A Message From Our Organization

In these extremely challenging times, we would like to share our heartfelt support and solidarity with your and your families. At Students With A Goal, the health and safety of our colleagues, students, partners, and communities in which we serve is our top priority. 

As the city of Akron implements measures to contain this public health crisis, we have been taking strict precautions to protect our colleagues, students, and their families, while securing effective and efficient programming for our youth. We will remain fully operational, offering all the programs we have traditionally offered in the past. We have extensive contingency plans in place to ensure SWAG will continue. 

We are following the advice of the city of Akron government officials and Summit County Public Health, and proactively implementing a range of precautionary measures, from stringent sanitation and cleaning protocols to workplace distancing. 

We are extremely proud of and grateful to our staff who come to work every day to ensure organizational continuity. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation evolves and thank you for your continued trust in our program.

Warm Regard,

Students With A Goal


Our History

Students With a Goal (SWAG) began with a remarkable group of 12 teenage leaders who frequently came by the Miller Avenue United Church of Christ (UCC) to get something to eat after school. Among the things they talked about was their desire for an after school program.  Following their lead, the pastor of the church brought together a number of non-profit organizations in the Summit Lake neighborhood. Together, they created the framework for the program, collected seed money, and launched a pilot program in January 2013, originally called “Youth Alive,” which met at OPEN M.  As the program grew, space was obtained at the Summit Lake Community Center and the newly formed Reach Opportunity Center.  Students who were active in the program chose a new name, “Students With A Goal” (SWAG), to best describe the program. 


Dedicated leaders of organizations in the Summit Lake neighborhood along with suburban churches formed the SWAG Board, with the United Way of Summit County serving as the fiscal agent. The Board developed by-laws, articles of incorporation, received official status as a 501 (c) 3 in 2017, and actively seeks funds necessary to sustain the program.

Our Day

SWAG convenes Monday - Thursday from 4:00 PM until 7:30 PM, during the academic school year.  

3:30 - 4:30 pm : Recreation 

Students unwind from school and play basketball, kickball, and other group centered activities. Students are also offered a snack during this time.

4:30 - 5:30 pm: Academic Hour

Students bring homework and work with SWAG academic tutors. Together they develop and track short-range academic, behavioral and leadership goals.

5:30 - 6:30 pm: Family Supper

Staff, students, and volunteers gather for one full hour of supper in a family setting.

6:30 – 7:00 pm: Leadership

Students engage in group programming learning, along with community leaders and mentors, to shape their own world through growing in the arts, vocational awareness and relationship building. Students are safely transported home at 7:30 pm.


Once a month, on Thursdays, SWAG students experience one of two incentive trips: “Kick Backs” can be trips to the YMCA or to a suburban partner church. “Reward Trips” are earned by each student and can be anything from ice skating, to movies, to Laser Quest.


Our Other Programs

Summer SWAG

Summer Enrichment Program

While school in not in session it is important that our students work to retain the knowledge they received over the course of the year. During the Summer, our students are able to participate in SWAG three days a week for eleven weeks. We use this time to continue academic learning to ensure the students are prepared for the Fall when school starts. We also attend various field trips to museums and parks to give our students a change in scenery.

Summer SWAG is located in Lock 3 in Downtown Akron. Transportation and a meal are provided for all participants. If you would like your student to participate in Summer SWAG, please contact our Program Director at swagpd365@gmail.com.


Southern College and Cultural Tours

Every October, SWAG takes a group of 15 students to visit colleges across the U.S. The students are required to raise money for their participation in the tour by receiving sponsorship for high academic marks.


During the visits, we also tour museums and participate in activities that educate the students on African American culture in our country.

After the students return home from the tours, they write essays about their experience, which is shared with our Board of Directors and supporting partners. For more information on the college tours, please email our Program Director at swagpd365@gmail.com.


Leaven Lenses Program

The LLP is our multi-generational program we offer for 11 weeks during the Summer. Participants become apprentices, learning the art of Photography. At the end of the program, the apprentices receive a Certificate of Completion, and stipend which can be used to start their own photography business.


Seniors On The Move

Instructed by Janice Taylor, Seniors on The Move has taken Akron by storm, providing fun exercise for our seniors. Each June in Summit Lake Community Center parking lot, seniors participate in a city event called Happy Feet Keeps the Beat, where participants are able to speak with medical professionals for free, win a pair of shoes, and eat from Akron's Largest Salad Bar.




To those of you who have supported us in the past…your generosity is so appreciated!  To those of you who are considering a future gift…please accept our thanks!  We hope that by browsing our website and reading the information below about why our friends choose to donate to SWAG, you will add us to your annual giving.




Eric Nelson

Executive Director


Why support Students with a Goal (SWAG)?

Your donation:

  • Helps to provide academic support to students ages 12-18.

  • Provides a safe place for students to gather for recreational and enrichment activities four evenings per week during the school year and also over summer months.

  • Provides students with an opportunity for a “family” dinner each evening.  Many of these kids do not get this experience at home.

  • Allows students to receive incentives for achievement of academic, behavioral and leadership goals.

  • Provides transportation for students to and from the program

  • Allows the opportunity for mentoring, vocational awareness and leadership goals


Refer A Child

Click here If you are interested in joining  SWAG, please fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch. 


Click here to learn more about the SWAG Mentoring and Volunteering opportunities.



Click here to donate to SWAG. Any funds donated will go right back to SWAG in order to improve and expand this program