The Fight To Learn Program exists to give 5 to 12 year old at risk children the opportunity to improve their literacy skills, computer skills and social skills in a totally supportive background-under adult supervision. Fight To Learn will prepare the youth to become successful citizens and parents. It is all too common to see young people with promise not develop their intellectual and social skills while falling victim to illiteracy, drug addiction, homelessness and/or incarceration. Fight To Learn’s goal is to prepare at-risk youth for productive teen years, adult roles and responsibilities. This is important for the youth themselves, their families and our communities.
Fight To Learn’s expectations are that:
Participants will improve in each of their school grades by at least two letter grades with the assistance of an Academic Coordinator, who is assisted by trained tutors provided by the Institute for the Study of Civic Values, City Year, Arbor SPOC, Vista Volunteers, Korean Community Development Services Center, Philadelphia Youth Works and Educational Data Systems Inc.. This would mean, for example, improving from a “C” to an “A.” We are currently a collaborative partner with LaSalle University and Temple University to secure additional student interns to assist our participants with Literacy, Math and Computer Sciences.
Participants will know how to use a computer to do Internet-based research and send/receive e-mail messages.
Participants will receive health education information and nutrition/weight management.
Participants, parents, and their school personnel will all be able to take part in program evaluation. Notes will be made on improvements in literacy as well as behavioral improvements and improvements in interpersonal and conflict resolution with their peers.
Fight To Learn acknowledges that today’s youth have tremendous tasks ahead of them in order to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment in an increasingly technological society and to not fall prey to drugs and violence at early age. Sadly, prison is a more likely destination for some than college.
These risks are amplified for youth from families where there has historically been a low priority placed on literacy in terms of reading, writing and mathematics. That does not even acknowledge the lack of computers in many low to moderate-income homes and inner city schools. This lack of technological skills places them at a disadvantage in terms of securing legitimate employment after leaving school.
Our fitness component directly addresses the epidemic of childhood obesity that threatens to have today’s youth be placed at higher and earlier risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and a host of other diseases and disabilities.
Plan of Action:
During the school year the Academic Coordinator devises lesson plans based on the individual needs of participants. Special attention is given, on a daily basis, to homework assignments, school reports, and preparations for mid-year and final examinations.
During the daily Computer Lab portion of the program youth are instructed on the use of a personal computer, as well how those skills can transfer over to completing school assignments through research and word processing. Computer skills will, obviously, prepare youth both for higher education and for the realities of the computer-based 21st Century workplace.
Health education, life skills training and cultural enrichments are components that are emphasized at least once during any given week.
Fitness training through games and exercise also have a high priority during the school year.
Fight To Learn is a program that was first piloted at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation’s Shepard site in West Philadelphia in the Summer of 2003. The program’s after school version was first piloted at the Recreation Department’s Rhawnhurst site in Northeast Philadelphia.
The program also operated out of the Lonnie Young Recreation Center, Belfield Recreation Center, The Grace of God Baptist Church, Finletter School, and Your Childs World Learning Centers.
Discussions are currently taking place to expand “Fight To Learn” to additional sites.
Fight To Learn operates during the school year as an after school program. It is open to 5-12 year olds regardless of race, color, creed, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.