Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay facilitates positive mentorship relationships for at-risk children that contribute to brighter futures and stronger communities, serving as role models for children that increase self-esteem and responsible decision-making. Both their community-based, site-based mentoring programs and special Big/Little events allow low-income children facing adversity to have exposure to healthy, supportive and guiding relationships with adult mentors that work to illuminate at-risk children to their own potential, academically, economically, socially and emotionally. The children served by both the community-based and school-based mentoring programs are at-risk students, ages 5-17, including those living at or below the poverty level, living in a single-parent home, and those having poor peer, family and school relationships and limited support within the community. Big/Little Brothers and Sisters relationships encourage at-risk children to participate in age-appropriate learning activities and bonding time with an adult mentor. Big Brothers and Sisters provide healthy role modeling relationships that inspire students to achieve higher aspirations, actively engage with peers and teachers, avoid risky behaviors and strive for educational success.
The Hobbs Foundation continues to support special events and activities that work to increase match relationships to currently unmatched youth seeking a Big Brother or Sister. These activities are an extension to their evidence-based one-on-one mentoring curriculum that deliver age appropriate cultural and educational enrichment activities that are both fun, new experience for children and encourage bonding between youth and mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ activities are designed to assist children who have experienced a lack of resources, parent engagement and access to meaningful, life-enriching experiences to benefit from positive mentoring relationships that demonstrate an increase in social and emotional growth, academic performance and overall healthy lifestyle and well-being. With a variety of match retention events throughout 2018, children from a variety of at-risk situations will be invited to experience opportunities that would otherwise be unaffordable, often because they are cost prohibitive for low-income, and in many cases, single-mother families. The Big For A Day event at MacDill Air Force Base, for approximately 75-100 unmatched children, provides a day-long experience for children on their waiting list to be matched with recruited members of Air Force base personnel.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida has provided life-enhancing and life-changing services to disadvantaged youth, continually adapting to the complex needs of low-income, high-crime pockets in the Orlando metro and surrounding area. Their clubs provide outcomes-driven, world-class learning and character building opportunities that ensures all members are on track to graduate high school with a plan for their future, demonstrate good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle, delivering high quality youth development programs that deepen our understanding of how at-risk youth fare in critical areas such as safety, school engagement and readiness for post-secondary education. Under the Education and Career Development program, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida encourages academic achievement, job training, skills training, career exploration and on-time high school graduation. In the 2016-2017 school year, 100% of all high school senior Club members graduated on time. Of those, 94% graduated with post-secondary plans for higher education.
The Friday Night LIVE program, on it’s 5th year, began at the Walt Disney World Club Branch with fun and creative, educational and social activities including hands-on STEM projects, robotics, digital music production, graphic and game design, sports and fitness, and field trips that allow teens to participate in positive outlets such as bowling, roller skating, and going to the movies. After expanding Friday Night LIVE to two Fridays at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse, the Hobbs Foundation funds a new a Friday Night LIVE program at a second Club in the downtown Orlando neighborhood of Parramore at the new Hughes Boys and Girls Club. Adding Friday Night LIVE to the new Hughes facility in Parramore of downtown Orlando will provide numerous opportunities to bring more at- risk teens in this community into the Club and safe from the crime and violence that so frequently occurs in their neighborhoods. The addition of the Hughes Club will triple the capacity of at-risk youth served in downtown Orlando, located on the campus of the Orange County Public School’s new PreK-8 community school, the Academic Center for Excellence. This campus features a preschool, K-8, community health clinic, athletic fields, a parking garage and is located in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the Greater Orlando area. Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida was invited to open a Club on its campus and be a Cabinet Member of this long-term impact initiative which will provide a continuum of services to the at-risk children of the Downtown/Parramore communities. Hughes is a 30,300 square foot facility with a dedicated Teen Space for delivering programming such as Friday Night LIVE.