ADOPT A FIRST GRADER
At-risk youth are growing up in high poverty areas. Children are being impacted and lacking opportunities where they can learn, play, and grow. It is documented that minority children are seven times more likely to grow up in poverty and live in a one parent household. These outcomes support the growing need of active mentorship especially for those who look like themselves.
The Jarvis Gibson Foundation continues to support youth beginning as early as entering the 1st grade. There is evidence that support that engaging youth in their younger and more formative years, and engage over a period of time, reaps outcomes that demonstrate an increase in behavioral change. Adopt a First Grader is one of the three signature programs of the foundation that provide opportunities for those youth who experience barriers to a thriving, healthy, and safe environment. Adopt a First Grader upholds the vision, mission, and values of the Jarvis Gibson Foundation.
The Jarvis Gibson Foundation, with the inclusion of partners such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. identifies one (1) elementary school per school year up to twenty-five (25) students. The outreach team will engage with them a total of four (4) times per year:
Student is formally introduced to the outreach team of the foundation. Typically this happens at the very beginning of the school year. The student will receive a book bag filled with approved -and grade appropriate school supplies. Engagement activities such as reading/story- telling, assistance with homework or classroom assignments, playing board games (chess, checkers, cards, etc.), and/or sharing a meal are examples of their first interaction. This serves as laying the foundation to establish trust and forming a relationship.
The foundation provides a holiday basket that includes a holiday meal for a family up to four (4). This occurs during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. This continues the evolution of the relationships and establishing trust.
After the New Year, the foundation provides a coat, hat and gloves to the student to weather the remaining winter months. As noted many of the students are impacted by poverty, come from low income homes, and lack warm winter clothes.
Upon completion of the school year, the foundation then provides a bicycle accompanied with a helmet for the summer. This is considered a success in the completion of the program but also identifying creative ways to keep youth active and engaged during the summer months.
While the student completes the program, this is only a stepping stone and will continue to engage the student to the next step of the introduction to other programs where they will participate in community service efforts at the Men’s Homeless Shelters, Senior Food Drives, Coat Drives and eventually aging into programs such as Go to High School Go to College/Honorable Men of Tomorrow and /or to any one of our partnering organizations’ age appropriate programs.