“They don’t just work with your child who’s in the program…UPO helps and works with your whole family.”

Kim Holsey is the mother of a bright and energetic 9th grader. During 7th grade, her daughter Takia came home from Hart Middle School raving about an enrichment program called P.O.W.E.R that met weekly at her school! Kim had never seen this type of excitement in her daughter and was curious to learn more! To her surprise, she found out that this was a free program offered to income eligible families who live in DC’s Wards 7 and 8! She quickly enrolled her daughter and their enthusiasm increased!

The UPO “Providing Opportunities with Educational Readiness” (P.O.W.E.R.) is a STEM-based program designed to nurture and prepare youth in grades six through twelve for the academic rigors of higher education. Students participate in national competitions, tour museums and college campuses, and meet new people! They receive college-readiness and life-skills training, tutoring, and give back to the community through volunteerism. All of this is facilitated by a team of educated, compassionate professionals who are committed to making sure every child has an opportunity to succeed!

UPO’s services are not just offered to children. While her daughter was enrolled in P.O.W.E.R., Kim attended the Parenting Journey Program, sponsored by UPO’s Youth Services Division, where she learned ways and techniques to improve her parenting skills and uplift her community! The weekly meetings helped her connect with other parents and learn more about the comprehensive resources offered through UPO.

“It was great to learn about job training, GED assistance, free tax prep and many more programs for my family!”

With a love for cooking, after completing the Parenting Journey Program, Kim enrolled in UPO’s Culinary Arts training program! During the 12-week program, she learned food basics, attained hands-on commercial kitchen experience and earned the nationally recognized ServSafe Food Handler certification! This helped her secure employment to support her family and move to the next level up!

“I was nervous about the program because I didn’t finish high school but the P.O.W.E.R. team members helped me to stay motivated and focused.”

By offering programs and services for Kim and her daughter, we’ve helped her family move closer to attaining generational self-sufficiency! Kim now boasts that her daughter is an honor student and P.O.W.E.R. keeps her on top of her academics! And, she has secured stable employment and encourages other parents to utilize UPO’s programs and services!

UPO’s “wrap-around” approach strengthens families across the District. Kim’s dedication to building a better life for her family will continue to be met with support because when you’re a part of the UPO family, we wrap our arms around you and are with you every step of the way! #SheIsUPO #MoveToEducation #MovetoEmpowerment

“It’s not a judgmental environment. They make you feel comfortable and provide encouragement. They remind you that age doesn’t disqualify you, you can still achieve better for your family if you stay focused. ”