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Category: Results

Weekly Results Round-Up: Project Health, Grid Alternative, NYC Coalition Against Hunger, and SF Education Fund

A weekly look at the accomplishments and results of some of the organization mentioned in The American Way to Change

Public Health

For many low income families prescription drugs and antibiotics are not enough alleviate an illness or keep them healthy.  Founded in 1996 at the Boston Medical Center Pediatrics Department, Project Health works to fix this problem.  The non-profit allows doctors to “prescribe” food, fuel assistance, housing, and other resources to patients who need them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Over a five month period last year, Project Health’s help desks secured housing for 205 families, child-care and after-school programs for 154 clients, and access to food for 135 clients.  By providing staples like these, they help low-income families and individuals become and remain healthy.

Clean Energy

Grid Alternative works to help communities in need by supplying them with clean and renewable energy sources.  Since its start in 2001, the nonprofit has worked to provide solar electricity and energy efficiency to low-income families.  They identify specific needs and provide solutions that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.  Since 2004, they have installed 487 solar electric systems for low-income families throughout California.  These systems have reduced each families electric bill by 75%, which means a total of over $9.9 million in energy generated over the systems’ estimated life spans.  The systems will also prevent about 39,975 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.

Hunger Prevention

Hunger is a major problem throughout America, but it is particularly visible in major cities, such as New York City.  To combat this epidemic, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger works to meet the immediate food needs of low-income New Yorkers, and come up with innovative solutions to help them move past soup-kitchens to self-sufficiency.  The non-profit represents the more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City.  Recently, the group has helped 30 agencies increase their food stamps outreach, leading to a 104,167-person increase in Food Stamp Program participation in the last year.

Education

The San Francisco Education Fund focuses on improving the success rate of students in their public schools.  They take a multifaceted approach to the problem that makes use of teachers, volunteers, students, and strategic partnerships in order to make a difference.  The non-profit has been able to place more than 1,900 volunteers in San Francisco’s public schools, engage 757 students to serve 19,000 of their peers through the Peer Resources program, and award 19 grants to teachers to increase student outcomes in literacy and math and increase teacher retention, quality, and leadership.

Weekly Results Round-up: Education, Community Development, Civic Involvement, and the Environment

A continuing series demonstrating the positive results achieved by the service organizations mentioned in this book through their hard work and perseverance.

Education

Education Works helps connect schools with community partners to help aleviate current needs and pioneer new programs and services.  AmeriCorps members and community volunteers work to help students stay in school, inspire a love of learning, and take some of the pressure off of already overworked teachers.  From their founding in 1994 to 2008 Education Works showed much progress.  Students who benefited from the programs during the year showed more than one year’s academic growth on standardized tests.  In addition, teachers reported 90% of their students improved academically.  However, the benefits exceeded academia.  Teachers and principals rated more than 80% of students in our programs as having improved classroom behavior and engaged in less fighting.

Harlem Children’s Zone, first began in the early 1990′s when they ran a pilot project offering a range of support services to a single block in Harlem.  They wanted to address all the problems that poor families in the area were facing from health issues to education.  Today, the organization serves over 100 blocks in Harlem, which includes over 8,000 children and 6,000 adults.  Last year, 197 students from the program were accepted into college, representing 90% of their high-school seniors.  As for their younger participants, 100% of third graders at Promise Academies I and II tested at or above grade level on the math exam, outperforming their peers in New York State, New York City, District 5, and black and white students throughout the state.  The New York Times rightfully labeled the project, “one of the most ambitious social-service experiments of our time.”

Civic Involvement

Project SHINE is an initiative which works to join college students with elderly immigrants and refugees so that they can build relationships through language, literacy, and citizenship tutoring.  The project helps young people learn from people of diverse backgrounds, and it helps immigrants and refugees connect with their communities in meaningful ways.  SHINE has partnered with 31 colleges and universities and over 200 ethnic, community and faith-based organizations in 18 cities across the country.  Many professors incorporate service learning through SHINE into over 1000 courses.  SHINE students demonstrated statistically significant increases in civic skills and knowledge of U.S. immigration when compared with students who had not participated in SHINE.  Not to mention, they provided over 150,000 hours of service to almost 40,000 older immigrants.

Environmental Protection

Growing Native evolved out of a need for native hardwood seedlings to support expanding reforestation and restoration efforts in the Potomac River watershed.  Today, it is a program in which volunteers of all ages collect native tree seeds and plant them along streams and rivers in the region.  They are helping to create forests for the future which will help to keep water clean and healthy.  Since its beginning in 2001, nearly 30,000 volunteers collected more than 94,000 pounds of acorns, walnuts, and other hardwood tree seeds. These seeds have generated seedlings that will be used to restore sensitive stream side lands.

Stay tuned next week…