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Project Learn provides high-quality After-School services for children, 5-16 years old. Project Learn program offers core programming such as: homework assistance, arts & crafts, literacy and social skills. Additional programs include: music instruction, tennis, karate, dance, and intramural sports. The program serves 5-18 year olds and is available in four communities throughout Miami-Dade: Northwest, Southwest Coconut Grove, South Beach, and Kendall. In 2016-2017, the organization served over 600 youth daily after-school and over 1,400 in the summer.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade continues to expand their after-school activities program that includes dance, performing arts and music instruction to all four Clubs; the newest in Miami Beach, Hank Kline, Kendall, and Northwest Club. Students will receive hands-on music lessons through partnerships with the New World School of the Arts Music Department and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. The Miami Dade Clubs performing arts programs now include courses on classical music, water color and group storytelling that served as the inspiration for new musical compositions, encouraging analytical and artistic thinking, spatial learning, and language development. The Project Learn after-school programming allows children of low-income families to explore their interests, develop intellectual and creative aptitudes and learn the importance of self- discipline and personal achievement. Participation in the dance and performing arts program at the Hank Kline Club has demonstrated positive outcomes for the at-risk girls in improving confidence, self-image, teamwork and skill building. With experienced caring staff, students will be engaged in fun learning experiences that improve creative thought and self-expression while building confidence and self-esteem. Dance also offers opportunities for youth to maintain physical fitness as well as emotional well-being. Partnerships with local symphonies and music schools will continue to explore new opportunities for youth in the performing arts. In 2016-2017, youth participated in the Music Art Challenge developing creative group stories and accompanying art that were chosen by the New World School of the Arts faculty as the inspiration for new musical compositions and completed an apprenticeship with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. Core programs help at-risk children to develop leadership skills, support emotional and social needs, and provide a constructive learning environment for children to explore their interests. In 2017, the organization merged with The Bridge of Northeast Florida and Project SOS, an inner-city youth services and after-school education center located just north of downtown Jacksonville, Project SOS, in select Duval, Nassau, Clay and St. Johns county school.. The expansion will allow the Boys and Girls Clubs to take over two community-based program sites and six school-based program sites, significantly increasing outreach to more than 3,000 children at 23 program locations across the Jacksonville area.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is expanding their computer and technology education program to their additional Club sites where the majority of school children do not have access to computers or technology literacy education necessary to excel in their academic studies and compete in a 21st Century marketplace. The club’s computer and technology education program works to expand opportunities for low-income students to acquire work force skills and exposure to a new world of information that encourages creative thinking and problem solving skills. Learning technology skills is important for only for enrichment, but also for the opportunities that they provide, opening up a new world of information and education that informs the whole child in his or her personal development. It is important that Boys & Girls Clubs offer technology to members for both skill development and for overall youth development goals. The Club Tech program provides curriculum and activities that teach members crucial technology skills to help them advance their academic success and to be prepared to be caring and productive citizens. The Club Tech program offers more than 20 curriculums, resources and training experiences to enhance learning and skill development in areas such as basic software skills, networking, movie production, robotics, game design and staff training. Funding supports the purchase of hardware, software, and curriculum for a 20-person computer lab at each new Club including the opportunity for more advanced activities; photo editing, movie editing, and graphic design.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County offers a safe place where children can learn, grow, build lasting friendships, and develop a solid foundation for their future. All Club programs are based on our youth development strategy, so they provide youth with a sense of belonging, usefulness, influence, and competence. The Club’s successful STEM education program will be bolstered with additional grant funding, emphasizing basic academics on a technology platform using a series of project-based lessons. STEM programs include modules and initiatives that include rocketry, robotics, energy, engineering simulation, space, game design, music production and web design.