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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Open Doors Academy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Family Services for Adolescent Parents, Youth Centers & Clubs, Youth Community Service Clubs, Youth Development - Citizenship

Mission: Open Doors works to nurture, protect, inspire and challenge adolescents to reach their full potential through the provision of meaningful out-of-school enrichment activities in a safe and structured environment, and to improve our neighborhoods by collaborating with families and the community.

Results: In the last five years, ODA has grown from one site and three employees to 10 middle school and high school sites and 43 employees. In the last two years we completed a strategic plan, branding and marketing campaign, purchased two new vehicles to help us transport youth, moved our administrative offices to our new headquarters in downtown Cleveland, and standardized our program model in an effort to prepare for future expansion and growth.

Target demographics: ODA serves low-income youth living in high-risk environments in the Greater Cleveland Community between the ages of 11 and 18 years.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 450 Youth and 1,200 family members

Geographic areas served: Northeast Ohio, predominantly serving the Greater Cleveland Community

Programs: Open Doors Academy provides year-round quality enrichment programming that addresses the unique developmental needs of our students. Member youth participate in project based learning experiences such as core enrichment programs and academic tutoring built around their developmental needs, full-day summer camps and service learning trips. Keys to the program include building a safe haven filled with support, creating a sense of community, and fostering the kids' confidence. ODA builds this environment by engaging parents, teachers and other community partners.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since my first year at Open Doors in 2002, I have seen how the program has influenced all of its students and how it has expanded to better benefit its clients. As a sixth-grader, I was very shy and introverted, but throughout my middle school years ODA helped me to cultivate my leadership skills and learn how to make my thoughts heard and respected by my peers. I continued to profit from ODA programming during high school as we travelled to Harlan, KY to build homes each summer, and I took advantage of each opportunity to reunite with my middle school friends and the ODA staff. I am now entering my senior year of college, and I am beginning my second summer in a row working for ODA as a summer program assistant. Because of my continuous involvement with this program, I can personally vouch for the good it brings to the Greater Cleveland community. ODA has helped me in several areas of my life, and I honestly believe that I have benefitted academically, professionally, and personally from my engagement with the program. ODA provides such wonderful opportunities to all of its students, and I can only hope that it will continue to expand and reach an even wider portion of the Greater Cleveland community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Open Doors Academy has been an absolutely wonderful program for my daughter. We transferred from a Private School and had some apprehensions about public school. Open Doors was the bridge that brought us across the "river". The staff's willingness to help students and parents has been phenomenal and the many activities that include the family as a whole and in parts has definitely strengthened my relationship with my daughter and family. Thank you Open Doors for providing such a wonderful lifelong experience that I know we will cherish for years to come. You are the BEST!


Client Served

Rating: 5

As one of Open Doors first "clients" I have had the great pleasure of watching the organization grow into one of the most important programs in the Greater Cleveland Area. Not only is it important in this locale, but it sets the precedent for successful educational activities and personal development initiatives in communities nationwide. During middle school I'll admit I wasn't the greatest student. However, I stayed engaged in Open Doors, which I know helped me from veering to far away from my education. In high school I continued to stay engaged with the Open Doors program by participating in service trips, and now, as I am working my way through my final years in college, I continue to stay in touch with old friends and staff members of my Open Doors community. Furthermore I routinely hear of the wonderful progress and outreach the Open Doors community continues to make in the Greater Cleveland Area. Not only is Open Doors a successful program, it is essential to the maintaining a upstanding social atmosphere for those who wouldn't have the opportunity otherwise. I loved my time at OD and wish only the best for those currently in the community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is an Open Doors student and has been provided with experiences that she will remember for a life time. Zip lining in the woods, going to Cleveland's International Film Festival, volunteering for local organizations and going to local theater productions have all been a part of this program. For many middle schoolers it is a time where they question everything that is going on around them. Open Doors staff was there to help me answer the many questions my daughter had about growing up and about life. The staff provides all of the students with extra support academically and helps develop the students understanding that these middle school years create the foundation that is needed to be successful in high school. All middle schools would benefit from an Open Doors Academy program in their school.