Saturday, September 26, 2009

Providing college-focused programs in the inner city

When we began talking about starting educational programming for teens, I was aware of the stories that getting teenagers to come could be challenging. But I also know that so many of our teenagers are eager to go to college and simply don't have the knowledge of how to be prepared and how to get through all of the paperwork. After interviewing Terrence for the Americorps position, I knew he was the perfect person for the job:



After only a week and a half of programming, Terrence is drawing about 13 teenagers an evening. After using my records to count all of the middle and high school students in Roseland, I figured out that is 10% of the teenagers! 10%...and I expect that number to increase! That's significant! What's even more significant is that they are being challenged educationally and they keep coming back!

When I went to check on the program, a girl was sitting on the couch reading what seemed to be a dictionary. When I asked her what she was doing, she rolled her eyes and explained that Terrence made them look up words. Despite the rolling eyes and seeming exasperation, after we chatted, she went right back to looking up more words.

In the comfortable, living room setting, Terrence was sitting on the couch helping another student with geography, while others were working on homework as well.

Off to the side, a group of students had the Scrabble board out and were getting a game started. When I took the picture, they wanted to spell out words to present themselves as great Scrabble players. We decided on "Intelligent Students," as you can see if you look real close.

Over the last week and a half, Terrence has engaged the students in dialogue about education, college, careers, history, and more. They have watched documentaries, practiced interviewing, and practiced speed reading to bump their reading skills up.

Terrence and I met with Raul Hinojosa to plan for our UTD students that will be helping. The rate Terrence is going, he's going to need the extra help. He's getting ready to start engaging them in researching careers and colleges to get them prepared for their future.
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