Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer PLUS -- A New Take on Summer Camp

As any regular follower of our work will know, we are obsessed with creating products and services that are replicable, sustainable and truly impactful.  For instance, realizing that truly ending poverty in the lives of our clients means breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in families, we launched the T.E.C.H. Program.  Under T.E.C.H., we offer our entire suite of products and services to low-income parents at partner elementary schools.  The theory of change is that by helping a family stabilize financially through financial coaching and free tax preparation, and gain access to technology through loans and training, the kids will do better in school and, in turn, in life.

However, we know that improving educational outcomes is a major challenge.  Given our passion for being honest with ourselves and others about what works and what doesn't, we decided to run a pilot summer camp at our first partner school, Pleasant View Elementary in Providence, Rhode Island, to see if adding a summer camp to the T.E.C.H. Program a) makes sense, b) is feasible and c) excites the kids.   Increasingly, our goal is to for T.E.C.H. to be a program for true transformation and change within a school and the school community.

The summer program, which we ran thanks to seven (7) summer AmeriCorps VISTAs and Dr. Gara B. Field, Principal of Pleasant view, was designed to eliminate summer learning loss, build character, instil a love of learning and introduce kids to technology.  The above video tells the story of the camp which was, in the opinion of everyone involved, a roaring success: the kids loved it and learned a ton, the counselors had a blast and felt like they made a difference, and the leadership at the school and the school district are thrilled with the results.  We want to be able to bring the summer PLUS model to every school with which we partner on T.E.C.H.!