WECAAARE began as a personal experience of founder Jacob Qualls as he was in his junior year at Morehouse College. Thinking of ways to provide encouragement for academic achievement and incentive to continue in higher education for students from his community, he raised a substantial funding and founded the CAAARE scholarship (Concerned African-American Alumni Rewarding Excellence) at Springfield Southeast High School in 1999. As the award was given annually, students at his alma mater began to take notice and actively vied for the award.
However, Mr. Qualls wanted this idea to grow into something bigger as awareness and concern of the current educational crisis in his hometown grew. In the fall of 2003 the State Journal Register of Springfield reported that nearly 75% of all minority students were not meeting 11th grade Prairie State achievement standards. This figure equates to approximately 1000 minority students who will potentially face this fate over a period of 5 years - correlating with lower standardized test scores, diminished opportunities for college admission, and success beyond Springfield itself. There was a need to launch a local program to based on mentorship, support, and awareness that are not readily available in the city - as he and many others were given in college, corporate America and abroad. As Springfield is by no means an anomaly given the current state of America, there are students outside of Springfield to improve their chances for high school success and college education through virtual education and resources.
This led to the development of programs, services, and a group with the potential to provide a supplemental mix of online education, abundant information, and real life positive experiences that could help to change the fate of our youth. In 2004 with the determination to make a difference, WECAAARE was born as an organization dedicated to providing opportunity to minority students within the Springfield, Illinois Public School System and the nation through both virtual and tangible community services. The programs of the WECAAARE Educational Foundation, Inc. are in place to give students awareness of what the future can provide given determination, to provide members and opportunity to influence and encourage future leaders, to arm parents with the tools to plan for the future of their graduate, and to enable the community with a vision of what can happen when WECAAARE.
The mission of the WECAAARE Education Foundation is to endow under-served minority high school youth in Springfield, IL and the nation with the skills and opportunities necessary for advancement.
The WECAAARE Education Foundation will be the premier minority youth channel in Springfield, Illinois in for social entrepreneurship - fostering a change in community and the future face of success.