Catalyst works to impact the lives of remarkable young people, giving them a ladder up where one might not otherwise exist. Catalyst-funded programs vary from increasing opportunities for enrollment in formal secondary and higher education to projects that provide the social and emotional tools and build the resilience necessary to take full advantage of those opportunities. To create opportunities for the most marginalized young people, particularly those displaced by conflict or poverty, the Catalyst Foundation funds projects that fall within our two programming pillars:
The first pillar focuses on projects and programs that help provide pathways to higher education for young people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to continue their studies. This includes Catalyst’s signature PEER program, cataloging scholarship opportunities for refugee youth from around the world, as well as programs for marginalized youth at the high school level that are designed to provide the stepping stones that to possible for further study at the college or university level. These include Sky School, an innovative online/blended learning high school for refugee teens, a scholarship program for Roma, immigrant, and other low income Slovakian students at the C.S. Lewis High School in Bratislava, and the international mentoring program Global Citizens Initiative. The programs within this pillar are geared toward preparing young people to be ready for college or university.
The second pillar focuses on educational enrichment projects, particularly in sports and arts. Youth affected by conflict and trauma should have access non-formal educational opportunities, complementing their formal education, keeping them positively engaged, and building important social and emotional skills. In addition to bringing refugee and other at-risk children and youth joy and hope, these enrichment projects provide safe spaces for activities that build the resilience necessary both to stay in school and succeed academically. Catalyst projects in this area include the Kickstart Joy soccer program, the Lens on Life photography project, and an Arabic poetry project, all in the Za’atari camp in Jordan, as well as support for an innovative music school in Palestine that blends classical music lessons with social support.