Nonprofit Highlight: The College Initiative

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Memphis is home to a lot of nonprofits and organizations committed to giving back to the community, serving families in a variety of ways, and helping to advance the city forward by assisting the underserved.  One of the newest organizations in our city has committed to serving the high school student population in helping them prepare successfully for college and life beyond high school.

The College Initiative (TCI), founded in 2013, provides college-capable, low-income high school students with the tools and mentorship they need to successfully apply to and succeed in college. The College Initiative (TCI) forms partnerships with school districts, energetic teachers, and college student volunteers to ensure that every student aspiring to go to college will have the opportunity to do so.

I recently met with one the of the Program Coordinators of the College Initiative, Ms. April Terrell and obtained her insight around the future goals of the program. April’s primary goal and hope is centered around students becoming more prepared as it relates to college.  She wants them to have a better understanding of the financial implications associated with choosing and attending a college, awareness of financial aid resources, and learning the various resources (advisors, writing labs, career services) available on a college campus to students.

Another area in which April helps students directly is by assisting them with social-work-school balance. April believes that students must be able to find the balance between these factors without having to suffer academically and/or becoming overwhelmed by wanting a fulfilling well-rounded college experience.

As TCI enters into its 6th year, the team is thinking strategically around ways to engage more community partners and organizations with existing youth programs like Boys & Girls Club, Girls, Inc., Streets Ministries, Ballet Memphis, etc. To date, TCI has worked with several community partners and organizations such as: UCAN of Memphis, TN Federation for Children, Young Actors Guild, City of Memphis-Office of Youth Services, and the Destiny House (just to name a few).

April is looking forward to watching the work unfold and assisting students with the post-secondary success. It is her hope that TCI is able to expand upon its mission and work with more high schools in the years to come.

The College Initiative (TCI) can be located via social media using the hashtag #theCollegeInitiative. *To contact April about the College Initiative, you can email her at april.terrell@thecollegeinitiative.org