A key component of our strategy at Project Transformation involves developing continuous relationships between children and young adult role models, our PT Corps Members, who are accessible, accepting, supportive, and empowering.
This structure, in which age-appropriate learning objectives are delivered with profound support from loving adults, builds the personal strengths, self-esteem, and confidence among children while also fostering a lifelong love of learning.
The following story by Cassandra Sanchez, our Site Coordinator at Walnut Hill UMC, demonstrates how the participants in our program look up to our PT Corps Members as role models and consider them a “safe place”.
Our smallest boy, a first grader named Oliver, plays soccer with the “big” boys every day. The second and third graders he kicks the ball around with are “training” him to be the best goalkeeper in school! Oliver is always running and jumping to block the other kids so they won’t make a single goal. I’d say he’s improved a ton since the school year first started. One day, the boys were playing and Oliver dove for the ball and scraped his knee. He kept the ball from going into the goal, jumped up quickly, and continued playing without skipping a beat. It wasn’t until later when we started the rotation called “homework help” that Oliver came to me. Tears filled his eyes and pain struck his face as he pulled up his pant leg to show me his scraped knee. Oliver told me, “Miss Cass, I can’t cry in front of the others because they will think I am not strong. Thank you for letting me come to you. You’re a good friend to me!” I proceeded to bandage his small scrape and really listen to his words. In that moment, I knew this is truly where transformation begins for our program participants.
Our program builds the self-esteem and academic abilities of children from low-income families while igniting in them a lifelong love of learning. Our curriculum is offered both after school and throughout the summer, focusing on the holistic development of each child as he/she ages through the program from 1st through 12th grades and emphasizing relationship building in a safe and community-oriented environment to help each young person realize his/her unique potential.
Within Project Transformation, the ideal path for the children we serve starts with a focus on academics and literacy. We then begin to strengthen their relationship skills, and assist them in developing a clear set of moral values that will carry them through the rest of their lives. Children join our program because they see the activities as interesting, fun, and a way to improve their academic performance. They are transformed through the relationships that we develop with them as they progress through the program. Our ambition is to not simply support our children as students, but to also empower them with a foundation for success in college, careers, and service-focused lives!