(photo caption: Mr. Howard mentors two children.)

President Obama recently issued a call to action that said, “In a nation of limitless possibility, every child deserves the chance to unlock his or her potential.” Higher Achievement’s afterschool and summer program focuses on exactly that. Their mission for the last 40 years has been to shower middle school students in Washington, DC with opportunities that they may not receive in their normal school day.

These opportunities range from homework help to overnight college visits to field trips to individual student achievement plans and, perhaps most importantly, three mentors per week that work with small groups of two to three students. These mentors teach curriculum in math, literature, or a seminar (such as kitchen sink science or current events) that is provided by Higher Achievement.

As one mentor said, “Higher Achievement combines high expectations with high support. The students – or ‘scholars’ as they are called at Higher Achievement – are not just expected to learn and behave, but they are given the tools to do so.”

The time that students spend after school and in the summer at Higher Achievement equals 100 extra days of school per year. As a result, 96 percent of Higher Achievement scholars graduate on time, compared to the DC graduation rate of 64 percent. These results are possible through the tireless efforts of students and their incredible mentors.

Higher Achievement mentors come from diverse backgrounds and are role models within the community. In turn, they are rewarded with the experience of making a dramatic impact on the lives of young people, as well as being connected with a network of hundreds of professionals who are similarly invested in their communities.

If becoming a mentor interests you, please visit

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