Spring2ACTion Supporters!

Thanks to the generosity of the Spring2ACTion supporters, Project Discovery of Alexandria raised money for students.

We would also like to thank Alexandria’s Red Barn Mercantile & Penny Post for donating 20% of the proceeds from their September 21st sales.

We are grateful for your support.

Because of Project Discovery of Alexandria supporters, students have been able to visit colleges and universities, obtain financial assistance and prepare for the future and higher education opportunities. Michael Crifasi, Chair of Fundraising, coordinated this effort.

Students Visit Virginia State University

Virginia State University, a public, comprehensive 1890 Land Grant institution and historically black college/university, is committed to the preparation of a diverse population of men and women through the advancement of academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. 

The University endeavors to meet the educational needs of students, graduating lifelong learners who are well equipped to serve their communities as informed citizens, globally competitive leaders, and highly effective, ethical professionals.

Source: Virginia State University (vsu.edu)

City’s Youth Speak Up

 It is important for those involved with students to “wake up”, listen, learn, and implement the recommended actions. Some of the “lessons learned” have been summarized. The students spoke up about: relationships, mental health, skills/supports, voice and choice, and communication.

Video Summary by Iburia Hall-Haynes, Ph.D.

Resilience Fund

Under the leadership of Michael Crifasi, PDAAB Fundraising Chair, the team was able to raise $10,000 to support students through the Alexandria Resilience Fund and the 2020 Emergency Tech and Supplies Fund”

Student Recipient

State of Schools Event

The Real Cost of College

The “Real Cost of College” Workshop was held January 19, 2022. A special thank you to Ms. Melissa Harrington and all of the presenters. The feedback associated with the presentation was overwhelmingly positive and participants were really grateful for the information shared. View “Real Cost of College” video.

“It is never too early to start thinking about life after high school. Planning for college is a process chock full of timelines and deadlines. That being said, it is also important to remember, it is NEVER too late to begin thinking about life after high school or planning for college. Starting late or missing a deadline or two, might mean a new plan of action, but it does not mean college is off the table”

— Melissa Harrington

Project Discovery of Alexandria

College & Career Readiness Program

The Project Discovery of Alexandria (PDA) program began in 1985 to support first-generation college students and other deserving students in their pursuit of higher education. Workshops that include academic planning, scholarship opportunities and college tours are implemented to support the program objectives. Student activities are provided at the Alexandria City High School (ACHS) formerly known as T. C. Williams High School. Additional information from the Counseling Department at ACHS.

Scholarship Opportunities

According to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria (SFA), IT IS SCHOLARSHIP SEASON!!!! While scholarships have varying deadlines, February/March are HUGE months for scholarship deadlines. The SFA monthly scholarship email contains many curated scholarship opportunities.

As the PDAAB prepares to support first-generation college students, it is important to listen to what they have to say about their needs and college experiences. Students share answers to questions in a series from The Chronicle of Higher Education such as: What do colleges need to know? Where does the gap exist between academics and other areas of support? What can colleges do about the gap and the support for students. To view the video discussions, click on the image below.

Care Package Campaign

The PDAAB is sponsoring a Care Package Campaign. Care packages will be awarded to the first four alumni who apply and to one senior in the ACHS program. The rest of the money raised will go to scholarships, which will be given out in the spring.

Successful Students


Information Sessions

Workshop sessions are held weekly with community leaders, entrepreneurs, mentors and other professionals who share information in their areas of expertise. During these sessions, up-to-date information is given regarding academic planning, college tours, financial aid and topics of their choice

Exposing students to leaders in their various areas of interest will help them make informed decisions.

Information Sessions
Academic Planning Sessions

Academic Planning Sessions

Academic planning occurs throughout the lives of students. Assessments are made to provide clear directions for the student’s academic and career success. PDA works in conjunction with the counseling department at the ACHS.

Students Visit GMU

Click first image below to view slides of workshop.

Financial Aid Sessions

Acquiring financial assistance to attend college can be challenging for students. In many cases, obtaining financial support determines whether or not a student will continue their education. PDA assists students by sharing financial aid resources. The FAFSA application can be key to finding grants, loans, scholarships and additional financial support. Successfully navigating this process can make the difference between success and failure.

Financial Aid Sessions

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who have consistently attended PDA workshops and activities. Alumni members are also given opportunities to apply for PDA scholarships as well as the Natalie Vaughn Scholarship.

College Tours

Throwback 2019 College Tour!

Students are excited about visiting college campuses prior to making their final decision regarding the college they will attend. Some of the colleges visited in past years are: The University of Pennsylvania (Penn), George Mason University (GMU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Delaware State University (DSU), Howard University (HU), Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), South Carolina State University (SCSU), Claflin University (CU), Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), Hampton University (HU) and Livingstone University (LU).

PDAAB Initiatives & Reflections

Throwback 2017 Legacy Fundraising Event

In addition to supporting the PDA Program, the Project Discovery of Alexandria Advisory Board (PDAAB) sponsored two major fundraisers in previous years: 1) Walkathons, and 2). Legacy Fundraising Events. Adjustments are being made to continue fundraising efforts as progress is made during the pandemic.

Volunteers Welcome

After completing the required volunteer information, if you would like to volunteer with PDA as a speaker or provide assistance in other areas, please submit your contact information by CLICKING HERE.

For more information, contact Tashana Pulliam at tashana.pulliam@alexandriava.gov

A special “Thank You” to ALL Project Discovery Alexandria donors!

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