New Year 2019 - Letter from Michael

I wanted to share a heartwarming and inspiring story with you as we embark on the new year. I recently visited my alma mater Washington University in St Louis. While in college there, I created a pilot mentoring program with Wash U students volunteering as mentors to local high school students in underserved communities. The results of the pilot were inspiring, leading me to officially launch Strive for College as a full-fledged organization. And Wash U naturally became the first campus chapter.

Michael with WU Strive chapter mentors & students

Michael with WU Strive chapter leaders

While today Strive is primarily focused on scaling our proven mentoring program online, it is awesome to see that the Strive chapter at Wash U is not only still going, it’s thriving! The original University sponsor and advisor of the pilot, Julia Macias Garcia, is still the club adviser. She is an incredible person and I was so blessed to have her guidance in starting Strive. It's heartwarming and inspiring to see her involvement and support of the program even 12 years later.

I had the privilege of attending a mentoring session put on by the chapter and got to catch up with its leaders. All three of them participated in Strive as high school students and then became mentors in college. Talk about full circle!

The Strive chapter at Wash U now helps students from 7th to 12th grade with college prep and applications. The session I visited included students from City Academy in St Louis, close to 100 students participate in the Strive program!

The leader of the WashU Strive chapter, Stephanie, inspired me with her own personal story of going through Strive as a high school student and wanting to make a difference in other students' lives by continuing to mentor and run the chapter at WashU today. Stephanie wants to make a difference in education for many years to come, and I have no doubt that her passion and experience will help thousands of students lives for the better.

My visit to the Wash U chapter reminded me of what’s possible when we put our differences aside and come together to help one another. I remember when I was starting Strive in college that one objection from many people was that college students are unreliable and that the chapter would die out once I graduated college. With the support of Julia Macias Garcia, coupled with the incredible leadership of Stephanie and her fellow chapter leaders, Strive has not only continued to impact many students over the years, it has actually grown and is thriving more then I could have ever imagined!

It's incredible what a small group of people with a common cause can achieve together. And to see the students Strive helped as high school students now leading Strive as mentors and chapter leaders -- like Stephanie and her fellow leaders are -- is what the spirit of giving is all about.

As a new year begins, I want to hold onto this beautiful example at Strive of coming together and helping one another -- paying it forward -- and celebrate everyone associated with Strive who mentor or support our mission in other ways. Strive’s impact is due to the collective efforts of so many. Thank you for your continued support!

Strive Fives All Around,

Michael J. Carter
Strive for College, Founder & CEO