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Underserved Students Get Chance to Achieve College Goals

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By Michelle Tims
Alabama Newscenter

The College Admissions Made Possible (CAMP) in Birmingham provides underserved students with essential tools to gain access to the college or university of their choice.

“We serve elementary, middle and high school students in the Birmingham and Black Belt regions with holistic educational support to develop academic, social, emotional and physical literacy skills to help them excel in school and life,” said CAMP founder and Chairman of the Board Martin Nalls. “Since our inception in 2009, we have impacted over 23,000 students across Alabama. We continue to enhance our programs and increase our reach across the state.”

While the average high school graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students in Alabama is 85 percent, college and career readiness averages 63 percent. CAMP was established as a response to the underrepresentation of low-income students in post-secondary institutions. It provides college access services, including admissions workshops for students and parents, ACT classes and customized college tours. The Alabama Power Foundation has awarded two grants to CAMP.

“This program supports our youth in achieving their dreams for higher education and puts them on a path to meet their desired career goals, and we are pleased to help fund such a worthwhile organization,” said Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation. “This isn’t just an investment in our youth, it’s also an investment in our state by helping to strengthen our future workforce.”

The Alabama Power Foundation grants will support these CAMP programs:

  • College Compass delivers comprehensive college-access services to 268 students in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades at five underserved schools in Alabama. College Compass has a plan to expand to three more schools.
  • Birmingham Summer Institute is a full-day, seven-week program that targets about 120 rising third through sixth grade Black students. BSI works to reverse summer learning loss and return students to school in the fall with at least four months’ growth in reading and math. The program provides character education and health and wellness classes, and it exposes students to high-quality enrichment activities and field trips.
  • Jefferson County Summer Institute is a full-day, three-week program offered in two separate sessions that aims to reverse summer learning loss and return students to school in the fall with at least one month of growth in reading and math. The program provides character education and health and wellness classes, and exposes students to high-quality enrichment activities and field trips.
  • REACH is a three-day-per-week after-school program serving about 30 kindergarten through fifth grade students and 20 ninth and tenth grade students. It provides reciprocal learning opportunities between high school and elementary students to develop and strengthen foundational math and reading concepts and skill sets. It advances character education through a curriculum that measures growth in self-management, personal responsibility and perseverance.

Because of COVID-19, the 2020 Birmingham Summer Institute and the Jefferson County Summer Institute were conducted online and the results were successful. This fall, CAMP will continue to provide virtual instruction and support to students and parents through its programs.