The Roads to Success team is making an impact on traditional education through project-based and social-emotional learning. Through after-school programs, leadership summits and camps, and summer job placements, we are using these learning techniques to create a long-lasting impact on our students.
Here are 10 ways Roads to Success is making an impact.
1. Our philosophy of self-discovery
By effectively adopting the social-emotional learning (SEL) style, students learn to develop the skills to manage their emotions, build positive relationships, make safe and responsible decisions for themselves, and handle challenges constructively and ethically. Research has shown that social-emotional skills are critical to success in school, work, and life.
Furthermore, project-based learning engages students to learn and develop skills and knowledge over time using problem-solving skills in real-world situations. This is achieved through research, collaboration with others, and presenting their work and findings along the way. As a result, students are empowered by their efforts and have autonomy over their work.
2. We are committed to building community connections
Through our partnerships with 21 public schools and after-school programs, we have been able to serve 5,188 youths throughout New York City. In 2019, Roads to Success reached twice the number of students than the year before.
3. Our vision to provide access
We are determined to create and provide access to academic and professional opportunities for all New York City youths regardless of socio-economic status.
4. Creating economic wealth in the community
According to Columbia University’s research studies (Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, 2015), the benefits outweighed the costs of our SEL-focused programs. For every $1 donation to effective SEL programs, like Roads to Success, the return on investment is $11 in long-term benefits to students, schools, families, and communities.
Furthermore, our program facilitates financial literacy workshops for NYC students.
5. Establishing a safe environment
Our programs help lower crime, lessens risky behavior, addiction, and the need for public assistance. Also, our summer job employment program and college access programs create higher employment, thus higher tax revenue in the community.
6. We encourage academic performance
Our approach to a growth mindset, is the idea that intelligence can grow and be developed through hard work, positive strategies and support from others. We believe in motivating students to embrace challenges, learn from criticisms and setbacks and find inspiration and lessons in others’ success. By promoting a growth mindset, our young people believe they can achieve their goals and will work harder to achieve success.
7. Jumpstarting students’ futures through higher education
There is a college-going culture at Roads to Success, Despite academic grades and assessments, we explore post-secondary options with all students. We know that youths exposed to college and vocational school options at an early age understand the purpose of doing well academically and they can access through hard work.
Roads to Success facilitates college visits to Yale University, as well as, a college and career fair at the annual Leadership Summit.
8. We embrace new experiences
RTS after-school program with Ballet Hispanico exposes youths to Latin culture through traditional dance instruction. Our partnership with US Soccer Foundation and DYCD gives students access to soccer lessons and games developing team building.
Our newest program, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), has partnered with 52 organizations to give youths the opportunity to learn about new career paths. One of those organizations is the Metropolitan Equestrian Team (MET). MET is a nonprofit headquartered in Brooklyn. In summer 2019, SYEP youth were tasked with projects that would help develop the Equine Opportunity Program, which brings horseback riding opportunities to children regardless of socioeconomic status. The SYEP team researched and presented on ten nonprofits across the US that they felt would benefit from equestrian sports. As a direct result of the work performed by the SYEP youth, the Equine program quadrupled in under a year and expanded to cities across the country.
9. Cultivating leadership
Our program hosts events that encourage student leadership personally, professionally, and within their community. Such as the Leadership Retreat at Camp Jewell and MLK Day of Service with State Bags at M.S. 57.
Since 2013, RTS has partnered with the Country Roads Foundation to run Camp Power, a weeklong leadership program in the Poconos for 200 youth from targeted, under resourced NYC neighborhoods.
While campers range from ages 10 to 18, the16- year-old campers are selected for a CounselorIn-Training program, and 17 and 18-year-olds can be promoted to Junior Counselor interns. This project-based occupational experience is for those interested in being educators and youth workers. In 2019, 40% of the Camp Power staff were youth alumni who previously attended Camp Power as campers.
10. We Care
Our core values can be summarized by the Circle of Courage. The Circle of Courage is a model of positive youth development based on four universal growth needs. It is important to us that our Future Leaders experience the values of Belonging, Independence, Generosity, and Mastery which are ingrained in every aspect of our programming.
Our programs cultivate a welcoming environment made by caring individuals who provide support and a sense of community, ownership, loving others and being loved. We foster independence through youths making their own decisions and being responsible for failure and success based on their choices.
Our team continuously practices showing selfless concern for others well-being and helping to sustain an environment where students are encouraged to practice and master skills in cognitive understanding in many areas of life.
At Roads to Success, we are adapting to a new reality. We are offering an alternative to in-person programs and events. Our after-school programs, summer camps, and events, such as the Leadership Summit, will be available to students online. Our team is committed to promoting and sustaining an environment for academic, personal, and professional development through out-of-school-time programs.