What is the Emily K Center?

The Emily K Center, a non-profit organization in Durham, was established in 2006 with a mission to inspire students to dream big, act with character and purpose, and reach their potential as leaders in their community. The Center’s educational vehicle, the K to College Model, serves academically-focused, low-income students in out-of-school programming designed to help them achieve in school, gain entry to college, and break the cycle of poverty in their families.  In addition, the Center serves thousands of students and community members monthly through the use of the Center’s multipurpose rooms, gymnasium, and performance stage.

What is the K to College Model?

The K to College Model is an educational vehicle with distinct, but sequential, out-of-school programs. These programs include Pioneer Scholars (1st through 8th grade), Scholars to College (9th through 12th grade), and Scholars on Campus (college students).

Tell me about the Pioneer Scholars program.

The Pioneer Scholars program serves students throughout their elementary and middle school years, preparing them for success in a college preparatory course of study once they reach high school. They participate in highly-structured tutoring each and every day of the academic year, coming to the Center to develop and accelerate their skills after they have attended a full day of school.  The instruction is delivered by qualified teachers and well-supported volunteers. Students continue to sharpen their skills during the summer through an academic bridge program.

And what is the Scholars to College program?

Once students graduate from the Pioneer Scholars program, they enter the Scholars to College program and continue to focus on maintaining strong academics, setting high expectations, and preparing for college. This program is flexible and accommodates a high school student’s varied schedule and increasing involvement in areas of academic interest and extracurricular activities. Students are guided and supported in the areas of academics, leadership, career exploration, financial literacy, SAT preparation and more, putting them in a strong position to gain admission and attend a college or university that is the right fit for them.

What is Scholars on Campus?

No matter where our students pursue their higher education goals, our Scholars on Campus program will ensure that we maintain a good relationship with them and help them to take full advantage of all opportunities and support available to them on campus. Our students will maintain a strong tie to the Center by thoughtfully using technology.  Over school breaks they will gather together to pool knowledge and discoveries. As they build towards making career choices and transitioning to work, they will have guidance, support and encouragement.  Their Emily K Center family will be there for them.

Where do the students in the K to College Model come from and how are they selected?

Initially, students make application to the program in the Spring for the following school year. They are referred by teachers, friends and family, or learn about the programs by visiting the Center and asking for an application.  If a student’s application presents them as a good fit, the student and his or her family will be invited in for an interview. Currently, students in the program come from more than 30 different public, charter, and private schools in the area.  We seek to enroll students from low-income families who seem most ready to take advantage of the opportunity by using the programs to help them one day gain entry to college.   

In addition to those in your K to College Model educational programs, do other people use the Center and how does that happen?

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” A very large and ever-growing number of individuals and organizations use our facility, taking advantage of opportunities from drama camps to activity classes. In addition, the Center facilitates the work of other like-minded partners as they convene, learn, and serve our community through the use of our gymnasium, meeting rooms, and performance stage.

How would I find out about my organization conducting an activity or program in a space within the Center?

Just complete the contact us form and check the box indicating that you are interested in “using the facility” and an Emily K staff person will follow-up with you shortly.

I would like to volunteer at the Emily K Center by working with the students, participating in special program, or helping out with administrative projects or support at the Center. 

Great! You can learn more about some of our opportunities here and to sign-up just complete the contact us form and check the box indicating that you are interested in “volunteering”.

Is the Emily K Center funded in totality by Duke University or its namesake family?

No, the Emily K Center  is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and although we are fortunate to have many wonderful friends and sponsors who support us, like all nonprofit organizations we must seek funding, primarily through our annual appeal, foundation grants, and various events such as our Mother’s Day Ball.

It sounds like terrific work is being done at the Emily K Center. I would like to support that work through a donation.

We believe that the work being done at the Emily K Center is life-changing and we are extremely grateful to our supporters who make this work possible. Donations can be made online or by check sent to the Emily K Center, 904 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC 27701.  For more information on other ways to give such as planned giving, in kind gifts, corporate sponsorship, and endowment gifts contact us at 919-980-0308 ext 1006.

Is the Emily K Center part of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church or Immaculata Catholic School?

No, the Emily K Center is not part of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church or Immaculata Catholic School, although they are wonderful neighbors who we partner together with for various community activities and events.  For example, Immaculata is one of two schools who regularly use the Emily K gym for their health and fitness programs.

What is the relationship between the Emily K Center and Duke University?

Because of our proximity to Duke University, we have been fortunate to have many, many volunteers come from the Duke Community to help us in our K to College educational program and at the Center in general. Students and employees volunteer tutor, students groups facilitate arts, science, sports, and mentorship activities at the Center, and professors and staff have shared their knowledge and talents.  We also receive great volunteer support from North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina, and other local colleges and universities.  

904 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC 27701, 919-680-0308, and info@emilyk.org
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