Improve Your Tomorrow
By Hasani Johnson, Improve Your Tomorrow
2021 Inspire Giving Grant Recipient
Thanks to the generosity of the Inspire Giving grant, Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT) was able to use the funding to partner with Breakthrough Sacramento and purchase equipment, supplies, and material for students who participated in the IYT Summer School Initiative Program, a four-week program that provided more engagement and hands-on learning pertaining to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). This program helped young men of color (YMOC) prepare for the rigorous high school level science and math curricula through activities that developed their skills in critical thinking, collaboration, and academic inquiry. With over 90% of our IYT members coming from households at or below the poverty line, our YMOC often have little to no resources for academic support or access to a structured learning environment outside of the classroom.
Given the pandemic’s impact on learning loss and social isolation, the IYT Summer School Initiative was a unique opportunity for students to not only regain a sense of normalcy, but also to foster a sense of community and belonging for them. Along with fun and engaging STEAM-focused activities, career professionals from STEAM fields served as guest speakers, helping students understand real-world examples and knowledge on career pathways from local professionals.
In total, 58 middle school students from ten schools throughout Sacramento County and its surrounding areas signed up to participate in the IYT Summer School Initiative. The program was led by 11 Mentor Fellows from the IYT Mentor Fellowship Program, which operates in partnership with Americorps. Since most IYT Fellows come from similar backgrounds and communities as the students they serve, their shared experiences allow them to understand the students needs, challenges, and goals on a deeper, more personal level. IYT’s Mentor Fellows were pivotal in making the program activities interactive, engaging, and accessible to a diverse group of students.
Once again, we at IYT would like to thank the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce for supporting the IYT Summer School Initiative. Community partnerships like these are testament to the power of collaboration and are making a difference in the college dreams of so many local students, particularly those from historically under-resourced communities. The success of this program would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the Chamber in helping the young men of color in our program be better prepared for high school and beyond.
As we get closer to the end of the year, and our community continues to navigate through challenging times, we hope that the Chamber will help us spread the word about our upcoming Fall Fundraiser: Cooking For Change. This virtual event, called “Cooking For Change,” will take place on Friday, October 29, 2021 at 6:00pm, and guests will get to Cook alongside locally renowned black chefs, win prizes, and participate in live and silent auctions. Supper kits for this event are currently on sale at improveyourtomorrow.org/cookingforchange