BroadFutures Statement on the Derek Chauvin Conviction

The far too often elusive arc finally bent towards Justice – in all her glory. Tuesday afternoon a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the death of George Floyd on all three criminal counts charged: second degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. We celebrate this moment, while acknowledging that the struggle for racial justice has endured for centuries, and continues. We reached out to our BroadFutures community almost a year ago as we could not sit in silence given the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. Yet here we are a year later, still confronting the continued violence and killing of Black people at the hands of police – Duante Wright (age 20), Ma’Khia Bryant (16), and Adam Toledo (13) to name just a few.

We recognize the pain of the family of George Floyd and all the families of color who have lost loved ones to police violence. We recognize the pain of the Black people of our own BroadFutures community who are our co-workers, participants, partners, supporters, and friends. We know that the barriers faced by disabled people are significantly more profound for our communities of color, especially those who are confronted by police, and/or become a part of the criminal justice system. We are committed to ensuring that these barriers are eradicated and will work towards a future that ensures that justice, opportunity, protection and support are equal for Black people. 

We must continue to seek change and demand that the beautiful arc always and consistently bends towards Justice. We can… and we will do better – together.

Co-Founder/ CEO/President

BroadFutures won the GYA 2020 Annual Award for Accessibility in Gap Year Education!

BroadFutures won an award! We are thrilled to announce that we have  been awarded with the Gap Year Association’s 2020 Annual Award for Accessibility in Gap Year Education. The award was presented to our CEO, Carolyn Jeppsen, at the 2020 Gap Year Association Annual Conference. We are proud to say that BroadFutures is both accessible educationally and financially because we are able to provide scholarships. Thank you to the Gap Year Association for this amazing recognition!

BroadFutures Statement on Standing Together Against Racial Injustice

To our Supporters and Friends,

As people across our city, nation, and world, march and protest, raising their voices against racial injustice, we affirm your words, your grief, your pain, and your courageous, resilient pursuit of change.  As an organization whose mission is founded on inclusion and eradicating prejudice, we cannot sit in silence in light of the recent events in our America. We are sickened by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the taking of so many other innocent lives. These acts of horrific violence thoroughly defy our sense of humanity. Their families’ grief weighs heavily on our hearts. These are exceptionally challenging times as we face the abhorrent and systemic racial inequities that permeate our society, the severity of which is magnified and exacerbated by the present global pandemic. We are poignantly aware of the myriad of complexities and sensitivities of the diverse communities we love, serve, partner with, and employ. We stand in solidarity with all who are raising their voices to be heard, and most importantly the outrage of Black people, who are a vital part of our nation and our own beloved BroadFutures community.

We know the barriers faced by disabled people are significantly more profound for all our communities of color, especially those who are part of the criminal justice system. We are committed to work to eradicate these barriers and to ensure the limitless potential of those that we serve. We continue to ensure that the employers we partner with and the young people we serve reflect the diversity of our country. We are dedicated to intentionally work against racism, in furtherance of the beauty of diversity, where Black lives are cherished and nurtured.

We must have the freedom to speak up and speak out and we must listen –  listen to the voices of the outraged and the voices of those who have not been adequately heard for a very long time. We need to create spaces for open conversations – conversations that include young people of color. Finally, we commit to work towards a future that includes everyone and ensures that justice, opportunity, protection, and support are equal for Black people. We hope that this message finds all of you safe and healthy. We look forward to moving together as a community, voices raised in fierce condemnation of racial inequities, and hearts laser focused on creating meaningful change.

Onward in outrage, solidarity, and hope,


BroadFutures update on COVID-19

To our amazing community:

As COVID-19 continues to impact our community and the world, we wanted to take a moment to share what is being done at BroadFutures to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and interns. Our team is currently working remotely, and we will continue to reevaluate the situation on a week by week basis. While we are not in our physical office, this does not mean we are reducing our support system. If anything, we are committed now more than ever to ensure each intern feels supported in this challenging time.

