The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. established the College for Teens Program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May 2001. The King Association’s founder and president, Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, saw a need for comprehensive educational support for Philadelphia’s school children. She envisioned a holistic program that would encompass providing year-round academic reinforcement, counseling, tutorial assistance and mentoring to Philadelphia’s struggling secondary students. The College for Teens Program (CFT), provides a unique model for equipping African American and minority high school students with the tools needed to succeed in high school and beyond while preparing and encouraging them to seek higher education.
This youth development program emphasizes four major components: an After-school tutorial and enrichment program ASTEP; a 6 to 8 week Summer College Campus College Residency (SUCCES) and Day Program; a year-round Mentoring/Career Development and Life Skills Program (MCLS); and “Educational Ambassadors of Nonviolence” Club.
The overall goal of our pre-college program is to increase the number of low-income and minority students who successfully complete high school and are prepared to enter and succeed in college. The College for Teens program is uniquely configured to provide an intensive career education mentoring program, delivered on a college campus; that exposes students to diverse career opportunities beginning at age twelve. A key element of the program is to target students who are in greatest need and prepare them to embrace high educational aspirations that lead to professional careers. All students will remain in the program from grade seven through college.
Alarming numbers of Philadelphia African-American and other minority youth are already being programmed for future dead-end jobs or unemployment by the choices made by them or for them during high school years. A critical factor resulting in children expanding their concept of what career paths are realistic options for them is to acquaint them with adults of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds who have succeeded in non-traditional careers. Besides conveying - by who and what they are- that this position is achievable, these adults are also able to convey a realistic portrait of what was required for their achievement and why various school choices are important in selecting that path. To stop the cycle of early, low expectations leading to poor performance in high school years, failure to reach college, and future stagnation in low-paying jobs or unemployment, early intervention is essential! The College for Teens program allow our participants to take A step at a time toward Success, adding the Muscle of mentoring and support to produce educated, contributing, positive young adults. Thus, making them “Educational Ambassadors of Nonviolence”.
Finally, students may enter the College for Teens Program at twelve and remain until College. The King Association makes it possible through fundraising to ensure that the program operates fully and that students will be able to attend at no cost.