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PROJECT STAND-UP is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization previously operating under the umbrella of Man in the Mirror, a community-based organization.  PROJECT STAND-UP began with a focus on youth within Tarrant County.  Recently, PROJECT STAND-UP has renewed its commitment to serving low-income, disadvantaged, and displaced youth AND adults beyond county lines.  Our mission is the pursuit of the following principles:

  • Commitment:  To instill and inspire pro-social, civil behaviors, friendships, entrepreneurial and strong interpersonal skills, and a sense of hope for the future.

  • Responsibility:  To empower individuals in establishing higher educational standards, career goals, and rising above poverty levels. 

  • Possibility:  To expand the perspective of individuals and families to make them aware of life’s possibilities.

  • Support:  To recognize, energize, influence, and/or provide for people in a caring, inclusive learning environment.


When PROJECT STAND-UP began, based on the 2000 Census, there were approximately 29,608 families and 150,488 individuals living below the poverty level primarily due to low literacy skills.  PROJECT STAND-UP began studying economic characteristics which led to the development of community projects to raise awareness and meet this need.  


PROJECT STAND-UP focused on the estimated 290,000 adults in Tarrant County who functioned at a basic or below-basic literacy level, especially those who could not speak or understand English.  Over the years and still today, staff and volunteers provided experience in education, tutoring, mentoring, workforce development, and project management.  Much of our work is based on the research of Dr. Peter Benson’s Forty Developmental Assets Model (Behavior), Scientific Research Association (SRA), released TAKS test scores and reports (Reading and Mathematics), and the PLATO Learning Systems.

As of 2023, low adult literacy still impacts all areas of life. With approximately one in five adults unable to read well enough to advance beyond the fourth grade level, our mission is still relevant. (National Assessment of Adult Literacy Survey).  Fort Worth ranks 53.5 in a 10-year study of literacy indicators involving 77 metro areas with populations over 250,000 and Arlington is not far behind (Central Connecticut State University).  The United Way of Tarrant County shows that nearly half of the surveyed adults read at "Basic" or "Below Basic" levels.  Emphasizing that at most, these adults can perform simple and everyday literacy tasks due to their current reading levels.

Why is this a concern?  What happens when adults learn how to read?  Reading gives the power to get out of poverty, finding and keeping continual employment, uplifts confidence,  ultimately changing lives.  It is so important to start with our youth. Reading, early in life, gives a child the ability to expand their vocabulary, their imagination and dreams.  As teens it gives hope, build self-confidence, social and emotional skills. As adults, adequate reading skills can and in turn help to move individuals towards independence. 


PROJECT STAND-UP was founded by Dr. Elizabeth Grady Branch and her sons James Branch, Jr. and Marcus Branch.  Dr. Branch has worked with disadvantaged youth and adults from “at risk” environments throughout her career of 25 plus years.  She authored and administered several federally funded programs for “in school youth”.  Among those were MOMS (Managing Obstacles of Motherhood Successfully), and the Achievers Academy, a program for 14 -15-year-old females of Aid For Dependent Children recipients.  Dr. Branch has also co-authored a reading workbook entitled “Real Life Vocabulary for Adults”, published by Simon & Schuster and “The New Classroom Challenge:  BaBa Kids”, published by Carlton Press.  In conjunction with the academic tools, she created a curriculum and program called Man In The Mirror. Dr. Branch also created the Behavior Modification curriculum to provide discussion driven, interactive materials that any responsible adult can use in a safe and nurturing environment while teaching young adults to arrive at better decision-making skills.  The curriculum still works to provide intervention and prevention skills necessary for lifelong learning.

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