Angel Benjamin ‘19
achieve has not only helped me to have so many new privileges, experiences and opportunities I never dreamed of having, but the people there are making sure that I am the best I can be, and that I can succeed in whatever I try to do in life.”

Melissa Cervantes ‘17
“The greatest impact the achieve Program has had on my life is that it has helped me step out of my comfort zone and try new and challenging things that I never thought I would be able to do.”

Jolly Curameng ‘19
“As an incoming 9th grader, the summer school program really helped me to prepare for the upcoming school year. During the summer program, I was taught various reading and writing techniques, given an interesting and fun academic experience, and made new friends”

Fernando Delgado ‘18
“The achieve program taught me that giving back is and should be a part of your life. If you do not give back, then you may never receive the truly valuable things in life, such as happiness and fulfillment.”

Gaby Nunez ‘17
"achieve has taught me that giving back and helping other is something you should do all of your life. It gives you a feeling of happiness when you see others smile and hearing that your actions have benefited the people in your community."
Javier Garay
Javier Garay ‘17
"The achieve summer experiences have really helped me by keeping me productive during a time of year when itís easy not to be, and by creating positive learning habits that will not only help me in school, but in the real world as well.”

Marah Trujillo ‘17
achieve has had a huge impact in my life. One of the biggest things it has helped me with is stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things that I never thought I could do.”

Jose Rico ‘18
achieve taught me to help others and to see others as equals, no matter what their circumstances or condition might be.”
Our History

Barbara Bass Bakar, former Chief Executive Officer for several major retail firms, founded the achieve program in 1997. Believing that education is the great equalizer in society and that low-income and minority youth were not being adequately served by the public school system, Barbara began the program with four boys at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco. In 1999, the girls' program began at Holy Names High School in Oakland. In 2006 achieve added a girls' program at Mercy High School in San Francisco. In 2015, a program was added at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda.

When the program began, Mrs. Bakar initially chose to remain anonymous. However, in the second year she realized that simply providing scholarship money was not producing success. She decided to get personally involved--- very involved. She visited students’ homes so that she could better understand their lives outside of school. She met individually with students to learn about their hopes and dreams for the future. She, in essence, became a “second mom” to all of the achieve students.

Mrs. Bakar is constantly striving to expand and improve the program. After asking the first achieve graduates what additional services would have improved their academic success, she took their advice and added an after school program at ARHS. Upon realizing that some achieve graduates were not staying in college or taking too long to graduate, an intensive college counseling component was added to the program. According to Mrs. Bakar, the program continues to be “a work in progress” and she is committed to continue making any changes needed to maximize the success of every student in the program.

After graduation, students remain part of the achieve Program and are invited to attend the annual alumni event. Mrs. Bakar continues to advise and support alumni through letters, e-mails and phone calls. Alumni like to visit their alma maters to speak to and motivate students in the program.