High school. For some, it’s a time full of hope, wonder, and new possibilities. And for others, it’s a clear reminder that they are getting to a critical point in their lives that they have no idea how to navigate. As a result, some of our brightest students lose interest in academics, feeling like their futures are devoid of possibility and opportunity. Others thrive academically without the guidance needed to tap into their potential.
That was my story. I graduated with a 5.15 GPA, yet I had never heard of the college I ended up attending, which apparently was the academic flagship school in the state of Florida. My mother was a nontraditional college student and she tried her best to guide me through the process, but it was all new for her. The University of Florida’s Outstanding Scholars Program was a college preparation program I was recruited to be a part of before my senior year, and it gave me everything I needed to prepare effectively for college and even inspired me to start a pre-college club when I got back to high school.
But all of our students don’t have the opportunity to participate in such a program, no matter if they are competitive academically or are leaders among their peers.
This is where we come in.
A 2010 study by the Department of Education stated that 50% of college students are first generation college students, a population which we often serve through our programs. Research also shows that being a first generation college student is one of the greatest predictors of students not being successful in college.
At Project Inspire, we passionately equip our youth with the tools they need to pursue personal, educational, and professional opportunities that help them defy the challenges they face on the path to success. And when it’s all said and done, college graduates make over one million dollars, on average, over the course of their lifetimes. This means that we not only are in support of the youth we serve, but we also are in support of the success of their communities and families for generations to come.
So we implore you to continue to support programs like ours, so we can continue to support youth who were like me–full of potential and yearning for direction, with a thirst to give back.
And let us remember, when our youth thrive, our communities do too.
Photo credit: Tamarcus Brown