This was one of the prompts I wrote down almost immediately when I decided to do this challenge. I am excited for the chance to talk about something near and dear to my heart.
Second Home is a local non-profit. I am the board secretary as well as an active member of the fundraising committee. I have learned a lot about how non-profits work through this experience and I have made some really great friends. I also get a huge load of satisfaction in knowing that I am doing something to better my community.
Second Home was started about 8 years ago when the principal of my kids' school noticed a large number of kids going home with keys around their neck. She actually had a kindergartner or first grade break down in tears because she had lost her key and was worried about what she was going to do after school. See, kids as young as five and six were going home to empty houses in less than ideal neighborhoods because their parents didn't have a better option for after-school care. It turned out that there were a lot of kids absent from school as well. They were supposed to put themselves on the bus in the morning, but if they missed it they didn't have a backup plan.
There are limited after-school options in my area. Most of them are run out of day cares and charge day care rates for attendance. There are even fewer before-school options (fewer, as in almost none). There are a lot of families here working shift work at factories who don't have a way to get their kids on the bus or off the bus. They also can't afford day care rates. And many of the families here struggle to speak, read, and write in English.
Second Home provides a safe place to eat breakfast, rest, and catch the bus in the morning. It provides a a welcoming place to get off the bus, eat a snack, and get homework help in the afternoons. The standardized test scores have sky-rocketing in the time that Second Home has been operating! These kids are enjoying school, understanding their assignments and seeing positive role models around them.
Second Home meets the licensing requirements of a day care center. We have certified teaches on staff, and observe all student-teacher ratios required by the state. We also have a significant number of community volunteers (especially from local colleges) who come in to help with the program as well.
Parents only pay $10 per week for the first child, and $5 for each additional child. In order to keep qualified teachers and low rates, we work hard on fundraising and grant writing. I'm excited because tomorrow is our annual Super Hero 5K. We'll be out at the fairgrounds having fun, running (not me, of course) and raising money for a great cause.
By the way, I can end without saying this: If you have a heart for each childhood education, reading, literacy, immigrants, English as a Second Language Learners or any related issues, and would like to support Second Home, we would be most grateful! You can donate through their website.