NSU is about connections. But it’s about so much more. Students and mentors work together to set goals, stay on track and develop critical skills that serve them long beyond their high school years. Time management, planning and organization, self-advocacy, self-care, mental health awareness, as well as adopting an “I can do this” and “I deserve this” mindset, contribute to higher graduation rates and future achievement. 

A Trusted

can make the difference
between getting lost and finding themselves





NSU collaborates with families, students and Needham High School guidance to build one-to-one mentor relationships that help students set goals, stay on track, self-advocate, and develop critical skills needed for graduation and post-secondary achievement. In addition to one-to-one mentoring, NSU also provides:

• enrichment grants

• SEL skill development

• college application assistance

• post-graduation planning, and more

How it works

Enrollment begins in the Spring of 8th grade at Pollard Middle School through collaboration between families, students, guidance and the NSU program director. Mentors are paired with students in freshman year and remain with them for the duration of their high school experience. They meet regularly to discuss everything from course selection to social concerns, and consistently work on self-advocacy, goal setting, time management and additional skill development. In junior and senior year, mentors provide college and other post-secondary planning support.

Students enrolled in Needham Steps Up become part of a smaller, supportive community within Needham High School. With this, along with equity and enrichment grants, they have access to the resources and opportunities readily available to their peers.  Since its inception, NSU has measurably improved the high school experience of dozens of Needham students and helped change the trajectory of their future immeasurably.