IMANI: Improving Montclair

May 22, 2014
The Montclair Dispatch

By Catherine Baxter

IMANI students help each other out.

IMANI bridges a cultural gap education within Montclair Public Schools, providing support for achievement in a diverse community, for over 10 years.

IMANI enlightens our youth.

IMANI is a community-based, non-profit organization that channels its positive energy to impact an educational change. By using focused instructional programs, IMANI works to distribute the best of student support for achieving academics beyond public schooling. The organization points students in the direction of a four-year college enrollment with the end goal of an Associate’s degree.

The organization began in 1999 after research found the cultural differences test scores provided. Minorities in the Montclair community were out-scored on standardized tests and then subjected to lower-tier colleges. After a brainstorming session between the public school’s superintendent as well as concerned families, IMANI was formed.

The organization first provided classes to prepare students for the SAT test, taught by certified teachers. When test scores proved the importance of the need of the organization, not only for a college experience, but student involvement in school, IMANI introduced more programs.

Teaming up with Montclair High School, IMANI introduced summer programs in 2001 to incoming freshmen. The programs were specific to mathematics and English, while also providing a mentorship to guide students as they transitioned to a new school environment.

IMANI recognized from its achievements that programs needed an early start for students to succeed in the long run. By channeling the elementary education level, there would be less of a gap by middle school and high school. In 2004, the organization offered programs in reading and writing to support youth. In 2006, the organization began a middle school program directed towards minority boys.

IMANI is supported by organizations that share the same educational mission. It is funded by the Bestfoods Educational Foundation since 2004, the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Junior League of Montclair Newark and United Way of North Essex. IMANI partners with Montclair Public Schools, Montclair High School, the Princeton Review, Revolution Prep and the Writers Room Program. All funds and partners contribute immensely and without them, IMANI would not be a thriving contribution to the community.

IMANI recognized the importance of bridging the cultural gap in education and the different sectors to target. They continue to work on early childhood education development and want to expand across country, with an idea to better education for the future of K-12.

IMANI would love for you to join their team of volunteers as a mentor, an essay coach, an office volunteer, a parent facilitator or driver. Call IMANI at (973) 509-2822 or email to get involved in bettering the future through educating youth today.