AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
In 1999 Abraham House began an After School Program for children from the neighborhood, especially those directly affected by incarceration.
Abraham House is a sanctuary in a community with one of the highest crime rates in the city. At a minimum, we give children a safe space and support to complete their homework and stay on grade academically. But we see our primary role as preparing our students to become self-confident citizens of the larger world. Our testing has shown that the children in our program have a very low sense of self-esteem; they have had few experiences beyond their immediate neighborhood and no positive role models to give them high aspirations. Some estimates put the children of the incarcerated at a 50% risk of turning to criminal behavior themselves before they turn 18.
Over sixty children are currently enrolled in the program in grades from pre-K through high school. The program is offered four days a week, Monday through Thursday, and for six weeks in the summer. The student/teacher ratio is 6 to 1 and the average class size is ten.
Our program offers:
- Academic support and tutoring
- Access to books and computers, tools they do not have at home;
- Workshops in youth violence prevention, conflict resolution, decision making;
- Trips to cultural and educational institutions;
- Preparation for college, including test prep for the SAT, information night for students and parents, and trips to college fairs and college campuses;
- A mentoring program to match children with college students and young adults to reinforce a college-going culture and introduce the world of work.
Through a partnership with the Endowment for Inner City Education, 36 children in the After School Program hold a scholarship to parochial schools in the Bronx. Abraham House donors sponsor another 10 children and pay their tuition through our Peter Pappas Scholarship Fund.
For more information on the Scholarship Fund and how you can help, click here.
Students in the After School Program have a daily attendance rate of better than 90%; all of our students were promoted to the next grade this year and all are on track to graduate from high school.
This is an incredible accomplishment for these children for, as Sister Simone, Abraham House's co-founder, has said, "The children are small and carry huge burdens. They need to be seen as persons, need to be important somewhere. For many boys and girls, this is the safest place they know."
|THE FACT |
Over the last five years, all of our students have stayed free of criminal activity and all 17 participating seniors have graduated high school; all but one enrolled in college.
According to the Citizens Committee for Children, the Bronx had the lowest rates of public elementary and middle school children meeting state and city reading and math standards in school year 2011-12, with only 33.2% of children meeting reading standards and 46.6% meeting math standards.
The Children's Defense Fund advocates the importance of school age programs, especially for the children of working parents under age 12. They report: "Programs that provide academic support and structure greatly enhance a child's success in school. Research continues to show that positive, reliable and structured activities for school-age children after school can help children's development, safety and academic performance, as well as reduce the risk of behaviors that lead to more serious trouble, such as drugs and alcohol."
The Harvard Family Research Project states, “children who attend these well-supervised after school programs display better work habits, task persistence, social skills, pro-social behaviors, academic performance, and less aggressive behavior at the end of the school year.”