Give STL Day Spotlight: Aim High St. Louis

Aim High St. Louis is a nonprofit that empowers motivated middle school students from high-risk environments to strengthen their character, self-confidence, determination and initiative through a challenging, engaging academic and personal enrichment program.

For Aim High St. Louis, Give STL Day means raising awareness and raising funds to combat the systemic disparities for students from low income families who are primarily students of color, reducing the achievement gap.

“Over the last five years we have raised $20,000 from Give STL Day, with $10,000 of that raised in 2020 – a record-breaking year for us,” said Colleen Drazen, Director of Development at Aim High St. Louis. “Additionally, we more than doubled the number of donors in 2020 over 2019 with 28 new donors this year!”

Although Aim High St. Louis saw great success during Give STL Day, they, like many other nonprofits in the area, are experiencing the impact of COVID-19 and are taking necessary actions to adjust their strategy to continually support students in St. Louis.

The foundation of Aim High St. Louis is a five-week summer program with supplemental Saturday sessions that provide students academic and personal enrichment to improve student short-term knowledge gains, improve their attitude towards education and encourage social and emotional growth through behavior change. Due to COVID-19, Aim High has had to cancel the Saturday sessions beginning in March and have transitioned their summer program to a five-week virtual experience.

“We know our work to reduce the achievement gap is more important than ever as many students will be out of school for five months as a result of the virus, instead of just the typical summer months,” said Drazen “While the program we have designed is interactive and project-based to maximize interest and engagement, we anticipate that the challenges they’ll face in the years ahead will be compounded by this interruption to their education. The loss of instructional hours, in-person connection and practice will reverberate long into the future.”

Currently, Aim High St. Louis’ strategic plan is to meet the increasing need through enhanced relationships with school district partners and an increased number of host campus locations that serve more students.

Want to learn more about Aim High St. Louis’ mission and their work in the community? Visit their website at