Our scholars defied the odds this year

It’s the time of year when many of us are spending time with family and friends, reflecting on life, and looking ahead to the new year. As I reflect over the last 365 days, I cannot help but feel very fortunate; fortunate to lead such a dynamic organization and witness the results of tireless efforts to launch our scholars to new heights.

Although this has been a worrisome year for many of us, I am comforted by the fact that the next generation of leaders is being cultivated within the walls of our achievement centers. For Higher Achievement, this past year’s challenges gave us the opportunity to lean on our social justice pillars to support our scholars’ development and civic engagement. We leveraged the power in the Baltimore community to advocate for quality education for our youth. We fought against $130 million in budget cuts that threatened to topple an already fragile system. We stood up when DACA was rescinded; a change that sent many of our scholar families into a tailspin. At every turn, we used emerging challenges as a platform to grow our scholars’ understanding of the world around them and to lift their voices as we focus on solutions. In many ways, we challenged our scholars to “Dare to Dream!” And with this charge, we supported dreams for a safer community, more opportunities, and different choices.

YOU made a choice as well! As a supporter of Higher Achievement, you can be excited and proud of your contribution to closing the achievement gap by providing life-changing opportunities for Baltimore youth. Because of you, the doors of our achievement centers remain open to the brilliant and dedicated Baltimore students who need us the most. Thanks to you, our scholars are busy planning their bright futures; a class of 8th graders anxiously wait for their acceptance notifications to top area high schools, while eager 4th graders prepare to join us at their first Summer Academy this coming June.

In a time when there are many worthwhile causes to support, we are thankful that you have chosen us. Truthfully, we could not do this without you. We ask that while you are making plans for the new year that you “Dare to Dream” with us as we impact the lives of the future.

On behalf of the scholars and staff at Higher Achievement, thank you for your generosity and support this year. We wish you Happy Holidays and an inspired 2018! 

Yours in Service,

Traci Callender

Executive Director, Baltimore