Momentum Education is an educational non-profit organization focused on ensuring under-served students get to and through post-secondary education and into the workforce. We know that a post-secondary education is essential because 67% of all jobs require it (Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce), yet only 15% of under-served students secure this education (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board).
This disparity in educational attainment results from systemic barriers that: (1) reduce high school graduation; (2) reduce post-secondary matriculation; and (3) reduce post-secondary persistence and ultimately graduation.
Momentum Education addresses each of these three challenges. Firstly, we provide high school students with college mentors, access to summer opportunities, and support on their college and other post-secondary program applications to ensure they complete high school. Secondly, we offer scholarships to help students afford post-secondary education and provide individual support to help students transition to post-secondary education. Finally, we connect post-secondary students with young professional mentors and summer internships to ensure they can graduate and be well prepared to enter the workforce.
Consider two children.
One is born to parents who both went to college and therefore can help him prepare for college. His parents have the resources to send him to summer programs. His school provides field trips to expose him to various careers thereby expanding his horizons.
The other is born to parents who recently emigrated to the United States and are unsure what the college application process is. She must work a minimum wage job every summer to support her family. Her school is under-funded and therefore cannot offer enrichment programs or opportunities.
As the product of parents who lived the American Dream, I was lucky enough to experience the first scenario. As a teacher in a low-income neighborhood, I had the privilege to serve students who lived the second reality.
Momentum Education is personal for me because I have seen firsthand both the power of social capital, financial capital, and human capital and the structural barriers that prevent certain communities and certain students from reaching their dreams whether because of lack of information about the college process or lack of exposure to different careers or lack of financial aid or lack of summer opportunities or lack of mentorship, our students faced real challenges.
Ultimately, through Momentum Education, we hope to galvanize a community of volunteers and stakeholders to provide opportunities for students to ensure that every student, not just those born into certain zip-codes, can achieve their dreams. — Raj Salthora, Executive Director
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas to a household made up of Mexican immigrant parents and an older sister. The rest of my siblings were all grown up starting their own lives and families of their own. I still remember how my older sister had to be our family’s translator, our advocate, my English tutor, and my role model all at once growing up. It was such a huge responsibility for her given she was only two years older than me, but just like her, countless of older siblings who speak English become those things for a family where the parents may not have a higher education nor speak English.
Nonetheless, my parents knew an education for my sister, and I would provide stability and a more prosper future than what they had, one of the main reasons for why they came to America. My older sister excelled in school and managed to figure out the college application process on her own. She graduated early from high school and a year early from the University of Texas San Antonio. She has been an educator for 5 years now and is finishing her masters degree this December from Texas State University. She’s an incredible role model who I am extremely lucky to have because navigating the college application process (among many other things in life) was easier for me becuase I had her to guide me and support me.
I attended a small charter public high school in Houston, and although it had its limitations, the support I obtained was not the same support others had in other schools across Houston. I had older siblings, extremely dedicated teachers in my high school, and a program who was there to support me apply to college. I had someone to go to and ask questions to, obtain advice from, obtain connections from, someone to push me to not give up and reach for the stars. I got the support and the opportunities that shaped my resume and application which ultimately led me to apply to Georgetown University. I did not think I would get in, but now, I am a Georgetown University graduate, a consultant for IBM, and the co-founder of Momentum Education.
Just like I had the support and opportunities that were provided to me when I was in high school, I want kids all over Houston, and at some point, beyond our city, to have the same support and opportunities. There are many students out there who deserve to have an equal chance and equal opportunity to reach whatever path they want to take after graduating high school. Momentum is here to support them to make that happen. We are creating a movement to help equalize the playing field, to share resources, expand their networks, and to increase the opportunities underserved students are exposed to. We started in January 2020 and it has been amazing to see what we have done for students already; I am excited to see what we can do for many more students for many years to come. — Juanita Selena Parra, Assistant Director