Inspiring hope through education, thanks to An Achievable Dream | Brand Ave. Studios

Jeanne A. Curley

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For 30 years, An Achievable Dream has impacted generations of students in grades K through 12, primarily in underserved communities in Newport News, Virginia. Partnering with public school districts, AAD’s trademarked SAME (Social, Academic and Moral Education) framework offers a unique social and emotional learning curriculum and extensive wraparound services that include emotional, financial and academic support to help students succeed at school. The program has expanded to Virginia Beach and Henrico County, growing by one grade level per year until they become full K-12 programs in Virginia Beach (2025) and Henrico County (2028).

Since 2001, AAD has consistently maintained a 100% on-time graduation rate, with 90% to 95% of graduates attending college or trade school, and 5% to 10% joining the military or entering the workforce.

“We are inspiring hope through education for every student enrolled in our program,” said Dr. Lee Vreeland, AAD president and CEO, “and we attribute our success rate to our unique model that blends public education with private support.”

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AAD’s partnerships with area school districts, businesses, colleges and universities, military entities, law enforcement, first responders, health systems, local governments and nonprofits are integral to the success of its students. As the majority of AAD students are first-generation college students, AAD also provides a career-readiness program called What It Takes, scholarships, assistance with applications and financial aid, support and workshops for parents and guardians, and emotional and academic support throughout a student’s college career.

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“At AAD, we believe that all children can achieve their dreams,” said  Pervis O. Blake, vice president of academics and COO at AAD. “One of our core values is ‘whatever it takes,’ so we really do whatever it takes to ensure our students succeed.”

Blake said that once students transition to alumni, they continue to inspire current students and empower others throughout their communities.

Of the graduating Class of 2022, 94% will graduate with an advanced studies diploma, and 85% will be attending a two- or four-year college or university. Over 60% of An Achievable Dream alumni graduate from college, as compared to 16% of low-income students nationally.

AAD graduate, Shukita Massey, served as Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Hampton. She will soon begin a new role as Associate General Counsel at Riverside Health System. Of her journey at An Achievable Dream, Shukita shares, “Little did I know the tremendous impact that AAD would have on my life. As I transitioned through elementary, middle and high school, AAD was a consistent and constant support system for my family and me. At AAD, I was exposed to so many opportunities, experiences, and resources that have helped me become the woman I am today.”

To help provide AAD students throughout Newport News, Virginia Beach and Henrico County communities with the resources to succeed in school and life, please visit Donations support the program’s growth and expansion in all locations.


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