Boys & Girls Clubs complete 1st year as an 21st Century Community Learning Center

| June 18, 2014

Club Children Celebrate Improvement in Academic Skills

FORT WAYNE—Julian beamed as he walked to the podium to receive his certificate and several hugs for his achievements in the tutoring program initiated this year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. His mother, siblings, aunt and grandparents were all in attendance. Their faces betrayed the pride and emotions they felt watching him receive his award and congratulations from his tutors.

Julian was one of the 70 elementary school children who participated in programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne this year made possible by a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant from the Indiana Department of Education. This 4-year grant allows the Clubs to make additional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programming available to their young members.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne is the only 21st Century Community Learning Center in Fort Wayne.

A major focus of the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne’s 21st CCLC this year was to provide twice-weekly tutoring sessions in language arts and math skills to elementary school students. The tutoring program was made possible by partnering with the Fort Wayne Community Schools. Fairfield, Abbett and Harrison Hill elementary schools collaborated closely with the Club by identifying the students most in need of skill improvement and recommending them to the program.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to provide academic enrichment activities that can help students meet state and local achievement standards,” said Joe Jordan, CEO and president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. “The 21st Century Community Learning Center is a great example of building and utilizing community capacity on behalf of children. The partnerships with Fort Wayne Community Schools and others have helped create a comprehensive program that truly gives the students a real opportunity to improve academically, socially and emotionally.”

Students were required to attend a minimum of 20 hours of tutoring to complete the program. More than 50 percent of those completing the program received over 30 hours of tutoring. Assessment testing conducted before and after the program showed that every student that met the required hours improved their math or language arts skills. Many students also increased grade level placement and confidence ratings in their subject areas. The tutoring and assessments were provided through a partnership with Specialty Tutoring, a Fort Wayne not-for- profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with learning difficulties through individualized programs.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center funding also allowed the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne to provide additional STEM and leadership initiatives this year by partnering with other nonprofit organizations. Science Central exposed the children to hands-on experiences through weekly Science Club meetings. Marshal While, Choir Director at Voices of Unity, conducted leadership and character building modules.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne ended their first year as a 21st CCLC with a positive and measurable impact on their young members. Next year, the curriculum will be expanded to include partnerships focusing on STEM-related career and college opportunities.

“Education is essential for the children at our Boys & Girls Clubs. It helps them navigate the challenges they face every day from within their environments,” commented. Diana Swayze, director of the21st Century Community Learning Center, “The 21st CCLP enhances their prospects of reaching their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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