Close the Gap is a mission-based nonprofit dedicated to helping students from low socioeconomic backgrounds to close the opportunity gap. We believe that empowering students with a network and mentoring programs boosts their confidence and provides them the support needed to pursue their educational and professional goals.
Spark Summer Program 2019
The team started off early last year by reaching out to Bay Area high school students. The outreach started with counselors at disadvantaged schools to help identify students that are passionate about a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Students were encouraged to go through an application process to qualify for the program. The program itself consisted of three phases.
Close the Gap invited a select group of applicants to a day-long program. The day kicked off with an introduction to the program and its goals. Three industry executives were invited to participate in a working session where students had an opportunity to review their career goals with experts, gather opinions, and guidance towards achieving those goals.
The second half of the day consisted of a series of speakers and open discussion forums on personal development with topics spanning communications and time management.
This phase encouraged students to identify a social issue that they associated very passionately with and present their experiences and achievements to the team. The program empowered students to lean on community resources to drive forward their mission.
The presentation phase gave students a chance to craft their story, get hands-on with presentation tools, and gain confidence through public speaking. A panel of judges consisting of industry executives rated students on several factors like social cause, creativity, impact, growth mindset, and communication skills. The top three students were awarded scholarships. Our scholars tackled social issues ranging from school supply shortage to SAT tutoring.
Close the Gap 2020: What’s Ahead
Close the Gap continues to gain momentum into 2020. The team has expanded beyond the board of directors by adding advisors and is currently looking to fill several critical roles in partnerships, compliance, and program management. With new resources onboard, current programs are being expanded based on feedback and additional outreach efforts are being put into place to extend the reach of Close the Gap’s efforts.