What We Do
Higher Education for All
Our Higher Education for All (HEFA) program implements an individualized education plan for each adult and child within each family. Our HEFA team ensures that children are thriving in their schools and have what they need to succeed academically - and it works with adults to prepare them for stable jobs that pay living wages.
- We assess each child's academic standing, conduct classroom observations, and identify and secure the educational resources that children are entitled to by law: testing, evaluations, and appropriate school placements in public, charter, or private schools;
- We train parents to serve as educators and advocates for their children. We help them build essential skills to engage in school activities such as parent-teacher conferences;
- We match our students with volunteer mentors and tutors;
- We reward students for setting and achieving academic goals for each advisory. One half of the financial reward goes to the student; the other half is deposited in a savings account to be used when the child attends college or vocational school;
- We provide and promote meaningful after-school and summer enrichment activities that reinforce academic learning;
- We enroll our children in other DC programs that support higher education for low-income students.
- We work with adults to identify their academic strengths and weaknesses - sometimes placing them in programs that strengthen their math and literacy skills; and
- Adults are enrolled in educational, vocational and certificate programs that better position them in the job market.
The Mike Young Education Fund assists parents who are pursuing educational and vocational training and youth who are pursuing their post-secondary education, or who are enrolled in a private school.
Family Spotlight: Ellis
Ellis is a student with a significant learning disability. He was reading well below grade level and struggling in his 4th grade class at a D.C. public school. His mother found out early in the school year that the special education teacher did not regularly provide services. As a result, Ellis spent all his time in a standard education setting. We advocated for services for him in his current school, and although Ellis made some progress, he needed more assistance than they could offer. Through our advocacy efforts, we took Ellis' case to a hearing and were able to place Ellis at the Lab School of Washington in the summer of 2009. What a difference this has made! Not only is he getting the academic help he needs and improving his academic performance tremendously, but also, it is quite a blessing to see that constant smile on his face. He is happy! We didn't see those smiles at his other school.