Since 2015, DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. has assisted youth in North Philadelphia obtain opportunities in theater, fashion design, and higher-education while empowering students to reach their educational goals while building a brighter future for themselves through education, mentorship and service.
Our program has grown over the past four years from two members to over forty- part-time volunteers. Our program has made progress from supplementing an after-school program to running our own programming inside The U School in the Norris Square Neighborhood of North Philadelphia.
Early 2016 – The presence of consistent one-on-one mentoring organization is scarce in the Norris Square neighborhood in Philadelphia. In addition, college student of color representation in inner-city schools surrounding Temple University is scarce. DonCARES Founder Donovan Forrest teams up with Jamier Jones from College Together to provide adequate college-preparatory program for high school students in Philadelphia thus, serving as the first event DonCARES collabs on in Philadelphia.
Summer 2016 – The committee successfully pursues funding and support for DonCARES' mission. Strawberry Mansion Learning Center agrees to welcome DonCARES to hold and supplement programming. DonCARES begins recruiting college students of color at Temple University. The first cohort begins tutoring at an after-school program in The Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood on 29th Street.
Summer 2016 –The idea for the DonCARES logo was conceived by Donovan Forrest during the summer of 2016, when he served as lead committee member for the budding organization. Don felt that the primary goal of his organization was to lend a helping hand to those African-Americans and Latinos seeking entry into institutes of higher education, as well as those already studying at that time. He was Education Chairman of the Progressive NAACP.
The symbol is of two black silhouettes with graduation caps reading a book together. The silhouettes of black scholars represent Africa and its children across the diaspora in the United States. The book reading represents both a mentor and their mentee pursuing formal education together. The black and orange color choices represent DonCARES Founder's early appreciation for tigers as a child.
January 2017 – DonCARES answers an abrupt call from U School Counselor Jasmine Johnson about an urgent need for academic tutors. Thus, DonCARES Founder Donovan Forrest begins organizing around a need for mentor/tutors of color from Temple University.
Spring 2017 –DonCARES host first millennial speakers series panel discussion at The U School. DonCARES Mentors also begin mentoring and tutoring six high school students at The U School.
September 2017 – DonCARES of Philadelphia celebrates its second year of operation in North Philadelphia.
Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 DonCARES of Philadelphia hosts five group mentoring sessions for high school students at The U School in North Philadelphia. In addition, DonCARES begins hosts three workshops at Kensington High School in conjunction with GEAR UP.
September 2018 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. celebrates its third year of operation in North Philadelphia.
December 2018 –DonCARES extends reach to two additional neighborhood neighborhoods in North Philadelphia: Fels and Kensington High Schools. DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. begins to receive funding from AmeriCorps, Health Partners Foundation and Herb it Forward Foundation.
February 2019 – DonCARES of Philadelphia is nominated for a Community Development Award by the National Association of Black Accountants, Temple University Chapter and featured in a "Brotherly Love" segment locally televised broadcast on CBS 3. DonCARES Founder receives dispatch from Temple University Provost Joanne Epps recognizing and commending his organization's work in North Philadelphia.
April 2019 – DonCARES' impact inspires three college students at Klein School of Media at Temple University to commit their semester to studying organizational engagement. The group also presented their research about DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. engagement at Klein College Celebration of Equity and Diversity Showcase
2019 – DonCARES graduates six mentees from mentoring program. Mentee Anthony Johns gives his farewell speech as valedictorian of the U School's second graduating class. All graduating mentees were accepted to college.
July 2019 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. hosts third annual Summer Hydration Walk for the homeless with S.M.O.O.T.H Temple.
September 2019 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. celebrates its fourth year of operation in North Philadelphia.
October 2019 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. successfully matches ten high school students in North Philadelphia with college student of color mentors. In addition, DonCARES assists 40 students at Samuel Fels High School with creating resumes while surpassing the one-thousand dollar goal for granting grocery store gift cards to students and families in need at The U School.
Fall 2019 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. is highlighted on 6 ABC for their work at The U School. DonCARES also hosts a block clean up in Norris Square with seven minority student organizations from Temple Univeristy and hosts a vision board workshop for high school aged girls in conjunction with the National Council of Negro Women, Temple Chapter and Psychology Majors of Color at Temple University.
Spring 2020 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. transitions some executive leadership responsibilities to Cameron Battle-Bradshaw, Assistant Director. DonCARES also prioritizes programming for high school aged girls at The U School while remaining steadfast to its mission of creating safe spaces and outings for both college students of color and their high school aged contemporaries.
Spring 2021 – DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. transitions from offering one-on-one mentoring services to a group mentoring format. By building a curriculum around black colleges, DonCARES offers 20 students access to PhD students, law students, a dentist, and fraternity and sorority members.
So far this school year at Gratz we’ve hosted six panels, sponsored an essay contest with two winners ($125.00 in gift cards), recruited five college students of color to serve as judges, gave out five classroom awards and gift cards totaling $50.00, and hosted a black history Kahoot with three winners who also got a $10 wawa gift card each. Among our panelists were a doctor, entrepreneurs, writers, nonprofit founders, period poverty activists, a law student, PhD students, Covid safety activists, fraternity members, sorority members, fashion models, and civil/human rights activists. We are proud to be part of such a supportive community for our youth.