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photo of Heidi Ortolazar-Alvear | High Jump Chicago

“High Jump helped my family break the cycle of poverty. The program showed me that I deserved a good education and it is such a part of who I am.”


Cohort 10

Robert Louis Stevenson School

Carleton College

Heidi applied to High Jump because she did not feel challenged at her middle school. While her sixth grade class was still learning multiplication, she taught herself high school algebra in the back of the classroom. High Jump showed her that she deserved a good education and gave her opportunities to excel academically. She later earned her Bachelor’s degree at Carleton College and two Master’s degrees from the University of Chicago. The most important lesson she learned along the way is that grit and perseverance alone are not a sure ticket out of poverty; you also need opportunity. Heidi’s experience at High Jump made her believe in paying it forward, and she is now a High Jump board member. She proudly works at Esperanza Health Centers as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development.