Recent Success Stories

2018 Success Stories Colllage with LOGO











(2017-2018 School Year)
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Six-Year-Old Excels After Experiencing Significant Trauma
A six-year-old girl who had endured significant trauma, including witnessing violence against her mother, was put into the custody of her maternal grandparents. Her grandmother had to return to work to cover the growing expenses, so she enrolled her in the Center’s after-school program. The young girl faced many emotional challenges due to her traumatic experiences. She would often cry, scream, lie, and steal to deal with her complex emotions. Staff worked diligently with her – they were patient, understanding, and provided the emotional support she needed to overcome her traumatic past. Today, she is a leader among her peers, discussing her feelings openly, and now testing well above her grade level.

Student Victim of Gun Violence Finds Way to Cope and Excel
An 18-year-old student who had been attending the program since the third grade was playing with a friend at a nearby park when gun shots rang out. He was hit in the leg and survived. His friend passed away from his wounds. The Center was there during his entire recovery and encouraged his continued involvement in the program. While the injury deterred his basketball dreams, he came to the Center early his senior year and proclaimed, “I want to go to college!” Half way through the application process, he realized he was not emotionally ready for all the up and downs of college life. Staff assured him there were other paths to success. He found a program dedicated to providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and empowerment required to transition into professional careers and higher education. The Center covered the costs for him to travel to Arizona to be orientated on the program. He found it to be a great fit and is now more certain about his future. He will be attending this fall.

Sue Duncan Lifer Graduating from Wellesley, Accepts Position at Google
A college senior graduating from Wellesley College this spring is an outstanding example of what a supportive and resourceful program of excellence can produce. A proud “lifer” of the Sue Duncan Children’s Center (pre-K thru college), she consistently maintained a 3.7-4.0 GPA at Wellesley. She is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and was recently awarded the Beinecke Scholarship, which grants 20 students from different colleges and universities with $34,000 to be used toward a Master’s or PhD. She recently accepted a position with Google in Mountain View, California after completing an internship with them. She is extremely passionate about introducing computer science and technology to underrepresented groups and increasing diversity in technology and higher education.

Unstable Home Life Becomes Motivator to Help Other Kids
When a now college student who had attended the Center since the first grade began her journey, she was an emotional wreck – angry, crying, and difficult to manage. Things only got worse when she and her brother were moved from their parents’ home and placed with their grandmother. A long-time volunteer paired her with a mentor/therapist that started using art as a form of therapy. Her behavior changed, she became more motivated, worked hard through high school, and set her heart on attending a liberal arts college. When her dream school Earlman College accepted her, Center staff taught her how to tell her story and advocate for herself, which gave her the confidence to reach out to Earlham and make a strong case for additional financial aid. As a result, most of her tuition expenses were covered. She is now a junior studying psychology and political science with plans to become a lawyer. She recently secured a juvenile justice summer internship and is on track to helping other kids the way the Center helped her.

Incarceration of Parent Didn’t Stop This Young Man
The mother of a thirteen-year-old student was incarcerated when he began attending to receive advice and answers to his many questions. A staff member was always there to discuss his concerns, encourage his strong moral code, and help him reach his goals. He has been a participant in the program for several years now and has shown tremendous resilience and growth both academically and emotionally. Recently, he set his sights on getting into a selective enrollment high school. He came to the program daily to focus on researching each school to ensure it would be a good fit for his personality and future goals. He recently took the selective enrollment exam for high school and is waiting to hear back. Ultimately, he wants to attend college and will be taking full advantage of the Center’s College Preparation, Placement & Support Program.

College Tours Help Students Envision Themselves Attending
The Center sponsored several college tours with eighth and ninth graders as part of its College Preparation, Placement & Support Program to encourage and support student e ambitions for higher education. Visits were made to nearby University of Chicago thanks to our partnership with their Neighborhood Schools Program, Purdue University, Notre Dame, and Indiana University. It was an inspiring experience as we encourage them to start planning their futures as potential college graduates. One of the students remarked with excitement during the tours: “I can really see myself going to college now!”

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