| Program: || Double Discovery Center, New York, NY |
| Contact(s): || Olger C. Twyner, III, Director: (212) 854-3897 |
| Purpose: || To instill students with the confidence, pride, curiosity and hope needed to complete secondary school and embark on the path to higher education |
In the 1960's, an era of great student activism, the Double Discovery Center (DDC) was born out of the realization that Columbia University students and officials needed to move beyond the University's gates and share experiences with the blacks and Hispanics with whom they shared Harlem. The "double discovery" between the eligible participants and the students, faculty and staff of Columbia University generated common understanding, fostered shared experiences, and removed racial, gender, age and religious barriers. DDC began as Project Double Discovery in 1965 with interested faculty, administrators and students helping to coauthor the first successful proposal for federal funding. Columbia University was awarded one of eighteen pilot programs created as part of President Johnson's "War on Poverty." The program brought over 100 low-income high school students to Columbia's campus for summer academic programming. Over the years, Project Double Discovery evolved into the DDC and is now a department of Columbia University.
Located on the Columbia University campus, the Double Discovery Center draws the majority of its volunteers from the university. For many of the DDC's students, the majority of whom are inner-city black and Hispanic youth, their first meaningful experience with a white person is through the DDC program. DDC houses two youth education programs, Talent Search and Upward Bound. These programs build students' academic skills, help students envision college as part of their future, and help students complete high school and attend the best colleges. The Upward Bound Program assists over 165 high school students who exhibit serious academic need indicated by a low academic average at the time of admission. In addition to a six-week summer residential component held on Columbia University's campus, academic, career, college and counseling services are provided year round. The Talent Search Program, developed at DDC in 1977, provides similar year-round academic and career preparation services to over 800 intermediate school, high school and young adult students. This program also includes counseling and information workshops, tutoring and SAT preparation, and program services conducted by staff and volunteers in local schools, churches and community centers.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
DDC presently serves over 1,000 New York City youth every year through its Upward Bound and Talent Search programs. Despite all the difficulties associated with inner-city schooling and poverty, on average, 96 percent of DDC students finished high school and 94 percent enrolled in college in 1996-1997.