Buffalo Prep was founded in 1989 by education and community leaders to help talented underrepresented students prepare for, obtain entrance into, and excel at demanding college preparatory high schools. The impetus was the fervent belief that more diverse school communities inspire students, faculty, and families to build healthy relationships that transcend racial, ethnic, and economic differences. We have grown exponentially over the years from the initial 10 students who were supported, and now serve approximately 650 Western New York students and alumni annually with our unique pipeline of Middle School Prep, High School Prep, College Prep, Rising to Distinction, and Alumni Prep programs. Many students begin Buffalo Prep’s rigorous program in 5th grade and commit their summers, evenings, and weekends to prepare for higher achievement. We partner with 19 private, public, and charter high schools that offer financial aid to our students each year. This crucial partnership allows Prep students to attend many of the area’s best high schools with the financial and social support necessary to focus on their academics. In 2019, incoming high school freshmen received nearly $500,000 in scholarships to attend our partner high schools.
Although there has been much momentum in WNY, racial and socioeconomic inequalities and disparities remain. The access and opportunity gaps have long been a major challenge and have a significant impact on the lives of students of color in our community. Nine out of ten people living in a neighborhood of extreme concentrated poverty (>40%) also live in neighborhoods of color. In the Buffalo community, more than 1/3 of Buffalo residents live in poverty, according to a report by the Partnership for Public Good (2018). Economic mobility is difficult to achieve for youth from impoverished and disadvantaged backgrounds due to a lack of access to opportunity and resources. These students enter school at a deficit and fall further behind as they progress into higher grades (Campbell et al., 2000; Neal, 2006). Understanding how vital attending a high-quality high school is to the success of low-income children, our pipeline of enrichment and support programs begin the summer after 5th grade and continue on throughout our scholar’s college careers with our Alumni Prep program.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic the delivery of Buffalo Prep's programming has changed significantly, but need for our mission has never been stronger, inequities in education have risen to the forefront, calling for an even more urgent focus on these issues. With the additional resources necessary to transition to a distance learning model, ensuring instructional equity, support for our critical programming is needed now more than ever.
We are 100% privately funded; Prep relies solely on corporate and individual contributions, local foundations, unrestricted annual gifts, and the income from special events. Buffalo Prep’s work to be an anti-racist organization and promote racial and educational equity throughout our region and within our spheres of influence is more critical than ever. Support our organization today so we can ensure our students are being provided an education that honors their dignity and breaks down barriers.
Myles Hervey was born and raised in Buffalo. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Canisius College. He currently works at Buffalo Prep as a teacher’s assistant for and creates in his free time. If you would like to contact Myles directly for work, find him on Instagram @mhervey_art or email firstname.lastname@example.org