While education disparities have existed for years, the pandemic shone a bright light on various systemic inequities within this country that need to be addressed. In addition to issues of unequal access to resources, this new COVID era has resulted in greater division, isolation, and more siloed communities. Now more than ever, our society needs on the ground programs focused on closing opportunity gaps and creating a more unified community.
We launched Achieve Miami, a Florida-based nonprofit, in 2015 with the goal of increasing educational opportunities and outcomes for low-income youth and bringing together students from all parts of Miami in service of this common mission.
Our programs deliver a variety of meaningful educational and enrichment opportunities, including elementary literacy and music programs, a city-wide high school service club spanning 73 schools, and college and career readiness programs for under-resourced high school students. Over the last five years, Achieve Miami has advanced educational outcomes for thousands of students growing up in poverty while engaging, connecting, and developing high school student leaders from across Miami-Dade.
Achieve Miami’s robust high school and college programs set students on a path to success via the following routes:
- Achieve Scholars: A selective and intensive program that provides college and career readiness support to low-income, minority Seniors at schools throughout Miami-Dade County. Scholars benefit from test preparation resources, individualized application support, academic intervention, financial literacy, college tours, and participate in leadership training that will prepare them to be successful in college, career, and beyond.
- Achieve Club: A diverse group of high school students coming together through service and leadership opportunities to better their Miami community. High school students (Big Buddies) are partnered with elementary students (Little Buddies) at Achieve Saturdays to build their literacy, increase social-emotional learning, and form connections with each other.
- Achieve Alumni: A program that empowers Achieve Alumni to succeed as they navigate their first year in college.
Our impact can be defined by the connections built among students. One such success story comes from an Achieve Alum named Alden. Alden joined the Achieve Miami family in 2017, when he first volunteered as a shy Big Buddy in the Achieve Saturday program, traveling by bus, train, and foot over an hour each way. After quickly winning the hearts of multiple Little Buddies (often causing disputes over who got to be his partner), he joined the Achieve Scholars program and was selected for various leadership positions. Since graduating, Alden is now thriving as a junior in college and has continued working part-time with Achieve.