Special Graduation for START Elementary School Students
The YMCA START program is housed at the Beech Street and Henry Wilson elementary schools in Manchester's inner-city. In these schools, many students face a range of challenges beyond the classroom. Many are from economically disadvantaged households or live in families in which English is a second language. Nearly 100% of the students are eligible for the free or reduced fee lunch program.
START is research-based and meets strict fidelity markers. Offered for 2.5 hours each day, the program provides a holistic approach to education which includes: commitment by student and parent to attendance, support for healthy lifestyle behaviors, homework and tutoring support, daily physical fitness activities, conflict resolution skills, and social enrichment.
On average START students improved their reading levels by two grades and over 95% reported that they enjoyed books and reading. Other results included significant improvement in understanding and support of healthy lifestyles, problem solving without fighting and respect for others.