Mission and Vision
Imagine Scholar provides unique, personalized education to promising and motivated youth from disadvantaged communities in South Africa’s rural Nkomazi region. Our goal is to effect profound change on individual lives and empower the next generation of African leaders through creative, multidimensional development. We aspire not to help students merely get by, but to give them the tools to be the difference makers of their generation and bring about lasting change in their communities.
Imagine Scholar’s primary program is the Imagine Academy, an intensive four-year, twice-a-week after school mentorship program for select secondary school students. We also provide study help and personal support outside of class in order to give the students every opportunity to succeed. We began working with our first class of Imagine Scholars in August 2010. Going forward, we will accept ten 9th graders each year, building to a total enrollment of 40 scholars preparing for professional achievement and success in the wider world. Eventually we envision a network of current and former Imagine Scholars foster each others growth and acting as inspirational examples for the community.
The Imagine Academy
The Imagine Academy challenges students to think in ways - analytically, imaginatively, and abstractly – they don’t usually have a chance to. We provide a very different learning environment than the rote memorization dominant in the local schools. Classes involve a variety of exercises aimed at fostering original thought, such as logic games, in-depth discussions, problem solving exercises, and writing prompts. Sometimes we introduce a famous thinker and debate his or her ideas. The students read a fun, interesting book each month (i.e. The Giver, Siddhartha, Fahrenheit 451) and analyze it in class together. Weekend classes often incorporate a thought-provoking movie, guest speaker, chess tournament, or formalized debate. We always encourage students to form opinions, listen to others, and examine all sides of a question.
Coming from all corners of the Nkomazi region, with a wide variety of struggles and successes, every student shares a deep desire to forge a better life. Many students are orphans. Most come from families that struggle to provide life’s basic necessities. Despite these challenges, Imagine Scholars compete academically with the top students in the country. They are natural hard-workers whose underutilized talents have a natural home at the Imagine Academy. All they need to realize their potential is the right support and encouragement.
How You Can Help
Imagine Scholar survives on the overwhelming generosity of others. We are fortunate to have an outside organization cover all our administrative costs, so every penny you donate goes straight to the Imagine Academy and the students. Books, school uniforms, and field trips are just a few of the things your support brings to deeply appreciative students. You can donate to Imagine Scholar (we are a 501(c) tax-exempt organization) by visiting ImagineScholar.org. We also welcome your ideas, advice, experience, or collaboration and are very grateful for all manner of contributions.