History, Progress, Future Plans
About four years ago there was growing concern regarding the number of
youth in our city with poor grades and study skills, a lack of
attention to homework, and the potential for dropping out of high
school. To begin to address this problem, we applied for and
received a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to create an
after school program that would help our middle school students
increase their academic achievement and improve their social and
emotional functioning. Those funds provided the means to form Portsmouth PLUS!,
a collaboration between: The Portsmouth Middle School, New
Heights Teen Center, Girl Scouts of Swiftwater Council, and the Big
Brothers Big Sisters of the Seacoast. Over the past two and a half
years Portsmouth PLUS! has grown into a comprehensive after school program that serves 40% of the Middle School population.
As time passes and our program grows, we face the challenge of sustaining Portsmouth
PLUS! for the future. For 2007-2008 and beyond, there will be no funds
from Nellie Mae education foundation. In order to make sure the
Portsmouth PLUS programs are available to future middle school students
we are looking to philanthropically minded buisinesses and individuals
to leverage funding.
PLUS!, many of the students we care for would not have the opportunity
to get their homework completed in a nurturing environment, never mind
have the chance to link that learning with hands on activities provided
by New Heights Teen Center. A large number of our students go home to
chaotic, unstructured places where it is, quite simply, an
impossibility to engage in academics.
In order to sustain the Portsmouth PLUS!
program in the years ahead there is a need to lessen fiscal dependence
on grants and in-kind contributions. To avoid the folly of relying on
grants that may not be available throughout the years ahead, Portsmouth PLUS! must diversify its funding sources. Ideally, our funding sources will reflect the following configuration:
are calling upon our local community to help achieve this goal.
In the coming months, our after school ambassadors (A few of our
students who regularly attend the Portsmouth PLUS! programs) will be
visiting business leaders throughout the city to share with them ways
the Portsmouth PLUS! program has affected their growth.