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Success Stories

A Chance to Shine Changed Everything

Joanna, not her real name, came to our summer sports program as a trouble kid.  She not only wouldn’t participate, but she was very disruptive.  So disruptive, in fact, that we had discussed kicking her out of the program. But in the end, we decided that every kid needed a chance, and if any kid needed one, this kid did.

At one point during an enrichment period, one of our enrichment coaches ran an Inprov session. Guess who took up the challenge and stood out – our little Joanna.  Up in front of all her friends, she was a star.  For the first time, she understood that she had earned their attention in a positive way, rather than being disruptive. 


Somehow, it had an effect on her.  She gained confidence that she could do more than just be a “cut up.”

During the rest of the program, Joanna stopped being disruptive and began to really join in the activities and enjoy herself.  In fact, at the end of the program, she went up to one of the coaches and said, “I kind of hate to admit that I will miss you guys.”

Impact of our Summer Program is a "game changer"

Matt Brunell, Co-Executive Director at Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership wrote:


"In national studies, summer programming has proven to mitigate learning loss and increase school engagement.  In Springfield, SEZP funded 16 partners for a total of $1MM in grants in Summer 2023. ... These students had a near negligible (.02 point) decrease in their Math NWEA MAP RIT scores, whereas the students who didn’t participate had much steeper learning losses.  We are learning that specific programs have different impacts. For some example, the 10th grade students who participated in the Hope for Youth and Families program actually gained 5 points more in ELA and 3+ points more in Math on their NWEA MA, than students who didn’t participate in summer programs."

What do Parents Have to Say About Us?

"I liked that my child was able to learn more about her favorite sport, but also she got to go out and do different things not just cooped up in the house"


"I liked everything.  He got a chance to know his new school, for this upcoming year as a freshman.  It got him out the house to try new things and to meet his peers. "


"I liked that my daughter was interested in attending and actually had a good time.  I asked her would she do it again next year and she said super yes!"


"Great program! Will definitely enroll if available next summer. Thank you!"


"Thank you for this opportunity and for all your hard work."


"Thank you for providing this opportunity for children in the area."


"They really enjoyed camp this year and as a single mom having camp that was free was a godsend."

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