November 2015 Newsletter

6th grader Gabriela in IMPACT Tutoring
at Fanning Middle

We have so much to celebrate as 2015 draws to a close! New this school year in our IMPACT tutoring curriculum is the use of Achieve3000 software. The software differentiates lessons at 12 levels of English and 7 levels of Spanish to ensure all learners engage at their individual reading levels to prepare them for college, career, and beyond. In the early reports it is proving to be an incredible tool, and through a personal agreement with SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams, we will be sharing our student's progress each quarter.  We are confident Achieve 3000 is making a real change in literacy levels, we can see it!

This Thanksgiving, we asked our students, volunteers and staff, "What are you thankful for?" The results were pretty amazing! Click right to watch our video and hear first-hand from our students and supporters. We are thankful for you and your continued support, we couldn't do what we do without you.

Another November highlight was our two middle school robotics teams competing in the regional qualifying rounds. Both teams did great, and most important, are excited to continue on with their engineering projects through the Spring semester.  You can view all the pictures from robotics and all of programming this year on our Flickr page - take a peek and see what we've been up to. Thank you for your continued interest and support of UrbanFUTURE. Together, we are engaging and inspiring our St. Louis youth to dream big, and then taking them on the journey to achieve those dreams.

With deepest thanks,

Frank Van Bree

Mr. Morris coaches teams in UF's
Shark Tank Class
UrbanFUTURE Staff noticed that students working in our new Achieve3000 software had trouble typing quickly and efficiently during tutoring sessions. Thus was born our latest DiscoveryLab class...Typing! Taught by UF Office Staff Janae and Jadee, our kids are learning to type like pros, a skill that will serve them well in our technology-based world. Janae and Jadee keep it fun by having students play typing games and earn prizes, all while improving their skills.

Our UrbanFUTURE Shark Tank class is swimming along as the January 28th event approaches! We have a new volunteer coach from Monsanto, Matt Moses, who has been helping us tremendously as we focus our ideas and get our presentations ready.  Our teams are eager to polish their presentations and to get ready for the Shark Tank.  We have some wonderfully creative ideas in development - from apps to products and services. More details to come!
Career Speaker
Larry Davis speaks to students

We welcomed some incredible Career Speakers in November, including Larry Davis, Senior Training Clerk at the St. Louis County Board of Elections. Mr. Davis ran for State Representative in 2014 in the 67th District, and previously worked for US Congressman Russ Carnahan as well on Capitol Hill in Washington DC as a staff assistant. Students were inquisitive about Mr. Davis' exciting political career, and asked some great questions about how he got to where he is today. Thank you, Mr. Davis for your time and contribution to our program!

Volunteer Ryan tutors 6th 
grader Arvell

Thank you UF volunteer Ryan Tekolste! Ryan is a star tutor, and is part of the SLU Micah group; an awesome program where Saint Louis University students of all majors live, study and serve together. 

Ryan is a Physical Therapy major, and loves spending his free time in the great outdoors. He has been volunteering with UrbanFUTURE for the past year and a half, and we are so grateful for his dedication and the patience he has with our students as he takes them through their online lessons.

Ryan's favorite thing about UrbanFUTURE is that he gets to "help kids find their passions and direction for their future." Thank you, Ryan for giving your time and passion!
Planting trees for

During the month of November, students at Busch worked with their mentors and focused on decision making, respect, goal setting, and of course gratitude! Keeping in these themes, our students planted 2 trees on the grounds of the school as part of the city's #Plant4PeaceSTL initiative. Busch teacher Ms. Kopp helped us all learn about how to plant and tree, and we even used compost from Busch's student garden. Come spring, our red buds should be growing tall!

In Explore! Careers class we focused on interviewing skills this month. Each student had to write their own 2 minute "elevator pitch" about themselves and present it to the class.  We also hosted Career Speaker Amy Trapp, Development Director of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Mrs. Trapp's job is to raise money and awareness for their mission, which is to serve those affected by asthma and allergies through education, support and resources. After her presentation we did a fun exercise where students had to come up with a fundraising event for the foundation, and outline how much it would cost to produce and how much it would take in. It was a great learning experience.
St. Louis Zoo Field Trip

Mid-month, we took a field trip to one of our favorite local spots - the Saint Louis Zoo, where students went on a scavenger hunt to learn about various animals and species, and also interviewed staff members about their occupations at the Zoo. A much needed fun day out of the classroom!

*View all the pictures from November here*


Rachel Dufek is one of our spectacular mentors, and works with 8th grader Derica. This is Rachel's third year volunteering with UrbanFUTURE and as Derica's mentor! Rachel is an Account Manager with Datotel, and we are so appreciative she makes time in her busy schedule for UF.

Over the years they have built a strong relationship and have bonded over their shared love of cooking. Rachel is always encouraging Derica to pursue her career goal of being a Pediatrician, and always reminds her of the importance of striving for academic success. Rachel has also built a strong relationship with Danedra, Derica's Mom, based around supporting and encouraging Derica to stay focused and determined. We're so happy to see these two grow together every year!

Logan is a first year student in UrbanFUTURE and in the 6th grade. A key member of the Robotics team, he is also a red belt in Karate working towards getting his yellow belt. 

Logan's favorite subject is Science and he wants to be an Engineer when he grows up! Logan also has a 4.0 GPA and no absences, and is an excellent role model to his peers.

Logan's family is very involved with UrbanFUTURE attending our Parent Coffee's and supporting Logan at our Robotics competition on November 14th. Were glad to have Logan and can't wait to see what he accomplishes the rest of the year (and the years) to come!

Send an UrbanFUTURE to Washington DC in 2016

Just because #GivingTuesday has passed, doesn't mean you can't get involved in helping us take an educational journey to Washington DC with our students again in 2016! We raised enough money to send 11 students to DC on #GivingTuesday, and we are incredibly thankful. However, we still have a ways to go until we meet our goal, as it costs us $525 for each student to take the trip. Click right to watch our video, and visit to donate today!

YOP tax credits are available when you send 6 or more students to DC! 
For more info contact
UrbanFUTURE | 314.776.3434 |