Our Mission

Our Mission

Our mission at Access Better Learning and Education (ABLE) is to help Boston’s at-risk youth graduate from high school with the prospect of going on to pursue higher education and succeed in the workforce. ABLE serves this need by pairing students with four-year sponsors who provide one-on-one guidance and financial support for tuition-based education.

ABLE strives to improve the life prospects of all ABLE scholars, making a direct and meaningful impact on their lives and on the Boston community.


The Problem

Many students live in imperfect situations

  • ~18% of the population in Suffolk County lives below the poverty line
    • Roughly double that of Massachusetts
    • Roughly 1.5x the rate of the United States
  • 29% of children under 18 in Suffolk County live below the poverty line

Students who dropout have the potential to succeed

  • 88% of recent dropouts in a national survey had passing grades
  • Nearly 7 in 10 of recent dropouts said they were not motivated or inspired to work hard, and 2/3 would have worked harder if more was demanded of them
  • Nearly three quarters of recent dropouts would have stayed in school if they had to do it over again

ABLE’s Solution

The Student Sponsorship Model

  • Young professionals serve as mentors and contribute or raise funds to partially fulfill a student’s tuition gap
  • The Catholic Schools Foundation and other generous corporations and individuals partially sponsors our students

Proven Model: Student Sponsor Partners New York

  • In 1986, SSP started with 45 students and 45 sponsors at two schools. Today, the organization works with over 1,700 Sponsors and serves over 1,200 students at 20 schools. SSP’s model has already been replicated in many other communities around the nation and world, including Chicago, Providence, Washington, D.C., and Johannesburg, South Africa
  • An SSP student is three times more likely to graduate from high school than one who attends his/her local NYC public high school. Graduation rates at the NYC public high schools that SSP students would otherwise attend range between 20% and 30%. SSP’s graduation rate is over 80%.
  • Over the last several years, 95% of SSP graduates go on to college, compared to approximately 50% of NYC’s public high school graduates.

All-volunteer Model

ABLE is a vehicle that offers philanthropic involvement and leadership opportunities for Boston’s young professionals. ABLE is made up entirely of volunteers who underwrite all fundraising and administrative expenses, so every cent of every donation directly contributes to the education of Boston’s at-risk youth.

“Holding students prisoner in schools that aren’t working for them
is not the answer. Boston Public Schools rely on the fragmented efforts
of a loosely organized network of alternative programs and schools to
educate students who have trouble in regular schools.”

Waltham Daily News Tribune

“It seems to me that we have neglected the most vulnerable students. If after
ten years of education reform we have the highest dropout rate in ten years,
something is not working well.”

Anne Wheelock, Sr. Research Associate – Boston College

“There is a desperate need for this type of program. We always hope that our students will get aid, but sometimes this does not happen. It’s just another reason why we are so thankful to have ABLE as another option for our students.”

Director of Development from an ABLE partner school