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About Us

Inspiring Minds empowers students to succeed and thrive in school and life by developing trusted relationships with community members who are knowledgeable of the culturally responsive, academic, and socio-emotional needs necessary for student success.

About Us

Inspiring Minds empowers students to succeed and thrive in school and life by developing trusted relationships with community members who are knowledgeable of the culturally responsive, academic, and socio-emotional needs necessary for student success.


Inspiring Minds delivers effective programs that build academic and social-emotional skills using a developmental relationships framework. 

We serve a diverse population of students who are exceptional, intelligent and resilient. We believe all students deserve an educational environment that fosters a sense of belonging and purpose that is shared with everyone who is part of the school community and the community at large. 

We recognize the impact that systematic barriers such as racism, poverty, housing insecurity and hunger have on learning, especially in under-resourced schools. Therefore, we work in partnership with school districts, institutions of higher education, civic groups and the community at large to provide quality programs that empower students to succeed and thrive in school and life

While we serve students in grades PK-12, we focus much of our efforts on our youngest students because we understand that the foundational skills that are learned in the early years are a crucial indicator of future success. For example, research has found that students who read by third grade are more likely to perform well in other subjects, and those who do not read at grade level in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010) 

We also recognize the importance of cultivating a diverse teacher workforce; therefore, we offer programming to aspiring educators- those young people who want to make a difference in our schools in the future.  There is a large body of research that suggests there are significant benefits to a diverse teacher workforce. Teachers of color are more likely to set high expectations for students of color.  (Ferguson, 2003) They bring with them cultural contexts when determining instructional strategies, introducing topics that students relate to, and bringing that lens to interpreting students’ behavior.  Further research indicates that having a BIPOC teacher increases the value students place on academic success. (Villegas, 2004)  Most importantly, our participants recognize how meaningful it is; “As a student of color myself who went to Providence Public Schools, I feel for them and I was able to relate to a few of the things mentioned and I want to be there for them..”- An Explorer. 

We use an asset-based, developmental relationship model, because it works. (Search Institute, 2020). Developmental relationships allow each person involved to experience care, challenge, support, shared power and expanded possibilities.  Developmental relationships help people grow. By nurturing self-expression, critical reflection, and social skills, they continually open up new possibilities for success and new opportunities to make a difference.




ResilientKids Classrooms


Hours of Engagement at Schools

Tutoring/Mentoring Sessions

Teachers Requested Our Volunteers

Economic Value of Volunteers in Dollars

Our Impact

Our Logic Model guides our work. In this model, we have identified needs within the Providence Community and our organization’s strategies to approach and mitigate these issues. The intermediate and long-term outcomes that arise from our services are listed, as well as overarching impacts.

While the impact on our students is our primary goal, we also recognize the impact service has on our volunteers.

Positive Student Outcomes

Problem / Need
Many of our students experience inequities based on race, ethnicity, first language, and economic status.

We owe it to our children to provide a relevant and culturally responsive education.

We need to ensure that our future leaders have the skills required to tackle the problems of tomorrow.

The standards and tests are more rigorous for good reason: students need strong skills to graduate ready for college and a 21st-century career.

The turnaround is a big adjustment for everyone: teachers, students, and schools.

Everyone should have the opportunity to engage in developmental relationships, but not everyone does- Low-income families, families of color, and non-English-speaking families often face barriers to engaging with such opportunities.

Many existing systems are structured in ways that limit the ability of adults and young people to engage in developmental relationships.

A whole-child approach to education focuses attention on the emotional, social, mental, physical, and cognitive development of students. At its core, the approach views the purpose of schooling as developing future citizens and providing the basis for children to fulfill their potential1,2

Search Institute research demonstrates the critical and essential role of a developmental relationship with a caring adult for students to learn, grow and thrive.

Practice makes progress.

All students can succeed with the culturally responsive approach, resources, and support.

We owe it to our children to provide a relevant and culturally responsive education

An education that acknowledges pressing real-world problems equips students with the practical skills and conceptual tools needed to address them.

Children’s home language skills fuel their learning, moving them toward bilingual fluency and academic achievement.

1Diamond, A. (2010). The evidence base for improving school outcomes by addressing the whole child and by addressing skills and attitudes, not just content. Early education and development, 21(5), 780-793.

2 Slade, S., & Griffith, D. (2013). A whole child approach to student success. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy.

Intentionally recruit a diverse workforce and corps or volunteers.

Provide trained volunteer tutors and mentors to support students with a strong focus on the early grades to support children acquiring critical skills.

