Atlanta’s Mayor’s Youth Program is Kalamazoo Promise on Steroids

Kwanza Fisher, founder of Neighborhood Mathematica, a supplemental math education program for Atlanta students. The Obama Administration also honored her this year as one of 11 national youth entrepreneurs.

Last week President Obama unveiled his Jobs Plan designed to put America back to work. Elementary and secondary education are included as part of the plan. The president proposed $30 billion to prevent teacher layoffs and another $25 billion to modernize 35,000 public schools in need of repair. The point seems clear that there is a direct link between education and jobs and innovative opportunities that can help generate jobs.

On a recent Atlanta radio show Mayor Reed announced his interest in adopting the Kalamazoo Promise here in Atlanta. The Kalamazoo Promise was one of the inspirations for the Mayor’s Youth Program (MYP) started in 2005 and resulting in millions in private donations to fill the gap funding for nearly 4,000 Atlanta Public School students to attend over 100 colleges, universities and technical schools across the country. After reading about the “Promise” programs in Boston and Kalamazoo we expanded the concept here in Atlanta to include colleges inside and outside of the Georgia public system. It turns out that from 2005 to 2010, Atlanta Public School graduating seniors and graduating seniors of city employee families all participated. This is exactly the type of program President Obama urged Congress and Americans to adopt to meet the current global economic challenges. With investment in education at every level cradle to college and retraining the workforce we can promote innovation, creativity and visionary ideas for the future.

As the discussion to fund Atlanta students’ college education continues, I am reminded of the Mayor’s Youth Program and its’ value in Atlanta. Many of the APS graduates of the Mayor’s Youth Program graduated from college and are either pursuing their careers or advanced degrees. The students accomplishments are proof that when we help fill their education funding gap and remove the uncertainty of adequate funding, students will soar.

In the six years of the program, I along with AWDA staff and SHRM volunteers met with nearly 7,000 APS graduating seniors on Saturdays throughout the school year and AWDA also offered them training, thousands of paid summer internships, direct counseling and financial-aid grants. The demonstrated success and results of the MYP are Atlanta’s youths who are leading fruitful and contributing lives. Here’s hoping Atlanta and Georgia students have full access to all colleges and post secondary programs in America. The Mayor’s Youth Program was Kalamazoo on steroids!

Kwanza Fisher is a former Mayor’s Youth Program recipient. and she is the founder and executive director of math tutoring program for 1-8 grade Atlanta students. Read Kwanza’s recent letter to friends and family and it is clear that investing in youth and education pays off big time.

Dear Family and Friends

Much has happened in the past three weeks for Neighborhood Mathematica–the supplemental math education program for students in grades 1-8 that sends volunteer math coaches out to tutor students in preparation for a regional competition. In addition to winning $10,000 at the 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Elevator Pitch Competition on July 29th, I was invited to the White House last week as a Champion of Change for the work that is being done in math education here in Atlanta. At the White House I spoke on a panel about social entrepreneurship, developing a culture of education communities, and riding one’s personal wave of passion. In just a short amount of time, Neighborhood Mathematica has had unprecedented recognition and a vote of confidence from the highest level of American government.

This semester, we are posed to offer upwards of 500 students in 10 different neighborhoods 40 additional math instruction hours outside of classrooms. This timely service is free to students, parents, and schools, but is funded by organizations and individuals like you. It cost $247 to offer supplemental math education to students who need it the most in areas across Atlanta. Please consider making a contribution at that level on the fundraising platform or send a check to 1225 Fairburn Road Unit F7 Atlanta, Georgia 30331. All checks are made out to our fiscal sponsor, Full Circle Mentoring Agency, Inc, a nonprofit with 501-C-3 status. In order for your gift to be a tax write off, you must send a notice to

There will be a fundraiser on September 15 in Southwest Atlanta to celebrate fundraising success. Admission to this event is sponsorship at the $247 level. Individuals or organizations that make contributions upwards of $1000 receive exclusive marketing and advertising perks at the competition, which will be held the end of the year and tentatively at the Georgia World Congress Center. Local press will be invited.

Thank you so much for your support. Together, we can help Atlanta students achieve!

Kwanza Fisher
Neighborhood Mathematica
Founder and Executive Director