At Fairplay, we believe the limit to our student’s academic path should be how far they want to go and how hard they work to get there, not how far they can afford to go.
To help get them back to school and stay in school, Fairplay established the Education Sponsorship Program (ESP). Under the ESP, our scholars are able to receive financial support to help pay for their school supplies, uniform, transportation, and other school-related costs. They also get their meals everyday from the Fairplay Cafe.
Students from poorer backgrounds face more challenges. At home they often lack the support of family members when it comes to their academic and personal lives. Research have shown that during summer break, poorer students fall behind (Sloan McCombs et al., 2011). And they are exposed to additional trauma and toxic stress (Ramiro et al., 2010).
To further support our scholars, we opened the Youth Center, an evolution from the drop-in center model and a stepping stone towards our long-term goal of establishing the Fairplay Academy.
The Youth Center
The Youth Center aims to holistically support our Fairplay Scholars in all their needs: social support, academic tutoring, mental health support, and financial incentives. Each of these areas is crucial in order to break the cycle of poverty – without any one of them, more children will fall through the cracks and be unable to break that cycle. You can learn more about these four pillars of support by checking out this Freakonomics podcast about a program called Pathways to Education in Toronto.
Through the Youth Center, our Fairplay scholars have access to: (1) social support through our weekly Youth Groups facilitated by our social and community workers, (2) academic tutoring through regular scheduled tutorials with our tutors, volunteers and community workers, (3) counseling through one-on-one “kamusthan” and consultation with the Youth Center Advisor as well as our weekly EQ Club and mentoring sessions, and (4) financial incentives through the ESP’s levels of support. Our football program also further enhances the impact of our work as it promotes these four pillars of support; many of our Fairplay scholars are also our Payatas FC players.
From Tuesday to Saturday, the Youth Center serves as a learning hub where we offer tutorials, remedial and review sessions, as well as social work to our scholars. In the evenings, we hold personal development sessions through the EQ Club and the Youth Groups. We hope to establish more youth clubs (such as arts, theater, dance, music) in the future.
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