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Genius Has No Zip Code

SIX MINUTE READ

THESE ARE OUR MENTEES.

A bright young boy, known for laughing while playing soccer at the local field. He’s shy, but he opens up around friends with a big smile that offers a clue into his keen intellect. He’s doing great at school, and harbors a quiet dream to make a great career for himself.

Three girls, all brilliant in school and deeply integrated in their neighborhood. Their well-respected parents are both doctors and pillars of the local community. The girls aim to follow in their parents’ footsteps as established professionals and community leaders. 

A booksmart teenager, staring intently at her textbook long after the library has emptied, fueled by a dream of becoming a lawyer. She’s ranked first in her high school class, and she’s just getting started.

It’s pretty clear that these incredible young people have bright futures ahead. They’re naturally capable, talented, and driven to put in the work to make big things happen.

They’ll do fine. College is a no-brainer. Then maybe med school or law school? Either way they can expect bank balances with multiple commas. The world is their oyster, right?

Except… They don’t know that in a few days:

  • The young boy will be in a refugee camp in East Africa. Within two years he’ll be in the cold of Colorado, struggling to speak English in fits and starts, while trying to make a new home.
  • The young girls and their parents will have fled their neighborhood and the war in Iraq to resettle in Denver, where the parents can no longer practice as doctors, and the family’s best option is for their father to leave for medical school in Texas to prove he can be a doctor — again.
  • The teenager will be faced with a choice — follow mom and little brother as they relocate for a suburb of Denver, and end up at a new school, with a new community, and fewer class options — or… or, what?

THESE ARE OUR MENTEES. 

We’ve seen countless brilliant, capable, determined, hard-working high schoolers like these Minds Matter students who have all the tools they need to create their futures. But in so many of their cases, there may be a new wrinkle just a few days away — a new job for a parent, a new address, a new family, a new country — that bring challenges that could understandably knock them off course.

These students don’t need much support to stay on track. A little guidance, some external consistency, some opportunities to explore options they may not have considered. But in many cases, that support can be the difference between achieving their dreams and watching them fade into the distance.

That’s where we come in. At Minds Matter our approach is pretty simple. We recruit accomplished high school students with undeniable potential — students just like the students in the stories above — who face obstacles or barriers outside of their control.

We then pair them with passionate volunteers who mentor those students for three years (10th-12th grade) until graduation. We hold weekly after-school sessions during the school year focused on academic readiness (writing, critical thinking, communication, community leadership) and college preparation (summer programs, SAT prep, college and financial aid applications), and every student goes to a summer program on a college campus.

Here’s the best part: every single one of our graduates has been accepted to a four-year college or university with scholarship checks in hand.

The young boy from East Africa? He’s in his final year at CSU.

The girls from Iraq? On track to graduate from CU Boulder (one is a pre-med major). 

The late-night valedictorian-to-be? Studying law at George Washington University. 

THESE ARE OUR MENTEES. 

We’re here to help them get to college and beyond. And for 15 years we’ve done just that for nearly 150 students across Denver with ~100 students in the program right now.

Except… We know there are students outside of Denver too. Students who are just as capable, talented, and driven as the students you just read about. In fact, most of these students are outside of Denver.

That’s why, starting today, we don’t let geography dictate our impact.

Starting today, we make a commitment to students across Colorado that if they’re willing to put in the effort to get into college, we’ll be there to help them.

Starting today, we’re no longer Minds Matter Denver. 

We are Minds Matter Colorado

We commit that we’ll provide access to our 100% success rate to every eligible student, corner-to-corner across Colorado. We’ve already set plans to launch next Fall in Colorado Springs, and soon thereafter in Ft Collins, Pueblo, and beyond.

And we hope you’ll join us in ensuring that hard work does pay off. We hope you’ll join us in ensuring ability, not access, determines the possibilities for the students on soccer fields, in neighborhoods, and at the library, who deserve all the opportunity in the world.

We hope you’ll join us by giving financially. By volunteering. By sharing this blog post.

Because THESE ARE OUR MENTEES. ALL ACROSS THE STATE.

And when you’re ready to join us, we know they’ll be your mentees too.

Sincerely,

savinay chandrasekhar
ceo | Minds Matter Colorado.