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County continues to expand its after-school STEM education program serving low-income, at-risk children that augments the Club Tech digital literacy program and lab that enables children with limited educational opportunities to participate in interactive learning experiences that illustrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts with increased awareness and engagement. The STEM program increases each child’s understanding of practical scientific theories, boosting cognitive development, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The program exposes economically-disadvantaged students to education and career development opportunities, character and leadership development, and computer and digital design skills that build academic competencies, literacy and creativity. Funding supports the purchase of 13 additional computers, curriculum materials and projector screen for instructional capabilities to support STEM education at the newest Belle Glade Teen Center Technology Lab. In 2017, the organization raised funds to the new 13,000 square-foot facility to reach underserved children in the most impoverished, high crime zip code in the state, Belle Glades. This community has a crime rate of 414 percent the national average and a prevalence of gang activity that attracts youth with few resources and limited educational opportunity to a life on the street. The Belle Glade Teen Center Technology Lab provides a safe space at the new state-of-the-art facility to learn basic computer skills, digital movie making, music production, photography, graphic design, and website development. STEMulated Minds encourages hands-on, uninhibited participation in STEM-based projects, including rocketry; robotics; writing computer code; roller-coaster design, wind mills and bridges; and game design. A range of different arts media, including visual arts, music, dance, and theater provides a means for members to discover new interests, untapped talents and a vehicle for creative self-expression.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. Operating for 91 years, the organization has grown from the Boys' Club of West Tampa serving 25 boys at one Club to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay serving over 15,000 youth annually at 15 community Clubs and 7 school based Club sites in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay strategies employ research-based theories to increase, deepen and expand the impact of youth development programs in the lives of young people, setting precedence in serving youth in the areas of academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character and citizenship. Through targeted out-come driven programs, mentorships, partnerships and coordination with school day activities, regularly participating Club youth have shown exponential gains in all targeted areas of development: 90% of club members showed an improvement in life skills and healthy habits; 99% of youth participating in Club prevention programs had no involvement in the juvenile justice system; 94% of seniors graduated high school; 91% progressed to the next grade level; 88% showed an improvement in reading skills; 96% showed an improvement in homework completion; and 93% showed an improvement in school attendance by providing guidance and encouragement to children in underserved communities.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay continues their 21st Century Learning Middle School Initiative targeting students in grades 6-8 Title I Hillsborough County Middle Schools; Van Buren Middle School, Webb Middle School, and Shields Middle School. Boys and Girls staff and curricula provide high quality services that support student learning and development including tutoring and mentoring, academic enrichment, homework assistance, music, art, service learning, character education, physical education, recreational activities, dropout prevention and college readiness. The program objectives are as follows: 80% of regularly participating students will show continued improvement in reading comprehension skills, reading fluency skills, math skills, and science skills measured by test scores, report grades, as wells as state formative measurements, district assessments and program curriculum-based pre- and post- assessments; 90% of regularly participating students will maintain acceptable levels of attendance at school as measured by quarterly attendance data through report cards, teacher reports or other school-verified measures. Project based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges to foster the necessary skills to be successful in the 21st century. Interest plays an energizing role on cognitive functioning. Research on interest- based motivation indicates that interest has a strong effect on learner motivation and in predicting future intention. Students are presented a 9-week curriculum based project that complements state standard academic expectations in math, reading, and science. Recently students completed a project where the knowledge of engineering, science, math, marketing, budgeting and writing were coupled together to create the world’s next great invention. Students created blueprints, commercials and built a life size model of the inventions that addressed various disparities prevalent in underserved communities. Project based learning is a vital component to academic enrichment as it encourages participation form all types of learners and motivates students to engage in work not offered in a traditional classroom setting. Funding supports the expansion of project and interest-based learning to the Bill Carey Brandon Club and Sandy & George Simmons Family Riverview Club.
