We believe that all
youth deserve a champion.
Our story began in 2011, when Founder and Board Chairman Brent Holsinger led two 21st Century Community Learning Center grants to support out-of-school learning programs for more than 1,000 students in Harrisonburg.
When those grants ended, Brent and his team had a choice to make: pack up and consider their work done, or keep fighting for every youth to have the opportunities they deserve.
As you may have guessed, they chose the latter and On the Road was born.
Brent Holsinger, Founder and Board Chairman
A native of Harrisonburg, VA, Brent grew up with the necessary resources to fulfill the vision he had for his life: To follow in his father’s footsteps and become a financial advisor. But after finishing college at the University of Richmond, he felt called to do a national service year with AmeriCorps. He ended up in Boston, MA, where he began leading afterschool programs and doing community service projects in an area where only 50% of students were graduating from high school—and many were in schools without a library or the necessary resources for them to succeed.
Brent began seeing, firsthand, how many students in our nation face a lack of opportunities and resources, which serves as an undeniable obstacle from an early age.
After his service year, Brent began working with Citizens School as an AmeriCorps Teacher Fellow and Campus Director, where he gained invaluable experience, leadership, and training on how to lead effective afterschool programs. During this time, Brent realized the impact that quality afterschool programs can make in the lives of young people by providing more opportunities outside of regular school hours.
In 2011, Brent moved back to Harrisonburg and become the first Afterschool Program Director in Harrisonburg City Public Schools while leading the 21st Century programs, Beyond the Bell. But then the grants ended and he was faced with whether, and how, to move forward.
While so much was still unknown, Brent knew one thing for certain: Every young person deserves a champion who’s in their corner, fighting for them to succeed. Brent knew that his commitment to social justice and the needs of our next generation required that he move forward, so he began rallying those who would help him continue building a world where all youth are on the road to realizing their promise.
Since 2015, On the Road has been working tirelessly to provide resources and opportunities that will close the learning gap for our underserved youth, so that they, too, may realize what it means to have a bright future.
A child’s socioeconomic status is now the strongest predictor of underachievement in school and future career success.
The traditional school day is no longer enough to fully meet the needs of all of our youth, especially those experiencing a learning gap. Underserved youth need more time for academic practice, more connection to a network of caring adult mentors, and more access to quality learning experiences outside of the school day.
At On the Road, we believe it’s about meeting every young person where they are. By offering additional out-of-school learning opportunities and connecting them to resources and caring adults, we can journey with them as they go after their biggest goals.
Because as one of our heroes, educator Rita Pierson, says, every child deserves a champion, and that belief is at the heart of our mission.