About Us

Education Equity Opportunity

These are the guiding principles of A Better Chance (ABC) New Canaan. Our mission is to provide transformative academic opportunities to talented young men of color, support them in becoming well-rounded and confident leaders, and prepare them for success in college and in life.

We believe that every child is entitled to a first-rate education. Our scholars attend New Canaan High School — consistently ranked one of the best public schools in the country — and live in the ABC House, where they participate in daily study hall with our team of tutors; receive private, individualized college prep and application support; and engage in a variety of enrichment programs.

The ABC New Canaan community celebrates each of our scholars as individuals with unique strengths and personalized needs. The young men in our program receive the specific tools required on their paths to success in college, in the workforce, and in their communities.

ABC New Canaan exists to provide opportunities not available to our scholars in their home communities due to systemic and ongoing discrimination, institutional barriers, and the inequitable funding of public schools. We are committed to providing our scholars with leadership development and opportunities in and out of the classroom during their four years in our program and preparing them for a lifetime of achievement. In the words of one of our alumni, “ABC House is an opportunity factory.”

ABC New Canaan: A Community School Program (CSP)

ABC New Canaan is an affiliate of A Better Chance National (ABC), the preeminent resource for recruiting, educating, and developing leaders from underrepresented young people of color throughout the United States. ABC is the oldest and only national organization of its kind. It selects, prepares, and places gifted students of color in the country’s most prestigious independent, boarding, and public schools. Click here to learn more about ABC National.   

ABC New Canaan is one of just 20 community school programs (CSP) within the ABC umbrella, selected for the town’s thriving schools, dedicated community, and robust resources. Founded in 1974, ABC New Canaan is one of the oldest and most successful community school programs, offering the best of both a boarding and day school experience living in a close-knit family environment.

Our Program

ABC New Canaan offers its scholars an exceptional education and life-changing experiences with all academic and living expenses covered. We provide a nurturing environment with an extensive support system and endless opportunities for personal growth and exploration. ABC New Canaan is so much more than just a college-prep program; WE ARE A FAMILY, made up of scholars, caring staff members, a dedicated board, welcoming host families, and passionate volunteers. From the day our scholars arrive until they graduate, they are supported in all aspects of their journeys to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our program welcomes scholars into the New Canaan community, where they

Attend our nationally ranked high school and reach their greatest academic potential.  

Participate in all the athletic, artistic, volunteer, and extracurricular activities that New Canaan has to offer.

Live together family-style at our ABC house in downtown New Canaan under the care of our supportive resident director.

Become a part of the local host family and have a home away from home for their four years in high school and beyond. 

Program Highlights

Academic Success and College Advising


Our scholars make academic success their primary goal, and we support them every step of the way. Scholars have a dedicated Academic Advisor and two resident tutors who track their academic growth daily through PowerSchool, which documents everything from homework assignments and quizzes to tests and final exam scores. Scholars also have a required study hall Monday through Thursday night supervised by our Resident Tutors who provide individualized support and help scholars succeed in the classes. 

As scholars enter their junior year, they receive intensive college access services and map out a two-year plan to gain admission to the college of their dreams. These services include enrolling scholars in SAT/ACT prep courses and engaging an expert advisor to guide our scholars and their families through the college application and selection process, helping them to secure scholarships and financial aid. We also bring our scholars on college tours and visits during the year.

Our scholars have attended some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including:

Colgate University
Social and Emotional Support and Wellness


Recognizing the challenges high school students face today, ABC New Canaan provides our scholars a safe environment and essential social and emotional support. We are fortunate to have a licensed clinical social worker who meets weekly with our scholars in a group setting and individually to help them navigate the complexities of adolescence, cope with the pressures of academic and personal life, make positive choices, and develop a strong sense of self.

Extracurricular Activities


ABC New Canaan scholars participate in various after-school activities to broaden their horizons and develop leadership, social, and athletic or musical skills. Every day is filled with opportunities for exploration and personal development. Scholars often begin a new sport or extracurricular activity without prior experience and emerge as enthusiastic and valuable contributors and teammates. From team captains and leading men in school plays to saxophone players in the school band and leaders in the local youth group, our scholars have done it all. We also bring in special speakers and host enrichment activities at ABC House – from cooking to managing finances.

Community service is also integral to our program. Our scholars are members of Service League of Boys (SLOBs) and volunteer in New Canaan as well as neighboring communities. 

Summer Enrichment Programs


ABC New Canaan scholars participate in one or two summer enrichment programs to enhance their educational studies, pursue an interest, and maintain momentum between academic years. These programs also allow scholars to explore courses of potential interest in college and provide exposure to a college environment. Recent scholars have participated in a one month study-abroad program in Italy, one to three-week courses in STEM, business, and coding courses at major universities nationwide, and sports training camps.

Our No-Fee Program

There are no fees to participate in our program – we cover the costs of virtually everything for our scholars for all four years, including:

  • Housing and meals at the ABC House
  • School lunch
  • Weekly allowances for scholars ($25 per week)
  • Sports uniforms and equipment (e.g., cleats, mouth guards)
  • Extra clothing and toiletries as needed
  • After-school activities both in and outside of New Canaan High School
  • Music lessons, sports training, extracurricular programs, field trips, youth mission trips, and much more
  • Weekend activities
  • Summer enrichment programs
  • Tutors and social and emotional support services 
  • Standardized test prep courses
  • Private college advising
  • College tours and applications
  • Driver’s education for scholars in their hometowns
  • Transportation to and from home for school breaks and long weekends
  • $10,000 College Scholarship for each ABC New Canaan graduate

ABC House in New Canaan

ABC House is a warm and supportive place for our scholars to live, learn, grow, and form lifelong friendships. Welcoming and comfortable, ABC House is truly a family HOME for our scholars, resident directors, tutors, and in-house cook. It is conveniently situated in-town, allowing for easy access to all New Canaan has to offer, including a newly renovated public library, shops, parks, restaurants, and Metro-North train station. New Canaan High School is just 1.4 miles away, making for a quick bus or bike ride.

