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Academic Success - Y Achievers


Somewhere between being a kid and becoming an adult, a teen discovers who they are and who they want to be. At the Y, we know that teenagers will rise to meet expectations set for them, so we set our expectations high, particularly where it counts.

Nationally, fewer than six in ten Black and Hispanic students graduate from high school. Additionally, the dropout rate of students living in low-income situations is often up to fives times greater than the rate of their peers from high-income families. In an effort to change the trajectory for local teens, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte offers Y Achievers to help high school students improve academic performance, develop a positive sense of self, explore diverse college and career options and learn from a diverse group of business professionals.

Program History

In 1971, Dr. Leo B. Marsh started the Black Achievers program at the Harlem Branch YMCA to help African-American teens improve academic standards and boost self-esteem. Since then, YMCAs across the country have adopted the Y Achievers program, with over 330 program sites operating to help teens of color set and pursue high educational and career goals resulting in graduation and acceptance to an institution of higher learning. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2011 to launch Y Achievers at three high schools. The program has since grown to serve over 350 students annually at nine area high schools.

In 2014, YMCA of the USA launched a national Y Achievers model to standardize the program. Y-USA chose the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s Y Achievers program as the leading site to implement this effort, along with 11 other sites across the country.

Our Impact

Since 2011, Y Achievers has served nearly 900 high school students in the greater Charlotte area, and 99% of all Y Achievers seniors have graduated from high school. The program facilitates annual college tours and job shadowing experiences, and has placed 230 students in paid summer internships.

Read the most recent Y Achievers Impact Report

For information about supporting, partnering, or volunteering with Y Achievers, please contact yachievers@ymcacharlotte.org