Founded in 1997 by David Domenici and James Forman, Jr., the See Forever Foundation was created to offer a holistic program to teens involved in the juvenile justice system. At that time, court-involved teens told our co-founders that they wanted to earn money, learn marketable skills, and gain responsibility. When they returned to school, they also wanted to attend small classes with teachers who cared about them, and they wanted help making hard decisions.
We opened our doors in 1997 as a comprehensive program for 20 teens, all of whom were committed to the D.C. Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services or were on probation. That year we sponsored a school naming contest. Sherti Hendrix, a member of our first graduating class (Class of 1999), wrote the winning essay, advocating for the school to be named after Dr. Maya Angelou. The Maya Angelou Public Charter School was incorporated In the spring of 1998 as separate nonprofit subsidiary. That same year, we purchased the historic Odd Fellows Building at the corner of 9th and T Street, NW. We moved into the building in the fall of 2000, after completing a $3 million renovation. We grew each year, as students from all over the city and from all sorts of academic backgrounds actively sought admission. Some of these young people were out-of-school, some were doing poorly in traditional school settings and heard about our program and the one-on-one support offered to students, and others were referred to us by governmental agencies.
To meet the needs of our growing student population, particularly in the Ward 7 and Ward 8 areas of the District of Columbia, in September 2004 the See Forever Foundation opened a second campus of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School in partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Our second campus, located in the former DCPS Evans Middle School is located in the 5600 block of East Capitol Street, NE.
We assumed operation of the Maya Angelou Academy (formerly the Oak Hill Academy), serving incarcerated young men during the summer of 2007. That same year, in order to help these young men transition from incarceration, we opened the Transition Center, which has since evolved to become the Maya Angelou Young Adult Learning Center, serving disconnected 17-24 year olds across Washington, DC to help them gain a GED and workforce credentials.
Nearly all of the students are years behind grade level academically, many have special needs, and most have experienced significant trauma at some point in their lives. At the Maya Angelou Academy and the Transition Center, we aim to provide these students with the best education they have ever had.
Today, the the See Forever Foundation supports the Maya Angelou Public Charter High School and Young Adult Learning Center, housed in Northeast, DC, along with the Maya Angelou Academy, located in New Beginnings in Laurel, Maryland.