George Weiss, the founder of Say Yes to Education was a sophomore in college when his University of Pennsylvania fraternity held a Christmas party for some inner-city 12 year olds.  Struck by their struggles and determination, Weiss went on to organize a program built to “combine an early incentive of college education with high quality and sustained academic, social, emotional, health, and family supports throughout the K-12 years.”

Syracuse was the first community to “receive Say Yes city-wide support in the United States.”  Incorporating extended days, tutoring, mentoring, family services, financial aid counseling, and health and legal assistance referrals, students are given the tools they need to succeed – of course combined with their own hard work and dreams.  Now all Syracuse City school students who “meet residency, graduation, and admission requirements,” can attend over 100 private and public colleges and universities.

With impressive national and local results, Say Yes to Education seems to be meeting expectations and goals.  And as a community,  perhaps Nelson Mandela says it best – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and Syracuse is seeing and feeling that change.  

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