The Mission Possible Initiative (TMPI) is an educational non-profit that aims to address source issues, the factors that impact a student’s achievement outside of the classroom, such as exposure, mentorship and pathways to opportunities. We currently serve low-income students throughout Central Alabama and the Washington D.C. metro area. Our group is a subsect of the 501(c)3 organization The Corp Member Education Foundation.
Since 2012, we have strived to impact the trajectory of talented young scholars who are challenged by the limited resources and opportunities made available to them. Since our founding, TMPI has been able to double in fundraising and increase the number of students served. This growth has allowed us to expand outside of Central Alabama and into a second region (Washington D.C.).
TMPI was founded in the fall of 2012 in a classroom located in Hayneville, Alabama. Spencer, a first year Teach For America corps member, immediately witnessed the systemic educational challenges facing his students. Of those challenges, experiential disparities were made severely evident as soon as September, when he gave a lesson on 9/11. Spencer showed videos of the tragic day, only to hear comments like, “There are places with buildings like that?”. From this experience and others like it, Spencer decided that he needed to expose his students to those places, firsthand.
Throughout the United States, low-income schools and students are are often the hardest-hit victims of a broken system. Many are not given the ample opportunities necessary for achieving high levels of success. In general, it’s believed that these issues can be solved by employing a “top-down” approach, wherein policy reform trickles down to the classroom in the forms of resources, technology and content. Although this strategy is necessary, balancing it with a “bottom up” approach is essential to generating change. Addressing the intangible source issues that aren’t easily measured, such as exposure, mentorship and confidence, helps put students on a pathway to becoming fierce competitors on the economic world stage.
“Right now there’s a popular idea in education– it pops up all over the place– about exposure, that exposure is particularly important for poor kids. Not just important– that it can change destinies. You know, you take a group of kids to tour a college campus, they’ll be more likely to go to college. Or if you just know someone who went to college, that’ll help.
The idea is that if you want a kid to move from one social class to another, that kid has to see what it looks like over there on the other side. Exposure is a tool for social change and economic mobility.”
- This American Life, “Three Miles” 2015 Chicago Public Media & Ira Glass
“If we are serious about the type of person we want to become and where we want to go, we need to surround ourselves with the wisdom of people who have been there, done that, and have lived to share their mistakes.”
-Joshua Medcalf and Jamie Gilbert, Burn your Goals: The Counter Cultural Approach to Achieving Your Greatest 2014 Lulu Publishing Service
“Ultimately a person has within themselves some kind of capital, some kind of asset, like knowledge or confidence. And if we can help bring that out, they then carry that asset with them to the next difficulty in life.”
- Paul Tough, “Who Gets to Graduate” 2014 The New York Times