Double Discovery Center


Educating Children of Promise since 1965


Our Formula for Success

The Double Discovery Center works with low-income, first-generation college-bound youth from Harlem and Washington Heights to help ensure their success to, through, and beyond college. We leverage and coordinate University resources to provide students with a comprehensive network of support that includes Academic Enrichment, College & Career Success and Healthy Minds & Bodies.

Change a Life

DDC gave me the audacity to think I belong on the Columbia campus.
If it was not for DDC, I would not be where I am now.

Faith A., DDC ’06: BA, Binghamton University; MA, Teachers College, Columbia University

Launched in 1965 during President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” initiative, the Double Discovery Center has remained faithful to its founding mission – increase the rates of high school graduation, and college enrollment and graduation for low-income and first-generation college-bound youth from Harlem and Washington Heights.  

We are proud of what we have accomplished:

  • As of 2019, the Double Discovery Center has made college access and success a reality for over 15,000 individuals. 
  • Every year, about 90% of DDC high school seniors graduate from high school on time and enter college the following fall semester – far surpassing city, state and national outcomes for low-income, first-generation college-bound and minority students. 
  • DDC students have been admitted to the most prestigious institutions of higher learning, from Brown to Harvard to Yale.

COVID-19: DDC redoubles its commitment to comprehensive student support

We have two key priorities in this time of unprecedented crisis.  First, keeping our student healthy and safe while continuing to provide them with the necessary resources to remain on track with their learning, college preparation, and social-emotional wellness. Second, to increase our support of families and alumni in college and assist them in coping with current circumstances.

On March 23, we put in place these alternative education strategies to meet our goals:

  • We transitioned all our programs - college prep and academic enrichment classes, college advising, mentoring and tutoring sessions - to remote learning platforms and we adjusted their format so that they are as effective online as they are in the classroom. We also expanded our tutorial schedule to offer students more flexible opportunities to access those services. Our counselors, College Success mentors, tutors and instructors are online every day, offering the same high-quality programming that has empowered generations of DDC students to reach their greatest potential and successfully go to, through and beyond college.
  • Our Healthy Minds & Bodies (HMB) team has launched Stress Less and other Zoom coaching sessions to promote students and families’ physical, mental, and emotional health. In addition, the team has compiled an electronic compendium of resources to distribute to students and families. They include the HMB hotline that lets them access our social worker and/or interns whenever they need support. We remain in constant contact with our students and families so that we can understand and respond to their evolving needs as much as possible.
  • DDC alumni who are in college can now participate in our newly launched College Persistence class via Zoom for targeted support. They can also access our HMB activities, especially the Stress Less sessions; and our tutorial sessions, including our one-to-one writing conferences.

We made the heartbreaking decision to cancel the DDC Graduation and Senior events that were scheduled for the week of May 11. We are working on an alternative plan to honor the dedication and achievements of DDC Class of 2020.

In the midst of this tragedy, our students still give us reasons to rejoice: Our seniors’ achievements have been brilliant! They are starting to receive acceptance letters from the colleges and universities of their dreams, and we are proud to announce that, as of April, they have been admitted to Barnard College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Princeton University, U.S. Naval Academy, Vassar College, and West Point, to name a few!

We will overcome this challenge! And in the meantime we continue to prepare our students so that when they are back in the classroom they will already be several steps closer to college!

To all our friends, families, and visitors, please continue to be safe and well.  You remain in our thoughts.

We thank all of our donors, supporters, and partners for your continued support that has allowed us to persist in our mission and transform the lives of so many community youth through education.  Without your financial donations, large and small, we wouldn’t be able to meet the college-going needs and aspirations of low-income and first-generation youth from Harlem and Washington Heights. 

To Change a life with the Gift of Education, CLICK HERE!

To join our mailing list and receive the DDC newsletter with regular updates on our programs, activities, and student accomplishments, please CLICK HERE