Uplifting Communities Through Education: Urban Upbound’s Back-to-School Initiatives

Urban Upbound NYC
4 min readJul 20, 2023

As summer comes to a close, students all over the nation are gearing up for the new school year. For those living at or below the poverty line, this period can be especially challenging. Urban Upbound understands the unique hurdles faced by these students and has developed a holistic approach, which aims to address the disadvantages students in poverty encounter at the start of the school year. From providing essential school supplies to offering free mental health counseling, Urban Upbound is transforming the back-to-school journey for these students.

1. Equipping Minds and Embracing Potential

Students in poverty often face significant mental health challenges, stemming from the stress and uncertainty surrounding their daily lives. Urban Upbound recognizes the importance of mental well-being in the learning process and has taken a proactive approach to address this issue. Through our free one-on-one mental health services, we empower students to overcome emotional hurdles, enabling them to focus better, retain information, and engage more effectively in their studies. All school aged children are eligible for our mental health services.

2. Breaking Socioeconomic Barriers

Urban Upbound understands that socioeconomic factors can heavily influence academic performance. To level the playing field, we provide comprehensive support, including distributing backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need. By alleviating the financial burden of back-to-school preparations, we ensure that every student has the resources necessary to thrive academically. Last year we were able to distribute school supplies kits to over 1,200 students from Queensbirdge, Ravenswood, Astoria, and East Harlem.

3. Nurturing Educational Aspirations

For many students in public housing, higher education can seem like an unattainable dream. Through our College Access Program, which offers free SAT tutoring, college tours, financial aid assistance, essay tutoring and more, we empower students to see their potential beyond their circumstances. These initiatives open doors to opportunities they may have never thought possible, breaking the cycle of limited educational attainment. We are proud to share that 100% of our students from the Class of 2023 are enrolled in college for the fall.

4. Providing Holistic Support

Urban Upbound’s comprehensive approach extends beyond academics. Recognizing that a stable home environment is crucial for a child’s success, we also provide essential mental health support, employment services, finical counseling, and income support for parents and families, fostering an environment where students can thrive.

As we approach the end of summer, Urban Upbound invites you to be a part of our transformative mission. Your support can make a profound impact on the lives of students living in public housing. With your contribution, we can continue providing backpacks, school supplies, and access to critical educational resources, along with free mental health counseling, to uplift these students on their back-to-school journey.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our donors. Your donation allows us to keep reaching more families. If you’d like to learn more about our impact and work, please follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube) or subscribe to our newsletter.



Urban Upbound NYC

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.