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Our Story

Our Story

“It Starts With a U-Turn” was established in 2014, though its idea was born out of the challenges its founder endured in accessing collegiate possibilities during her upbringing. Founded by Arlana J Walton, “It Starts With a U-Turn” is designed to motivate and inspire youth who need that extra push of guidance in order to develop academic success.

Whether facing adversity, not having access to creative outlets, or academic support for students coming from impoverished communities, “It Starts With a U-Turn” helps recognize these challenges and provide solutions through education. Students are connected to several different resources including tutoring, mentoring, transition coaches, and family support systems in order to foster an environment of productivity.

The organization helps to build spaces of education that include not only college education but the consistency necessary for students to finish high school, pursuing higher education, or other career alternatives. “It Starts With a U-Turn” opens the doors for challenges to be addressed with proper guidance and longevity in education. Because the students are the future of this generation, we believe it’s important to meet the youth where they are and build a road to success.  



To promote a positive academic attitude and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning and growth, while providing resources to develop life skills by emphasizing the importance of knowledge. To highlight the importance of networking and community involvement as a means of utilizing resources within one's community while encouraging youth to work with peers and members of their community to establish and cultivate a mentor relationship, which will empower youth to become successful leaders within their communities.

What We Do

We provide assistance to lower socioeconomically disadvantaged, youths and young adults by offering an alternative direction in making a progressive difference not only in their lives but within their community. Offering one on one mentoring and tutoring services, study groups and study halls, retention programs for at-risk student, occupational skill training programs, job skills academy, basic life skills, employment support and professional programs that help promote higher education and career development within our community. Our mission is to provide self-confidence and opportunities for the children, youth, and young adults within the communities and to empower each with the knowledge that will help them into adulthood. Our program will ensure that all children, youth and young adults are provided the same opportunities to succeed and prosper even in a bleak environment. Our children, youth and young adults fail due to not having the available resources that are necessary. Our goal is to create program initiatives that support “at-potential” children, youths, and young adults. Eliminate high school dropout rates, promote vigorous lifestyles and nutrition, and create positive structures in children's lives that will ultimately help promote civic responsibility in the future. We offer guidance and mentor the development of each person’s mental, physical, emotional, and social well-being. With encouraging lessons of good teamwork, personal accountability, and self-esteem, our foundation believes that these are essential qualities for individuals to develop in order to live productive, self-sufficient, happy, and fulfilling lives. We are committed to cultivation lasting relationships with our clients, families, staff, volunteers, donors, and the communities we serve.

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