Help Brilliant Disadvantaged Kids Takeoff to Top Colleges

For: Takeoff Space
Boston, MA
Organizer: Jonathan Richmond
$9,726
of $25,000 goal.
Raised by 127 donors
38% Complete

The Story

With your help, Takeoff Spacewill bring bright futures to a group of brilliant teenagers who currently don't get the opportunities they deserve.

Takeoff Space will engage undergraduate mentors at top universities to help teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds research their educational options and complete the best possible college applications.

Acting as big brothers and sisters a love of knowledge and high academic performance in common, our enthusiastic young mentors will make the dream of attending a top university, seemingly unattainable, come true.

And our program will strengthen their efforts with training, advice, and advocacy.

We're seeking to offer a pilot program to benefit about a dozen top performing junior students at the huge urban Lowell High School located in a city rife with disadvantage 30 miles to the northwest of Boston.

We'll be bringing them to MIT for weekly mentoring over a period of six weeks from late March through April 2016 with a planned follow up in the fall. We'll expand our program, building on that first initiative. We already have a first-rate team of student mentors in the making as you can see from our team page.

The reality is that many high-capacity students from disadvantaged backgrounds never get a chance to go to elite colleges or universities. Excellent grades are not enough for high school kids who face barriers of poverty that force them to work after school to support their family rather than engage in extracurricular learning activities; who lack support networks because their high-school is enormous and their high performance an uncelebrated aberration; whose family lacks the college experience to give them advice; whose daily lives must pass through the disruptive familial or social environments that too often accompany poverty.

These are the kids we will support; your kind donations will allow us to do so.

Donations in any amount are very welcome. However donations of $1000 or more will be recognized with a named scholarship to cover participation costs of a specific student in our initial program.

We need seed funding foremost to pay for incorporation as a non-profit and establishment of tax-exempt status, transportation to and from MIT, food (many of the kids aren't properly fed at home and this is a vital element), staffing both at MIT and in Lowell (where we will operate a family liaison and support function that we see as vital to success), treats like a trip to a fun museum or the symphony (most kids from Lowell have never been to either), insurance, and other program
costs.

We will leverage initial funding together with the positive experience of our initial program to seek higher-level support to build up staffing and expand our program to support brilliant kids from further high schools in the Boston metropolitan area and Southern New Hampshire while operating mentoring programs on a number of other high-level campuses in addition to MIT.

And with time, we'll create a model to be duplicated successfully nationwide.

Please watch our video (mostly shot at our enthusiastic launch party: please excuse the background noise!)

You can find more information on our site:

takeoff.space

Thanks so much for your support!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 21, 2016

Posted on February 21, 2016

Public Confessional

Click on the above to go to my Feb. 20 column in the Lowell Sun, my confessional for asking donations from penniless angels! Note that a key point that established the humor as well as the humanity of the piece got deleted in editing: The opening should read: “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.” For once, I envied Catholics’ immediate priestly forgiveness. Jews have a direct hotline to Heaven, but cannot expect instant deliverance."

Many many thanks to the many wonderful students who donated. I am hoping you will provide the inspiration for many more to do so!

Thanks to all the other terrific donors also. Please pass word on to family, friends, workgroups and professional associations.
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