Celebrating its 25th year of operation, A Better Chance of Wilton exists to provide quality high school education and rigorous academic discipline to promising minority boys and girls, such that their chances of attending college are greatly enhanced. Our Scholars, frequently from inner city disadvantaged areas, live during their high school years in two houses in Wilton, a boys’ and a girls’, both owned by the program. Each house has a Resident Director who oversees the Scholars and every aspect of their lives while they attend the Wilton High School and participate in both high school and community activities.
Most frequently of African American, Hispanic or Asian descent, the Scholars bring a cultural diversity to Wilton as well as life experiences and perspectives which are frequently eye-opening. They are embraced by the town and quickly integrated both into the high school and the community. Besides participating in a myriad of high school activities, the Scholars often work at The Village Market, Scoops and the YMCA and volunteer at the Library, The Greens at Cannondale and The Cider Mill School. Over the last several years, Scholars have been awarded by their peers with the honor of being Homecoming “King” and “Queen”, as well as President and/or Vice President of the WHS Student Government.
This popular town program is strongly supported by the high school, its administration, The Board of Education and most importantly by the people and businesses of Wilton. All of the program’s funds come from the generosity of the friends of A Better Chance of Wilton and 100% of those funds go to the support of the program. Interestingly, of its peer group of five programs in Fairfield County, the Wilton program is the most efficient in cost per Scholar per year. The driving force of the program is its large working board which oversees the many functions needed to ensure the smooth, continuous running of the program. In addition to the board, at any one time there are over 100 additional volunteers also associated with the program. It truly “takes a village.”
Affiliated with A Better Chance National, the Wilton program is one of only two co-ed Community Supported Programs nationally and boasts an enviable track record. Over the years of its existence, all 48 of its seniors have graduated and all of them have been accepted to college. Our most recent graduates, Emmanuel, Alex, Yanny, and Bianca are attending University of Rhode Island, Manhattanville College, University of New Haven, and Stonybrook University respectively. They’ve been with us for four years and worked hard to make the most of their time here in Wilton. They’ve now become part of our growing ABC family and we in Wilton send them on proudly, looking forward to their future successes. As the cycle continues, in the fall we welcome new scholars who bring their youthful vitality, curiosity and dedication to this community’s program. We encourage you to contact us f you would like to explore becoming involved with the lives of these extraordinary young men and women who bring so much to our town.
Derrel Mason and Rich Nichol