( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) ELEVATE Orlando Aspires to Help Students in Any and Every Educational Goal They Have
ENSPIRE Contributor: Natalie Dean
In sunny Orlando, one nonprofit works to mentor 2nd-12th grade students in schools across the city. ELEVATE helps these students through elementary, middle, and high school to ensure that they are well-equipped to start their careers or higher education after graduation. Their mission is to prepare students for university, connect students to opportunities, expose students to positive relationships and hope, and teach students to give back to their communities. The mentor-student relationships seek to encourage students to find confidence and opportunity.
ELEVATE boasts a 100% high school graduation rate in the past three years, a 98% cumulative graduation rate, and a 96% placement rate of students into universities, vocational schools, or the military. They also encourage student development and growth by taking a holistic approach to mentorship, not just giving the students tools they need, but giving them skills and confidence to utilize those tools.
ENSPIRE talked with a representative from ELEVATE to hear about their work.
ELEVATE has earned a high rate of graduation and a high rate of placement for students into universities/higher education after graduation. What are some of the ways you have made this possible? What strategies do you use to achieve this?
ELEVATE’s unique, relationship-based approach employs full-time staff who represent the community they serve. Serving as part teacher, part mentor, part life coach, our dedicated Teachers/Mentors make themselves available 24/7/365 to build relationships with students. ELEVATE establishes long-term relationships between our Teachers/Mentors and students through 4 interdependent program areas: Accredited Classes, Mentoring, Adventure, and College & Career.
What is the most important part of the ELEVATE program, and why is it so integral?
ELEVATE Orlando is unlike any program. The most important part is our mentoring aspect. Our Teachers/Mentors play a key role in living life alongside our students. According to Dr. Del Elliot’s Surgeon General Report on Youth Violence, “In order to have a chance at a productive life, a child must have at least one adult relationship that is positive, caring, and long-term.” ELEVATE provides caring adults who look past what society may see and instead sees hidden treasures waiting to be unlocked.
How would you describe the environment of a typical ELEVATE classroom?
Three words come to mind when I think of our ELEVATE classrooms: engaging, energetic, interactive. ELEVATE Teachers/Mentors provide a welcoming, safe environment for our students, molding them to be the best versions of themselves.
What does it mean when you take a “holistic” approach to teaching or mentoring a student?
ELEVATE utilizes a holistic approach that targets the 7 parts of a child: social, physical, financial, vocational, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Solid academic performance alone is not enough. The “inner life” of our students, their daily choices, and overall character will be what carries them into long-term future success. ELEVATE Orlando’s in-school curriculum focuses on 13 essential life skills and character qualities.
Congratulations on recent successes and grants! What are some things we can look forward to seeing from ELEVATE in the future?
Thank you! We are beyond grateful to the DeVos Family. ELEVATE is excited to expand support for our graduating seniors beyond high school and into their post-secondary journey. We have also just started a Young Professionals Council with the goal to expand our mission and have Council members serve as industry-specific mentors to current students and alumni.
- Xinia Reyes, Communications and External Relations Manager, ELEVATE Orlando
ELEVATE has built relationships with and inspired students across Orlando. There is no doubt that ELEVATE has changed the trajectories of these students’ lives, and the program will remain hugely influential on them as they forge ahead into adulthood.
To learn more, visit ELEVATE’s website.