Teachers and schools intentionally select students who will benefit from Inspiring Minds programs and services.

Students are served a minimum of 28 sessions per year.

Ensure the folks who are working with youth are equipped with the knowledge of our student’s and community’s resilience and the history of the intentional systemic barriers that affect our students.

Partner with other youth-serving organizations for greater impact.

Build meaningful relationships with our community.

Supporting bilingual fluency for children in grades K–5, especially for children whose first language is not English, boosts children’s learning and establishes a strong foundation for academic success.

Intermediate Outcomes
Students have individualized practice opportunities to achieve mastery of their mind and body, literacy, and numeracy.

Students develop relationships with a caring adult to support social-emotional learning.

Students feel more confident about their ability to learn and take charge.

Students develop a positive academic mindset.

Student attendance improves.

Student horizons expand beyond their immediate environment.

Students have an increased sense of belonging.

Students have more coping strategies.

Students increase skills of mindfulness: observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience.

Longer-Term Outcomes
Students take responsibility for their learning and academic achievement.

Students become lifelong learners.

Students have the foundational skills to achieve better grades

Students experience improved social and emotional well-being.

Greater individual and community empowerment.

Equitable educational opportunities for all student Improved equity and quality of life indicators

Students have healthy relationships with their community.

Societal costs are reduced by reducing inequities.

People serving with Inspiring Minds

Problem / Need
As caregivers, community members, and educators, we have a responsibility to ensure each child, family, and caregiver is safe from racism and discrimination and has equitable opportunities to thrive.

The turnaround is a big adjustment for everyone: teachers, students, and schools.

For reform to be effective in improving the quality of education, we must make sure teachers have the support they need to meet the challenge.

Many in our community want to help but are not sure exactly how to help.

Many existing systems are structured in ways that limit the ability of adults and young people to engage in developmental relationships.

Representation in the classroom matters. Having a diverse teacher workforce connects cultures, sets high expectations, and reduces implicit bias.

Inspiring Minds needs skill-based volunteers to expand its capacity beyond its financial means.

Our community needs to lift up our future workforce and ensure they have the skills they need to be successful in a complex world.

Volunteers can play a role in helping schools enhance equity of opportunity by adding their contribution to addressing barriers to learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students.

College students want/need exposure to urban classrooms.

Volunteers and staff can be trained to make a difference for children

Folks who work with youth need additional support to cope and persevere through the challenges today’s society brings.

Funding can be found to support volunteers through Inspiring Minds.

Not all volunteers who care about children want to work directly with them.

There are folks with needed skills who could volunteer at Inspiring Minds if given the opportunity, support, and awareness.

We are not experts at everything and need partnerships and collaboration to reach our intended outcomes and impact our community.

The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it.

Analyze and address barriers to engage POC in schools.

Intentionally recruit volunteers and staff from diverse communities.

Provide meaningful and rewarding experiences for volunteers.

Provide ongoing support, social connections, and professional development to retain and develop volunteers.

Integrate racial equity discussions, reflection, cultural humility, learning, innovation, and community-mindedness in professional development.

Develop Communities of Practice for staff and other opportunities to learn from each other by articulating their experiences around the use of a Lens and the model.

Promote cross-sector, state, and national advocacy efforts around racial equity.

Intermediate Outcomes
Develop meaningful relationships with children and other adults who serve.

Develop the skills they need to support students, themselves, or capacity-building efforts.

Experience purpose and meaning through their work with us.

Gain a greater understanding of how systemic racism impacts our community, the needs of students, and their schools.

Increased sense of pride in Inspiring Minds’ goals and identity around racial equity.

Strong understanding of the intersectionality of racism and other social oppressions.

Longer-Term Outcomes
Student academic and social-emotional wellbeing outcomes improve.

Volunteers and staff have the agency to make more differences in their community.

More aware teachers responsive to urban student development.
State residents support more resources for urban schools.

Volunteers and staff advocate for and donate to Inspiring Minds and other causes that eliminate the root causes of the inequities affecting our students.

Explorers demonstrate growth in leadership competencies including instructional leadership, community and culture, personal leadership, and talent management and development.

A strong, engaged, connected and resilient community supports our students

A shared vision for systemic change and advocate for responses to social issues that our students face.

Eliminate root causes of inequities affecting our students.

Greater individual and community empowerment.

A diverse teacher workforce can lead classroom students to consider becoming educators themselves.

Schools are trusting and supportive communities that are continuously improving.