Organizational highlights

  • Our program scored higher than the national average in The Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA)®, a validated instrument designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs. It assesses Safe Environment, Supportive Environment, Youth and Adult Interaction, and Youth Engagement. This assessment is done by certified external assessors.
    •  In a perfect score of 5, we have an average score of 4.4 with over 63 different categories measured.   The national average score is 3.06
    • In Youth Leadership Engagement, we scored a 4 while the national average score is 2.63. 



  • Over the last 6 years, 86% graduated highschool. We did this by tracking 43 students who joined Higher Ground and are now over 18 years old. 
    • 37 of them graduated high school,
    • At least 33 of them completed it in 4 years.
    • Of the six that have not yet graduated, 3 of them are enrolled in our re-engagement center, on track to graduating high school.
  • 79% of kids tested on grit increased their baseline grit score at the end of the school year, based on University of Pennsylvania’s Lee Angela Duckworth’s Grit Test.
  • 98% of our kids are more physically active

  • 94% of our students improved their grades

  • 94% of our students felt that they have had the opportunity to help others at HG

  • 90% of our students stated that they learned not to quit as often

  • 88% of our students felt better about themselves and other people around them

  • 81% of our students stated they learned to control their emotions better

  • 80% of our kids experienced how to plan and lead activities

  • 66% of our students stated they learned to control their talking back to teachers and parents

  • Click here for full detailed report on student outcomes

To read some of the personal stories of this year click here.

Partnerships and awards

  • We were selected as the first Re-Engagement Center in Tucson by Youth On The Rise partnership. Youth on the Rise (YOTR) leverages collective cross-sector and community-based leadership and investments of Pima County to improve pathways to education and employment for opportunity youth ages 16-19 who have dropped out of high school. This partnership consists of over 40 different organizations in Pima County.
  • We are part of the Executive Leadership for the Mayor's Community School's Initiative, a partnership to increase the high school graduation rates in 8 high schools in Tucson.
  • We won the 2015 Child Abuse Prevention Award as an organization
  • We were nominated and are in the finals for the 2015 Copper Cactus Award for the "small non-profit" category.
  • We took 3rd place in the Kid's Team Division in the Arizona State during the Grand Canyon Open for Jiujitsu
  • We partnered with the University of Arizona College of Education to help develop a pathway to leadership for the the College of Education students to help prepare them for engaging with the community and becoming career ready.