Over the last 18 months, the pandemic has robbed young people in our city of many of the experiences, such as after school programs and relationships that enrich their lives and shape their futures. With the support of individuals like you, ASAP is helping schools give their students after school activities that can reignite their love for learning, reconnect them to their school communities, and give them safe spaces when the school day ends.
Together, we are giving students the opportunities they deserve. Students like Yves.
After leaving his native Haiti in 2018, Yves enrolled at Franklin Learning Center (FLC) which offers a “newcomer” program for immigrant students. There, Yves’s Algebra teacher, Ms. Saganti, took an interest and invited him to join her ASAP Chess club. Yves was still learning English and didn’t know how to play chess, but he immediately felt at ease:
Inspired by his new friends, Yves was soon studying tactics on YouTube at night and competing in ASAP Chess tournaments on the weekend. By February 2020, this “newcomer” to both chess and America was recognized as the top 10th grader in ASAP’s citywide chess league! It was an affirming moment for Yves and for his coach.
“I have seen kids with the fear they can’t do it. But their skills and confidence increase. They find the courage to be there and to compete. It is a big achievement.” ― Yves
Teens need our help. In a recent study, 46% of parents said their teen has shown signs of new or worsening mental health conditions since the pandemic began.
Yet, it seemed Yves’s triumph would be short-lived. Just weeks later COVID-19 shut down schools across Philadelphia and abruptly ended the chess season. It was a crushing blow.
But Yves wasn’t about to give up on chess or his team. They mattered too much. Thankfully, Ms. Saganti was also determined to help her students remain connected. With ASAP’s support, she started a virtual chess club. It caught on quickly.
Under Ms. Saganti’s guidance, FLC’s chess club has flourished during the pandemic – providing a space for even more newcomers to find their place and hone their talents.
Yves, now a senior and team captain, is eager to win more awards when in-person tournaments return. But the past year has helped him gain perspective on what is truly valuable:
ASAP is proud to work with so many dedicated educators and mentors, like Ms. Saganti, to help students do what they love after school. With your gift, we can provide the platforms for more kids, just like Yves, to feel at home and pursue their full potential.
As we work towards brighter futures for kids in Philly, we are most grateful for your support.