OUTREACH Q & A
What is Outreach and why is it important?
One of the Club’s stated missions is to provide opportunities to improve the welfare of others through community service activities. Our Outreach Program reaches out with our involvement in a community to provide services and experiences that others might not have access to or enjoy.
Which members are the point people for Outreach?
Kris Higgerson is the Outreach Chair and Elaine Kulbako is Outreach Volunteer Coordinator. If you have specific questions, their contact information is listed in the Member Directory.
How do members find out about our Outreach activities?
Outreach efforts are included on UPWC monthly emails or in the President’s Letter located on the Club’s website home page. Or, consult the Outreach tab on our website.
How do we select a charity?
Outreach committee vets several charities every year and suggestions can come from our members. The selection process is handled by your Board of Directors. The key criteria for a suggested charity are:
- Be an organization that helps women and girls/children.
- Gives members the opportunity to volunteer their time and talents.
- The Club’s monetary donation must strive to help the cause directly and not go to defray overhead costs.
How do we raise the money we give to our charity?
Specific “support drives” are announced during the year if needed but the centerpiece event for Outreach is the annual Charity Ball usually held in December.
What organization is UPWC currently supporting?
For 2016-17 our charity is JUST FOR GIRLS ELEMENTARY (JFGE). It is located in East Bradenton and currently has 85 girls enrolled in grades K-5.
What is so unique about JFGE?
It’s a school that works with at-risk girls. Some of the risk factors their students live with and face daily include poverty, single/divorced parents, underachievement in math and sciences in traditional schools or below grade level at current school.
What challenges do the girls at JFGE face?
The girls can be 1 to 3 grades levels behind and realistically educators are looking for a student to minimally improve their 1st year provided attendance is good and they aren’t transient. It can take 3-5 years to close an achievement “gap and catch up.”
What does the school provide?
The educational and emotional foundation to help their students achieve their full potential. The school’s educators are strong advocates of their girls and they work to enable all their girls to rise above their circumstances and help to grow up feeling safe, capable and smart about themselves and others and achieve successful lifestyles.
How is improvement or success measured?
Educational improvements are achieved at a slower pace at an alternative school like JFGE due to the myriad of challenges faced by its students. Indicators that aren’t captured in state grades and measured are better attendance, fewer behavior issues, and academic increases inching the students closer toward being on grade level.
How does UPWC support JFGE?
The Outreach Program orchestrated by UPWC tries to incorporate an educational focus or positive social behavior in all its school-approved initiatives. Whether it’s reading books to the girls after which they demonstrate their writing and comprehension skills or our year round efforts to provide books to take home or the specialized tutoring by our member volunteers. It all helps to close that achievement “gap.”
What else does Outreach focus on?
Giving the girls exposure to the arts, sciences, history, community, deportment and self confidence by:
- Visiting community theatres (FST) that involves playwriting and production.
- Outings to museums, aquariums with labs and the planetarium.
- Spending the day at a local farm with animals.
- Incorporating “Mad Science” sessions in the classroom.
- Manners and etiquette classes.
- A Holiday Shop that embraces the Spirit of Giving.
- Member volunteers serving as role models.
How can I help?
Talk to either Kris or Elaine to find out if they need additional back-up volunteers or help with other tasks. They may ask for your help transporting supplies, organizing and assembling donations or have other ways you can support Club-sponsored functions at the school or off site.