Monday, March 21, 2011

Higher Achievement Triathletes!

We're so inspired by our scholars' hard work and dedication that we're putting ours to the test - a team of Higher Achievement staff members and supporters have joined up to train for and complete the Kinetic Sprint Triathlon in Spotsylvania, VA on May 15th! The race will consist of a 750 meter swim, 18 mile bike ride, and 5 kilometer run. In addition to this physical challenge, team members are also charged with raising at least $100 each in support of Higher Achievement. This is the second year we've competed (pic from 2010 above), and we can't wait!

We're pretty tough (and we're getting even tougher by the day!) but we can't do it alone. Here's how you can help:

Join our Triathlon team

Are you looking for a fun way to meet your fitness goals and raise money for a great cause? Join us! The team will offer training and fundraising support for all members – and will even feature a few friendly competitions to inspire success on all fronts. If you are interested in participating (or completing just one of the events as part of a relay team) please email Mike Di Marco ( for more information.

Help us reach our fundraising goal

Help us reach our fundraising goals (and make crossing the finish line on May 15 that much sweeter). Click here to donate online. To make sure your gift is counted towards our goal, please write “Triathlon” in the designation line.

Spread the word

Share this post with your networks. This is a super fun way to get involved in Higher Achievement, reach your fitness goals, and support our young people – and you definitely don’t have to be a triathlete to join us (although we’d love that too). All are welcome!

Throughout training, we’ll be posting pictures, updates, and news from the team on our blog and on Twitter (@HigherAchieve). Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ACTion Alexandria

Our friends at ACT for Alexandria have launched a very exciting tool that empowers citizens to make positive change in their community.
From their website:

ACTion Alexandria is a web-based platform that brings together neighbors and local nonprofit organizations to exchange ideas, coordinate efforts, and solve problems in our community.

How does ACTion Alexandria work?

ACTion Alexandria works closely with local government and nonprofit organizations to collect and prioritize community needs and turn them into actions and challenges for citizens.

  • Each week, ACTion Alexandria features a new action that targets the need of a local nonprofit organization in the form of donations of goods, services,and/or funds.

  • Citizens can help solve large-scale community problems by submitting their solutions to challenges hosted on the site.

Visit to learm more about this fabulous initiative - and help us spread the word!

Maryland Out-of-School Time Network's Advocacy Night

Rashard, Zybriah, Del. Tarrant

Last week, our Higher Achievement Baltimore team attended the Maryland Out-of-School Time Network (MOST) advocacy night in Annapolis. MOST organized the event to bring together OST providers from across Maryland to highlight the importance of afterschool and summer programs – and to raise awareness and mobilize support for two pieces of legislation being considered by the Maryland General Assembly during this legislative session.

Ashburton 7th grade scholars Zybriah Murphy and Rashard Gilliard met with Delegate Shawn Tarrant (District 40) to discuss the importance of OST programs like Higher Achievement to youth in Maryland. Zybriah recalled that during one of her classes her teacher introduced a concept that Zybriah had already learned in Higher Achievement’s Summer Academy. She emphasized to the Delegate that students need extra support and opportunities to succeed during the critical middle school years. She also recognized that the hard work she does at Higher Achievement will pay off when she is ready to explore her high school options.

Rashard’s literature mentor, Mr. Andre Wood, was also on hand and described the rich discussion that Higher Achievement literature lessons have inspired between Rashard and his fellow scholars. He described the deep and sticky cultural issues that scholars might not have a chance to explore in school, such as the 19th century policy that took Indian children from their families and placed them in white schools in an attempt to assimilate them and destroy Indian culture. Mr. Andre, an employee of Constellation Energy, is one of 90 Baltimore citizens who have committed to one night a week of mentoring middle school scholars and supporting their academic enrichment in preparation for top high school programs.

Thanks for MOST for organizing the event and for their continued work advocating for OST programs – read more about their efforts and the upcoming legislation here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

DC Scholars Meet Rep. Norton!

On Monday, six Higher Achievement scholars visited Capitol Hill to meet Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and take a tour of the Capitol building. Scholars from Wards 1, 4, 6, and 8 participated in the field trip, taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity during a day of no school for most other students in the District. Scholars were able to have a private meeting with the Congresswoman (thanks to Ward 6 mentor David Lyons for setting it up!) as well as a personal tour of the Capitol Rotunda and the Senate Floor Gallery. At the end of the visit, scholars rated the trip a 10 out of 10, even though they had to walk through the pouring rain just to make it on time!

Big thanks to Rep. Norton!