"Do One Thing" is a TakePart series highlighting awesome organizations that are making big impacts. We call it "Do One Thing" because our aim is to give you access to the basic tools that will get you involved in advancing the mission and making this world a better place.
Forty-eight years ago, at the height of the civil rights movement, headmasters from high-profile schools recognized the impact they could have by giving students of color a chance to excel at their institutions. They pulled together a group of 48 young men. Those who were successful at the end of the summer program were granted admittance and financial assistance to these top-tier schools. The headmasters' vision developed into A Better Chance—an organization that has given close to 12,000 students of color a better chance to excel.
A Better Chance success stories include: Governor Deval Patrick, the first African American Governor of Massachusetts, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman, CNBC business reporter Bertha Coombs, and a long list of others. Aside from offering scholastic opportunity, A Better Chance adds beneficial diversity to education as a whole. A Better Chance President, Sandra Timmons says: "Institutions have invested in making their student bodies much more diverse—and really increasing the value of the educational experience for everybody."
What kind of work they do:
A Better Chance is an institutional network for identifying exceptional students in under-performing environments. A Better Chance opens doors to more academically rigorous programs in partner schools that agree to provide financial and counseling support to these scholars.
As Timmons puts it, "Our program is about diversity. It is about launching people and preparing them for leadership. It’s about broadening horizons and providing really rigorous educational opportunities at a pivotal point in a young person’s development. That in essence is what A Better Chance does."
What makes a Better Chance Scholar:
Better Chance scholars are made from what Ms. Timmons calls "a special sauce." They are curious, thoughtful, mature—some of them mature enough to take a risk and leave home at 13 to attend top-tier boarding schools. They are involved, either in their churches, communities, or even just in their homes caring for younger siblings. They have the ability to recognize and seize an opportunity that can propel them forward. "They’re just bright lights."
Why you should care:
A Better Chance recognizes the gifts within all communities and is a perfect opportunity for promoting understanding and peace. A Better Chance is advancing education, diversity, and a brighter future for our nation.
One thing you can do:
Everybody knows at least one awesome kid who has the potential to go far, but doesn't have the right resources. Be an advocate for that child. Encourage him or her to work hard and seek out opportunities. Then, put A Better Chance in touch with this promising individual. Applications for A Better Chance come available August 1—so put the process in motion. Help these exceptional teens and pre-teens realize their dreams.
Quick Study: Funding for Higher Education
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