Horizons for Youth is an organization that believes that every child, no matter his or her academic ability or socioeconomic background, can graduate from college and successfully pursue a career. They believe the key is the right personalized support.
“People come to our program with a wide variety of academic abilities and personal experiences,” says Executive Director Audrey George. The organization manages that wide range of abilities and experiences with personalized plans for each student: there is no one goal or single approach.
“We are really looking to enable each of them to reach their individual potential and we know that is going to require a unique plan for each and every student,” she says.
The organization carries out this individualized support model by first making sure each of their students are attending quality schools. George stresses that making sure their students are in quality schools is a top priority because the organization cannot make up for what students need to receive between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Criteria for “quality schools” includes: a robust and rigorous curriculum, a strong leadership and sustainability model (knowing the school will be around for a long time) and a willingness and ability to work with Horizons’ diverse student population.
Horizons offers after-school support by matching each student with a strong mentor, finding them the right type of tutoring and providing counseling services if needed. They also offer an intensive summer program.
Staff members track their students’ performance closely from the time they meet with them in kindergarten or first grade until after they help them through the college placement and financial aid processes.
George says that the organization holds the bar very high and the students rise to meet those expectations. In the 24 years that the organization has been in existence, 99 percent of their students have graduated from high school and 80 percent of them have gone on to attend college.
“The belief first and foremost that [attending college] is possible leads and directs all that we do here,” George says.
Horizons For Youth By The Numbers:
- Over the program’s 25 years, 99 percent of students graduated from high school; 80 percent go on to college
- 200 students currently served
- 350 volunteers involved
- More than $127,851 awarded in grants and scholarships to the class of 2014