Elevate Phoenix Lends a Hand at Chavez

Posted by Community Relations Department on 5/23/2012

A program called Elevate Phoenix is lifting at-risk students into college-going, community-minded productive citizens at Cesar Chavez High School.  The non-profit, privately funded outreach project connects students with a fulltime staff of peer mentors who provide a peer leadership elective class; after school mentoring/tutoring; career instruction/post-secondary preparation; character, life skill and  leadership development and community service.  The Elevate Phoenix program at Chavez has partnered with Gateway Community College providing 37 graduating seniors with scholarships, as well as a five-week postsecondary readiness class this summer. 


Students in the high school program also give back, mentoring at neighboring Bernard Black Elementary School once a week to create a pipeline of relationship-building and future Elevate Phoenix students, beginning in the second grade.  This year, 20 Elevate Phoenix students at Chavez who completed the peer leadership class received fully loaded laptops as a reward at a Senior Recognition Ceremony, May 10.  Next year there will be 100 students, and four classes offered.

“The project is really organic, because for every one student we help, we are impacting others, both in the elementary schools and in the high school,” Tim Cleary, Executive Director said.  “We want to create a legacy, a revolving door with people who care, and when the high school students help similar kids, the younger kids connect, and it holds the high school students accountable.   It is about relationships, and having one significant adult in a student’s life whenever they need that person. “

Cesar Chavez counselors play a big part in selecting the students for the Elevate Phoenix program, and monitor their progress over the semesters.  To date, Elevate seniors have a 100 percent graduation and 98 percent postsecondary entry rate, and 71percent of the high school students in Elevate improved their grades annually over the first two-and one-half years of the program.”


The model for Elevate Phoenix came from Denver several years ago, called Colorado Uplift, and it now serves 4000 students in 22 schools.  The Elevate concept is expanding to Elevate Orlando, New York and Portland.    It is gaining momentum in Phoenix, as well, supported by a growing group of local philanthropists looking for results, not publicity.    Next year, Camelback High School and Balsz Elementary Schools will team up with Gateway Community College.  Phoenix Union and Elevate Phoenix hope the program grows to other high schools.