Founded in South Jersey in 2009, TeenSHARP works to increase underrepresented students’ access to college and develop student-leaders who are successful, high-achieving and reaching potential (S.H.A.R.P.).
Since then, the organization has worked tirelessly to prepare hundreds of talented African American and Latino students to attend and thrive at top colleges and dramatically expand the diverse talent pipeline in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia Region.
“The grants from WSFS through the years were truly transformative as a startup organization,” said Tatiana Poladko, Co-Founder of TeenSHARP. “WSFS continued to provide grants, eventually becoming one of the first organizations to make a multi-year commitment and one of our largest funders. That funding allowed us to focus on our students and grow to serving more than 400 high school and 320 college students.”
With many students struggling to make the transition to high school, TeenSHARP’s programs provide supplemental courses to prepare students for that transition and help them get ahead throughout high school. Students are provided rigorous courses, including college courses taught by university professors, which expose them to societal concepts and challenges such analyzing racial and political issues to help develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills and make them a transformative leader.
Students are provided with advising services to help them get into college while also graduating with minimal financial debt. The program also helps students gain professional experience through competitive internship programs and support for years after college graduation to propel successful careers.
“It’s been amazing to watch the growth of the program through the years as TeenSHARP has expanded to multiple sites to help students in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia Region,” said Vernita Dorsey, Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy, WSFS Bank. “We’re thrilled WSFS’ contributions have been able to play a role in helping these students overcome historic barriers and build successful academic and professional careers.”
“WSFS’ contributions to TeenSHARP have extended beyond grants,” said Poladko. “Vernita has been phenomenal at connecting us with other opportunities and Kristin Moore, Senior Vice President, Director, Corporate Trust at WSFS Institutional Services, serves as TeenSHARP’s Board Chair. We’re beyond grateful for WSFS and our partnership with them.”
“TeenSHARP changes the life trajectory of their scholars in a way that has not been done before,” said Moore. “Having WSFS be an early and continuing supporter allows TeenSHARP to continue altering those trajectories. I’m a very proud WSFS Associate and TeenSHARP Board Member!”
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