Horizons for Youth is the only Chicago scholarship organization providing comprehensive services to students as early as kindergarten through high school graduation. We provide access to a quality education and the support services to take full advantage of it. Developing a long-term relationship with the student and family increases the impact we can have on the child's success in school. An impressive 99% of Horizons for Youth students graduate from high school, and 80% continue on to college. We provide holistic resources so our students have an equitable opportunity to learn. Our approach assures that each student receives the services they need to reach their full potential. Our programming includes:
Tuition Scholarship: For our students not fortunate enough to be zoned for a high-performing public school or not accepted to a top-tier charter or selective enrollment school, Horizons for Youth provides 90% tuition scholarships to enable these students to receive a quality education at a partnership private school. Families contribute the remaining 10%.
Academic Monitoring: Our Program Directors monitor each student's progress in school by tracking quarterly report cards and communicating with the students' teachers. This ongoing communication ensures that any concerns or problems are brought to our attention early so that we can resolve issues quickly.
Tutoring: Students struggling academically are placed in our weekly, individual Tutoring Program to help them with their homework, test preparation, and organization and executive functioning skills.
Summer Academic Program: We offer a month-long, full-day, Summer Academic Program providing students with classes in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Students work with specially selected teachers in small classes to reinforce and improve their skills so they are able to return to school better prepared academically.
Big Sibling Mentoring Program: Each Horizons for Youth child is paired with an individual mentor for their duration in the program. The mentor pairs meet on their own at least once per month and participate in an organization-sponsored activity one other time per month.
Monthly Enrichment Outings: Our monthly Enrichment Outings expose students to a variety of places and activities that they might not normally encounter. The goal of these outings is to broaden our students' perspectives and to provide a safe and secure setting for the development of the student/mentor relationships. Activities during the last year included: attending a play at the Reskin Theatre; visiting the DuSable Museum; ice skating; and taking a trip to Morton Arboretum.
College Preparation Activities: Our High School Program includes a comprehensive college readiness program. We provide our students with extensive assistance researching and deciding what sort of college or university best meets their needs--with respect to their learning style and interests, as well as financial feasibility. In addition, we spend considerable time preparing students for their college admission testing and guiding them through the complicated college application, financial aid, and scholarship process.
Horizons for Youth exists to enable students from low-resource communities to reach their full potential. Most of our students are the first in their family to graduate from high school. All are first in their family to attend college. At present, 154 students participate in our proven programs. Elementary students comprise 79% of our student population, and 21% are high school students. Of our 150 students, 49% are Hispanic, 50% are African American, and 1% are biracial. Female students make up 56% of our population; 44% are male.
The following criteria are used to determine whether families are eligible for Horizons for Youth:
Academic proficiency is not among the criteria for acceptance to our program. Some of our students perform at the top of their class, and others struggle with various learning disabilities. Most are average students who need a great deal of support to reach their academic goals.
Horizons for Youth provides inner-city Chicago students the opportunity to benefit from a quality education and to receive the comprehensive services necessary to graduate from high school, continue onto college and eventually, successfully enter the workforce. We believe that with proper support, every student has the ability to recognize and achieve their full potential.