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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Breakthrough Collaborative Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Secondary & High Schools, Youth Development, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of Breakthrough is to increase the educational trajectory of motivated, low-income middle school students and inspire talented high school and college students to pursue careers in education.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 5,000 Breakthrough students and 1,000 teaching fellows

Programs: Breakthrough runs tuition-free, academically intense programs in which a diverse group of underserved middle school students learn the academic and leadership skills they will need to succeed in college preparatory high schools, in college, and throughout life. The core of the Breakthrough model is an intensive six-week summer program which includes rigorous academics, creative arts, and spirit-filled group activities. Students average more than two hours of homework each night. During the school year, students attend after-school and/or Saturday sessions. Like the summer sessions, the school-year activities complement and expand upon what the students are learning in their regular schools, with a particular emphasis on skill-building and enrichment.

Community Stories

85 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Breakthrough provided me with an unforgettable experience. I was able to teach chemistry to rising eighth grade students in the San Jose district. I went in thinking that the impact I have on them as a teacher will be tremendous and nothing could compare to it. Little did I know that the impact they would have on me would be much more. This nonprofit connects future teachers and students early on with a wholesome experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught 7th Grade Writing at Breakthrough New Orleans and it was a truly life-changing experience for me. I had the opportunity to build relationships with so many incredible people (students and teachers alike), and appreciate both the rewards and challenges of teaching. However, the most important benefit of Breakthrough is not to its teachers, but rather the students we served every day. I look back at my summer as a Breakthrough teacher knowing we made differences in the lives of many amazing children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught 7th-grade math at Breakthrough Miami and it was a life-changing summer. Breakthrough does amazing work. Breakthrough serves kids that, through no fault of their own, are not being adequately served by their schools. It provides them with the support they need to excel. It also provides future educators, like me, with the opportunity to develop as educators while using our unique position as college students to connect with students. Breakthrough is doing invaluable work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Teaching with Breakthrough Miami this summer was a profoundly transformative experience for me. I am so thankful to have spent eight weeks learning and growing in an environment that pushed me out of my comfort zone, surrounded by a community of other hardworking and dedicated individuals, of all backgrounds and interests, but brought together by our shared commitment to and passion for equal access to educational opportunities. I want for everyone my age, regardless of whether or not they plan to pursue a career in the field of education, to have the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of teaching and mentoring middle schoolers--students who are in a critical stage of development that many of us often try to forget we ever went through.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a teaching fellow at Breakthrough Collaborative at the Cincinnati site this past year, I can say first-hand that this program exceeded my expectations in every sense. I had the opportunity to work as a full-time history and German teacher to seventh graders and the knowledge it gave me is unparalleled to any other opportunity I've had. As a future educator this program gave me a true glimpse into the planning and carrying-out of classroom teaching. Beyond the sheer experience, the relationships I built were incredible. From the dean team, to my fellow teachers, to the students and their families, Breakthrough is truly a family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught 9th grade literature this past summer at Breakthrough Boston. It was the happiest summer of my life, and also the most tiring. The happiness came largely from the people I was around: my fellow teachers, the professional staff, and my students. Every individual in each of those groups made me laugh, pushed me, and supported me, and each one of them demonstrated incredible drive. Days at Breakthrough are long, but my time at Breakthrough was too short. Working as part of such an industrious and committed team just felt great. Our commitment was to our students' academic and personal growth, to our own professional and personal growth, and to the pursuit of educational equity and wider social justice. Each of those areas supported all of the others. Every moment at Breakthrough, even difficult or unpredictable situations, was handled with warmth and positivity. I feel proud and lucky to be a part of Breakthrough, but mostly I feel committed to fighting for its goals . This organization mobilizes those inside it--students and teachers--to bring more of their good into the world, in a way that I can only imagine is unparalleled.

Esther Wong

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had two summers working with Breakthrough Collaborative (New York 2016 and San Francisco 2017) and I am thoroughly convinced that Breakthrough is one of the leading, if not THE leading, undergraduate teaching programs that exist. The program is structured to not only support college students in gaining hands-on, authentic teaching experience, but also to equip amazingly ambitious elementary, middle, and high school students for their upcoming educational endeavors. As teaching fellows we have the opportunity to write lesson plans and execute them each day, just as a full-time teacher would. One of the aspects of Breakthrough that helped me grow the most was its use of instructional coaches. Our coach would observe our classes multiple times a week and meet one-on-one with us to discuss how we could improve in the classroom. Their feedback was very constructive and I could see myself growing incredibly as a teacher through their close work with us. My favorite part about Breakthrough, however, are the students we work with. These bright, young individuals are high-achieving students from underserved backgrounds. Their joy and motivation to learn and the dedication they have to the program is unparalleled to anything I've seen before. They definitely make the whole experience worth the hard work we put into the program. Lastly, we are supported tirelessly by our wonderful administration team and fellow teachers. The admin take special care to hire individuals who are encouraging and enthusiastic about teaching and social change. Working alongside individuals who are passionate about the same issues I am helped further my love for education.

