Storytelling: Seeing and Believing in our Community’s Youth
In a follow-up to our post last week in support Higher Achievement, we’d like to share a story from a member of their team. Read about how working at Higher Achievement bolstered one person’s community spirit and allowed them to see and believe in the potential of our community’s youth.
Seeing and Believing in our Community’s Youth
Mitchell is one of six children. During the four days a week he is not at Higher Achievement Afterschool Academy he is responsible for his siblings. He is not just the big brother, he is the cook, the disciplinarian, and the bedtime story reader. He is the caretaker for his five younger siblings. When Mitchell is at Higher Achievement, he gets to be a sixth grader. He gets to be a Higher Achievement scholar. He gets to do his homework, play games, build relationships with mentors and eat dinner that someone else cooked for him. He gets to be a kid.
Jason is smart and loves school. He seeks challenging classes and asks for opportunities to learn more. Jason’s mom understood that her child was not being challenged enough at school but is paralyzed with multiple mental disorders and isn’t able to leave her home to take Jason to programs that can provide him with academic opportunities. Jason’s mom learned of Higher Achievement, he excelled in the program and is headed to college next year.
Higher Achievement provides opportunities for middle school students that they would not otherwise have. Opportunity does not look the same for each Higher Achievement scholar and that is why it works. Some scholars need a safe place to spend their evening and summers. Some need a consistent adult in their life. Some need academic help. Some just need to be reminded they are awesome.
Before working at Higher Achievement, I spent the majority of my professional years at an environmental nonprofit. I was comfortable in this arena and accustomed to being the expert in the room. When I moved to Richmond, I was ready to find my next opportunity, and also ready to get out of my comfort zone. Higher Achievement gave me that opportunity. Every day is not always a success and I am definitely not the expert in the room on education, but personal growth doesn’t happen in a comfortable place. Higher Achievement has given me the opportunity to see and believe in the potential of our youth, and that makes me a better person and a better citizen.