Each student has specific educational needs. Uplift Kids works closely with each student’s teacher to ensure they are learning relevant material, while also filling in gaps in learning that might have occurred in a student’s education. To do this, the student to volunteer ratio is kept low in order to focus on each student’s needs.
A strong body helps build a strong brain. Each after-school program includes outdoor time at playgrounds and parks (weather permitting) or indoor physical activity such as calisthenics. Healthier snack options are introduced to promote wellness.
Introducing students to God’s love is the only way valuable change will occur. Each day students learn lessons in Biblical Theology about who God is and what He has done. Because of the low student to volunteer ratio, tutors also become mentors for the students. By caring for the students’ wellbeing, volunteers at Uplift Kids speak volumes about God’s love and have ample opportunities to talk overtly about Biblical truths.
First and foremost, Uplift Kids partners with churches to teach students and families about Jesus’ love for them. According to Wayne Grudem, two of the main purposes of the local church to the world are evangelism and mercy. The church is not only to share the message of the gospel, but also to provide mercy ministries to those in need. (Grudem, Wayne Systematic Theology p.868) Uplift Kids connects local churches with families in their neighborhood to do just that.
Uplift Kids builds relationships with schools in order to support administration and staff as they educate their students. Uplift Kids provides after-school care with tutoring to students who have fallen behind or need additional assistance. As student test scores improve, there is a direct correlation to improved classroom behavior and involvement.
Uplift Kids partners with families as they endeavor to provide the best circumstances for their children. With after-school care, parents are able to work consistent hours in order to provide for their family, and are connected with a resource that is designed to provide wrap-around care.
Uplift Kids is a program of Uplift Appalachia. Uplift Appalachia is a non-profit ministry based out of Johnson City, Tennessee that exists to train churches in the Appalachian region to effectively reach individuals dealing with drug addictions, homelessness, and reintegration after incarceration. When they heard the vision of a program that would partner churches with schools to help children from under-resourced communities, they felt that this goal paired nicely with their purpose. They offered to house the program under the Uplift Appalachia non-profit and Uplift Kids was started.
According to the South Carolina Association of Afterschools (SCAA), for every four students that would utilize an after-school program, only one has access to it. After-school programs statistically are responsible for increasing grades, decreasing behavior issues in and out of school, and providing opportunities for parents to work consistent hours. Here is a link to the SCAA fact sheet to learn more.
“According to the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), only thirty-five percent of the nation’s fourth grade students are reading on grade level. A substantial reading deficiency must be addressed before students can move on to the more difficult schoolwork required in fourth grade and beyond when textbooks become more complex and reading passages are longer. Those who have trouble understanding what they read find it very difficult to keep up. Many students become frustrated when they try to tackle this schoolwork without independent reading skills. For some students, this leads to years of difficulty in school and limited opportunities in college and career.” To read more about third grade retention in South Carolina, click here.
As an independent after-school program, we are not required to teach a specific curriculum; however, we do make every effort to provide relevant curriculum to each individual student by communicating with teachers and administration at each child’s school. This includes help with homework assignments, NHI’s (past projects that have not been handed in), and studying for upcoming tests. After completing these tasks, we then focus on each individual student’s gaps in education with a major focus on core math and reading principles.
Each church provides volunteers who are screened and trained by Uplift Kids. In hopes of transferring complete ownership of an after-school program to its respective local church, utilizing volunteers from that church makes for a more seamless transition as well as more engaged tutors as they care for local students and their families.
We strive to provide after-school services at no cost to families. That means Uplift Kids relies on churches and donations to make the program possible. Churches assist by providing space, vehicles, and volunteers, while donors provide funds to cover operational costs such as gas, vehicle maintenance, school supplies, and wages for paid staff members.
The teachers and administration of the public schools know the education details and home-life scenarios of the students better than we ever could. We endeavor to build relationships with the administration who will make the initial contact with the families that would benefit from this program the most.
While we don’t have concrete numbers yet to explain the effectiveness of the program, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” The founder of Uplift Kids, JP Camp, has directed similar programs to this model for nearly ten years. He has seen this type of program benefit dozens of kids and their families.
Spread the word! Uplift Kids always is accepting new champions for the cause. If you know someone in your circle of influence who would be interested in hearing more about this opportunity, send them to the website or have them email JP directly.
There are other ways to get involved over on our giving page.