Youth & Families
Arts, athletics, and academics can turn at-risk city kids around. So believes Quad A for Kids, our after-school affiiate.
Quad A aims to break the cycle of poverty by engaging youth in healthy, culturally rich activities. It raises funds to help economically disadvantaged youth in Rochester. For example, Schools 4 and 34, located in some of the city's most underserved areas, have been sites of a high-quality after-school program funded by Quad A since 2005.
Beginning in 2007, a partnership with North East Area Development's Freedom Schools strengthened the program further. It adds a focus on literacy, cultural heritage, parental involvement, community service, social action, and the arts. Children are learning that "I can and must make a difference in myself, my family, my community, my country, and my world.”
Quality after-school enrichment programs have been repeatedly shown to benefit children on a number of fronts, including academic support, coping skills, interpersonal skills, and self-esteem. But such programs are available to less than 15% of Rochester City School District children.
A recent evaluation showed that 66% of Freedom School participants advanced a full grade level on New York State standardized language tests, more than twice the 32% rate for the overall fourth grade class.
Also, behavior linked to violence decreased. In the first week of the program, 23 children out of 53 reported being in at least one physical fight in the past 30 days. By the end of the program, only seven out of 53 children reported being in a fight. And by the end of the program, every single child felt they had an adult other than their parents to whom they felt comfortable turning for help.
Freedom Schools are a program of the Children's Defense Fund under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman. Rochester's Freedom School program, also a recipient of our funding, began in 2005 under the auspices of NEAD. It offers neighborhood children ages 5-18 a free summer program emphasizing critical and analytical thinking, conflict resolution, and love of reading. NEAD recently built a Freedom Center that will offer after-school as well as summer programs.
“We must build our youth for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
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