The BroadFutures mission is to unlock the potential of young people with learning disabilities. This is our chance to demonstrate that even in times of uncertainty, our interns are capable of rising to the occasion and demonstrating their courage and resilience. BroadFutures is here to provide resources and support, and it is in that spirit that we write to you today.

To our interns and families:
Know that we are here for you! Whether you are working from home or still going into the office, please know that we are still 100% dedicated to continuing to support you in your internship and professional development. You have our emails – use them! If you have any questions at all, or just need some positive words of encouragement, our team is ready to help in any way we can. 

To our supporters and friends:
We need you! This is a time for us to come together as a community, and to offer assistance to each other in any way we can. It is clear that the crisis has had a huge impact on the economy, and the ripple effect on philanthropy and fundraising is uncertain at best. At this time we intend to continue our summer program, but are cognizant of the possibility it may be smaller than in summers past, or worst case scenario, we may have to delay the program in its entirety. Coupled on top of the uncertainty that arises from the present COVID-19 crisis, unfortunately last week BroadFutures was the victim of a theft. Our MacBook laptops were stolen from our office along with a camera and various Apple charging cords. If you are in a position to support our efforts and secure the future of BroadFutures, you can contribute to our mission by making a gift here .

We are learning right alongside you as we navigate COVID-19 together. Everything is dynamic and changing rapidly and we are working diligently to accommodate and incorporate such changes. We are proud of the swift changes our staff is making, and their commitment to our interns, families and employers. The safety and health of our community is our #1 priority, and we are fiercely committed to ensuring that as well for the growth of our interns. 

Thank you for being a valued part of our community. We are confident we can all work through this present crisis with grace and courage, hopefully coming out the other side having grown together. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or thoughts. 

-The BroadFutures Team
202-521-4312 |  |

Why Students with Learning and Attention Issues Should Consider a Gap Year

As the new year begins, many of you are probably dreading the question from family and friends, “What are you going to do after high school graduation?” For students with learning differences who might have found academics to be a challenge, a four-year university is not always the immediate first choice – and that’s okay! Michael Sandler, an expert on ADHD and education, assures that it is totally acceptable to not immediately start college after you graduate from high school, especially because there are so many alternatives. These alternatives, including working in an internship or full-time job, all offer significant benefits that can lead to success both academically and professionally, by providing opportunities to gain valuable work experience and investigate your interests.

At BroadFutures, we believe this is particularly true for students with learning and attention issues, as these nontraditional learners often learn best by doing. Our paid internship program is focused on helping young people realize their potential through hands-on experiences that increase self-confidence, independence, communication skills, and resilience. We utilize alternative learning strategies for our unique learners by incorporating the arts, yoga, and mindfulness. Our holistic approach creates a valuable opportunity for young people with learning and attention issues to consider as a gap year option.

Similarly, John Willson, Executive Director of SOAR, a gap year program that focuses on young adults with ADHD and/or other learning differences, points out that a gap year can provide a much-needed break from traditional schooling and offers endless possibilities for students to gain practical life experience. These options can include interning or working, traveling, volunteering, performing research, and more. No one option is better than the others – decide what is best for you! To help you decide, think about why you want to take a gap year in the first place and what you want to get out of it.

Who takes a gap year?

Some students simply are not ready for college or a career yet! Some are burnt out from academic pressures put on by the stress of high school. Others are not sure what area of study they want to pursue. Some students are not developmentally ready for college yet, while others lack the executive functioning skills necessary to succeed in college. If any of these descriptions resonate with you, a gap year is worth looking into. Otherwise, you could miss the opportunity to reach your full potential.

Why take a gap year?

A gap year can provide a significant confidence booster for students with learning and attention issues. While many of these students have struggled to be successful in school, often a gap year provides the perfect environment to achieve success, and in turn increases self-confidence. As an additional bonus, writer Carter Brown from notes that a gap year can help you stand out to potential colleges and employers. 88% of students who took an internship during their gap year reported the internship significantly added to their employability, according to a survey done by the Gap Year Association. In addition, students who have interned during a gap year are perceived to be more mature, more self-reliant, and more independent than those who don’t. Work experience during a gap year is particularly important for students with learning and attention issues. These students often are not able to engage in work opportunities during the summer, since they are taking classes due to a reduced course load during the year. These early work experiences ensure they are not at a competitive disadvantage when applying to jobs after college.

