About Us

Founded in 2011, Positive Influence Team (PIT) is dedicated to reducing youth and young adult violence and bullying, and being a performance-based and results-driven organization. We were an integral part of the success of the internationally acclaimed Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), which included a 38 percent reduction in the number of Group/Gang Member Involved (GMI) homicides according to the University of Cincinnati Policing Institute (UCPI).

Our proven Process of Transformation was created by our Co-Founder and Executive Director, Stan V. Ross. This process includes establishing trust-building steps with our youth clients while fostering transformational relationships. We focus on our clients’ strengths, and help them find their inner power to succeed and move forward.

Because of our close relationships, we have even been asked to advocate for the students. We stand beside them providing guidance to help them to express their views, and make their own decisions and contributions in the areas of education, housing, and the legal system.

How PIT Works

The PIT Team engages and connects with youth and young adults to shift their attitudes and behaviors towards achieving a positive and fulfilling lifestlyle. We believe in reversing negative peer pressure through positive exposure to people, places, ideas and ways of thinking. Through education, mentoring, and coaching we create a foundation for sustainable change. With a team of talented presenters we also provide motivational speaking to plant seeds for positive change.

As each youth and young adult experiences sustainable positive transformation our mission to reduce community violence gains momentum.

PIT Key Focus Areas:

  • Reducing and preventing violence and bullying
  • Increasing emotional and social skills
  • Developing character strengths
  • Deprogramming negative/violent thinking and behaviors
  • Fostering a sense of connectedness to humanity
  • Understanding and appreciating cultural diversity
  • Building community and civic engagement

PIT Fundamental Beliefs:

Untapped Greatness – exists in our community, from
youth to adults
Unique Gifts and Talents – are present in each
person, yet some are unaware of what lies within
Working Together – we all win when inner excellence
is tapped to achieve goals and dreams

Our Team

Stan Ross
Stan V. Ross
Co-Founder
Executive Director
stan@positiveinfluenceteam.org
513.368.1564

Stan is the recipient o f the 2014 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year. With his exceptional communication and community engagement skills, Stan has been building relationship bridges and assisting youth and young adults for decades. He previously served as the Outreach Director of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). CIRV is a multi-agency and community collaborative effort initiated in 2007 designed to quickly and dramatically reduce gun violence and associated homicides in the City of Cincinnati. After the 2001 riots in Cincinnati, Stan was instrumental in creating the Youth Street Worker Progam as the Coordinator/Project Manager of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission. Stan served as a Skills Partner for the Cincinnati Collective Learning Center (CCLC), an organization that assists families in the Hamilton County area with Welfare Reform. Before joining CCLC, he was previously employed by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Hillcrest Training School Educational Services, where he provided conflict resolution and served as facilitator for cognitive skills groups.

Stan is a motivational speaker with engagements at the National Network of Safe Communities in New York, the Ohio Crime Conference in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, seminars on Preventing Gang Violence at the University of Cincinnati and seminars at the Cincinnati Police Department’s Training Academy. He also speaks at high schools, churches, social, civic and youth organizations in an effort to encourage positive living and safe communities. He has the ability to captivate an audience by presenting clear illustrations on life’s challenges. Stan volunteered countless hours in youth sports for various athletic organizations serving in capacities of coach and administrator. He continues to provide mentoring and life coaching to many young adults to empower them with understanding regarding choices, decision-making and consequences related to their behaviors.

Stan’s entrepreneurial experience includes the S.V. Ross Painting Company, Inc. where he acquired and implemented painting contracts exceeding over $1M, and supervised 25 employees. Stan was also instrumental in developing, marketing, and financing The Coach’s Game, an educational football board game that encourages family interaction. This game included a licensing agreement with the National Football League (NFL).

Stan attended Tennessee State University and continues his education by attending various training courses, workshops and seminars. He is a 2008 graduate of the Urban League’s African American Leadership Development Program, Class XV, and a 2007 graduate of the Cincinnati Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy. In March 2001, he received his State Certification as a Case Manager and his certification as a “Train the Trainer” in 1999. He is a member of the Adult Juvenile Jail Clergy, Council of Christian Communions of Greater Cincinnati. He served on the Board for the Ex-Offender Task Force and the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Policy Board’s Youth Council. Stan and his wife Cynthia have been together for more than 25 years. They have two children and one grandchild.

RosieMerkt1214
Rosie Merkt
Co-Founder
Assistant Director
rosie@positiveinfluenceteam.org
859.380.7685

Rosie Merkt effectively uses her purpose, passion, therapeutic and motivational skills to assist youth and others who choose to learn to grow through their past while taking concrete steps towards their goals and dreams. Consistent with her path of helping others to reinvent themselves, Rosie previously served as a street advocate for the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) and also in a therapeutic community of male felons as a case manager coordinator at River City Correctional Center. She has a particular passion in helping people stay free from incarceration. Rosie is a licensed social worker.

In 2001 she began volunteering in county jails as a group leader for a personal growth seminar. She became a seminar facilitator after two years of intense facilitation training. She continues to facilitate at the Off the Streets program in Cincinnati. While working as a social worker at the American Red Cross, she developed her skills in crisis intervention counseling and advocacy as she helped individuals and families survive natural disasters.

She has an understanding of the struggle, of the relapse cycle, and of the capacity for change. As a child of an alcoholic, Rosie has been “studying” addiction since the age of nine and cares deeply about helping those with challenges in this area.

Rosie was an entrepreneur in the retail industry, owning Wonders, LLC, which operated as a gift and book store where she sold motivational and inspirational gifts, books, and art, photography and pottery created by local artisans. She created a guided meditation CD which has been internationally received.

With an interest in writing, specifically to help others through telling her own story, she was a columnist of “Living in Balance” for Inside Your Town. Rosie is also an effective motivational speaker. Her motivational speaking experience includes engagements at River City Correctional Center, St. Vincent de Paul, Literacy Center West and the Talbert House Jail Intervention Program.

Rosie Merkt graduated magna cum laude from Northern Kentucky University with a bachelor of social work degree. She received the Sophonisba B. Breckenridge Award for being the student most likely to make a difference. She was also elected to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Mike Inman
 Mike Inman
Co-Facilitator

Michael Inman, also known as “Positive Mike”, has a great ability to communicate and motivate individuals from all walks of life. He utilizes these skills as he helps Positive Influence Team with motivational speaking, facilitating classes, community outreach, coaching, and a host of other things. His commitment and purpose has made him a staple in his community.

The desire Michael has to help people succeed can be seen through his many volunteering commitments. He has served on community organizing and design teams with Core Change and their University of Cincinnati DAAP program partners. He has conducted intervention groups at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center for more than five years. Michael is a Hamilton County Juvenile Court L.I.V.E. Committee Member and has served as an Outreach Worker and Street Advocate with the world renowned Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). He has worked with Lawn Life where he assisted disconnected youth with an opportunity to gain real work experience and transferable skills. Michael has also been employed by Santa Maria Community Services as an Employment Coach for youth and adults. He has training in Victim Awareness, Childhood Trauma, De-Escalation and Crisis Intervention, ADHD Awareness and studied Sociology at the University of Cincinnati.

Michael has a passion for helping at-risk youth/young adults achieve life goals, because he was once considered at-risk. He has seen many of his friends fall victim to violence or incarceration. Instead of crumbling under the pressure, “Positive Mike” decided to rise and take a stand. Now, as a single father, he strives to be a positive role model for his young son and other sons without fathers.