We’re now halfway through our 2013 online holiday fundraiser. We already got some great donations, so for those of you who have donated already, thank you so much for your support. We cannot do this without you.
Today i’ve included a short article called “Students Undeterred: The Session After the Storm.” It was originally posted back in July, but I decided to re-post it because it clearly demonstrates the strength and determination of the typical E4D student.
This article was originally posted on July 21, 2013 under the title “Update from the Lead Instructor.”
We’re now seven weeks into our twelve-week college preparation program with students from Osborn High School on Detroit’s east side. Attendance and participation has been great! We are really thankful to have such a great group of dedicated students, many of whom travel great distances in the hot summer weather to attend our classes every Saturday.
We were especially impressed with them during Week 4 of the program. A pretty bad storm had hit the area the night before. It was evident on our way in; the roads and sidewalks were littered with downed trees and power lines; every other street was closed off with DTE trucks stretched across. Looking around at the storm-battered neighborhood, I became concerned. Would anyone show up this week?
As we arrived at Grace Church of the Nazarene, where we hold the program, we encountered another problem. The building was without power, which meant we would be having a session without air conditioning in the middle of July. To make matters worse, our classroom was in the basement of the church, so lighting was going to be limited. Now, I was worried. Even if the students did show up, would they be able to concentrate?
Luckily, things turned around fast . First, we got creative with our classroom layout, moving tables around and eventually hunkering down in the one part of the room where there was enough light to read. Second, nearly all of the students showed up, and they even brought friends who heard about the program and wanted to sign up (which was fantastic). Lastly, despite the poor lighting and hot, muggy air, the students kept up their energy and focused for three whole hours while we worked on essay writing and mock FAFSA applications.
Needless to say, we got a great group of young Detroiters who really want to be successful in college, and we look forward to helping them reach that goal.
Lead Instructor/Assistant Director
Over the next month, we’ll be sharing with you all sorts of fun facts and stories about our organization and how we’re contributing to Detroit’s comeback! But first, I want to catch everyone up on what we’ve been doing during the past year.
Simply put, 2013 was a year of great growth for our organization.
In the spring, we developed and launched a series of college preparation workshops across the City of Detroit. These workshops – which last for a few hours and for Detroiters of all ages – were a big step forward for us, because they allowed us to help individuals outside of our traditional demographic learn about college. To be sure, helping high school students will always remain our focus. Yet, we still believe that everyone in the City of Detroit deserves free and easy access to information about higher education – from young teens to working adults. These workshops are a way to carry out that philosophy and to expand the number of people our organization helps.
This past summer was eventful for us as well. In June, we were awarded our first grant, which was used to fund a 12-week college preparation program for high school students from Osborn High School on Detroit’s east side. This was the third 12-week program we’ve run since our founding in 2011, and it definitely was our most successful. I give a lot of credit to our staff, who applied lessons learned from previous programs to make our Osborn program a resounding success. I also give a lot of credit to the students, who, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, displayed an abundance of determination this past summer. I’m very proud of how hard they worked and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re now well positioned for college success.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Osborn program, stay tuned, because I’ll be posting some of our results from the program throughout the course of this fundraiser.
Compared to the rest of the year, Fall was quiet, but it was still very productive. We continued to help our Osborn students with their college applications. Many have already gotten accepted into some great schools such as Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan Dearborn, Alcorn State University, Northern Michigan University, University of Toledo, Central State University Bowling Green State University, and more. In addition to helping the students, we also have spent a great deal of time interviewing and hiring new instructors for the next year.
Speaking of which, I would like to close by briefly talking about our plans for 2014. Next year, our goal is to run four 12-week college preparation programs in the City. This will help up to 48 talented, young Detroiters prepare for college success. Additionally, we also want to keep running workshops in the City as the opportunities present themselves. Each workshop helps numerous students and working adults learn about their higher education options. In the end, every program and workshop we run presents an opportunity to change someone’s life and make Detroit a better place.
I hope as we begin this holiday season, you consider a donation to Excellence for Detroit.