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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Aim High

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Youth Development Programs

Mission: 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.

Results: 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

Programs: 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.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High is truly one of the best non-profits I've had the opportunity to work with. They are passionate about what they do and stand behind their mission 100%. When working with the staff and students, it is easy to see the high quality and caliber of support in their impact. Whenever someone is looking to volunteer for a non-profit, I recommend Aim High every time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to work with Aim High through their Young Leaders Board, and have witnessed their magic first hand. Helping low income middle school students continue their education throughout the summer, Aim High enables students to connect with corporations through Career Days. Their staff is amazing, and the true passion for their mission is genuine.

Sam B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found out about Aim High a year ago and immediately understood the importance of this organization in the Northern California community. I chose to get involved with Aim High for many different reasons. They collect solid data on their programming that makes me confident that their impact is far-reaching. The Aim High community is a great group that sticks around because they have all been affected by the "Aim High Magic," which is a very real and very touching aspect of the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High is a life-changing experience, both for the students who participate in the program and for the team of teachers, volunteers and supervisors who support them. I first came to Aim High as a brand new teacher (full of common first-year teaching anxieties). I received so much support, both from central office and from my site supervisors, that I felt prepared and confident to go in and lead the classroom on the first day. Each summer that support and sense of community continues to grow, which I believe is directly reflected in the number of team members who decide to return summer after summer. Our students also return summer after summer, as Aim High provides them with a sense of community and belonging, and with the academic confidence they need and rightfully deserve. There is something truly magical about being able to create such a special environment among staff and students in such a short period of time, but those involved with Aim High can attest that magic is not only real, but contagious.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High creates an incredible supportive space that helps students and teachers alike learn. As a teaching intern getting my first experience at the front of the classroom, I felt encouraged to share with the community and I certainly got as much out of my summer there as any of the students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at the satellite campus in Tahoe, I am very grateful to see this program in the community where I grew up. The kids that are enroll in the program are very lucky to do so as I wish it had existed when I was younger. The impact that it has made in my community is tremendous and I am excited to see the youth of my community succeed in reaching their academic and career dreams.

Shannon87

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has it all--it brings joy and a love of learning to the students it serves, provides an engaging, supportive and creative environment for teachers and volunteers, proven data-driven results, thoughtful and smart leadership, and most of all it has so much heart. This is an organization to support, admire, and love.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a 7th and 8th grade teaching intern for Aim High last summer. It was my first out of college job and I am so happy that it was. Being a part of Aim High gave me extended experience teaching, mentoring, and building relationships with students that I had not previously been exposed to. Working at Aim High strengthened my desire to work in education.

It really is magical!

Brian117

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked at AIM High for the past two summers and they have been incredible. There is truly something amazing about the energy that is present at the AIM High campuses during the summer. The teachers are enthusiastic and love the work that they do. And that energy rubs off on the kids as well. The kids really get into their learning and their activities because of the relationships that they have with their teachers and with each other. AIM High is great because it helps kids continue their growth academically over the summer, which better prepares them to start the new school year, but the true "AIM High magic" lies in the fact that the kids really look forward to coming to a place where they are loved and a place that they enjoy! AIM High holds a special place in my heart and I can't wait to go back this summer!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim high is an incredible opportunity for students, teachers, volunteers, and anyone else who wishes to be apart of the magic. I have been involved with the program for over 6 summers over a span of 14 years, and its power and inspiration continues to help me be a better educator. Aim High was my first job as an educator, and I haven't stopped since. My sister is a graduate of the program and my family has seen the benefits with both daughters as a student and a teacher. Thanks to Aim High, I feel reinvigorated every summer as an educator.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are an Aim High family. It began about 18 years ago when my daughter started Aim High. My son went also. I became a volunteer. My husband joined the Board. My daughter became an Aim High volunteer, then high school intern, college intern, and finally teacher. She wrote her college application essay about Aim High. Her Aim High experience led her to major in Urban Studies and to become a public school teacher in a Title I school. I have mentored a number of students I have met at Aim High. One of the great things about the program is that students come from many different schools and backgrounds. They meet new people and learn how to make friends and get along. They take their Aim High experience back to school with them. The experience stays with them the rest of their lives. Aim High develops middle school students, high school students, college students, teachers and all those associated with the program.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an Aim High parent and volunteer, I have seen the direct short and long term results of this exemplary program for middle schoolers. Both my children are graduates of Aim High. My daughter has worked in the program as a teacher. Each summer Aim High provides academics, outdoor education, enrichment and fun! Aim High is truly diverse. It is an excellent program with excellent teachers. During the school year they provide tutoring and fun outings. And Aim High is FREE.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High provides a small-knit and caring community for underserved Bay Area youth. At Aim High, students become scientists, writers, mathematicians, they learn to rock climb, sail, or dance. The best measure of Aim High's success is the number of students who return to the program year after year, even long after they graduate.

Previous Stories
6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an Intern at Aim High for 4 summers. I have helped Master Teachers and led my own Math and Humanities class. These summers have been, by far, the most enjoyable and rewarding of my life. I have connected with students, hopefully inspiring them to take their educations seriously and to enjoy learning. Ever year I look forward to going back to Aim High and seeing all my old students and the excited new students. When I see my students come back to the program to be TAs, I know that Aim High is doing something fantastic.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

AIM High allows magic to happen. I had the opportunity to introduce 56 rising 6th graders to a local library and many of them received their first library cards.

They re-enacted, read and wrote Myths. They learned and excelled at Chess, Basketball, and I brought my pet bunny rabbit to program twice a week, who they loved and learned about proper methods to raise a pet bunny rabbit of their own.

We had so much fun this summer and I believe that students were more impacted in these 5 special weeks than sometimes up to two regular school years of traditional academics and learning.

It was such a fortunate opportunity to be a lead humanities teacher for these six weeks.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High has been a great experience for me, I started off as a student, then I returned and volunteered and then became a teachers assistant and then an Intern. I have learned a lot throughout my years at Aim High. It has helped me with my interpersonal skills. It has also helped me with public speaking. I love that a day at Aim High is divided into academics and activities. Lastly, the program is a place where I can enjoy teaching others while learning new things at the same time.

Leonardo Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working here allowed me to expand my horizons, meet new people, bond and expand my own personality and skills as an individual. Every day of this amazing program allowed me to have fun and learn as well as teach. I started off In this program in sixth grade, it was the most fun I'd ever had over the summer. Six to seven years later, I'm working for them to help another youthful generation. I am grateful to this program and the people who I've taught and learned from, this truly helped me and my peers to another level.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a student, a volunteer, and now an assistant teacher, I can attest to the magic that is Aim High. Every year that I come back, I come out of it, with great memories and learning experiences. Aim High is such a familial environment and its the bond that is created between students and teachers that makes it truly special. It just too bad Aim High only lasts 5 weeks, I wish it could last forever.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Aim High is an amazing organization that really brings learning to life for students. I have never seen students that are more engaged and excited to come to school than at Aim High. It's a great non-profit that really encourages the intrinsic value of learning in students. It also treats it staff generously and is a great place to work.

Samantha56

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a teaching intern, I was able to learn from experienced teachers while helping students achieve their very best work. Aim High provides a space in which teachers can work together to support a students whole learning experience, and students can set and meet their goals. I was able to watch students improve not only their academic competency, but also, and more importantly, their confidence and self-esteem.