About: Program Components

A Long-Term Committment

Six components contribute to the whole-student method that distinguishes our program from others:

Early intervention

Challenge begins working with students at a young age so that individual strengths and areas for growth are identified early. Comprehensive and timely evaluations, including support team observations and recommendations as well as standardized testing, become part of each Challenge Scholar’s plan for success.

Private, college preparatory education

A key component of The Challenge Foundation program is providing access and entrance to an independent, college preparatory school. Independent school community environments are academically rigorous, high energy, high output, and also individualized and nurturing. The expectation is clear: students who succeed at these college-prep schools will graduate from high school and continue on to a four-year college. We provide partial scholarships for each Challenge Scholar; the partner school pays for the remainder of the student’s tuition through generous financial aid budgets.

Summer program

Our six-week summer program is both a requirement and a highlight for Challenge Scholars in middle school. Each summer program experience provides additional opportunities for academic and cultural enrichment, directly contributing to their successful transition into a competitive and academically demanding independent school environment.


The Challenge Foundation’s retention rate is greater than 90%. One reason we are so successful is that Challenge Scholars are surrounded by caring, committed adults who serve as Challenge Advisors. Advisors spend significant time with each student and maintain constant communication with his or her support network, helping students achieve academic and personal success through:

  • Academics: Meeting with teachers and advisors, participating in parent-teacher conferences, reviewing grades, and accessing tutors.
  • Social and emotional support: Helping students as they transition to an independent school, overcome obstacles in their home and school lives, and manage the social challenges of being an adolescent.
  • Resources: Accessing resources that foster success, e.g., computers, transportation, school supplies, clothing, athletic equipment, music instruments, and medical needs such as physicals, glasses, and braces.


Volunteer mentors lead by example, and it is through them that students learn how to be better communicators, problem solvers, and advocates for their own education. Every Challenge Scholar is paired with an educated community professional who plays an integral role in his or her life for the duration of The Challenge Foundation program and, in most cases, far beyond.

Long-term support and guidance

The Challenge Foundation’s ultimate goal is to enable its students to graduate from high school and attend college. 100% of Challenge Scholars who graduate from high school do attend college, and this level of success requires long-term dedication.

Because the majority of Challenge Scholars are first generation high school graduates and unfamiliar with college application and financial aid processes, we guide students and their families every step of the way from SAT and ACT preparatory workshops and college visits to intensive application workshops on resumesĀ and personal statements. We have developed partnerships with several colleges in Colorado and around the U.S. that provide specific scholarships to Challenge Scholars.

Once students receive letters of acceptance to college, Challenge Foundation helps to advise scholars on the best overall fit for college, both academically and financially. And once a student is in college, the support continues with annual financial aid process assistance, as well as help in seeking out various resources on campus. We keep in touch with Challenge Scholars throughout the year to make sure they are happy and successful, and organize alumni events during college breaks to help keep students connected to each other, to The Challenge Foundation, and to their own potential.