group photo of Aspire graduates dressed in white


Since 2002, Aspire has tapped the leadership potential of middle school girls from under-resourced schools in Greater Cleveland. Over the course of a three-year commitment, Aspire girls participate in a variety of leadership-building activities in academic classes and exploratory workshops. The tuition-free program helps girls imagine new possibilities for themselves, their education, and their communities. Aspire students develop a strong sense of self, deepen their educational ambitions, and become lifelong learners.


Aspire also equips new educators with the tools necessary to bring innovative ideas to schools and communities. While working collaboratively with experienced teachers, high school and college students develop an awareness of the components of a high-quality education, leading them to be effective advocates for education and to consider teaching as a career.

“[What I like best about Aspire is…] that everyone is part of the community and everyone can fit in. I also love that Aspire helps empower girls and prepare them while having lots and lots of fun."

Rana, Seventh Grader

The Advantage

Aspire girls are exposed to interesting academic concepts, health and wellness workshops, college and career exploration opportunities, and other experiences that:

  • supplement their learning

  • help close the achievement gap

  • and increase their ability to navigate diverse social, academic, and professional environments

After completing The Aspire Program, girls: 

  • become proactive decision makers
  • are more likely to assume leadership roles at school

  • pursue challenging coursework

  • and have a greater likelihood of pursuing higher education

The commitment

In the summers of sixth through eighth grades, Aspire girls participate in a variety of activities, academic classes, and exploratory workshops. Through a three-year commitment, girls develop as learners, leaders, and decision makers. 

After the third year, girls graduate and become part of the Aspire Alumnae Association, which makes resources and programming available at critical moments in their educational journeys. 

Learners & Leaders

Aspire increases a girl’s awareness and investment in her learning, leadership, and decision-making. In the program, girls engage in the following: 

Academic Classes

In small classes taught by college students, girls learn strategies for effective learning in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. 


Aspire girls attend daily workshops to explore interests such as performing or visual arts, journalism, public speaking, technology, and athletics. 

Leadership Seminar

At Aspire, lessons about leadership are transparent and accessible. Girls are encouraged to identify leadership traits in themselves and their peers. They practice and refine leadership skills through role plays and simulations and are taught what they need to know to position themselves as leaders in the future.

Activity & Choice Periods

Aspire offers daily activity and choice periods. Girls select from:

  • visual and performing arts
  • athletics 
  • music
  • diversity exercises
  • adventure learning
  • community-building activities
  • yoga
  • and more

Field Trips

Field trips increase a girl's exposure and connections to the Greater Cleveland community. Aspire students explore the professional, cultural, and outdoor experiences of the area.

Year-Round Events

Aspire year-round activities, held on occasional Saturdays, offer enrichment workshops and special events during the school year. Aspire also offers online programming.

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