Through the eyes of a kid, the Out of School Time (OST) program may seem like all fun and games, but in the communities where it’s offered, OST is known to be much more.
OST is an afterschool program that exposes youth to academic enrichment and 21st Century skills.
This year, ECS expanded its OST offerings to Thomas K. Finletter Academics Plus School in North Philadelphia and Add B Anderson School in West Philadelphia. Tamir’s school is one of the program’s newest locations.
Tamir is an imaginative kid, and even at his young age, he shows a lot of integrity. When greeted by an adult, he is respectful and gives a handshake firmer than most people double his size.
The soon-to-be fourth grader is excited to join bigger and, according to him, better, activities, like the Boyz 2 Men Club that provides support to young boys during their formative years.
At home, Tamir is one of four children ages six through 16—with Tamir and two of his siblings enrolled in OST. When asked about how the program has been helpful to his family, Tamir is quick to answer with, “My mom can have a break!”
Recognizing that his parents are busy with work and maintaining a home, Tamir helps with household chores to lighten their load.
“I’m the one [kid] who cleans and makes their bed!” he said beaming.
His dutiful disposition is exemplified at OST, too, in activities that mold participants into leaders. On monthly Family Nights, he reliably shows up early to help prepare and stays late to clean up with staff.
“I just like to be helpful,” he added.
Tamir’s favorite and best subject in school is math, but he has struggled with literacy coursework in the past. Through camp-assigned journaling projects and supervised computer lab time with literacy software, his competency scores have skyrocketed. He even enjoys reading on his own now.
During the homework help hour at OST, Tamir is able to demonstrate his book-smarts and leadership skills. He takes pride in how quickly he finishes his assignments and is often found helping his classmates complete theirs.
The OST program continues to grow. We are preparing to expand to serving 1,000 students at six schools in the year to come. And we are sure that we’ll see more students like Tamir: smart and engaged, preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow.