This fall, our grantee Press Pass Mentors reaches two remarkable milestones: sending 100% of their inaugural class to college and recruiting their third (and largest) class of students. DC Social Innovation Project’s team first came to know Press Pass Mentors in 2011 when they applied to our grant program. We knew then that they were onto something special and we’re delighted but not surprised by their success to-date.
Press Pass Mentors (PPM) is an 18-month writing intensive and one-on-one mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors from Wards 7 and 8 who want to attend college but need a boost in their writing skills. PPM pairs each student in a one-on-one mentor relationship with a journalist from The Washington Post and offers students behind-the-scenes field trips at places only accessible with a press pass including the White House, Kennedy Center, and an NBA locker room. The mentors guide students through a curriculum that prepares them for the major writing assignments on the road to college: the SAT and PSAT, college applications, and college scholarship essays. PPM also awards each student that completes the program with a financial scholarship to cover some college costs.
Co-founder Louis Goldstein describes their approach and the challenges the program seeks to overcome:
“The 11th graders enter our program, on average, writing at an 8th grade level, which places them at a major disadvantage in a college process that depends heavily on writing. We pair each student in a one-on-one relationship with a professional journalist from The Washington Post. Through our mentors and our program-specific curriculum, we help students become great writers and equip them with the communication skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.”
Launched in 2011 by Louis Goldstein (a corporate strategist) and Eli Saslow (a journalist), PPM is currently recruiting its third class of students, with each new class including more students than the past. The group’s inaugural class of students graduated from the program in June and all of the students are attending college this fall. As the first institutional funder to support Press Pass Mentors, DC Social Innovation Project’s team couldn’t be happier about the early success of this program and we look forward to continuing our mission of providing funding and pro bono services to promising new programs like PPM that are working to improve lives in Washington, DC.