TARGETING at-risk students in Toledo Public Schools with after-school enrichment programs is a smart investment in human potential. Giving young people from poor neighborhoods a safe haven where they can learn and grow may not only save them from trouble, but shape them for success.
That is the ambitious goal of two city programs funded by a nonprofit Washington foundation backing 20 such programs in 14 cities, including Toledo. At the Caldwell Center on Stickney Ave., the School Safe Haven program gives 50 kids in kindergarten through eighth grade more than a place to hang out after school.
Four days a week, the Safe Haven program tutors and teaches students. Homework is done, mentoring is provided, and young minds are encouraged to explore new disciplines, listen to speakers, and take field trips.
Mentoring also plays a key role in a similar program called Quantum Opportunities, which caters to older students. It began with a group of Woodward High School freshmen, most of whom are with the program as juniors.
Besides bringing students up to grade level in key subjects, the Quantum program helps teens with everything from career planning and job-seeking skills to banking, finance, and personal development.
The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation is the benefactor that makes it possible, primarily through the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Alan Curtis, president and chief executive of the Washington-based foundation, says the after-school programs attempt to change individual lives by helping kids do better in school, graduate, and go on to postsecondary schools.
Regular evaluations show that enriching students in a Safe Haven works.
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