Photo Left: The finalists for the 2016 Massachusetts Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Photo Right: Kristy Lee of New England Cable News with BELL CEO Tiffany Cooper Gueye and YMCA of Greater Boston CEO James Morton at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s Nonprofit Awareness Day Excellence Award Ceremony at the Massachusetts State House.
Boston, MA – June 27, 2016 – BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) was recognized on Monday as one of four finalists for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network's Excellence Award in Collaboration during the 8th Annual Nonprofit Awareness Day Celebration at the Massachusetts State House.
The organization received accolades for its growing Power Scholars Academy programs operated in partnership with the YMCA of the USA. The partnership effort will expand from 20 cities in 2015 to 52 cities this summer, serving more than 5,500 scholars in grades K-to-8 compared to 2,200 last year. In Massachusetts, the partnership will help BELL to serve additional scholars in Boston, Holyoke, and Brockton.
During the summer months, children who lack quality learning experiences tend to lose academic skills over the school break. Such losses – which equate to two months of grade-level skills each summer – accumulate year after year. Studies have shown that by the end of eighth grade, summer learning loss can account for 66 percent of the achievement gap between low- and high-income students.
The Power Scholars Academy program, built on BELL's evidence-based model, blends rigorous, small-group academic instruction with high-quality camp-like enrichment and community engagement activities. It operates 6.5 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 6 weeks. Y staff and teachers from public schools, who are trained and supported by BELL, deliver the program at schools for students in grades K-8 who are struggling academically and who lack access to summer learning opportunities in their community.
"Summer learning is one of the most effective ways to improve student achievement," said Dr. Tiffany Gueye, BELL's CEO. "Our partnership with the Y and its broad community-based network is helping us solve the challenge of scaling the impact of summer learning so that more scholars, schools and communities benefit. This is extraordinarily important work that these local YMCA's are taking on."
BELL and the Y-USA first launched the PSA summer program with a trial in 2013. The program expanded to eight cities in 2014 and then 14 in 2015. Also last summer, BELL and the Y developed the Power Scholars Camp as a second programming option for local YMCA associations in six additional cities. The Camp program adds academic instruction into the middle of existing summer-long camp programs at local Ys.
In addition to positively impacting scholars' academic performance, Power Scholars Academies and Camps strengthen scholars' social skills, keep scholars physically active, and provide scholars with nutritious meals. According to the student's teachers, nine out of 10 students increased their self-confidence and improved their attitude toward school. The Power Scholars Academy also helped nine out of 10 parents become more involved in their child's education.
PSA programs are provided free of charge to families in the communities where they operate. Local Y's, Y-USA, BELL and public school partners share responsibility for program cost. The three nonprofit organizations raise philanthropic support from local and national sources, while school districts contribute facilities, utilities, meals, etc.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Visit www.ymca.net.
BELL is one of the nation's leading nonprofit providers of quality expanded learning programs for children in grades pre-K-8. Its mission is to transform the academic achievement, self-confidence and life trajectories of children living in low-income communities. BELL serves more than 15,000 scholars in public schools across the country through its summer and afterschool programs. Visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.