About Us

Starfish Initiative was founded in 2003 with a vision to make a difference in the lives of historically underserved youth – one student at a time. Today, Starfish Initiative continues to advance our mission: “to inspire, encourage, and prepare academically motivated, high school students from the most vulnerable populations for college and career success,” through our comprehensive Starfish Experience, a statistically proven four-year pathway to economic mobility for Indianapolis high school students.

We Believe

Mentoring is the key to improving the educational attainment and future of today’s youth.

We Support Our Scholars

By matching every student in our program with a college-educated volunteer adult mentor.

We Support Our Mentors

By connecting them with our Match Specialists for support, training, and resources.

Our Model

  • Provide intensive one-on-one mentoring and coaching
  • Match each Scholar with an adult mentor who commits to meet with their Scholar at least one time per month.
  • Mentors serve as a “life or college coach” to keep Scholars working toward achieving their goals of graduating high school, college and beyond.
  • Through orientation and on-going mentor training, mentors form meaningful relationships with Scholars to help them better prepare for personal and academic success.

What We Do

Starfish Mentors supported by Starfish Match Specialists help each scholar to effectively prepare for personal and academic success. by promoting their active participation in the three core essentials (3Cs) of the Starfish model: 1) College Readiness and Success; 2) Career Exploration; and 3) Character Development.  Starfish Initiative has a proven track record of helping promising students overcome barriers to achieve economic mobility,  develop cultural capacity and develop leadership skills necessary to prepare for personal and academic success.

Our Goal

Founded to help close the college-access gap for academically-promising students facing
unearned adversity in Indianapolis, Starfish Initiative is uniquely placed in the community to
improve graduation rates, provide post-secondary educational access, and make a difference for
students and their families — one at a time.

“Starfish Story”

There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water. He asked, “Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?” The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. “But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish!” exclaimed the young man. “How can you make any difference?” The old man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to the safety of the sea, he said, “I made a difference to that one.” — Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)