A hub of activity and enrichment, ABC House features:

  • An inviting communal space downstairs
  • A comfortable living room with a TV, video games, and a piano 
  • Designated study areas and a desk for each scholar equipped with both an Apple desktop and a school provided laptop
  • A bright and spacious dining area and fully stocked kitchen. Best of all, our excellent cook, Beth, prepares dinner for our scholars and resident staff, who eat together every night!
  • Bedrooms for each scholar to have their own space to relax and recharge
  • 3rd-floor lounge for additional recreation and relaxation space
  • Garage with workout equipment and bikes for each scholar
Our Team

Jamie Boris
Executive Director

Jamie joined ABC New Canaan in 2022 and is a passionate and dedicated leader with 25 years of nonprofit experience. Responsible for overseeing all facets of the organization, Jamie drives the fundraising, operations, and engagement with the board of directors. Prior to joining ABC New Canaan as our first-ever Executive Director, she was an independent non-profit consultant.  She also served as the Executive Director at The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in New York for 11 years. Under her direction, she transformed a start-up charity into the country’s leading private funder of ovarian cancer research, raising over $34 million. 
Jamie began her nonprofit career as a Program Director at Educators for Social Responsibility and designed conflict resolution and diversity programs for New York City public schools and community organizations. She holds a BA in American Culture from Northwestern University. Jamie has lived in New Canaan for 20 years with her husband and their two children (both of whom have gone through the New Canaan Public School System). She is an active volunteer in her community and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Domus Kids.

Khanisha Denise Moore
Resident Director

Khanisha joined ABC New Canaan in 2020 and is a natural-born teacher, mentor, and leader. As Resident Director, she is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the scholars and management of the ABC House. She diligently works to provide a safe and supportive environment to ensure the scholars’ well-being and growth. 
Khanisha has both a BA and Master’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership and is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Bridgeport. Her journey toward a career in education began in 2016 as an Academic Advisor and Tutor with Upward Bound during college. After graduation, she spent two years in AmeriCorps and volunteered at Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport as a 1:1 Behavior Support, Tutor, and Teaching Assistant. After just one year, she was hired full-time as a Dean of Students at Great Oaks.  Khanisha also has experience working with children with autism.  Currently, she is an On-Track Coordinator (Transition Specialist) in Stamford Public Schools. Khanisha is a proud member of the French-speaking Baptist Church of Norwalk, where she serves as Music Ministry Coordinator and President of the Young Adult Association.

Kendrick Constant
Resident Program Advisor

As Resident Program Advisor, Kendrick provides tutoring and mentoring at ABC New Canaan and serves as our Alumni Coordinator. Kendrick joined ABC New Canaan in 2020 and has a degree in Finance and Accounting. Throughout his college years, he dedicated himself to positively impacting the lives of his fellow students by serving as President of both the Black Student Union and M.A.L.E.S (Men Achieving Leadership Excellence and Success), fostering student engagement, volunteerism, and personal development. Kendrick also worked as a Peer Advisor, supporting underprivileged students’ transition from high school to college. Kendrick currently works at Northwestern Mutual and is an active volunteer in his community, helping youth unlock their full potential. 

Matthew Dorissant
Resident Tutor

The newest member of our team, Matthew, brings over 17 years of direct work experience with youth and adolescents. Matthew grew up with a strong family background, fostering his passion for serving today’s youth, and is an exceptionally talented educator, mentor, and academic advisor.  With a degree in Human Services, he is the founder of Heart and Smarts Tutoring and is currently the Director of Domus Kids’ drop-in center in Stamford, CT. Previously, Matthew served as the Senior Education Director at Norwalk Grassroots Tennis & Education and the Summer Camp and Education Director at the Boys and Girls Club in Stamford, CT. 

Beth Jones
House Cook

The 2023-24 school year marks Beth’s 15th year as house cook extraordinaire for ABC New Canaan! Beth provides nutritious and delicious meals for our scholars and our resident staff (on a very tight budget, no less). A lifelong New Canaanite and NCHS graduate, Beth is a member of the League of Women Voters, the Community Response Team (CERT), and the local Kiwanis Club. She is very active in the town government as both a former four-year town council member and six-year town selectman and is currently a Justice of Peace. Beth also holds the distinction of being the first woman appointed to the New Canaan Fire Commission.

Board of Directors

Executive  Board
Liz Tuff

Dina Connelly
Vice President

Sarah Mattern

Lisa Hill

Members of The Board
Devaun Bovell
David Cox
William Choi
Megan Dowd
Jill Gordon
Ellen Fitzpatrick
Arthur Hall
Peter Herbert
Alicia C. Meyer
Megan Morales
Alan Rwambuya
Michele Salmini
Thomas Sanseverino
Anne Schimmeck
Nancy Shullman
Julia Stewart

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