Our Mission

The Winston Salem Opportunity Project exists to provide the next generation of leaders, scholars, and professionals with equitable opportunity for career and academic enrichment in Forsyth County, North Carolina. 

Website picture.jpg

Supporting the Next Generation of Leaders, Scholars, and Career Professionals


What We Do

We strive to equip youth in Winston Salem, Forsyth County with the support, resources, and skills necessary to meet their career, academic, and life goals.

A 2015 Harvard Economic Study identified Forsyth County as one of the least socioeconomically mobile places in the nation. Children born into poverty in Forsyth County have the lowest rates of upward mobility in the United States. We seek to address this socioeconomic disparity by creating a strong social network with the purpose of empowering youth to work towards bright and promising futures. 

Our programs provide students with exposure towards and education about high opportunity and fast growing career paths such as careers in STEM, expanding horizons while fostering a love for learning and an excitement for the future. Supporting students on their path to academic and career success, our programs are driven by a vision for equitable opportunity for success - for all.


Mentorship and Career Exploration

A combined approach

Mentorship and career education are the cornerstones of the Winston Opportunity Project. We aim to create a supporting environment in which youth can achieve academic, personal, and vocational success. Mentors guide their mentees through the process of making long term academic, career, and personal goals related to future career prospects and higher educational opportunities. Students then identify the short term, concrete steps necessary to achieve them. Overall, this process serves to provide a personalized support system in which the future success and personal development of our students is prioritized.


Who We Serve

Driven to action by the inequities in our city, the Winston Salem Opportunity Project is committed to ensuring that all students in our community have what they need to be successful both in the classroom and out. An important part of our work is giving youth opportunities to learn about things that interest them and then providing them with the support to pursue those interests. From computer science to entrepreneurship, we work to give our scholars high quality access to these academic and career fields.

Find out how you as a student can be a part of the WOP community.


Meet Our Students

Hear from youth in our program


Our Team

A student-led organization

The Winston Salem Opportunity Project is lead by a diverse team of high school students who strive to be catalysts for change in our community. We believe that being a student-run organization helps us to better connect with the students who participate in our programs.


Berk Yalcinkaya

Berk Yalcinkaya's commitment to his community began with his involvement in the YMCA's English as a Second language program. He has a passion for helping others and wants make a difference in his city. His concern about the intergenerational poverty issue in Winston Salem lead him, and his peers, to start the Winston Opportunity Project.

Aiza Akhtar

 Aiza draws upon her passion for STEM and her love for learning to empower youth to work towards their goals. Helping students discover and develop their strengths and interests is the highlight of her week. Aiza loves working with kids, and she envisions a future a where every student in Winston Salem has the opportunities and support to have a successful future. 

De'Von France

De'von France wants to use his skills to have a real impact on youth in Forsyth County. After owning and running his own business, De'von knows the value of hard work and wants help students who are interested in starting and running their own businesses be successful.