The DDC organizes programming for low-income and first-generation high school students from Harlem/Washington Heights to increase rates of college enrollment and success.
Since 1965, Columbia University's Double Discovery Center (DDC) has advanced the social mobility of marginalized youth by providing them with equitable educational opportunities for college success. DDC provides youth with a comprehensive college access & success program consisting of three core components: Academic Enrichment, College & Career Success, and Healthy Minds & Bodies. Through activities across these core areas, DDC meaningfully addresses the college-going needs of low-income, first-generation students primarily from Harlem and Washington Heights to ensure their readiness for success to, through, and beyond college.
DDC leverages and mobilizes intellectual and human resources from across Columbia University and the community to design, implement, and monitor its program activities. DDC relies on the volunteerism of civically-engaged students at Columbia University who join the DDC community to serve as tutors and mentors. DDC volunteers have access to professional development and other supports to ensure that they are well-positioned to help community youth with their academic and college journeys. Based on end-of-year feedback from our volunteers, most identified with our mission and/or purpose and believe that their DDC experiences enriched their academic studies. One shared, “Working at the DDC has strengthened my organizational and leadership skills, and it has shown me what it feels like to really love your job” and another noted, “Although I'm in a PhD program, I want my work to be in conversation with youth because it's ultimately for them. I've found that there can be a gap between those within and without academia, and DDC allowed me to bridge that gap.” DDC’s persistent commitment and innovative approach to addressing the racial and economic inequities in education reflects its longstanding vision and legacy of transformative civic engagement.