We’re opening doors for youth in New York City’s underserved communities.
HEAF is a high-impact college access program that provides academic enrichment, personal development, college prep and career exposure to middle and high school students from New York City’s underserved communities. HEAF makes an 11-year, fully-funded commitment to students beginning in sixth grade to bridge gaps and drive success.
of our students graduate from high school and are accepted to 4-year colleges
years changing the lives of young people
of our students earn bachelor degrees
College Decision Day
Each year, HEAF convenes “College Decision Day” — a celebration of graduating High School Seniors from like-minded college access programs serving students from the most underserved communities across NYC. College Decision Day gives our students, their families, friends and college access program teams a chance to celebrate their successes, and their futures. In 2022 our live event featured keynote speaker Neil deGrasse Tyson. HEAF is proud to partner with college access programs across NYC to deliver the celebration our high school seniors deserve.
Saint Thomas Jacques
Current HEAF Student
“HEAF has helped me come out of my shell to share my ideas and opinions,” Saint Thomas says. “The teachers helped by making the class a comfortable space for me to share.”
Saint Thomas says he has enjoyed exposure to guest speakers from among HEAF’s network of volunteers and supporters. Reflecting on his time so far at HEAF, he says participating in Book Club last summer and learning about food insecurity are two things that have had the biggest impact on him.
Volunteer & Associate Board Member
“During the HEAF Open House I attended more than three years ago, I was immediately impressed by the inquisitiveness, hunger and drive of the students,” Petiri says. “That coupled with the energy and enthusiasm of the staff told me everything I needed to know — it was an immediate match.”
Petiri says he is proud to participate in classroom activities, to volunteer with colleagues and to spend time tutoring HEAF students because he knows these enrichment activities help bridge education and opportunity gaps: “The early exposure to business concepts and specific industries provide insight that can help structure a path for HEAF students to clearly pursue their goals.”
Building one-on-one relationships with HEAF’s students, staff and fellow volunteers has been a highlight for Petiri and he credits extra-curricular events like HEAF’s annual Film Screening with fostering less transactional, more meaningful discussions and connections than typically occur at networking events.
As an active member of HEAF’s Associate Board, Petiri plays a central role in helping develop and implement meaningful experiences for HEAF students leveraging all that the organization’s volunteers can bring to the table.
Sahara helped coordinate a team of colleagues for ongoing career development classes as part of HEAF’s Industry Immersion program.
She says: “When we transitioned to remote work, having a consistent time each week to interact with a class of HEAF high school students was such a highlight for me; getting my colleagues involved has been even more meaningful. HEAF’s impact is powerful and I am proud to be a part of the growing community of volunteers. These students are the future!”
HEAF has a 34-year track record of delivering strong, permanent outcomes that exceed NYC and national averages.
100% of our students graduate high school on time — the 2019 average is 67% for African Americans and 64% for Hispanic students in Harlem.
Nearly 100% of our students enroll in four-year colleges immediately after graduating high school — in NYC 57% of students enroll in college or career programs within 6 months of graduation.
83% of our college students earn a bachelor’s degree within six years — nationally, the average is 37% for African American students and 42% for Hispanic students who are enrolled in private four-year colleges.
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2023
Class of 2023 College Commitments
Clark Atlanta University
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College
CUNY Hunter College
CUNY Lehman College
North Carolina A&T State College
Penn State University
Soka University of America
SUNY Binghamton University
Virginia State University