MORELAND HILLS, Ohio (WJW) — Small steps can lead to big things.

It takes a lot to get ready to go from high school to higher education.

And to follow that path you don’t just need money — although it helps — you also need folks and organizations that will walk that path with you.

“I don’t think I would have had the same leadership experience I had at Jackson State. It was nurturing,” said Quentin McCorvey, a proud graduate of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi — one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country and the fourth-largest.

He says his time there helped prepare him to own his own investment firm because it was a university that prepared him for challenges in the future.

“An HBCU is just nurturing because the classroom sizes are just smaller. There are opportunities for growth and socialization, to make [students] feel confident in themselves for growth as an individual,” McCorvey said.

And the United Negro College Fund has always been there to get students not only money for school but the support they need to make it through.

That’s why events like the UNCF Walk for Education on Sept. 17 are so important.

It’s a place where high school students can meet with other HBCU grads and find out why these colleges and universities can help African-American students reach their full potential.

“There will be many people here who are HBCU graduates’ parents, current students; so you get a feel for what that experience is like. You can actually talk to graduates. It’s going to be a lot of fun and there’s rich history and tradition,” UNCF Area Development Director Steve Miller said.

And with that rich history and tradition comes lots of successful graduates.

HBCUs lead the nation in the number of graduates who are ready for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, especially in the medical and biotechnology fields.

MetroHealth Medical Center partners with Morehouse University’s medical school in Atlanta to mentor young black physicians, because it helps build a diverse workforce and makes it easier to offer medical care to underserved communities.

“It’s important for us to build trusting relationships with our patients when we have the opportunity to see people who look like us in these roles as providers and physicians and clinicians. That enables us to have a higher level of trust,” MetroHealth Chief Equity Officer Alan Nevel said.

The walk will help raise money for scholarships, but it also looks to raise awareness of just how graduates from HBCUs are an important part of any community.  

You probably know some who went to an HBCU and, if you ask them, they’ll be glad to tell you about how their school helped them grow.

FOX 8 is a proud sponsor of the UNCF Walk for Education on Sept. 17 at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills.

If you would like more information about how you can join the walk by yourself or with a team you can follow this link.