History & Background

Founded in 1964 and expanding nationally since 1995, Horizons is a network of high-quality, tuition-free, immersive academic and enrichment programs for children in under-served communities, providing out-of-school-time support for the duration of a child’s K-12th grade experience. With 70+ Horizons programs across 20 states, and growing by 5-7 new sites each year, Horizons is unique among out of school time programs because: (1) we make a long-term investment in our students; (2) we partner with students’ families; and (3) we support both academic achievement and healthy youth development. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen that Horizons’ repeated positive interventions and affirming reinforcements over multiple years are highly effective in closing the well-documented gaps in opportunity and achievement between underserved children and their more affluent peers.

Connecticut has one of the widest educational achievement and opportunity gaps in the nation. This measures the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits of Connecticut students. Horizons programs help to close those gaps, as well as stem the “summer slide” of learning loss that occurs during summer months. Horizons at  CT State Norwalk (HCTSN), formerly Norwalk Community College, is one of nine Horizons programs in Connecticut, joining the network of Brunswick School, Ethel Walker School, Foote School, Greens Farms Academy, New Canaan Country School, Notre Dame High School, Sacred Heart University, and Westminster School.

Horizons at CT State Norwalk began with one classroom of kindergarten children in 2013, and the following year we added both a 1st grade and a Pre-K class. In Summer 2024, we will serve 120 children in Pre-K through 8th grade and 22 young adults in our high school program. 

Horizons at CT State Norwalk is anchored by a six-week summer program, guided by a professional faculty in a nurturing environment. The program is committed to the development of the whole child through experiences that enhance self-esteem, build problem-solving skills, and encourage a lifelong interest in learning. Horizons emphasizes academics, the arts, social growth, and athletics. Like all Horizons affiliates, we provide the fun and confidence-building of swimming and water safety instruction.

In late 2016, Horizons at CT State Norwalk reorganized as an independent 501(c)(3) organization. HCTSN an affiliate of Horizons National but has its own leadership, including a highly influential board of directors, a dedicated and experienced professional staff, and a community of engaged philanthropic partners. HCTSN is primarily funded through tax deductible donations from the surrounding community, including individuals, local corporations and foundations. The generosity of space and utilities from our host school, CT State Norwalk, formerly Norwalk Community College, allows a high percentage of fundraising dollars to go directly toward program expenses. Our largest expenditures are for teacher salaries, meals, bus transportation, and pool and lifeguard fees.

In 2023, all Connecticut community colleges merged and our host campus at Norwalk Community College was renamed and known as CT State Norwalk. Going forward, to honor our host school, we are known as Horizons at CT State Norwalk.