Afterschool Programs Can Help Struggling Students

Afterschool Programs Can Help Struggling Students

Sometimes all a child struggling in school needs is some one-on-one tutoring after school, and some encouragement.

Americans Helping Americans® is able to provide support to afterschool programs, such as one operated by our partner, Big Creek People in Action, in McDowell County, West Virginia.

Michael is serving his first year as an AmeriCorps member at BCPIA teaching in the afterschool program who has witnessed children who are not eager at first to accept any help offered to them, but over time their attitude changes.

“We continue to work with them on a daily basis and all are improving,” Michael reported. “Most are doing a lot better in school and they tell us when they pass their tests and how much their grades have improved.”

Among them is 6-year-old Rosy whose spelling and reading skills “have improved immensely since September,” he said.

Children in afterschool program in West Virginia

Another is Rachel who is eight years old whose reading skills have also shown a significant improvement since the start of the school year.

“Her grandmother tells us how much it has helped her and she is grateful for the afterschool program,” he said. “I hope we can help every child here to be a better person and grow up to be a responsible adult.”

BCPIA Co-Executive Director Dyanne Spriggs says the benefits for the children in the program are immense.

“Afterschool programs can boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of at-risk families,” she said. “Your support provides these protective factors to the children in our afterschool program.”

Giving Tuesday on December 3: Cozy Kicks for Kids

Giving Tuesday on December 3: Cozy Kicks for Kids

In Lee County, Kentucky, described by The New York Times as one of the “hardest” places to live in the country, a pair of new socks and shoes is a luxury many parents cannot afford for their children.

But this Giving Tuesday, December 3, for just $21 you can ensure a child has both to keep their feet warm and dry all through winter and spring.

“Our county poverty rate for children under the age of 18 is above 80 percent,” says our partner there, Sherry Lanham, director of the Lee County Family Resource Center. “Most of our children never receive new socks and shoes.

“With a free lunch rate of over 85 percent and a poverty rate that is very high, most of our families cannot afford food, and shoes and clothes are often handed down from child to child,” she added. “Many of our children did not even have shoes that fit them and they were wearing whatever they could find.”

For Giving Tuesday, Americans Helping Americans® has partnered with Boldfoot Socks which prides itself on its premium American-made quality socks manufactured in North Carolina, and made with American-grown Supima Cotton: Boldfoot socks are American through and through.

“At Boldfoot, we aim to prove that ‘American-made’ stands for something, and we’re starting from the ground up with awesome socks,” says founder Brad Christmann “Quality is our biggest priority in everything we do, and we’re proud to say that our socks are 100 percent American-made and sourced.”

At Americans Helping Americans® we see this Giving Tuesday opportunity as a win-win for both the children who will be receiving the best pair of socks and shoes they have ever owned while supporting American manufacturing jobs and with your gift of $21 you will be doing both!

“These socks and shoes will not only keep their feet warm and dry, but it helps their self-esteem,” says Sherry. “Funding in this area is so hard to obtain and with your gift of $21 many of our students will be served and will be so happy!

“This helps children, parents and everyone involved. There is no way our parents will be able to purchase socks and shoes for their children.”

Success Story: Jennifer Shelton

Success Story: Jennifer Shelton

Thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® our partner in West Virginia, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), is able to provide tutors to students at the McDowell County Career and Technology Center (MCCTC).

Students have a wide variety of programs to choose from, including automotive technology, building maintenance, coding apps and game design, computer systems/hardware support, early childhood education, law and public safety, licensed practical nursing, small engine repair, welding, and more.

In 2010, MCCTC school counselor Katie Linkous noticed that some of the students at the career and technology center were deficient in basic math and reading skills. After reaching out to BCPIA, together, they arranged a partnership to fill the need for remedial courses.

This led individual career and technical course assistance, pre-preparation for pre- and post- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) testing, assistance with OSHA-10 (offering 10 hours of training for all construction and general industry professionals) and WIN online learning for earning a ready-to-work credential for jobs across occupations and industries.

In 2018-2019, 99 percent of student scores increased from pre-NOCTI benchmark tests in the fall, followed by an audit post-test in the spring prior to the student completing the program. Five of these students received a Governor’s Workforce Credential for meeting such high standards.

Among the success stories is the MCCTC’s graduation speaker in 2019, Jennifer Shelton. Jennifer completed the practical nursing program and went on to become an RN then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) which are typically given more responsibility, supervisory roles and higher salaries.

Jennifer is currently completing classes to become a nurse practitioner and has chosen to stay in McDowell County now working at a local health clinic in a supervisory position.

“She is just one of many success stories.”

Americans Helping Americans® Supports Appalachian Outreach Back-to-School Bash

Americans Helping Americans® Supports Appalachian Outreach Back-to-School Bash

“Everything is free” at Americans Helping Americans® partner Appalachian Outreach’s “Back-to-School Bash” in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

“This is a fun community event to help kick off the school year,” explained Appalachian Outreach Executive Director Jean-Ann Washam. “All school-age children in Jefferson and Grainger counties can attend and receive a new backpack full of school supplies.”

In addition to the school supplies, there were plenty of fun activities for the children including moon bounces, face painting, games, and plenty of treats such as popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.

For the parents, who were relieved of the burden of trying to figure out how they were going to pay for their children’s school supplies, several local assistance agencies set up informational tables to inform them of what services might be available to them.

The children were so excited and happy to receive their new school supplies, including first-grader Emma, who upon receiving hers, exclaimed “I can’t wait to start school!”

Kate, a mother of four, commented, “With four kids it is very hard to afford all the school supplies they need. This event is a big help to my family.”

“Thank you for all you do to support Appalachian Outreach and this event,” said Jean-Ann. “Without Americans Helping Americans® many families in our area would struggle to provide needed school supplies for their children.”

When a backpack is more than a backpack

When a backpack is more than a backpack

The purpose of Americans Helping Americans® partner Raleigh Rescue Mission’s back-to-school school supplies distribution is two-fold, explained the organization’s director of strategic initiatives Christine Montague-Hicks.

First, it provides children with the opportunity to receive all the required school supplies they need to get off to a successful new school year, while sparing their parents the anguish as to how they were going to pay the pencils, paper and more they know their children need.

Secondly, the back-to-school event is designed to provide awareness to members in the community as to the resources that may be available to them as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

Giving out school supplies and backpacks

Prior to receiving school supplies, students and parents are required to visit at least five vendor tables which provided educational, nutritional, and other useful information that could potentially improve the student’s new school year.

And when they were not collecting schools supplies or gathering useful information, attendees were invited to share their favorite moves on the dance floor or line up to receive face painting.

Thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® we were able to provide the Raleigh Rescue Mission with 150 school kits for elementary school-age children.

“I really appreciate how much my son was helped with the school supplies, backpack included,” stated one parent. “School supplies and bag would have ran about 30-40 bucks I believe.”

Another parent reported, “The backpacks and supplies were really helpful, especially with having multiple kids starting school. I really appreciate it. It took some of the stress of getting my kids prepared off my shoulders.”

And from one of the child advocacy team members participating in the event: “The backpacks have really helped our preschoolers to be able to have something that is theirs and that they can take to their room every night.”

“Ya’ll really did a good job on taking care of those kids,” said one grandmother attending the event. “My grandkids were so happy to get the school supplies and they were very excited.

“God bless you all.”

This year, we were able to provide thousands of children throughout Appalachia with the backpacks and school supplies they need to be prepared from day one of a new school year thanks to our supporters who made it possible. It would not have happened without them.