Next Level for Teens (NXL) is an organization that has been taking new approaches to helping fight teen violence and drug abuse since its inception more than two years ago. Tutoring for Success is a wide-spread tutoring service in the Washington, D.C.- metropolitan area and has been running for the past 11 years. Now with a new partnership and a center on the way these two organizations are changing the idea of what a teen center is supposed to be.
"We don't want to just put students in a teen center. That doesn't get to the root of the problem, which is why we partnered with doctors and professionals and Tutoring For Success. NXL is the organization that will offer everything that is good for teens," said Mitchell, NXL's founder, at a press conference Aug. 16.
THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS got together after Mitchell started looking for a tutoring company to work with in the area. He talked with a few parents about tutoring companies and Tutoring for Success kept coming up as the best one.
Starting in September NXL and Tutoring for Success will be offering one-on-one tutoring in a variety of areas and a Homework Club for helping teens get through their homework. The two organizations will also be offering an SAT preparatory course to help teens better prepare for the test.
"If students need help with their homework, they can have someone help them through the Homework Club rather than sign up for one-to-one tutoring," explained Cheryl Gedzelman, director of Tutoring for Success, "I'm excited about the idea of one-stop shopping, where students can get everything in one center."
The idea of getting the social aspects of a teen center and the educational aspects of tutoring and other aids under one roof is what sets NXL's new teen center, which is scheduled to be done around January, apart from others.
"It is totally unique to have a place to go that has a social
atmosphere in addition to all the services that Next Level will offer," said Gedzelman of the new center.
The two groups are looking forward to working together and being able to help each other help teens. "NXL will help Tutoring for Success by expanding what they have already done for the past 11 years, by expanding into more locations and reaching more families in the community. We can pretty much go anywhere," said Mitchell.
NXL HAS BEEN influencing children in a positive way since Mitchell founded it after a shooting killed a teen from Ashburn in the spring of 2004. He wanted to do his part in reducing the risk of anything like this happening again so he started NXL, so that teens could have a place to come and learn in a positive environment.
Mitchell and Gedzelman are not the only ones who are excited about the partnership. "I think they can take Fred's tutoring ideas to the next level," said Lorie Shomaker, the mother of the Ashburn teen who was shot, who is also involved with NXL, "I think that anything that can be a positive influence in kids lives has to be supported."
As a nonprofit organization NXL needs support. Mitchell says that tax-deductible donations are accepted through the Web site, www.nextlevel4teens.org or by phone at 571-214-1747, and that they are always looking for teachers for either volunteer or paid work.
Mitchell's ideas may not stay local either. Gary Ellis from Clarksville, Tenn., was at a leadership conference at the Capital Community Church in Ashburn when he heard about NXL.
"It literally blew my mind. The innovation and the passion for young people and not only what it can do for Loudoun County but for everywhere. I'm sure as soon as my people hear about it they will want it in their area," Ellis said.