500 College Avenue
Swarthmore , PA 19081
Phone: (610) 328-8456
Fax: (610) 590-5711
Project Director: Timothy Sams
Project Amount Funded (FY 2006): $245,234
Target Population: African American Youth, Grades 7-8
The Blueprints program seeks to reduce violent, abusive and other unhealthy behaviors among a cohort of 30 African American, middle school youth in the Chester community by increasing the protective factors in their lives. Swarthmore College conducts the program in collaboration with the Crozer-Keystone Health System Wellness Center , the Chester Upland School District , and the Chester Youth Collaborative. The Blueprints program participants are all students at Smedley Middle School and participate in project activities during the school day, after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. The project's academic enrichment component includes homework assistance and tutoring. The cultural enrichment component is combined with academic enrichment. Participants take trips to Swarthmore's Cultural Institute which provides: cultural enrichment and knowledge of Africana history, enhanced literacy, improved research skills, and exposure to a college environment. Weekly after school sessions supplement the on-campus activities and the Saturday sessions focus on the artistic elements of culture (e.g. art, drama, spoken word, dance, music). The personal development and wellness component covers several activities that include violence prevention classes. Swarthmore students serve as mentors and provide life-coaching to program participants. The same-gender mentors work with youth to create personal blueprints for life which include plans related to academics, education, career, family, friends/significant others, and spirituality. This component also includes recreation and fitness activities. Participants also work with Peer Leaders and college mentors on a eservice learning project based on the P.H.A.T. (Promoting Healthy Activities Together) Program. P.H.A.T. uses hip-hop culture to deliver important messages and lessons about nutrition, fitness, healthy eating and physical activity. The eight-week summer program focuses on the career development component of the project. Participants use Career Futures (by Bridges Transitions, Inc.), a computer-based education and career planning software, to build self-awareness and skills development. The summer program also provides participants with opportunities (four hours per week) to shadow professionals in their fields of interest at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center . Project staff involve participants' parents in the program by: offering two personalized updates on their children's progress each year, hosting two family banquets/recognition ceremonies, and extending invitations to attend field trips or other special program events.