Education and Youth Development

About the Program

Education and Youth Development (EYD) develops innovative programs to support academic achievement, civic involvement, and the physical and emotional development of children and youth.

How We Help

For more than 50 years, the National Urban League’s Education & Youth Development division has worked to improve educational opportunities for African-American and underserved students by developing innovative programs to support their academic achievement, encourage their civic involvement, and contribute to their healthy physical and emotional development.

Our Signature Programs in early childhood education, post-secondary success and youth leadership are designed to help us reach the goal that every American child will be ready for college, work and life by 2025.

Project Ready

Project Ready prepares youth for successful lives after high school by providing enhanced academic support to students, in preparation for postsecondary success.  In 2009-2010, the division expanded the five-year-old project to serve middle and high school-age students  in an enhanced program.  They also piloted two new initiatives: the Middle School Transitions Project that prepares and supports 5th - 8th  graders in transitioning from middle to high school, an especially vulnerable time for adolescents; and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program, aimed at ensuring that urban students have the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed in STEM-related class work and careers.



Project Ready in 2009-2010:

*   Enrolled more than 1,300 middle and high school students;

*   Operated in 23 urban communities;

*   Developed resource guide to ease affiliates’ adoption of the Project Ready curriculum and build their capacity to deliver a high-quality program.


In 2009-2010, we continued to build on our legacy of advocacy and policy development, working on a national level with legislators, federal Education officials, national education organizations and policymakers on a broad range of issues including educational reform and innovation, dropout prevention, the needs of youth in foster care, literacy, and early childhood education.

In 2009, the National Urban League took a major step towards building more effective grassroots advocacy in local and state venues by launching the Equity and Excellence Project (EEP) with our affiliates in the states of Pennsylvania and Tennessee.  This state consortia approach leverages our affiliates’ abilities and connections to both communities and to education stakeholders, which are essential to advancing our agenda during the development of statewide education policy and implementation of resultant innovations and reforms, including the adoption of common core state standards, the improved access to high-quality instruction and content, a clear emphasis on out of school time learning opportunities and a renewed commitment to educational equity and excellence at scale.


Youth Development

Our Youth Development Framework and Guide provides skill-building programs in the out of school time hours across three content areas: Intellectual (literacy, numeracy, critical thinking); Social (community service) and Physical & Relational (health and wellness) for children in three age groups: elementary school, middle school and high school.

Our intention is to develop fully prepared, engaged and empowered young people with the cognitive, social, and cultural skills needed to compete and succeed in the 21st century.

In 2009 -2010, we contracted with 17 League affiliates to serve more than 1,300 youth in the out of school time and summer hours, utilizing innovative tools and resources from the Thinkfinity digital learning platform and suite of online resources.

In 2010, the National Urban League again partnered with Payless ShoeSource® in order to continued its successful Payless Inspiring Possibilities Scholarship program in order to raise money to support the future of African American and other minority youth. This year, the National Urban League distributed scholarships ranging between $350-$5,000 to deserving urban youth through its signature education program, Project Ready. Scholarships are limited to the over 1300 Project Ready participants in programs across the country. Recipients will attend colleges and universities in the fall of 2010.

In July 2010, the Education and Youth Development division hosted over 500 attendees from 49 Urban League affiliates at the 21st  Annual Youth Leadership Summit on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park, July 28 – August 1, 2010. New additions to our model included the Welcome Orientation; the National Youth Call to Action; the Centennial Day of Service; the 100 @ 100 Legacy of Success Luncheon and the Centennial College Fair and Professional Development Workshops.

The Summit was made possible by the support of funders such as Macy’s, Best Buy, State Farm, Darden Restaurants, Altria, FedEx and Marriott featured workshops, guest speakers and the second annual Project Ready Case Competition.