When we began Streams of Hope back in 2006, we wanted our organization to “to foster sustainable change through services that build relationships, meet family needs, and promote a healthier community.” We have thus organized programs to promote these values and act as streams of hope in our community.
This past month, we we were blessed enough to receive $10,000 from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. This grant is earmarked for charities in pursuit of community development with an emphasis on student support. We offer many programs here at Streams of Hope, but this particular grant will be appropriated to expanding Y-Achievers, our college-readiness program modeled by the University of Chicago UEI 6 to 16 study.
According to their study, “the vast majority of urban public schools in the United States fail to provide students with the academic preparation and social support necessary for high school and college success.” The Y-Achievers after school program was developed earlier this year to combat this emerging problem and supplement students (particularly first-generation minority students from low income backgrounds) with the resources to realize their full potential.
Y-Achievers currently hosts 14 students (with a waiting list of 16), programming consisting of college campus visits, ACT/SAT prep tutoring, and mentors. This grant will allow Streams of Hope to widen our breadth of impact and engage more students than ever, but we want to run a program that is both bigger and better.
The new Y-Achievers program will span the academic school year (September of 2018 to May of 2019) and serve 30 students complete with dinner and two highly trained youth specialists. Our goal is to ensure improvement in GPA, increased student engagement in off-site activities, and to assemble a youth advisory board concerned with creating activities for students. We will achieve this goal by organizing field trips to local businesses and colleges in addition to the resources we provide in our current program.
Streams of Hope predominantly services the community surrounding the Townline Elementary school in Kentwood. Diverse in ethnic and racial background, over 40 different languages are represented in the district, and 30% of students consider English their 2nd language. There is certainly strength and beauty in diversity, but this language barrier can cause a discrepancy between students’ ability and their academic performance. Our Y Achievers want to close this gap by providing additional support to compliment students’ natural gifts with so that all students may thrive. Thanks to this new grant, Streams of Hope can serve more students in more time, in more ways.
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