Clothes To Kids provides quality new and used clothing free of charge to school-age children of low-income families. The organization conducts its operations on the basis of four core values including compassion, respect, self-esteem and service. Clothes To Kids strives to provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere to disadvantaged children that instill a sense of self- worth and dignity. Qualifying children are referred by a case worker or social worker employed by a local social service agency, a school teacher, administrator or guidance counselor with the school district, or a church leader in their place of worship. Financial need is determined by Title I or public school free lunch program enrollment. In Pinellas County Clothes To Kids is recognized as a “first responder” when there is a need for children’s clothing, and currently accepts referrals from 117 social service agencies, 49 faith communities, 18 city and county agencies, and 139 schools. The children we serve at Clothes To Kids are part of the more than 48,000 children in Pinellas County who receive free and reduced price lunch. The organization has created a special outreach program with the five lowest rated schools in Pinellas County where more than 90 percent of the students are eligible for free lunch. These schools are Melrose, Lakewood, Maximo, Fairmount Park, and Campbell Park Elementary Schools – and by working with their social workers and counselors expect to reach even more children in need. The most critical need at CTK continues to be school uniforms. Currently there are 64 schools with a uniform policy, an increase of 55 percent since the first schools changed their dress code in the 2011-2012 school year. Most of the schools that require uniforms are Title I schools where more than 70 percent of the students are eligible for free lunch. In 2018, Clothes To Kids will be opening their new store in Tampa, expanding their children’s outreach services across the bay.
A complete week’s worth of new school uniform clothing is provided to an additional 200 children of low-income families that helps to remove the barriers socio-economically disadvantaged children have to participating fully in their academic studies, relating to their peers and benefitting from a positive educational experience. Each child receives 2 polo tops and pants, 5 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of underwear during their visit to Clothes To Kids, many of whom support children at other Hobbs Foundation grantees and partners in the Tampa Bay community and work to supplement the growth and sustainability of our selected programs benefitting at-risk children.
Computer Mentors Group provides computer technology skills training and information access to students of low-income families that bolsters academic achievement and employment readiness. The Computer Mentors youth development programs examine both hardware and software competencies; component identification and functions, Word and Excel processing and Internet search functions. The program offers hands-on, self-paced instruction with one-on-one tutoring assistance that maximizes every student’s mastery of critical skills sets on an individual basis and encourages each student’s talents and special interests. Computer Mentors’ STEM Corps Program guides students through hands-on instruction to develop their skills toward their Microsoft Office Certification; web design and mobile app development; and real world experience in leadership and project management that makes them attractive candidates for internships, college scholarships and employment in the information technology industry for low-income high school students ages 14-18. Students’ development is supported with proven curriculum and experienced mentors passionate about technology and community empowerment. In 2017, Computer Mentors Group and TeenTech hosted an annual Teen Business Challenge that showcased the brightest and best our youth have to offer by allowing them to create and present business ideas, collaborate as a team on those ideas, create basic business plans, develop an app for their business, and compete in a “Shark Tank”-type setting with area “celebrity” judges determining the winner. TeenTech advances student skills in coding and programming and provides opportunities for high school students to earn Microsoft Technology Associate certification. Microsoft Technology Associate certifications are industry standard certifications that have been recognized by the Florida Department of Education and also provide students with college credits which are accepted at most two-year colleges in Florida.
The TeenTech program offers students the opportunity to be begin working towards Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification using GMetrix, a project-based training tool. MOS certification provides a solid foundation in digital literacy for students to build upon. After achieving the MOS certification, students select a Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certificate they would like to pursue, starting with either Software Development in C# or HTML5 Web Applications. Students prepare for the exams using practice tests through MeasureUP. Additionally, MTA certified mentors work with youth one-on-one to ensure students are gaining important skills in Information Technology. Students who certify in Software Development (C#) or HTML5 Web Applications will leave this phase with a portfolio containing samples of their work and may occasionally be invited to participate in software development projects. Students may choose to continue exploring and earning more MTA certifications in Networking, Security, Windows Server, Cloud, Database, or Software Testing. Students are lead through the curriculum with exercises provided by MTA certified mentors and practice tests from MeasureUP. Students achieving [A2] certifications are also awarded a total of three (3) college credits. In addition to staff members that are mentors, volunteers from the IT industry mentor students one-on-one providing assistance with exercises, certification preparation, education advice, resume building, and interview skills. The final element to the TeenTech program is placement. High School Seniors are placed in summer internships and/or are enrolled in post-secondary education following graduation. The intended positive impact of TeenTech is to provide students will coding skills and industry certifications that will encourage them to continue on the IT educational path or to enter into the workforce in entry level IT positions.
