This is a celebration of three special individuals working every day to support kids and families in our community. Influenced by the mentors who helped them become the people they are today, each of these men are paying it forward and helping to create a brighter future. They possess rare talents and dedication to their work including attributes like empathy, listening, representation and a love for giving back. These are some of the heroes that live among us.
Cedric Tolbert, Intervention Specialist at Cline Elementary School and CHS Track & Field Coach
Depending on how you met Cedric Tolbert, you might know him as the intervention specialist teaching your child math and language arts at Cline Elementary School, a realtor, personal trainer, track & field or football coach. Each of these roles highlights Cedric’s strong ability to build relationships and desire to help others.
As a former University of Cincinnati football player, coaches and teachers had a substantial influence on Cedric's life and ultimately inspired him to pursue teaching as a way to have a positive impact on his community. “I wanted to provide representation, hope, advice, compassionate listening and high expectations for all students,” he shares.
Cedric has been an important part of Centerville City Schools for many years having coached high school football for 12 seasons as a defensive back coach and track & field for 14 years. He is also a core member of the Centerville City Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. Whether coaching, teaching or real estate, Cedric is focused on helping individuals achieve their goals. “There have been numerous athletes whom I’ve coached in football and track & field who have earned full-ride collegiate scholarships. Any contributions to their success and witnessing their maturation are some things I am proud of,” he states.
Cedric keeps a sense of balance in his life with effective time organization abilities. When he isn’t working he enjoys spending time with his wife, Windai and their young daughter watching a movie, attending sporting events, being active or savoring a delicious meal together.
Dr. Mukund Dole, Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist at Dayton Children's
Centerville resident Dr. Mukund Dole has been a pediatric hematologist-oncologist for more than 30 years, serving over 27 of those years at Dayton Children’s Hospital. He currently leads the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Dayton Children’s and is also the Ben Wegerzyn Endowed Chair for Blood and Cancer disorders. Recently, he was honored for his work with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation's first annual Friends & Family Walk.
Families who have been in Dr. Dole’s care, describe his bedside manner as genuine and the care he offers as personalized. When asked about his approach to treatment, Dr. Dole humbly replies, “I simply put myself in the shoes of the parents and ask myself, ‘What would I do to improve the health of the child in this case.’ I try to provide the best possible care plan for the child’s condition.”
Dr. Dole was inspired to go into oncology through personal experiences of family members suffering from cancer and going through treatment. “I decided I would be an oncologist to help improve treatment options and the plight of those suffering. I’ve also always loved kids so dealing with cancer in children was the automatic choice,” he explains.
Dr. Dole’s empathetic approach has made a difference in the lives of countless families. He recalled one case in particular where a young boy was diagnosed with a widespread, serious form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. He was cured of his cancer with the help of Dr. Dole and others. “His family has moved away, but I get regular updates and it warms my heart to see him as a bright, young man,” he shares. It’s these kinds of success stories that help keep Dr. Dole’s passion to serve alive. “Dayton Children’s has been a wonderful place to work and practice medicine and I am surrounded by folks who are passionate and caring and who love what they do,” he says.
Aaron Eechaute-Lopez, M.S.Ed, Miami Valley School Middle and Upper School Counselor
Aaron Eechaute-Lopez is committed to the kids he serves as the middle and upper school counselor with The Miami Valley School (MVS). Having spent the last 12 years teaching, Aaron quickly discovered that what he found most rewarding is connecting with and providing support to his students. “It soon became clear that the relationships that educators could build with students was the defining characteristic of my teaching style,” shares Aaron. Growing up with two parents who were educators, Aaron went into education after seeing how many lives they impacted in their day-to-day work. This passion for making a difference is what ultimately led Aaron to become a school counselor.
Listening to the students of MVS is important to Aaron who implemented a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program called the HOPE Squad upon it being suggested by a student. Along with HOPE Squad, Aaron created a group called “The Lads” that specifically helps male students learn to feel comfortable with and have a safe place to express their feelings. “As a male mental health professional, I wanted to try to model for students that it is not only okay for them to have and express any emotions and feelings, it is normal and healthy to do so," he explains.
Aaron’s zeal and enthusiasm for guiding others are also demonstrated in his passion outside of work with the Springboro Community Theater where he has directed several productions, most recently Rent. Additionally, Aaron serves as the Youth Program Coordinator for the Springboro Community Theater. His love for theater can be traced back to Aaron’s high school drama teacher, KC. “She was authentically herself, joyful, caring, and was always ready to be ‘that person’ for any of us students,” shares Aaron. It’s clear that KC’s impact can still be felt today in the great work that Aaron is doing at MVS and in the community.