OUR STORY: How We Work
Imagine Scholars grow to be different and extraordinary. Through our program we embrace our fears and mindsets so as not to be trapped by dogmas. We nurture each other’s character and help shape the way each of us sees the world.
Chawe, Class of 2019
OUR MISSION QUESTION
How can youth be empowered to enact change within themselves and their communities now and into the future?
Questions are the foundation of Imagine Scholar. We cultivate sincere, well-rounded entrepreneurial leaders, not by providing answers, but by fostering curiosity, creativity and inquisitiveness. Our youth are not passive recipients of aid – they play a dynamic role in shaping the content and direction of our programs.
Inspired by Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, a few years ago our collective student body elected to define and articulate why they are a part of the Imagine Scholar program. After thoughtful discussion and examination, they established four core beliefs every current and future student, staff member, and alumni needed to eagerly believe in order to thrive in our community. Imagine Scholar’s four whys include:
- Awakening the confidence to step outside our comfort zones
- Cultivating the extraordinary in ourselves
- Developing the courage to do the right thing
- Being empowered to inspire our community and the world
- Learning Zone: a meta-learning class that empowers students to learn about personal strategy and autonomy in their academic studies and personal pursuits.
- OMMM Lab: a communication and media literacy class that empowers Scholars to explore and use 21st century mediums for expression while simultaneously developing their confidence and humility to join larger critical conversations.
- Think Tank: a broad journey into cognition and the mind, its creative potential and fallible heuristics.
Additional vital components of our schedule include:
- Health and wellbeing, including daily mindfulness practices, exercise, gratitude practices and nutrition.
- Individualized coaching and mentorship.
- Student clubs, individual projects, and exhibit showcases highlighting goals, passions, and questions.
- Guest speakers.
A LIFELONG COMMITMENT
To become an Imagine Scholar, applicants undergo a rigorous, multi-year selection process led by our current Imagine Scholar youth. We find the students who want it the most. Once chosen, youth enter into a lifelong commitment to transform themselves and their communities.
Our introductory, foundation program. Top students from grades 6-8 are mentored by youth in our Scholars program and exposed to base concepts and ideas. It is from this group that we select the youth in the Scholars program.
Our core program. Each year, 10 youth are invited to join the intensive, 4-year Scholars program. They attend Imagine Scholar up to 6 days (20 hours) per week. Each month our youth explore new topics. They discover personal passions, lead community action projects, identify problems, evaluate potential solutions, research complex issues, discuss controversial subjects, connect with peers around globe, and learn in hands-on fashion.
Our post-secondary program. Our alumni have the skills and confidence to take prominent leadership positions across educational and professional fields. Most importantly, we keep our alumni connected to our Scholars program and their community. We invest heavily in retaining local leaders to serve as mentors and inspire future generations. These youth form a powerful network to drive community change from the inside out. See our “Alumni Programs” page for more information.
WHAT HAPPENS FOR YOUTH IN THE PROGRAM?
When youth join Imagine Scholar they dramatically increase their likelihood of academic and personal success. Compared to other African educational initiatives, we have one of the highest placement rates of youth in competitive secondary and post-secondary programs. These include some of the most selective programs in the world, such as United World Colleges, African Leadership Academy, and Yale Young Scholars. Many of our youth have been admitted on full scholarships. What’s even better is that once an Imagine Scholar opens a door of opportunity somewhere on the globe, he or she enables more youth to follow in their footsteps. Check out the map below to see where our extraordinary youth have gone.