Building Blocks K-8 Program

Our afterschool and summer programs empower students to realize their full potential as learners and citizens through daily on-site programming led by highly qualified teachers and volunteers who work with students on homework, literacy, and creative projects. 

Key Components of Building Blocks:

OST Program – Afterschool & Summer

Our afterschool and summer programs empower students to realize their full potential as learners and citizens through daily on-site programming led by highly qualified teachers and volunteers who work with students on homework, literacy, and creative projects.

Mobile Tutoring & Supply Deliveries

Students experiencing homelessness learn and grow with high quality, mobile tutors that visit students where they are in the community. Tutors bring academic activities, books, and supplies during their visits.

Family Engagement

Building relationships with local schools and shelter partners, the Family Engagement Coordinator receives family referrals and connects children and families facing homelessness with HCEF and community resources. Through our connections, we help improve family and school relationships by reaching out to families to ensure all needs are being met. In addition to building engagement opportunities through hosting family nights with our shelter partners.

School Partnerships

School counselors from local elementary schools work with HCEF staff coordinate support to students and families experiencing homelessness by referring students our K-8 Mobile Learning Program, connecting caregivers to our Family Engagement Services, and participating in HCEF trainings and Homeless Education Network meetings.

Programming is provided on-site for residents of partnering shelters and transitional housing facilities. All school-aged residents in grades K-8 are eligible to participate at no cost.

HCEF Afterschool Instructors develop a customized learning plan for each student to set personal goals and monitor progress throughout the program, with ongoing support by a consulting reading specialist.  Volunteers provide valuable one-on-one tutoring and engage students in games and fun activities.

HCEF currently partners with 5 homeless housing agencies in Allegheny County to offer afterschool and summer programs.

Impact on children: 

Positive Relationships & Environments:

Instructors and volunteers create an encouraging environment where children feel safe, included, and eager to learn.

Improved School Performance:

Students are more actively engaged in learning and motivated to do well in school. They learn critical skills for school success, including study habits and setting personal goals for learning and behavior.

Preventing Academic Setbacks:

By extending learning beyond the school day and throughout the summer, we help students stay on track with their peers while preventing risky behaviors that are more likely to occur when children are unsupervised. 

children
empowered to reach their full potential in regular afterschool and summer camp programming at 5 agencies.
hours
per month spent in the program by the average student.
%
of regularly participating students set personal goals with the help of an instructor.

Testimonials:

We have seen such a confidence boost and learning curve in his education since we started the program and now feel more at peace knowing he won’t be held back this year.

– Caregiver

We love you guys, the program is awesome, it works and we can’t wait to have you back!

– Parent

Thank you all again for the help from us all, this took a lot of stress off us. I’ve never had this much support in my life than I have now, this really means a lot to me, thanks again. I know soon we will be in a house and all this will be over with. I’ll do anything I have to do to make sure my family is in a safe place. You all are very nice people and deserve nothing but goodness in life.

– Parent

Connect With Us:

Kaitlyn Nykwest
Afterschool and Enrichment Director
knykwest@homelessfund.org
412-562-0154 x210

Alizé Strickland
Family Engagement Coordinator
astrickland@homelessfund.org
412-562-0154 x200

Follow our program social accounts (@hopethroughlearning) for updates, tips, and resources!