AmeriCorps run after school program improves youth skills and academics

WINGSWINGS is an after school program that teaches low-income, at-risk youth skills in behavior, decision-making, and building healthy relationships. WINGS does this by weaving a comprehensive social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum into a fresh and fun after school program. Kids get the life lessons they need to succeed and to be happy, and they get a safe place to call home after school. WINGS is the only U.S. organization focused solely on developing and improving social and emotional skills within after school programming. AmeriCorps members carry out the WINGS program which happens directly after school, 3-hours per day, 5-days per week, for the entire school year. Students enrolled in WINGS receive more than 500 hours of programming annually. The WINGS curriculum instills 30 learning objectives intentionally embedded into every activity to develop self-awareness, relationship skills, social awareness, self-management, and responsible decision making.

A typically day in WINGS consists of:

  • Community Unity – the first 30 minutes of each day are focused on creating a caring community
  • Choice Time Activities –blocks of art, music, sports, and innovative activities that are selected by the students
  • Academic Centers –academic support and tutoring time
  • Discussions and Assessments – age appropriate discussions that build social and emotional skills
  • WINGSWorks –service learning activities focused on developing a sense of service and community involvement
  • WildWINGS –Activities that include innovative games, discussions, academic enrichment, and role-playing to reinforce the weekly learning objective.

In 2010-11, WINGS partnered with a University of Virginia (UVA) research team for a preliminary outcome study. The results found executive function skills in WINGS kids improved by 21 percentile points and applied problem solving skills improved by 8 percentile points. Increases in these areas are strong predictors for positive long-term outcomes, improved high school graduation rates, higher income potential and reduced rates of criminal behavior. Prior evaluations by Yale University demonstrated WINGS kids attained higher math and reading scores, better grades, behavior, and school attendance than non-WINGS kids.

Read more on pg. 46 of Transforming Communities Through Service.

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