Grantee Spotlight: Project Success

Adrienne Diercks founded Project Success in 1994. She wanted to motivate students and help them not only find but achieve their dreams. “The idea back then was, what if when you're 11 years old, you’re taking time to ask yourself questions like, ‘Who am I, what am I good at and how does that translate into my decisions for my future?’”

Shaadia Munye, 19, was asked those very questions by her Project Success facilitator in her first workshop in sixth grade. For the next seven years, Project Success held workshops in Shaadia’s classrooms once a month, facilitating discussions and activities about values, goals, imagining the future and making a plan to get there.

Project Success also opened doors to experiences outside of the classroom, like theater and international travel, helping Shaadia experience a larger world and imagining her future in a new way.

And thanks to conversations with her Project Success facilitator, Shaadia realized she could pursue a wide range of post-secondary options, including college. Shaadia toured a number of colleges with Project Success, and today is a sophomore at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

The even better news is that Shaadia’s success is not unique.

Over the past 25 years, Project Success has helped more than 100,000 Minneapolis Public Schools students in grades 6–12 connect to their purpose and ignite the power within to become happy, productive and contributing members of society.

“Letting us dream with our eyes open, is what Adrienne always says,” said Shaadia. “It’s very real. We tell them what we want in life, and they give us all the tools and resources to make those dreams come true.”

Adrienne and Shaadia together at Shaadia’s high school graduation from Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis.

Shaadia with other Minneapolis high school students on the Project Success expedition to Paris, France in 2017. 

Shaadia visits DePaul University as part of the annual Project Success college tour expedition for Minneapolis high school students to Chicago, Illinois in 2018.