-Inn Dwelling's comprehensive youth Program is the "gold standard program" according to Nancy Wingo, Executive Director of Hamilton Family Foundation.
Inn Dwelling students are recommended by neighborhood schools. These are bright but underachieving students whose potential is recognized and challenged through Inn Dwelling's comprehensive youth initiative.
The program includes:
After-school tutoring and mentoring of youth, ages eleven to eighteen.
SAT preparation (most of our students have improved at least 100 to 200 points. Among colleges attended are: University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Delaware, Gettysburg College, Penn State, Drexel, DePaul, Villanova, University of Pittsburgh, St. John’s, LaSalle, Chestnut Hill and St. John's).
SAT preparation (all students have improved at least 100 to 200 points. Among colleges attended are: DePaul University, Villanova University, University of Pittsburgh, LaSalle University, Chestnut Hill College and St. John's University.) Some of our local college students return to teach in the after school program.
Academic Summer Enrichment: Elementary Students grades 7 and 8 attend either Merion Mercy Academy or LaSalle College High School. Our high school students attend programs in various colleges including but not limited to: University of Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Fairfield University, University of Maryland, etc. Some of our students prefer to enhance their leadership and service skills. These students attend Villanova’s Spark the Wave program, for example.
Partial scholarships awarded by individuals, small businesses and corporations
The program also includes retreats and workshops aimed at:
Helping children develop a sense of belonging through peer and adult interaction.
Developing leadership skills through community service and participation in panels and discussions. The goal is to have the students return to their communities as agents of social change.
Introducing the students to the arts: museums, theatres, and concerts.
Engaging students in community projects to develop an awareness of the need to give back to the community as a lifelong goal.
Attending student-driven retreats that promote development of leadership skills and build confidence.
Participating in summer programs at the United Nations or learning about professional ethics.
Assisting professional teachers in the development of a curriculum for global leaders.
Serving as a student advisor who promotes change and development with regard to Inn Dwelling’s youth program.
Letter from one of Inn Dwelling's first college graduates, Charles Arroyave:
I attended West Catholic High School on a full tuition scholarship, having put aside my partial tuition scholarship from St. Joseph's Prep. I graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a degree in Education and with the Phi Kappa Epsilon Award.
I taught at Inn Dwelling throughout my college career, and I know firsthand that our students would not be able to accomplish what they accomplished without the financial and emotional support of those who shared with us their resources and a vision that transcends the inner-city. Our youth, for the most part, are bright and deserving. Their problems are multiple, but their spirit is willing and strong; their intelligence is documented and realized in a thousand different ways because of you and the many foundations that have supported them.
Often times a child comes to Inn Dwelling hungry; more times than not, the child knows what it means to have their electricity turned off leaving him or her with no access to a computer, or their gas turned off leaving him with no access to a warm shower. The students, however, come positive, desirous of participating fully in our society, and wanting to succeed in school. It is unimaginable that a student would want to come to an after school program every day, when he or she only had to come two days. It is unthinkable that a child would be asked to pay the parent's electric bill out of his $60 per week salary. It is tragic when a child cannot go to school because her brother had to use her gym uniform on the same day as she. These are the facts. Yet all of our eighth graders have received substantial amounts of money to attend competitive high schools such as LaSalle College High School, Merion Mercy Academy, Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Germantown Friends, Mt. St. Joseph Academy, St. Basil's Academy, and Abington Friends Upper School. All of our seniors have been accepted to colleges that include universities such as Villanova, Penn State, De Paul and St. John's to name a few. One of our seniors is awaiting word from Harvard University.
I know first-hand that children who bear afflictions are not always overcome by them, but rise above them with a little hope and a little support. I know that anything is possible with the proper mixture of love and self-discipline. The future can only offer the promise of change if the present provides the opportunity to rise high, very high. Inn Dwelling is that kind of program. It offers challenge and the promise of a new dawn. Most of all it insists that every child achieve his or her potential and return to his or her community with shirt-sleeves rolled up and a willingness to engage in social change. Inn Dwelling is the only nonprofit organization that held my feet to the fire because I had the human capital to become independent of systems-private and government. It has lit a fire under me and I will be eternally grateful.
(Charles now teaches math at an urban school, and at Inn Dwelling’s after school program. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.)