Glory Food Pantry
Josh Williams - IT Administrator
Leah Yates - Mission Group Coordinator
Ryan Yates - Director After School Programs
Dwight Young - Executive Director
Jesse Young - Manager, BLOC Coffee at City Hall
Stephanie Young - Director Redeemed Homes