MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Middle school can be one of the most pivotal times in a person’s life.

That’s where Athletes Committed to Educating Students, or ACES, comes in. Research shows how a student does in middle school is a strong indicator of how they do in life.

And they have some big name supporters.

As the day winds down in north Minneapolis, things inside are just amping up.

Yes, they are at play, but these kids are also at work. On this day, they are applying the scientific method to sports analogies.

And as you can see, these kids are engaged.

“We definitely like to give them a little more creative freedom with the things that we do and the games that we play and the groups that we build and the people that they work with,” Claire Williams said.

Williams oversees the ACES program here. She’s a success story of her own.

“I was the office cleaner, so I cleaned the office for ACES,” Williams said.

After being recruited by ACES staffers she joined the team she’s so glad to be a part of.

“I feel like with ACES I’ve found my passion. Working with kids and youth,” she said.

ACES is a deceivingly intense program. Staff members hand-prepare specific sports-inspired math curriculum to boost kids to grade level and beyond. They have lots of professional support. Also passionate about the program is the director of the Boys and Girls Club.

“I wish I would have had ACES to go to when I was in school, I think it’s a great program. Like I continue to say, they bring a lot of energy to the building,” the director said.

And these guys are proof the energy is positive.

“Last year I wasn’t really good at multiplication. I started to learn it a little bit in school and then I came here and I had to keep learning so I got better and better at it,” Angellina Calloway said.

And these results have momentum.

“I want to be a math teacher or a basketball player,” Javayaa Puckett said.

Thanks to a program that appears to add up to the perfect equation

If you’d like to help the ACES program continue to grow and help kids in our community, click here to donate.

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