The JOY Foundation
The JOY Foundation Summer Program ran for two weeks from August 9th to August 20th. It took place online via Zoom. It was held for thirteen girls between the ages of 14 and 17 who lived at the Homestead place of safety. It occurred each day for four hours from 9am to 1pm.
Each day the girls had one hour of math, one hour of English and two hours of coding. There were five volunteers for both math and English. The girls were therefore split into 5 groups of either two or three which allowed for more individual attention. The girls each took a diagnostic test on the Saturday prior to the start of the Camp. This was sent to each of their respective tutors and allowed for lessons to be tailored to their weaknesses. In math, the general focus was homing in on each girls’ weaknesses and allowing her to become more comfortable with what she was covering in school. In English, the weaknesses of each girl were also worked on.
In addition to this, everyone was taught some useful skills for future employability. In the first week the girls were taught how to write a business letter, with each of them being required to submit one by the end of the summer program. In the second week they were also taught how to write a Curriculum Vitae. In programming, the python 3 language was introduced.
At the end of the project each girl was able to write both a business letter and a CV. At the beginning of the camp none of them knew what a resume was. Their math levels all improved.
Through targeting their weaknesses, we were able to see their performances on the diagnostic test improve. By the end of the camp each girl had been introduced to almost 20 new career options. This gives them the opportunity to pursue different opportunities for themselves.
We also spoke to them about climate change and invited them to think about solutions.
How the Funding Was Used
- Buying school supplies: a book, pencil and pen for each of the girls;
- Paying for their yearlong subscription to Codecademy;
- Paying for Zoom;
- Buying a WIFI router for the home;
- Buying them Christmas gifts and prizes for their amazing performance during the camp!
How They Made A Difference
We taught students who did not know what coding was, the basics of Python. This sets them up for strategic advantages in their future. We equipped the girls with useful skills that will aid them after leaving high school such as writing a business letter and CV. We exposed the girls to powerful black women, leading the world of STEM.
How The Project Made A Difference for the Volunteers
We realized how much work it really takes to plan and execute a project of this nature. I became more organized and also learned how to deal with bureaucracy in detail. Teaching students with a weak educational background was difficult and my team and I often had to change our strategies when it came to teaching. We also learnt how to keep students engaged. For two weeks we truly got to make a difference!
I learnt that things don’t always go as planned but that is ok! I learned that perseverance and the ability to adapt are important. I felt a love for these girls that I honestly had never experienced before.
I am planning on doing this project again this summer. The main kinks were in the technology and the poor WIFI connection. Hopefully this summer we will be able to conduct the camp in person, but if not, I will ensure to do a complete run through of a practice day to ensure that the bandwidth at the home can withstand the daily activities for each girl.
What I like about the class is it teaches me a lot of things I did not understand. [Now] when I go to school I can just breeze through the topics. Thank you for taking the time out to teach us. God bless you.