Winchester ABC is a chapter of A Better Chance, Inc., a national nonprofit organization founded in 1963 to provide academically talented male and female scholars of color with expanded educational and career opportunities. Today, more than 1,000 African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American scholars participate in A Better Chance programs in private and public college-preparatory schools throughout the country.
In 1971, Winchester ABC welcomed its first male scholars. Since then, more than 85 scholars have graduated from Winchester High School. Most have gone on to receive higher degrees.
Access to a strong education is only one facet of A Better Chance. "Winchester ABC shaped my life," says Keith Randleman, a 1974 graduate. "It allowed me to find out just how good I could be."
Selecting Scholars with Talent and Motivation
Middle-school guidance counselors, principals, and teachers from public schools across the country recommend candidates to the staff of the national office of A Better Chance. Applicants must be in the top ranks of their classes and demonstrate strong academic motivation, as well as the willingness to adjust to life in a new community, often very different from the one they leave behind. Following tests and interviews by the national ABC program, successful candidates are referred to local chapters for further interviews and selection.
The eight scholars who participate in Winchester ABC live in the ABC house with resident directors and a resident academic coordinator. The resident directors, often a husband and wife team, oversee the daily life of the house.
The resident academic coordinator, supported as needed by tutors in specific academic areas, supervises the weekday study period. The scholars share housekeeping responsibilities. Because the scholars share living quarters in a dormitory-like setting, the program enrolls only young men.
Scholars generally start Winchester High School as freshmen and stay until graduation. They must maintain a certain academic standing and are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities that are important in the life of the scholars, the school, and the community.
Host Families Provide a Home Away from Home
When a new scholar joins the program, he becomes a member of a host family in the community. Every Sunday afternoon and one weekend per month, the scholar joins in the activities of his host family.
In many instances, the ties formed between the scholars and their host families endure long after graduation.
The Community's Vital Role
Volunteers give their time, energy and expertise to administer the program and meet the academic, social, and financial needs of the scholars. ABC board members — with the help of other volunteers — organize the events that raise the revenues to operate the program. They work with the resident directors and tutors, serve as academic advisors, establish policies and procedures, and keep in close communication with the scholars.
Since National ABC provides no operating funds to local chapters, Winchester ABC relies totally on the community for its financial support. Fundraising events, such as dances and concerts, along with donations from individuals, local organizations, corporations, and foundations cover annual operating expenses.
Your support can help Winchester A Better Chance continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities to scholars whose academic potential exceeds their opportunity.