Partnership Program Bridges Two Worlds

Partnership Program Bridges Two Worlds

At Duke University, students are busily trying to fit it all in: studying, working and volunteering in the community. Only blocks away from this center of activity, Durham middle and high school students can be found skipping school, selling drugs and getting in trouble.

The Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership hopes to bridge this divide.

Through one of its nonprofit allies, Partners for Youth, the Partnership gives Durham teens positive role models and provides Duke students with opportunities to engage with the community.

Brandon Douglas and Kaitlyn Gorman are evidence that the Partnership works.

Duke University student Kaitlyn Gorman said her time as a tutor gave her the chance to form friendships with Durham teens.

Positive Support for Durham Teens

At age 14, Brandon's mother was in prison. It would have been easy to go along with the kids in his neighborhood who were selling drugs. Instead, knowing he wanted to go to college someday, he turned to Partners for Youth and found the support he needed. "I'm proof that where you come from doesn't have to limit where you go," said Brandon.

Brandon says his "road to college would have been a lot harder" without Partners for Youth. "With my community mentor and Duke University tutor, I knew I had a strong team behind me," he said. Brandon was student body president his senior year of high school, and graduated in 2003 with a 3.8 grade point average.

As a business major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Brandon was an Oprah Winfrey Scholar. During his college career, he traveled to Africa for service work and completed two summer internships at Morgan Stanley in New York.

From Tutor and Mentor, to Friend

As an undergraduate at Duke University, Kaitlyn tutored a high school student who was inspired by a popular film.

After seeing "The Pursuit of Happyness," a movie based on a true story of a homeless man who turns his life around, the teen decided he wanted to make something of himself. His grades now reflect both his ability and his ambition. He plans to go to college and pursue a career in law enforcement.

"It's become a friendship," said Kaitlyn of her relationship with the Durham teen. Beyond assistance with school work, tutors like Kaitlyn provide guidance and encouragement about college and talk with the teens about life issues. Through the Neighborhood Partnership, grants from The Duke Endowment have supported programs similar to Partners for Youth for more than 10 years.

The programs benefit Durham teens and Duke students alike... providing valuable lessons in both worlds.

Contact Us

Susan L. McConnell
Associate Director, Higher Education



Related Work

Area of Work

  • Campus and community engagement

Program Area

  • Higher Education

Areas of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

    To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

  • Out-of-home care for youth

    To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

  • Quality and safety of health care

    Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

  • Access to health care

    Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

  • Prevention

    Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

  • Academic excellence

    Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

  • Educational access and success

    Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

  • Campus and community engagement

    Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

  • Rural church development

    Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

  • Clergy leadership

    Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

  • Congregational outreach

    Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities

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