About Us

SOUL (Student-Athletes Organized to Understand Leadership) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects high school aged youth who are involved in sports to diverse opportunities that build the life skills needed to succeed in academics and careers. We do this by engaging students in our six core programs including: College Access Study Hall, Sister Circle, Young Men’s Roundtable, Sustainability Education and College 101. Through these programs, we assist students with their academic, interpersonal, and professional development. We place great emphasis on providing our student-athletes with the resources required to be critical-thinkers, effective communicators, problem-solvers, self-advocates, and practitioners of positive sportsmanship. We encourage our student-athletes to take the lessons they have learned in life and through SOUL programs to reimagine the future.

Our Mission

SOUL’s mission is to advise, advocate, and provide direct services and essential resources that empower low-income student-athletes to successfully transition into life after high school.

Our Story

SOUL was established in June 2013. The organization started as a summer initiative with six youth residing in DC’s Clay Terrace public housing community, which is in Ward 7. The program worked in partnership with Alicia Vicks of the City Gate and the Richardson Dwellings Resident Council. The inaugural youth initiative was held at Spingarn Senior High School.

In 2014 we began working with our first school partner, HD Woodson STEM High School in Ward 7. There we supported the Warriors boys’ varsity basketball and Lady Warriors’ softball teams, via our CASH program. In 2015 we expanded our CASH program to Luke C. Moore Senior High School. Today we support youth in three cities – Baltimore, MD, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC. We run six youth programs.

Student Trajectory

Each unique SOUL program will build from this platform and enhance the student experience from that programs’ specific mission.

Self Awareness

Cognitive Development

Social Norms


Risky Behaviors

“SOUL helped us stay on track in school. We visit colleges, go to workshops, and meet mentors. Before SOUL I didn’t have a mentor!”

Tamara Tinker


Donald Curtis

Founder, Executive Director

Donald is the Founder and Executive Director of SOUL. He holds a B.S. from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a M.A. from American University. He completed his Executive Education in Innovation Management at the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed a Nonprofit Management program at Northwestern University via the Allstate Foundation. In 2019, he was selected by Ashoka and American Express as a Emerging Innovator. In 2020, he completed the Nonprofit Executive Management Program at Georgetown University.

Taylor Hagins

Operation Coordinator

    Taylor is originally from Maryland and graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in forensic science. Taylor’s work in youth and education began in 2017 with Montgomery County Recreation Department where she was a youth camp director for ages 5-13. Taylor began her work with SOUL […]

Tyler Lee

Youth Engagement Coordinator

Tyler is from Washington DC. He graduated from HD Woodson High School and is a current student at the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a SOUL programs alum from HD Woodson High School where he played both, varsity boys’ basketball and football for the Warriors. He will bring his vast understanding […]

Nila Kennedy-Young

Youth Engagement Intern

“Nila Kennedy-Young is a sophomore at Howard University where she is studying chemistry with a minor in international affairs. She began tutoring through SOUL Programs August 2021. She has been an active volunteer since and hopes to connect more Howard students to SOUL Programs. “

Sami Corman

Research Intern

Sami Corman came to DC from Seattle to attend Georgetown University and began volunteering with SOUL programs in 2020. She is now working as an intern with SOUL as she completes her MA in Engaged and Public Humanities and competes for Georgetown’s cross country and track teams.

Sasha Lee


I’m Sasha Lee. I’m a psychology major at American university with aspirations of going to medical school with focuses on neuropsychology and neurosurgery. For fun I enjoy hiking, swimming, and playing hockey!


Board Of Directors

In Memoriam of Brian Barrett (2019-2020)


Brian Barrett, co-founder of Ideogenics. Brian oversees all divisions and strategically directs the company as it delivers systems, services and solutions to U.S. federal and civilian clients. Brian earned his baccalaureate degree in computer science from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Seth Blackely

CEO & Co-Founder, Evolent Health

Seth is the CEO and Co-founder of Evolent Health. Prior to Evolent Health, he held positions at The Advisory Board Company and Bain Captial Partners. He earned a BS from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Amy Bowser

Regional Managing Director, JLL

Amy Bowser is a Managing Director in JLL’s Mid-Atlantic Brokerage Group. She has specialized in the Washington, DC office market since 1999 and currently is involved with the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), and the Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Association for Greater Washington DC (CREBA). Amy holds a B.A. in History from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Justin Gaither

Senior Vice President - Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch

Justin is a Senior Vice President – Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch. Born and raised in Wellesley, MA, he moved to DC in 1999 to attend Georgetown University where he earned a B.S. in economics. Justin helped found the Merrill Lynch, Washington, D.C. Community Service Board and acts as a mentor to undergraduate students through the Georgetown University Scholarship Program.

Matt Garcell

Managing Director, Cushman and Wakefield

Matt Garcell is a Managing Director in the Washington, D.C. office of Cushman & Wakefield. Matt’s client portfolio includes Fortune 500 companies, law firms, not-for-profit organizations, technology, and media companies. Matt holds a B.S. in Science from Johnson and Wales University.

Michael Kirshbaum

Chief Financial Officer, EAB

Michael joined The Advisory Board Company in 1998 and became the CFO in February 2006 and treasurer in March 2007. Prior to his current role, CFO of the Education Advisory Board, Michael held a variety of positions across the finance group. Michael has a B.S. in Economics from Duke University.

Alex MacDonald

Director of Practice Management, Venable LLP

Alex Macdonald is the firm wide Director of Practice Management at Venable LLP. Alex is a bar admitted lawyer with over 15 years of experience in the legal industry. Prior to his current position with Venable LLP, Alex was the nationwide Practice Manager for both the Litigation and Employee Benefits Departments at Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Al Pearson

Community Reinvestment Community Partnership Relationship Manager JPMC

Al oversees community reinvestment partnerships for the Greater Washington Region of J.P. Morgan & Chase. He also serves as Vice Board Chairman of Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore, is a Trustee of the Maryland Council of Economic Education, and is the Co-President of the Maryland Bankers Community Reinvestment Group.

Mia Powers

Management and Program Analyst, OVAC, Department of Veterans Affairs

Mia Powers is a Management and Program Analyst within the Access office for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Central Office. Recently, Ms. Powers moved to Washington, D.C. to help stand up a new program office to focus on Veterans access to healthcare from VA facilities around the country. Ms. Powers earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Masters of Healthcare Administration from the University of Memphis.

Colin Rogister

Harvard Business School

Colin Rogister, served at the White House in the National Economic Council. He joined the Administration in 2012, where he worked in the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Education. He began his career as a Bay Area Teach for America member. Colin is currently earning his MBA from the Harvard Business School.


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