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Aim High

Rating: 4.94 stars   143 reviews 12,603

Nonprofit Issues:

Children & Youth, Education


PO Box 410715 San Francisco CA 94141 USA


Our mission at Aim High is to create life-changing opportunities during the summer and beyond. Our community: NURTURES the promise and potential of middle school students from low-income neighborhoods. PREPARES students for high school setting them on the path to college and future success. INSPIRES the next generation of teachers and educational leaders. Our vision is to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in Northern California through our transformational summer learning program. We envision every middle school student having access to joyful summer learning, inspired and innovative teachers, and the support they need to succeed in school and life.


Through high-quality summer enrichment programs, Aim High has touched the lives of thousands of low-income youth in the Bay Area, and continues to employ a diverse group of teachers - 67% of whom are people of color. Aim High's impact is significant: 99% of students say they have an adult or teacher who cares about them 95% of students can imagine themselves as successful college students 79% of students improved their math skills (based on pre- and post-test scores) 87% of students tell us they were challenged at Aim High 90% of students report they are better prepared for the upcoming school year

Target demographics:

Low-income Bay Area middle school youth.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

2014: 1,700 students at 15 campuses

Geographic areas served:

San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, San Rafael and Tahoe/Truckee, CA


Our summer program model aims to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income middle school students by offering an engaging, supportive, and tuition-free summer learning program. The Aim High experience fosters critical thinking, instills academic habits, and cultivates a love of learning. Students participate in four rigorous academic classes in the mornings: Math, Science, Humanities and Issues & Choices. Aim High classes have a low student to teacher ratio, allowing for individual attention and a focus on project-based learning. In total, students receive over 60 hours of academic instruction over the course of the five-week program. In the afternoon, students participate in activities such as art, drama, and sports. Students typically participate for three or four summers, and many return to teach in the program. Aim High continually evaluates feedback, assesses results, and shares best practices in order to deliver a high-quality program.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Aim High

Rating: 5 stars  

Brookhaven Retreat is a very special and unique voluntary residential program offering mental health and substance abuse services. We are an emotional finishing school that helps women overcome depression, trauma, anxiety, personality disorders, substance dependence and other diagnoses.

Come and visit us: http://www.brookhavenretreat.com/cms/

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Rating: 5 stars  

I started working at Aim High in 1996. I spent 6 summers teaching and/or directing. I am now an administrator in a DC independent school and am consistently trying to bring the inclusivity, integrity and community I learned at Aim High to my schools. I'm amazed at how many of my most respected colleagues began their careers at Aim High! The program not only serves amazing students who may not have as much access as they deserve, it also inspires fantastic educators.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've worked with Aim High now for 9 years. They are easily the reason why I became an educator. This is a place where teachers are allowed to be the creative and passionate educators they are supposed to be. The students get smaller classroom settings and learn in all different types of modalities. Even though I'm in a school year-round, I never see my work at Aim High over the summers as mundane or dreaded. I want to be there on Mondays, greeting students and playing four-square with them on the yard. Not only does the program show positive results and change lives, these students come back because they love Aim High so much. They become volunteers and then teachers themselves for the non-profit. That's the kind of dedication and loyalty that only top-tier programs can attain.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am one of the first original graduates of Aim High when the program first began & both my younger sister & brother are also graduates. I had an amazing experience being a student. I loved the teachers & staff. In general I loved being a part of the program. The education I received there helped me throughout the years as a student when I returned to school. They helped me grow as a person & helped gain confidence. If there was an Aim High where I live now or if I was living in the Bay Area. I would put my kids in the program, because I would want them to have the wonderful experience like I did.

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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you so much for your review of Aim High! We love to hear stories of Aim High families. So glad your experience was a positive one. Even though you are not in the Bay Area anymore, we hope you will continue to stay connected to Aim High.

Rating: 5 stars  

Attending Aim High was one of the best decisions I had ever made in my life. I am who I am because of this program. In middle school, I was very behind in terms of my math skills, and had always hated math as I never had a good math teacher. If it weren't for the great teachers at Aim High, my middle school math skills would be non-existent. I learned all my M.S. math skills from Aim High teachers. Also, my teachers actually cared. When I was upset due to something from home or from school, they were always there for me and so were my friends. Ever since graduating the program, Aim High has done nothing but provide me with more opportunities of growing work and volunteer experience, and the staff and teachers there are all incredible people that I have learned so much from. I hope Aim High continues to help students like myself and many more!

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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you so much for your review of Aim High! We are so happy to hear about the great experience you had as a student and that you continue to stay connected to Aim High.

Rating: 3 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have heard great things about this organization. I am a firm believer in providing our children a safe learning environment and support system to help them achieve their goals. Thank you Aim High for what you do for our future generation.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have never before felt so connected to my line of work. Aim High's vision and commitment to serving students and the community at large is inspiring and I count myself incredible fortunate to be part of such an inspiring, compassionate and dedicated organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

This summer, I experienced Aim High for the first time working as a teaching assistant in 7th grade humanities. Upon entering the program, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never worked closely with students before, and did not know what my experience would bring. After my six weeks with Aim High, I can truly say that becoming a part of this community changed my life and my perspective on the world. Each day, the 60 students that I worked with brought incredible energy, passion, and life to the classroom. I was so grateful for the opportunity to work closely with these students and help them make the most of their time at Aim High each day. I was awed by the way in which Aim High helps even the most reserved students to become enthusiastic about coming to AIm High each day. Aim High creates a truly magical community in which all of its members, students and adults, learn and grow from each other. As a high school student, my time at Aim High opened my eyes to so many new perspectives that I had yet to learn about. Working as a teaching assistant this summer helped me realize a passion for teaching and learning that I did not know I have, and now as a senior in high school this year I approach learning in entirely new ways. It was amazing spending 5 weeks this summer watching the students I met achieve so many incredible things in and outside of the classroom. Aim High gave me a passion for learning that I hope to be in touch with my entire life.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Working at Aim High after attending the program as a student, gave me the opportunity to positively impact others and has helped me develop into a confident, independent, self-expressing individual.

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Rating: 4 stars  

My son attended Aim High for three summers. He was challenged, engaged, and social. It was a lifesaver as far as helping him to get ready for high school and keeping him busy with friends during those challenging summer months. He experienced the most freedom as well which helped him to feel more mature and responsible. Aim High is great at celebrating milestones and little successes. I felt they knew my son well.

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