ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
Building Character in Teens to Believe and Succeed!
The organization’s focus is to mentor at-risk high school teenagers and provide them with knowledge and experience to successfully navigate the personal and academic challenges they encounter living in low-income areas of the community. A particular area of concern was the students’ low high school graduation rates, lack of career and college readiness and the absence of summer employment. Professional Opportunities Programs for Students, Inc. (POPS) was formed as a response to the lack of structured summer activities for high school youth in low-income neighborhoods of Orange County, FL. A “summer jobs program” was formed for several students, which eventually led to the founding of the 503(c)3 nonprofit.
Today, POPS has increased the high school graduation and post-secondary success for our students by 98%, and has offered services to more than 5000 students. During the summer POPS students get to “try out” different careers through paid summer internships. POPS also serves as a deterrent against the possibility of lifelong poverty, crime, incarceration, substance abuse and economic immobility. POPS ensures on time graduation and preparation for a meaningful post-secondary experience, with the objective of providing a pathway to socio-economic mobility, resiliency and lifetime sustainability that will impact future generations. POPS’ comprehensive set of program services include-mentoring, character education, money management, college preparation and workforce development and training.
The mission of POPS is to enrich the life experiences for teenagers as they transition into adulthood, by providing personal and professional development opportunities that will have generational impact regardless of the social, economic or environmental barriers that they may face.