At our CORE: Closing the Gaps

Here at Higher Achievement, we have a goal of exposing our scholars to all of the opportunities that life has to offer. One of the most impactful ways that we work toward this goal is by coordinating occasional scholar shadow days at our partner organizations and corporations.

What is a shadow day?

Remember when you were in middle school and every April your mom or dad would take you out of school for a day to visit their job? Well, that is what we try to replicate when we take our scholars on a shadow day. We want our scholars to learn what it’s like being successful in the workforce and what steps it takes to get there.

This February, Higher Achievement had the privilege of working with one of our corporate partners, DAP Products, on a scholar shadow day that turned out to be a huge success. Thirty scholars shadowed 15 DAP employees and got hands on experience with the company’s lab. Scholars learned how to use spackle, latex foam, and caulk to repair holes in drywall. Scholars also had the opportunity to design labels for DAP’s products, give sales pitches to distribute those products, and analyze the compounds of materials needed to make caulk.

Raniya F., 7th grade scholar, said that, “my favorite part today was when we went into the lab. I met these ladies named Emily and Anna. They were scientists and they tested the elasticity of different products and we got to do the same thing!”

Roody P., 5th grade scholar, even concluded that “I want to be a product manager when I grow up.”

Watching scholars’ faces light up as they experienced what it was like to be a young professional and witnessing the instant connection between scholars and DAP employees was inspiring. The connections forged between scholars and DAP employees isn’t over. When we asked Katie Badders, DAP Creative Services Manager, about her experience, she spoke very highly of our scholars saying that “one of my scholars was so proud of the product label she designed. She told me that she couldn’t wait to take it home to show her Mom and how proud she would be of her.”

Overall, the DAP employees that connected with our scholars were excited by our scholars enthusiasm and curiosity. This is the exact type of exposure we want for our scholars so that more adults around our city will know how fantastic Higher Achievement scholars are. DAP Vice President and Higher Achievement board member, Swata Gandhi, exclaimed that she “loved (the kids) enthusiasm and level of participation…” Let’s work together to get our scholars more opportunities like DAP!

As we quickly approach the spring, I want to encourage all Higher Achievement supporters to stay involved and help us create opportunities for Baltimore scholars. Help us share more career paths with our scholars by sharing your story. Learn more about how to be a Workforce Wednesday speaker, by contacting Camille at