“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see,” wrote author and educator Neil Postman. Everything we do now to help put them on a path to good health, empowerment and employment is an investment in our community’s future. As Boniface Foundation (formerly St. Anthony’s Medical Center Foundation) looks to further their support of graduates from Nativity-Miguel Model middle schools in St. Louis, they have turned to Little Bit to help ensure students stay on the right track.
“High school can be a difficult transition for these students – for any student – and is a unique experience for each person,” says John Pimmel, Little Bit’s High School Program Manager. “Our role is to help support their successful integration and academic growth by making sure their individual physical, emotional and academic needs are met.”
The middle schools – five in total serving underserved communities in the city and county, including two longstanding partner schools of Little Bit – feed into 25 different Catholic high schools across St. Louis. Each middle school employs a Graduate Support department that follows graduates throughout high school, giving them the opportunity to get to know each student and understand their individual needs. Little Bit will work with this team to identify and address basic needs, provide health services – including referrals for behavioral counseling through Saint Louis Counseling – and academic enrichment.
Little Bit Program Manager Jerrica Franks says that services in this pilot year will be delivered at three central “hubs” that students can visit after school on designated days. Franks and volunteer tutors will be on hand, dinner or a snack will be provided and students will have a safe, productive space to study and share with each other. “After working with her tutor, one student said it was the first time this semester she had been able to complete her geometry homework,” says Franks. “This is exactly what we’re hoping to see.” Contact Franks for information on how you can get involved.