Aim High

Rating: 4.95 stars   148 reviews

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.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Aim High

Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High has been a part of my life since 2006. I started out as an eager and shy incoming 6th grader in the program. After completing all four years of the program as a student, I returned to volunteer and teach every summer after that. It's been a decade and my excitement level still remains at its peak when summer rolls around. I've watched my students, peers, families, and myself evolve because of this program. Individuals finally have a reason to enjoy not only school, but learning as well. The program has inspired me to not only value education, but it has also inspired me to one day become an educator as well.

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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  

I personally attended Aim High for all three years, and later returned as a teaching intern for 8th grade science this past summer. I can confidently that if it were not for Aim High, I would have never even heard about all the different high schools, let alone colleges, that were available for me to apply to and possibly attend. Aim High really opened up a myriad of doors on how I could possibly go about my life, and therefore allowed me to really explore my passions and interests.

As a student, I remember myself quite literally changing from a very apathetic person into an extremely positive and enthusiastic person. Aim High teachers were always very enthusiastic and very kind to me. Honestly, it felt like the "student-teacher" hierarchy got blurred because the teachers were also people I could confide in. They weren't simply superiors; they learned just as much from and about the students as the students learned from them.

As a teaching intern, teaching at Aim High has been one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had. I finally got to implement and exude enthusiasm and positivity to students who might have been like me as a middle schooler--and hopefully affect their lives in a positive way. As an intern, I taught alongside an experienced lead teacher who allows me to lead some classes daily. Later into the summer, I also formulated my own lesson plan which I implemented in class on my own--my first time fully teaching a class by myself. Outside of the classroom, I found students sometimes talking to me about what was going on in their lives--making me realize the importance of having interms (typically college students) and TAs (high schoolers), who would be closer in age to the Aim High students.

The design of Aim High, from it's part-academic and part-elective portion, to the staff that is hired, is well thought-out to provide the best experience for middle school students. Aim High not only enhances the educational and academic experience into a fun one while preparing students for the upcoming school year, but also discusses real topics and issues that people face in their daily lives.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I attended Aim High as a student and I can honestly say that the experience shapes who I am as an adult today. The supportive academic and social community that Aim High provides to youth is invaluable. The guidance and opportunities the program provides year round to its students is indispensable. As a 29 year old I still consider myself an Aim High Student, and will forever be a part of the Aim High community.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Aim High has been an amazing experience for my son. The young men and women that taught there were excellent mentors and eventually encouraged my son to volunteer as a TA..something he never saw himself doing. After a summer of full time volunteer work, my son returned the following year as a paid TA and was thrilled to have the opportunity for a meaningful summer job and some income.

The staff is very devoted and challenges and encourages the students to expand their vision of what they are capable of.

The program was also a life saver for me when I was a single mom and didn't want my middle schooler unsupervised during the summer. To know that he had guidance and academic support set my mind at ease while i was at work. The tutoring offered by high schoolers during the school year was also extremely helpful.

This is an outstanding program! Thank you!

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Rating: 5 stars  

From student to volunteer to Teachers Aid. I've seen my daughter grow every summer. Aim High has been the foundation of the confidence my daughter has been able to tap into. I celebrate Aim High everyday for the confident college bound student she is today.
Thank you for the work you do . I could not have done it without you.

Elvira Gomez-Murillo

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had two of my children attend AIm High. It is a great summer program that allowed each of my children to explore themselves, their community while being exposed to wonderful summer academics. It gave my son and daughter confidence during those middle school and early teen years. One of my children worked in the summer program many years and Is now a 4th grade public school teacher in a school with students of high needs. She often describes how she has used many tools that she learned at Aim High. It has changed my children's lives and mine. I should add that after I saw the change in my children's attitude toward school I became an Aim High board member. Thank you Aim High!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was with Aim High for seven years, three as a student. My favorite part was the trail running activity. I enjoyed marking trails, hunting for trail marks and calling them out, and racing my fellow classmates and teachers. It was a sweaty way to explore the neighborhood. But no matter how many times we succeeded in finding the end of the trail, it was always rewarding to know we succeeded as a team.

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a graduate of Aim High and I had so much fun and I learned a lot. I became a more confident person and gained so much experience that I even went back to Aim High to become a staff.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

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How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a part of Aim High for over half my life and I couldn't imagine growing up without this program. I started out as a student in the summer program. After completing my three summers as a student with Aim High I decided I didn't want to leave. I volunteered the summer after and absolutely loved being in the classroom. I taught as a Teaching Assistant, Teaching Intern and finally a Lead Teacher coming back every summer throughout high school and college. Even though I went out of state to attend college, I knew I didn't want to give up teaching at Aim High. Even though it was hard work I wouldn't have traded coming back to Aim High for anything.

I now work in the Aim High Central Office and can't believe how lucky I am to still be involved with this great organization. Aim High has been there for me through EVERY educational transition in my life and I feel so honored to be able to give back to the program that has given me so much!

To any parent looking for an amazing summer experience for their middle school child, Aim High is the best of the best!

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