Each year Fox sponsors Penn undergraduates’ participation in multiple initiatives to improve the educational life prospects of Philadelphia’s most truly disadvantaged children and youth, and involve Penn undergraduates in working partnerships with local public schools, Catholic schools, and other nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to that goal.
Fox Resident Senior Fellow Mary Summers led the development of a comprehensive “Healthy Schools” initiative labeled the West Philadelphia Recess Initiative
Almost 350 Penn undergraduates have volunteered in three public elementary or middle schools on a daily basis and served approximately 3,500 students over the four years ending in May 2013.
The West Philadelphia Recess Initiative is a program devoted to promoting fun and fitness during lunch and recess at schools in West Philadelphia. The initiative was developed through the work of students in Professor Summers’ academically based community service class on Healthy Schools. A student leadership team plays an active role in recruiting students enrolled in academically-based service-learning classes, volunteers, and work study students to staff this program. The students promote a positive lunchroom environment and encourage interactive play and fitness opportunities for children during recess.
In Fall 2013, the Recess Initiative sent dozens of students to work at the Lea, Huey and Comegys schools, which serve students in grades K-8.
College Access and Tutoring Initiative
The Penn Catholic Student Association (PCSA) tutors and provides college access services at West Catholic Preparatory High School. Their mission is to help ease the stress and tension that many seniors have during the college application process. They work in partnership with the students to help prepare resumes, edit personal essays and answer questions related to the college research process.
In addition, Fox staff offers leadership workshops to a group of West Catholic student leaders throughout the academic year.