The Sutton Scholars® High School Enrichment Program helps at-risk youth in Baltimore become confident, competent individuals by teaching essential soft and other life skills necessary to develop socially and emotionally, and to achieve academic, workplace, and personal success.
It was a longtime dream of Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton to create opportunities for youth who otherwise aren’t afforded equal chances for success. In 2008, Bishop Sutton directed the Diocese to identify areas of need among Baltimore City youth which we could help address. During the process, we narrowed our focus to education in Baltimore, and one theme consistently stood out – the need to develop “soft skills” and life skills essential to educational success, healthy relationships and productive work. The Baltimore uprisings in 2015 especially drove home the importance of building these skills to develop the relational and communication skills, coping mechanisms, and conflict resolution techniques that make mending the deep fissures in our city through empathy and mutual understanding possible.
To meet these needs in the community, Sutton Scholars® partners with Morgan State University to provide five weeks of curriculum on the university’s campus, teaching time management skills; workplace etiquette; healthy interpersonal communications and conflict resolution strategies; relational, emotional, nutritional and physical health; financial skills; and other selected life skills to the students. Sutton Scholars also partners with YouthWorks Baltimore to compensate these youth for their community service incorporated into the program, allowing youth who need to work to support their family’s income to participate. Instruction occurs on campus at Morgan State except for one week, which Scholars spend visiting the Claggett Center, the Diocese of Maryland’s camp and conference center in Frederick County.
The program officially launched in 2016, with 30 rising freshmen students participating. Each year, the Sutton Scholars® program will bring on an additional class of 30 rising freshmen students, achieving a maximum 120 students in grades 9-12 by 2019. Though the program runs for five weeks during the summer, each student is assigned an adult mentor who follows up with them throughout their high school career, from their entry into the program to its completion.
The Sutton Scholars® are supported by these generous sponsors.