Prep Forward is a preparatory training program offered to select African American student-athletes, ages 13-18, throughout Allegheny County. The curriculum bridges the gap between traditional education and the real world. The aim is to holistically prepare students and their families for the rigors of higher education, the demands of an evolving job market, and the complexities of a changing world.
Below is a breakdown of services and support:
- consistent -
Mentorship opportunities are provided to students with professional members of the community. Students have a designated Program Coordinator, Clarence Samuel, who is passionate about closing the racial achievement gap in education. The students also have regular access to the Founder, Aaron Donald.
- Academic -
Staff regularly monitor students grades, school attendance, and infractions. Weekly one-on-one tutoring is available for students and staff provides workshops to students covering organization, study habits, and time management.
- Life Skills -
The curriculum teaches soft skills, like effective communication and problem-solving in innovative ways through trivia games, competitions, and literature reviews. Executive Director, Akita Donald, is a master’s level clinician. Her therapeutic background is integrated into the program.
- Job -
Students learn vital skills for advancement, such as professionalism and “code switching.” Through job shadow experiences and guest speakers, students learn about and explore potential career opportunities in various professions like, science, law, and business.
- Student -
Students and their families are encouraged to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices. Staff hosts activities that promote physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness, such as yoga, hiking, fishing, cycling, and aromatherapy.
- Family -
Staff maintains regular contact with caregivers. Students and their immediate family participate in monthly in-person meetings. Meetings range from financial education activities, career panel discussions, lyrical battles, and board games.
- Athletic -
During the off-season, students are provided with a scholarship to attend regular athletic training with the team at 2Tenths Speed and Agility, conducted by the trainer who works with founder Aaron Donald.
- And -
AD99 Solutions’ support of each student extends far beyond the classroom or training center. Staff can frequently be found attending football games, award ceremonies, and other key events that are important to the students and their families.
In 2022, because of an identifiable need, as evidenced by city-wide research, and a lack of existing programming for the specific population in Pittsburgh, AD99 Solutions plans to expand services to include a cohort of Black female student-athletes.