Starfish Initiative is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of at-risk and economically disadvantaged high school students. We assist students of promise overcome the barriers of poverty and develop cultural capacity and leadership skills that prepare them to graduate from high school and college. Our goal is to “fill empty caps and gowns” by improving graduation rates in Indianapolis.
- Starfish offers leadership training and college access, admission and retention programming. Leadership Camp curriculum has included “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens." Yearly, Leadership Camp offers a new curriculum and simulates going away to college. We also offer free personality type and career interest inventories to guide our Scholars toward an earlier determination of an appropriate major in college and, ultimately, career.
- Starfish motivates low-income youth and parents to understand that college is an option: As an eighth-grade student, each Starfish Scholar meets the income requirements to receive a Twenty-first Century Scholars’ Scholarship from the State of Indiana. Starfish develops partnerships with colleges and universities to ensure that students are prepared to take advantage of this scholarship opportunity. We work with the families of our first generation college students to understand the commitment involved in completing a four-year college education.
- Our college and career readiness programming focuses on 3C’s – College Readiness/Access, Career Exploration, and Character. These principles have been woven into the entire curriculum from freshman to senior year at each Starfish event.
- Starfish offers mentor programming as well! Mentors can participate in professional development programming that is delivered virtually and is engaging and interactive. These professional development skills are taught to mentors to be re-taught to scholars.
We recruit eighth-grade students by working with community centers, churches, private, charter, magnet and public schools to identify students with potential to benefit from participation in the Starfish Initiative. Our application process is open to the public, but we are selective in choosing students as “Starfish Scholars.”