Specifically, here are some reasons why a gap year could be beneficial for young people with learning and attention issues. When taking a gap year, students are able to:

  1. Increase college readiness – A gap year provides an opportunity for students to improve their executive functioning skills. These skills are essential for a successful college career. Loren Dunn writes about “why your brain would love it if you took a gap year.”
  2. Gain work experience – And your job or internship won’t be the only thing you can include on your resume. By working, you will also undoubtedly gain soft skills, as well. Examples of soft skills include communication, leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills to name a few.
  3. Explore study and career options – A gap year is the perfect chance to delve into current interests through volunteering or working. Alternatively, you could even discover new passions by traveling and meeting other people.
  4. Grow personally – The goal of a gap year is to hopefully come away with a refined sense of direction as well as gain independence and maturity.
  5. Renew motivation, interest, and confidence in academics– Taking a gap year is a way to recharge your brain. The idea is to take time off now, so you will return refreshed and ready to head into college with an open mind. 

Gap Year Programs for Students Who Learn Differently

Being a gap year program ourselves, the mission of BroadFutures is to provide a supportive and enriching experiential learning opportunity for young people with learning and attention issues. We combine a two-week training program that creatively engages youth to strengthen their self-advocacy, interview skills, communication, and overall professionalism with mentorship and internships. Through partnerships with more than 50 diverse employers, participants work four days a week at paid internships designed to match their interests and strengths and come back to us on Fridays for ongoing training. Throughout the internship, BroadFutures provides support through a unique peer mentor and coaching model.

Here are a few other programs worth taking a look at, specifically for students with LD and/or ADHD:

  1.  InventiveLabs – During two consecutive four-month sessions, InventiveLabs does a deep dive into career options based directly off of participants’ interests and strengths. Through online courses, company visits, and a networking and mentor program, participants are able to develop a strategy for completing college. InventiveLabs believes that people in their program “need to know the reason they are attending college in order to succeed in college.”
  2. SOAR – The GAP Year at SOAR – or the Gateway Adventure Program – incorporates travel, independent living, and adventure to empower young adults with ADHD and/or other learning differences. Participants will learn and experience real-world responsibilities and life skills through residential and expedition components, as well as get the opportunity to enroll in college courses and volunteer.
  3. Dynamy – Dynamy’s semester or year-long gap year program encompasses everything from internships and one-on-one mentoring, to outdoor challenges, to community involvement and apartment life. With hands-on learning, Dynamy is designed to help students find their sense of direction.

The Gap Year Association website is also a great resource for different gap year programs.

Selected for the Catalogue for Philanthropy, 2019-2020

BroadFutures is thrilled to announce that after a careful vetting process, we have been selected by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington for their Class of 2019-2020! We are so proud to have been selected as #oneofthebest nonprofits that are working each day to make a difference, close to home. We cannot wait to begin our partnership with the Catalogue.

Check out our page here.

Welcome to our New Program Director, Ashley Bray!

We are thrilled to welcome our new Program Director, Ashley Bray, to BroadFutures. Ashley is passionate about supporting advocacy efforts for individuals with disabilities by breaking down barriers in academia and employment to promote a path to self-determination and success. She has extensive experience and leadership in program development, specifically in expanding academic, economic, and workforce opportunities for diverse communities, including individuals with learning disabilities. Ashley also has experience in the development and facilitation of trainings on disability awareness, inclusion, and appropriate accommodations and technical assistance in both the classroom and the workplace.

We are thrilled to have Ashley bringing her talents, experience and passion to our team here at BroadFutures, especially at this exciting time when we have expanded our program to serve 36 interns this summer and have grown our employer partner partnerships to over 50. A warm welcome to Ashley!!!