Grace Place for Children and Families provides quality, faith-based after-school educational and youth development opportunities including literacy, language and life skill development programming to at-risk children of low-income families with a focus on the Golden Gate City and surrounding area that represents the most financially needy and underserved children in Southwest Florida. Their School-Age Children’s Program offers tutoring, homework assistance, structured cognitive and social enrichment activities, and career exploration field trips. Grace Place encourages families to become actively involved in the healthy growth and development, and academic pursuits of their children emphasizing the importance of raising the standard of academic achievement for their child. The mission of the AP Leadership program is to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring enrolled students graduate from high school, seek continued higher education and enter the workforce as hard-working, prepared professionals. The program aims to help students overcome the obstacles to higher education that children from households with low incomes encounter. AP Leadership provides the support students need to graduate from high school and continue to postsecondary education or vocational training with tools to be successful in their educations and lives.
The AP Leadership Program is a three-tiered program that encompasses all high school grade levels, requiring students to participate in an after-school program focusing on college and career preparation activities, college visits, ACT preparation assistance and financial literacy workshops. In the final stages of the program, students will be offered part-time employment as teaching assistants in the Academy of Leaders after-school program along with additional mentorship opportunities. Students learn and practice essential skills such as effective communication, problem solving, conflict management, managing tasks and leadership skills. Leadership and mentorship opportunities incorporate weekly participation in the Teen Outreach Program that includes professional training, team-building and role-playing activities that reduce the risk of problem- behavior, promote healthy choices and empower teens to actively engage in their educational experience, strive for active career development and build stronger communities. Funding continues its support of this continually expanding program by supplementing fees for college preparation workshops and high school counselor coordination, supplies and materials for meetings and retreats, college visits and mentorship events.
Jack & Jill Children’s Center is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for children of low- income, hard-working families through the provision of quality early childhood education, family intervention and support services. With a unique, holistic approach that combines high-quality early education with caring and structured family support, Jack & Jill Children’s Center works to provide a strong educational and emotional foundation for at-risk children that allows them to explore and experience their world with creativity and discovery. The early childhood education curriculum supports cognitive, social, emotional and physical development, their goal is to provide opportunities for children of working families with hands-on instruction and activities that promote language and literacy skills, and core competencies in social studies, science, mathematics and the arts. Jack & Jill’s early childhood program focuses on children ages 6 weeks –7 years, during a critical time in a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development, providing a strong educational foundation as well as health and well-being that results in lifelong success for 260 children annually. Providing safe and stimulating learning environment enables low-income children to explore and experience their world through creativity, guiding them towards independence.
The Promising Futures Scholarship Fund provides high-quality early childhood education for children of low-income, underserved families as well as family support services. The fund provides 50 low-income children, ages 6 weeks through 5 years of age, with financial assistance so that they may receive affordable, nationally accredited early childhood education. Families who participate in this program are required to maintain employment and work towards self-sufficiency. Through this program, families increase financial stability, maintain employment, achieve job advancement, decrease the risk for incidences of abuse and neglect, and foster their child’s healthy growth and development. As a result, parents gain confidence, children perform and behave better at home and in the classroom, and families function at higher levels of stability. Jack & Jill aims to break the cycle of poverty by improving the educational opportunities provided to low- income families through the integration of early childhood education, parent education, work empowerment classes and family intervention and support. Teachers engage children in activities including art, math, literacy, science, music, puzzles, manipulatives, and physical education using a culturally rich, nationally known Creative Curriculum©. This award- winning, research-based curriculum is widely regarded as a forward-thinking, comprehensive, rigorously researched curriculum approach that honors creativity and respects the role that teachers play in making learning exciting and relevant for every child. Activities are designed to meet specific goals for social, physical, cognitive and language development. As a result, children become more social, forming friendships and playing in groups, and learning to get along and share with others.
