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A Learning Center Devoted
to Excellence

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Empowering students to develop the skills they
need to succeed at school and beyond,

SOAR Learning Center at the Jacquelyn Paulk Campus is making history.


Meet our Interim Executive Director
Mr. Rick Thurman

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Please join us in welcoming Mr. Rick Thurman as SOAR's Interim Executive Director.

Rick is a senior management executive with 45 years of experience in regional and national sales, sales management, and senior management in the radio, television, newspaper, healthcare and sports marketing fields. Through his company, Thurman Media Group, he has worked with both for-profit and non-profit organizations where he has maximized organizational potential with effective leadership practices, business planning and revenue generation.

Read his full bio


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Aliyah Cunningham, SOAR
graduate, now a YALE University Graduate!  
Read more

Students with founder Jacquelyn Paulk, Program Director Celestine Campbell, and Former Board Chair David Rubin during pre-Covid days.  (Photo by Alan Cresto).

Former Board member Dr. Harriet Moore, Director of Innovation and Equality, Sarasota School District.


Please join us! 
There are so many ways to participate:

by check or credit card— it's simple!

your time, experience
and skills

a student for a week, a month, or a year!


The SOAR Legacy
Meet SOAR founder Mrs. Jacquelyn Paulk

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From its inception, the SOAR program was made possible by the vision, the care, and the commitment of Mrs. Jacquelyn Paulk.

Mrs. Paulk has dedicated her entire career to lifting children out 
of failure and hopelessness— and into reaching their unlimited potential.  For 38 years, she taught in the Sarasota school district in several local schools. She both organized and implemented after-school programs in the Boys and Girls club, The Sarasota Housing Authority, and Greater Hurst Chapel AME Church. After retirement, she began working on after-school education programs for community youth.

The SOAR program embodies her approach to individualized learning.  It focuses on evaluating each child's individual needs, 
and only then customizing a course of learning for them— utilizing both small teacher-led groups and individual learning.

Several years ago, in an interview, Mrs. Paulk shared her thoughts, simple and touching:  “Now that I have a little time, I can reach back and help. Maybe they can get a little better education and move on.”



Studies show that students who can't read by the fourth grade have an 85% probability of dropping out before they graduate high school. 


Enter SOAR Learning Center, a community-based after-school program through which at-risk K - 3 students can achieve grade level reading and math skills while nurturing a love of learning—  all in partnership with parents, schools and the larger community itself.  More than just a tutoring or homework assist program, the SOAR process is a very highly-specialized one through which our students' deficiencies are uncovered, analyzed, and then remedied through customized learning plans. 

Located in Sarasota's Newtown community,  SOAR Learning Center is a model program—  a learning laboratory not only for students, but  for teachers and educators from all over the community.  

In addition to its exemplary academic program, SOAR has added a Family Literacy component, through which families can now support and participate in their children's learning. And, we have further added a Family Resource component, through which our families can learn about, and get help accessing, the various services that are available in our community.


We are so honored to have as our Program Director Mrs. Celestine Campbell— a woman of commitment and dedication, greatly loved by all her students.  Mrs. Campbell creates a safe and welcoming learning environment for her students, and a professional, spiritual work environment for the program's teachers and mentors. 


It is her philosophy that every child can reach academic and personal success if they are taught effectively, encouraged, and engaged. She believes the parents are a child’s first teacher and therefore communication between the home and school are critical to a child's success.   Read more.


We are grateful to our special partners and donors who have generously provided funding, resources, services and guidance. 

Thanks to our major partners!

The David, Adrianne and 

     Jordan Rubin Fund

Scott & Christine Key

Education Foundation

Dr. Rob and Joyce

      Fish, DDS

Greater Hurst Chapel

African Methodist

Episcopal Church

Sarasota Southside

Rotary Club

The Hurlburt

Foundation, Inc.

Gerry and Sheri Lublin

Robert and Michelle Russell

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Larry Greenspon Foundation

   Dr. Louis

Robison EdD

Jesse L. Perry

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Gene and Roxanne Weborg

Hilda and Ben Flink Charitable Fund

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And thank you to ALL our donors for your
generous gifts and contributions!  

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