For almost 30 years, Sherry Woods has worked to provide a specialized learning experience for hundreds of kids in D.C.'s historic Shaw neighborhood.
Despite having such a small window to make a big difference, Woods says," her Unique Learning Center has been able to change the lives of generations of Washington families.
"Some of our kids are in academic environments that just aren't encouraging," Woods said. "They are beaten down verbally and emotionally, but you can come here and we're going to take you."
Nearly three decades after the center opened, the Christian-based after-school program is still going strong.
"It's not just about being academically tight and on par - we raise up a group of young people that are morally excellent," she said.
For Woods, the formula is simple. She makes sure her students know that if you choose a path at her learning center, they're with you all the way to college. To help with that, the Unique Learning Center coordinates communication between the center, the child's family and teacher.
"The family component is all-important because it keeps us connected and ensures success because of the connected core," Jennifer Hines, the center's assistant director, said.
It's that kind of connection that has made the center a continual success. In fact, almost all of the children involved in the program now are kids of parents who were ones under the tutelage of Woods.
"We count it a privilege to be a part of the lives of the kids we have in this building," Woods said.
For more information, check out the Unique Learning Center's website.