MOSI is a community-based educational institution dedicated to advancing public interest, knowledge and an understanding of science, industry and technology with innovative exhibitions and interactive experiences to engage diverse audiences. MOSI’s children’s programs supplement the academic curriculum with a wide variety of hands-on programming engineered to make learning fun and stimulate interest in science that inspires the future leaders of 21st century industry. The number of low-income children who discovered that spark of interest in STEAM is significant, and possibly made the difference in future career choices. MOSI's Summer Science Camp brings science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) alive through hands-on experiments and building projects. From finding rocks to launching rockets, taking a simulated journey to the moon, or making rock music, MOSI is about doing real science with the tools and technology used by professionals. MOSI Summer Science Camps inspire campers with a "can do" attitude and exposure to many careers that are available. Real science coupled with exciting experiments, simulations, explorations, and inventions helps students discover the innovator within. Designing video games, programming robots to gather data on “off-world planets,” creating art with lasers, searching for fossils, solving crimes and cooking up edible slime are just some of the hundreds of Summer Science Camp experiences. Students can select the camp that most interests them.
Summer Science Camp experiences give access to STEAM education programs that crystalizes science, technology, engineering, art and math interests, concepts and problem solving skills for low-income students to attend a MOSI week-long summer camp session. Hobbs Foundation summer science camp scholarships provide 38-40 students the opportunity to participate in hands-on, creative learning. MOSI’s Summer Science Camp brings STEAM Education and many of its career pathways alive through hands-on/minds-on, experiential learning experiences. Doing real science with the latest technologies used by Tampa Bay’s STEAM professionals is just one of the ways MOSI Summer Science Camp inspires the next generation of innovators and engineers. MOSI’s Education Team develops a host of activities that engages campers in a week-long, STEAM-themed camp that promotes career awareness and reinforces many of the science concepts that are taught in K-12 classrooms throughout the academic year. Over the past 5 years, MOSI’s summer camps have engaged nearly 24,000 K-12 students in a variety of summer camp experiences that prevent summer learning loss and help prepare these students for the upcoming academic year.
OASIS Network of Tampa provides new and gently used clothing and personal items to low-income public school students by way of school system administrators and social workers in order to meet the basic needs of students and limit the barriers that economic hardship has on the potential for academic success and healthy development of underserved children. Donated items are acquired through a variety of local partnerships with the YMCA, schools, churches and Publix stores. The School District of Hillsborough County currently educates approximately 212,000 students, with more than 60% qualifying for the federal free lunch program (living at or below the poverty level). OASIS utilizes a unique and innovative method to direct resources where they are most needed. The school social workers, employed by the school district and located at the schools, identify the students in need and assess their requirements. Each social worker, at the more than 230 schools in the district, is authorized to access the OASIS Network warehouses, located at four school district facilities around the county, to obtain the items that will directly meet the needs of their students. The warehouse facilities are provided by the district for no charge to OASIS. In addition to providing clothing and hygiene items through School Social Worker visits to the four OASIS sites, OASIS began piloting a program in March that enables a select number of school social workers to submit on-line orders for school uniforms, among other necessities, and have the items delivered via School District mail delivery vans. OASIS’s new pilot program served more than twenty students through the on- line order/delivery program. OASIS hopes to be able to serve more students in need and we plan to expand in the new school year to 40 total schools, including the top 20 schools with the most homeless student populations.
Approximately half of the 142 elementary schools in the district require that students wear uniforms. Middle schools are also requiring uniforms along with the “alternative” education high schools. These schools are all served by OASIS. Research demonstrates that uniforms can be beneficial, especially to economically disadvantaged students, because they can level the playing field and eliminate distractions. However, many families find it challenging to purchase the required clothing. OASIS Network is critical to addressing the need for uniform clothing in Hillsborough County’s poorest schools. The Supervisor of School Social Workers identifies the highest need schools in the district based on the percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunch. OASIS Network continues to expand their uniform program to address the growing uniform needs among the county’s poorest schools. Funding supports the purchase of 2 sets of uniform clothing; 2 shirts and 2 shorts for more than 500 low-income students in public schools identified by county social workers as the area’s most needy schools.