Athletic Scholars Advancement Program (ASAP) began with a few people who believed that they could help make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth and has evolved into a multi-year commitment to an entire school. ASAP has grown from a grassroots effort to send a soccer team to camp into a year round college access and persistence program helping students at San Francisco’s Mission High School on their journeys to and through college.
In 2004, after a series of gang-related student deaths, Scott Kennedy – the school’s athletic director and soccer coach – hoped to bring his team to summer camp at UC Berkeley, not only to learn skills but also to remove them from the violence in their communities. The San Francisco Chronicle featured an article about the gang violence affecting the soccer team at Mission High. Responding to the article, Judy Grossman helped to raise money to send those 18 soccer players to UC Berkeley for summer camp. As she got to know the students better, she realized the need to create a larger support system to help them explore academic and athletic opportunities, as well as to apply for college. Working with Scott Kennedy and then-Principal Kevin Truitt, they created the Athletic Scholars Advancement Program.
ASAP has expanded from working with a handful of students in 2004 to more than 300 students today. It has evolved into a 501(c)3 organization and year-round comprehensive program that provides pre-college mentoring and in-college support for students from all backgrounds. Since its inception, over 1100 students have attended summer enrichment programs on college campuses, at no cost to the participant.
Today, in addition to our summer programs, we also have our own student advisory with more than 20 students, individualized pre-college counseling (includes all different parts of the application process, financial aid, and scholarships), and college persistence through our Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP) and ASAP scholarships. We run a club every Friday at Lunch called Future Fridays, open for all grades, where we talk about college! The programs are run by our small, diverse, and dedicated staff with assistance from well-trained volunteers.