Wellspring’s Academic & Recreation Program is a year round after school program for youth in Brightmoor and the surrounding areas. The program has been running since 1993 and uses the Kumon curriculum to assist these youth in developing their math and reading skills. This complements their school-based education and prepares them for further study.
The Kumon curriculum is highly structured and has been proven to not only help young people catch up to grade level but in many cases advance to levels beyond their school grade. Kumon centers are normally for-profit businesses that target moderate and upper income families and communities.
As the only non-profit Kumon center in Michigan, Wellspring offers the Kumon curriculum to predominately low income families through the use of grants and other philanthropic contributions to run the program and pay the royalty fees. Kumon is not designed to fix a problem and “graduate” a student. The program strives to do more than fill gaps, aiming instead to develop critical skills and study habits that help children learn to succeed on their own. This provides them the opportunity to achieve beyond expectations, to build and reinforce confidence, and bolster self-esteem. With a Kumon background, the student is more likely to have the academic skills required to pass competitive high school placement exams. Completion of daily Kumon worksheets trains a student to develop dedication and persistence, and behavior is influenced by the protective factors in the child’s life. A child surrounded by goal-oriented, aspirational support is likely to follow that model of behavior.
This project subsidizes 6 months of the program for one low-income Brightmoor youth. Each family pays only $15 per month, while the total cost of the program is $1340 for 6 months, or $1250 after family contributions. Wellspring anticipates serving 90 students in 2012, with available slots filled from an existing wait list of 150 youth. Support 6 months of programming for a Brightmoor youth and help them overcome their challenges, exceed expectations, and give them the chance at lifetime success that all children deserve.
The funds for this project cover the direct costs of one student participating in the program for a 6-month period. It includes the cost of academic staff, Kumon fees, transportation and materials. Activities consist of the Kumon reading curriculum as well as recreational activities. Each youth comes to our Wellspring Center twice a week for one to two hours. Homework is required 5 days a week. Recreational activities are provided at the Wellspring Center after Kumon math and reading.
There is ping-pong, pool, foosball, crafts and board games, and a basketball court in the backyard. In addition, we provide periodically scheduled recreational outings such as apple picking, maple syrup collecting and swimming. These activities complement the Kumon math and reading component and allow the participants to be in a wholesome environment in which they can thrive academically and creatively.
In the calendar year 2011, the Academic & Recreation Program was provided for 72 youth, 42 of which participated in the reading component of the program. Over the course of the 2011 program year, Wellspring documented a total of 61 Kumon grade level increases, with students increasing an average of 1.5 Kumon grade levels for reading comprehension.
A Kumon grade level is approximately equivalent to one grade level in a public school. Because summer learning loss has been shown to disproportionately affect lower-income students, particularly in the subjects of math and spelling, Wellspring’s Kumon program addresses the need for year-round education through its 51-week service year. Students are discouraged from taking breaks from the Kumon program and many of Wellspring's current students remained in the program for all of 2011, and are expected to continue their advancement.
Upon enrollment each participant is given a diagnostic test to determine his or her reading comprehension level. The youth is then provided with an individualized plan to advance in skill through the use of pre-developed worksheets. Each participant advances to higher levels only after sufficient performance is documented through testing. Individual pre and post testing allows us to document a student’s grade level increase (GLI).
The Program Director, responsible for the implementation and operation of the program, holds a degree in physical therapy from the University of Michigan. The Reading/Language Arts Director, certified by Kumon North America, has a BA degree from the University of Detroit Mercy in English and Secondary Education. Additional staffing consists of three program assistants who provide tutorial assistance, grading and perform other program duties; one of the assistants supervises recreation.
About Me: Calling all CPs and Wannabes, I am Citizen Effect's Citizen Philanthropist Associate--which is a fancy way of saying I am here for YOU! I am the first line of support for all of our CPs, offering advice and assistance so that everyone can achieve their fundraising goals (and then taking credit for your many accomplishments when I brag to my friends). I am also proud to announce that I am #110 of the 150. My fund raising process is an open book, so ask me anything and please check back for blog posts and photos throughout this exciting experience.
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Matt B. donated to 6-month Youth Reading Program - Brightmoor, Detroit! - 8 months ago visit the project
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