6 Organizations Providing Opportunities For Underrepresented Youth

It's an unfortunate social reality that not all youth are given equal opportunities to achieve academic and life success. Whether it's because of race, economic status, disability, or sexual identity, too many kids face uphill battles when it comes to accessing quality education and other crucial life resources. Thankfully, many organizations are devoted to tackling this inequity head-on, including the ones listed here. They offer inclusive programs, experiences, trainings, and support to ensure that young people can prosper, regardless of their backgrounds. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Groups Supporting Youth from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Organization Mission
Reality Changers Transform lives by providing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training to become college graduates
Dream Corps Tech Cultivate future leaders and entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, creating a pipeline of diverse talent that will shift the culture of the tech sector
Youth Art Exchange Spark a shared creative practice between professional artists and public high school students, furthering youth as leaders, thinkers, and artists in San Francisco
Bay Area Wilderness Training To create equitable access to outdoor experiences for youth of color and low-income youth
Minds Matter Transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success
ScholarMatch Make college possible for underserved youth, from application all the way to college graduation

The Success of a Reality Changers Graduate

High School Graduation Rates By State

As of the 2016-17 school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics

State Graduation Rate State Graduation Rate
Alabama 89.3% Montana 85.8%
Alaska 78.2% Nebraska 89.1%
Arizona 78.0% Nevada 80.9%
Arkansas 88.0% New Hampshire 88.9%
California 82.7% New Jersey 90.5%
Colorado 79.1% New Mexico 71.1%
Connecticut 87.9% New York 81.8%
Delaware 86.9% North Carolina 86.6%
Florida 82.3% North Dakota 87.2%
Georgia 80.6% Ohio 84.2%
Hawaii 82.7% Oklahoma 82.6%
Idaho 79.7% Oregon 76.7%
Illinois 87.0% Pennsylvania 86.6%
Indiana 83.8% Rhode Island 84.1%
Iowa 91.0% South Carolina 83.6%
Kansas 86.5% South Dakota 83.7%
Kentucky 89.7% Tennessee 89.8%
Louisiana 78.1% Texas 89.7%
Maine 86.9% Utah 86.0%
Maryland 87.7% Vermont 89.1%
Massachusetts 88.3% Virginia 86.9%
Michigan 80.2% Washington 79.4%
Minnesota 82.7% West Virginia 89.4%
Mississippi 83.0% Wisconsin 88.6%
Missouri 88.3% Wyoming 86.2%

The Boost Students Need to Overcome Obstacles

In Depth

Equal education is a tool with immense power in potentially bringing about social stability as well as bettering livelihoods and the economy in the long run. The U.S constitution mandates that all children living in the country should be educated regardless of their ethnic, racial, or financial backgrounds. Unfortunately, a lot of youth are denied this fundamental right. In no particular order, here are 6 organizations dedicating their efforts to making sure underprivileged young people get fair access to quality education.

First up, at #1, is Reality Changers. It is an organization dedicated to giving youth from struggling backgrounds the opportunity to transform their lives by offering them financial assistance in their academics to become college graduates. Founded in 2001 by Christopher Yanov with just $300, the group has since given millions in academic scholarships. Its headquarters are based in San Diego and it serves about 1,000 disadvantaged youth from Southern California annually.

In addition to offering youth academic scholarships, Reality Changers also involves them in summer leadership camp programs before the start of the new school year. It also runs its college town program that involves 8th to 11th graders in mentorship and training designed to prepare them for the next level of their education. Help the organization give more underprivileged youth access to a college education by making a donation on their website.

In addition to offering youth academic scholarships, Reality Changers also involves them in summer leadership camp programs before the start of the new school year.

At #2 is Dream Corps Tech. The program aims to create future leaders and entrepreneurs in the technology industry from underrepresented backgrounds. It is among two other programs operated by Dream Corps working to reduce incarceration rates in the U.S and fight climate change by electrifying the public transport system. The tech-based initiative seeks to create equity in the technology sector by providing students with job skills training and coding certifications.

Through its bootcamp sessions, Dream Corps Tech offers technical training to young people using an in-house curriculum that has a 90% job acquisition rate. Graduates from the program have been employed at top companies such as Google, Infor, and Facebook. Get involved with the program by signing up on its website as a supporter of the #YesWeCode campaign to make underprivileged young people aware of the potential of the tech industry.

Next up, at #3, is Youth Art Exchange. YAX was founded by Jennifer Stuart and Beth Rubenstein in 2000 as Out of Site Youth Arts Center. It seeks to empower underprivileged learners and students of color within San Francisco by giving them more access to art and arts education so they can have more career opportunities. The organization works with a faculty of artists to foster a creative space where professional artists and public high school students can interact and share ideas with the aim of inspiring young people to be future creatives and thought leaders.

YAX was founded by Jennifer Stuart and Beth Rubenstein in 2000 as Out of Site Youth Arts Center.

YAX runs a series of programs specially designed to involve students with arts during the summer, after school, as well as in-school residencies. Some of the art disciplines instructed by the faculty of artists include darkroom photography, fashion design, advanced architecture, as well as audio and music recording. Help Youth Art Exchange keep its programs free for the students by making a minimum donation of $10 on its website.

Coming at #4 is Bay Area Wilderness Training. BAWT works to give low-income youth and young people of color access to outdoor experiences within California. It was founded in 2000 with the vision of giving over 10,000 youth from the San Francisco Bay Area meaningful encounters with nature. The organization organizes trips to ancient redwoods, secluded beaches, and granite cliffs, all within California.

BAWT also conducts outdoor leadership courses for teachers and youth workers so they can take young people on backpacking, hiking, and camping trips. Upon completion of the training program, graduates are free to borrow outdoor gear from the group's gear library with little to no cost at all. Make a donation on its website to help it realize its vision of inspiring future environmental leaders by giving young people positive and impactful nature experiences.

Make a donation on its website to help it realize its vision of inspiring future environmental leaders by giving young people positive and impactful nature experiences.

Arriving at #5 is Minds Matter which aims to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families to prepare for college. It was started in 1991 by six Wall Street professionals who realized that learners from low-income backgrounds struggled not because of intelligence, but the limited resources available to them. The organization serves students across 14 regions within the United States such as Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Seattle to name but a few.

The Minds Matter program sees students spending between 4 and 6 hours weekly with their mentors to better their critical thinking skills. Throughout the three-year long course, learners improve their confidence as well as their capabilities in math and writing. Help the organization sustain its 100% success rate for its students' college and university acceptance by volunteering at any of its stations through its website.

Finally at #6 is ScholarMatch, an organization dedicated to making higher education easily accessible to underprivileged young people. It was founded by Dave Eggers in 2010 as a crowdfunding platform for scholarships based in San Francisco. ScholarMatch soon evolved into a college access organization and in 2015, it launched the ScholarMatcher, an online college-list building tool meant to help low-income students. The group has since served thousands of students across the United States.

It was founded by Dave Eggers in 2010 as a crowdfunding platform for scholarships based in San Francisco.

In addition to helping the youth get enrolled in colleges and universities, ScholarMatch also supports the learners financially all the way so they do not have to drop out. It also offers a seven-year continuum of services for learners who happen to be the first in their family to attend college. The organization offers college advising services to high school students countrywide. Make a contribution on its website to help underserved students access the right resources and support to get a higher education.