Zeke R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past summer, I had the opportunity to join Breakthrough Greater Boston as a Teaching Fellow. Although I had worked with young students before in volunteer organizations, this was my first experience leading my own classroom. It was a very satisfying summer and it showed me two things: 1) I want to be an Educator after I graduate, and 2) I want to empower young students in urban settings. I went into Breakthrough believing that I would set my students on the path to success and “save” them, but I was completely wrong. The students that I connected with were already bright, ambitious, and hard-working; Breakthrough was only a means to give them Opportunity to improve themselves. They taught me so much about what it means to be a leader, and I miss them everyday.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My summer as a teaching fellow has been a rewarding experience. I built bonds within this inclusive and diverse Breakthrough community that I will cherish forever. I helped students grow while growing alongside them. Your time management, communication and leadership skills are enhanced within this program. The skills one acquires are easily transferable to another organization, activity or internship. I will continue advocating for educational equity and I have Breakthrough to be grateful to for giving me the opportunity firsthand to advance this lifelong goal.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely loved my summer with Breakthrough Central Texas! I spent the summer building life-changing relationships with other teachers, employees of Breakthrough, and students. It was evident that Breakthrough cared for every student that walked through their doors and that they would do everything possible to make their dream of attending college a reality.

Danielle W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My summer at Breakthrough Cincinnati changed my life. I was a teaching fellow at my site. I met so many wonderful people dedicated to the advancement of our students and staff. I grew both personally and professionally during my time at Breakthrough. Before the summer I was looking forward to gaining professional development, learning how to lesson plan and getting experience teaching. During my time in the program I received everything I was looking for and more. It was a lot of work but it was the most rewarding things I have done yet. The program offered the kids, my coworkers and me an invaluable experience and I'm sure every site in the collaborative offers the same thing.

Hallie P.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While I was never a Breakthrough student myself, I started as a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Miami when I was 15 years old, and returned 4 years later to Breakthrough New York. Now that I am 20, I have begun to try and extricate Breakthrough from who I am. I don't think it's possible. Breakthrough is home. I grew up clapping the spirit check and internalizing the BREAKY values. I returned both in high school and college to that community having applied the Breakthrough lessons of empathy, excitement, and excellence, ready to soak in more and give back my own version of what I had already taken. I have built some of my most valuable relationships within the Breakthrough collaborative and I have always felt supported by the organization as a whole.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My two summers teaching and leading at Breakthrough Boston have been the absolute best summers of my existence. I have grown to know and understand the magical and transformative work of an educator, the complexity of professionalism and leadership and the power and impact of a single interaction. Because of my summer at Breakthrough, I now feel more equipped to enter a classroom knowing I have gained the tools that are needed to promote a environment that ensures the success of all students.

Aidan C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Breakthrough is such a powerful and impactful organization. The teaching fellowship program was a phenomenal experience, connecting me with my students, fellow teaching fellows and instructional coaches. It really reinforced my interest in pursuing a career in education. I would recommend Breakthrough to anyone who has any interest not only in education, but any political or public policy student as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a teaching fellow at Breakthrough Collaborative in Austin this past summer. It was an valuable summer experience for personal growth, but also for relationship building and on-the-job training as an educator. Now that the summer is over, I feel confident in my abilities as a leader, an advocator, and a lifelong learner, and I encourage others to join this loving community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Breakthrough is a life-changing experience that brings you closer to your students, colleagues, and supervisors. I have grown exponentially through Breakthrough as a teacher and as a person. My experience with Breakthrough reminded me of my goals and helped me follow through with them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Breakthrough for two summers already and I have had a blast! Breakthrough is amazing! The community is so supportive and helpful, the learning experience is wonderful. i would recommend to anyone!

Sydney M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked at Breakthrough at Norfolk Academy this summer and loved it! Each Breakthrough site has something special to offer, which is great. The organization is very professional, yet every aspect is also so fun. Breakthrough Collaborative really makes an impact on kids' lives, and ensures that they will be prepared for the the rest of their educational careers.

Marc V.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My summer teaching experience at Breakthrough of San Francisco (BTSF) was life-changing, exceeding all of my expectations coming into the program. Initially, I only expected to be challenged as a growing teacher; I envisioned myself studying and applying best teaching practices in a classroom on a daily basis. This expectation was obviously met through excellent teacher training, pre-summer and throughout the program, from BTSF's directors and my instructional coach. However, the teaching fellowship pushed me in ways that I had never been pushed before: in addition to academic planning, I contributed to event planning, collaborative grade-level meetings, student advising, elective planning, and most of all, community building. The greatest lesson that I learned from Breakthrough is the importance of community. Through all of the rigor and stress, I always felt supported by the entire BTSF community. The various kinds of support that flowed from the admins and my fellow teachers--from individual check-ins to random acts of kindness--were as relentless as my academic and extracurricular responsibilities. Breakthrough has given me the tools to succeed as a beginning educator, while also allowing me to build life-changing relationships with a diverse cohort of passionate and gifted individuals. Breakthrough has empowered me to fight for educational equity alongside other social justice educators, within and beyond the classroom. I will always cherish my Breakthrough experience, and above all, I look forward to spreading the word about Breakthrough as a 2017-2018 campus ambassador and life-long alumnus.

Henry L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This summer at Breakthrough has been one of the most rewarding and memorable summers of my life. I developed such positive relationships with coworkers and staff members because everyone was so dedicated to teaching Breakthrough students and working to overcome the education gap. All of my coworkers were approachable, encouraging, and willing to help me with my teaching in any way. As a teacher, I was so glad to see students grow academically throughout the summer. The students at Breakthrough were intelligent and dedicated, and it was so inspiring to witness their hard work and drive to succeed. Breakthrough has convinced me to pursue a future career in either education, and I plan on either teaching at or staying in touch with the program well into my future.