Philadelphia Union Foundation's iAM Project is done in partnership with BIMBO Bakeries USA, Lincoln Financial Group, Neumann University, and the Durant Family Foundation. The iAM Project is a program that supports aspirational high school students from low-income backgrounds in Chester to maximize their personal, academic and professional potential, and to prosper.

The iAM Project leverages a network of inspirational speakers, academic and professional mentors, innovative links to industry, universities and internship providers to foster the knowledge, skills and interests that will afford our scholars a better future and a brighter hope. The program focuses on three core pillars: inspiration, aspiration, and mentorship.

The program’s three core pillars - inspiration, aspiration, and mentorship - will manifest over the course of the school year in the following ways:

Inspiration | Inspirational Speaker Series (7th-12th grade)

The iAM Project – Inspirational Speaker Series The iAM Project’s Inspirational Speaker Series feeds a growth mindset. Our speakers encourage students to look beyond their immediate environment, to open their eyes, to consider unthought-of opportunities, and to broaden their horizons. Students hear stories from people who have walked in their shoes, who understand the challenges they face and who overcame difficulties and beat the odds: “Yes, we can.” The Inspirational Speaker Series - hosted by our partners at Neumann University - happens three times per year: Spring, Summer and Thanksgiving. The primary audience is the 350-strong 7th-12th Grade student body of Chester Charter Scholars Academy. The inaugural speaker was in April 2022 with Jimmy White IV, a national award-winning youth/veteran advocate, a TEDx speaker, a Leadership Philadelphia alumnus, and a GW Bush Center Presidential scholar. In November 2022, students listed to Rich Kleiman, co-founder of 35V and Boardroom as well as long-time manager of Kevin Durant.

Aspiration | The Aspire Program (10th-11th grade)

Scholars accepted into The Aspire Program will benefit from exposure to several departments of a major league sports team and our partners. Taster sessions, ‘learn and explore’ workshops and two-week university residential culminate in a paid summer internship with scholars majoring in their chosen discipline. This experience is intended to focus a scholar’s mind on his/her next steps: university, trade school or a high quality apprenticeship.

Mentorship | Mentorship (12th grade)

Underpinning this final stage, each 12th grade Aspire Program scholar is personally mentored and coached through the college/apprenticeship application process by volunteers who have been hand-selected by our leadership team.

Continued Professional Development (Undergraduates)

Our scholars are provided with an unrivalled breadth of personal growth opportunities, professional development, mentoring and business connections. We ask all our partners to provide continuing professional development for Aspire Program alumni throughout their higher education.

Talent Pipeline (Graduates)

We ask all our partners to guarantee a job interview to our alumni upon graduation from university, trade school or completion of their apprenticeship.

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