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A Generation of BP Learned Mission Students Graduate from High School
*Photos reflect the spirit of CFA and are not of any individuals associated with these stories
In 2006, Child & Family Agency received a generous grant from the Salmon Foundation to develop a curriculum for the BP Learned Mission Afterschool Program. Staff members and CFA administration developed a series of enrichment activities and techniques for implementing them in a way that was consistent and age-appropriate. Students who participated in the program were assessed to see if there were any differences between them and their peers (who did not attend the program) on reading levels, math achievement, and measures of behavior. The results were impressive! Students who attended the BP Learned Mission Afterschool Program scored higher on all measures than their same aged peers.
By 2008, the “Salmon Method” was published in a book titled, “A Blueprint for Promoting Academic and Social Competence in Afterschool Programs”. For the following ten years, we trained our staff in the curriculum and delivered it to hundreds of youth in New London.
Outcomes and results each year showed positive growth. Year after year children continued to excel academically and socially. They had 90-95% attendance in school and parents were able to maintain work schedules or enroll in educational programs.
We always wondered how the children would fare once they left the program and entered middle school and high school. While a formal longitudinal study hasn’t been completed, we have been lucky enough to speak to several students this past year as they graduated from high school. These students were the first class of children to get a full year of the Salmon Method.
We spoke to a young man who is entering vocational school to become an electrician because he knows he “needs to use his brain and work with his hands”. A young woman who started studying nursing at the University of Connecticut. She took classes all summer to complete her general education requirements in the mornings and volunteered at the BP Learned Mission Summer Program in the afternoons. We spoke to another young man who is attending the University of Massachusetts on a full athletic scholarship. When he visited us the day before he left he said, “You know, it’s not really about the football. What I really want to be is a teacher. And I want to teach in New London. They need people to come back and give back.” And we’ve spoken to two young women who are attending college on full academic scholarships – one at UCONN Avery Point and one at Wheaton College.
It has been fascinating to follow the lives of these young people. To hear about their successes and their failures. To hear them speak of falling down and being able to pick themselves up and learn from their mistakes. To hear them talk about the values they learned during their time at Child & Family Agency and identifying those values as ones that helped them grow and made them who they are.
We only hope we made as much of a difference in their lives as they did in ours.
*At Child and Family Agency we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names, identifying details, and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.