It started back in 1999 by a small group of concerned parents in Burlington County, New Jersey. We wanted to ensure that our children received early exposure to college and careers and decided to work with local schools to host our own College Fairs, Campus Tours, Financial Literacy Workshops, and Educational Summits.
Now operating statewide, our programs have touched the lives of over 4,000 families and student participants have been accepted to more than 25 colleges and universities across the country.
In 2008, we learned of the plight of teens in foster care and shifted our focus.
We weren’t exactly sure what to do but knew that somehow we had to help give older youth in care a voice.
After a year of planning, the Beyond Expectations Teen Film Program was launched. Many of our students have served as guest speakers to talk about their experience and returned to give back as peer leaders. Suddenly, the same young people often shunned and completely overlooked have become the role models.
We knew we were on to something very special.
Although open to all youth, many of the participants if our media programs have either been in foster care and/or facing other mental and emotional challenges. At the end of the day though, they’re all just teens and there’s something for ALL young people on a Beyond Expectations film set.
There are plenty of organizations that teach filmmaking. We recognize that. But we're more interested in the positive relationships forged by bringing young people together from virtually every background and helping them tap into their strengths to accomplish a common goal.
It may not make for an oscar-worthy Hollywood story ... but for us, it's so much more.