On October 20, 2016 ARCHS participated in a panel discussion as part of the Capacity Builders Conference at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley.
Network for Strong Communities partnered with The St. Louis Department of Economic Development to host the Conference. ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer Wendell Kimbrough provided an update on ARCHS' network of 36 supported organizations and programs.
The event provided not-for-profits with tools to help grow their organizations and secure sustainable resources - with a focus on those that are physically located in the St.Louis Promise Zone.
Pictured (left to right): Melinda McAliney (Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis), Diane Drollinger (Network for Stronger Communities), Wendell Kimbrough (ARCHS), and Gwen Wesley (Spirit of St. Louis Women's Foundation).
Fall 2016, three youth received their first employment opportunity by securing jobs at the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant. They are participating in an ARCHS' supported youth mentoring program that provides job readiness preparation. The youth also participate in career exploration activities and field trips to area colleges and businesses.
Congratulations to the youth and their mentors for this achievement. The program is a partnership of ARCHS, Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), and Fathers' Support Center.
ARCHS welcomes Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of St. Louis to the After School for All Partnership (ASAP) network. This school year, ASAP will fund and support 48 after school slots at the Club.
The Club brings to ASAP a rich history of serving area youth. Father Charles P. Maxwell launched the Boys’ Club of St. Louis on October 3, 1929 on the second floor of St. Vincent De Paul’s Catholic School. Under the sponsorship of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Fr. Maxwell’s new club was the first officially affiliated Boys’ Club in Missouri.
By 1933, the Club had an active membership of 1,200 boys. It had proved itself worthy of community support and was admitted to the St. Louis Community Chest – the forerunner to the United Way. Over the next 30 years, the Club moved a number of times before completing and occupying the current 36,000+ square foot facility at 2524 South 11th Street in 1959.
In May 2006, to honor Eugene P. Slay, who served as President and CEO from 1993 until his passing in 2011 and dedicated his life to making things better for the kids, the Club was renamed the Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club of St. Louis. To reflect its expansion to serve girls on a full time and permanent basis, the Club was renamed the Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of St. Louis in 2016.
Since 2007, ASAP has provided licensed, well-rounded after school programs that focus on academic support/enrichment, social and life skills, health and recreation, character development, and parent and family involvement. ASAP programs annually serve more than 2,000 youth. This school year, ASAP will offer programs at 30 locations.
During the summer of 2016, ARCHS welcomed Alysson Gatens, a graduate student fromUniversity of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), for an Applied Research Internship opportunity at ARCHS. Gatens utilized her background and skills in criminal justice and in program evaluation to analyze and make recommendations about ARCHS’ Culinary Institute.
"This project was a great opportunity for me to design and carry out an evaluation from start to finish, as well as collaborate with a variety of program stakeholders," said Gatens.
The evaluation was conducted with cooperation of staff from ARCHS and Employment Connection, culinary arts faculty from St. Louis Community College – Forest Park, and Institute graduates. The Institute began its first cohort in 2013 by serving women recently released from prison. By 2016 the Institute had expanded its fourth cohort to include men with a similar criminal justice history.
The program has provided these 55 adults with vocational skills in culinary arts and wrap-around resources as a way to increase employability and reduce recidivism. Overall the evaluation showed that, despite the desired level of job stability not being attained, the recidivism goals were achieved consistently and successfully. ARCHS will use the recommendations to make further improvements in the program’s design.
Best practices indicate that dollars invested in ex-offenders working and law-abiding are returned to the community not only in lower prison system costs but also in enhanced public safety, increased earning tax revenues, and strengthened families.
Fourth to sixth grade youth from the After School for All Partnership in St. Louis (ASAP) summer program participated in a series of memorable fun and educational field trips in mid-July.
The first week involved 30+ youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Greater Louis (Adams Park Club) and the second week involved 20+ youth from Neighborhood Houses. Each of the youth organizations spent a full day exploring nature and pioneer history at a public attraction near where they live, for a total of four days: The Green Center, Babler Memorial State Park, First Missouri State Capitol, and Castlewood State Park.
The Green Center, Missouri State Parks, and Missouri Parks Association provide the programming and support for this program known as the Show Me Science & Art Summer Experience (SASE) in St. Louis and as the Urban Population Outreach Project (UPOP) state-wide. The SASE field trips provided these ASAP youths a positive experience they may not otherwise have encountered, strengthening their sense of community, culture, and ecological awareness. This program is designed to give the urban leaders of tomorrow a taste of life outside the city’s urban core, enriching them with the beauty and knowledge of Missouri’s natural and historical wonders.
Photo courtesy of The Green Center.