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iServe Out of School Time Program

iServe, one of the programs of SBL, is a community based out of school time program that includes academic enrichment, behavioral health, health education, and career readiness for at-risk youth ages 5 - 12. Our vision is to facilitate the development of cognitive and socio-emotional tools needed for self-efficacy across multiple social contexts including academic careers.

iServe is a year round out of school time program that operates Monday through Friday from 2PM - 6PM during the fall and spring semesters, and 9 am to 4 pm during summer months. The program is operated in community buildings located on three public housing properties including Kelly Village and Clayton Homes (Fifth Ward; Houston), and Cuney Homes (Third Ward; Houston).

The academic enrichment component focuses on reading, writing, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum. We arrange work stations for reading, writing, STEM, as well as homework assigned by their schools.

The behavioral health component is offered in individual and group sessions. For groups, masters level psychology or counseling student interns conduct sessions that address obstacles to the children’s emotional growth, happiness, and ability to function within the family unit and/or community. The interns utilize empirically based behavioral health curriculum to facilitate psycho-education topics which include health education and career readiness. For example, we partner with a kick boxing instructor who teaches classes a few times a month.

The health education component teaches good health behaviors and involves healthy eating sessions and fitness activities for the children at least once weekly.

The career readiness componet prepares children for a career of their choice to increase the likeilhood they will achieve their future goal(s) by introducing age-appropriate relevant information about different types of careers. The children participate in career planning activities (e.g. vision boards), college and trade school tours, profession presentations, work site tours, resume writing, interview skills, financial literacy, and identifying entry level positions (high school students). We measure the children’s progress by their career portfolios which they maintain over several years. The portfolios document their development of skills and comprehension of necessary steps to achieve their career goals.

iServe’s goals are to facilitate the development of socio-emotional health as well as tangible academic, social and coping skills in children who live in poverty. With their increased well-being and coping skills, we predict a positive impact on their parents, families, and greater community, especially as the children grow into adolescents and young adults. By breaking the cycle of poverty via consistent and frequent learning opportunities for the children, they will be more likely to thrive within their families, leave public housing, build financial stability, and contribute to society in positive ways.