The After School Kids (ASK) Program serves at-potential teens in the DC metropolitan area, who are looking to make positive strides in their lives and to be catalysts for change in their community. Our youth are adversely impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline, and may experiencing multiple obstacles to obtaining their high school diploma, careers, and postsecondary education. It is not uncommon for our youth to experience chronic trauma exposure, involvement in the court system, and to be over-aged and under-credited. Despite their daily obstacles, our youth envision a brighter future through education, social action, and wellness. ASK provides programming and support to realize their vision.
To support the resiliency of our youth, the ASK Program:
- utilizes a near-peer model, which pairs Georgetown University undergraduate students as tutors and mentors for our youth;
- provides exposure to the college experience, as programming is regularly offered on-campus;
- promotes lifelong-learning and the links among education, earning potential, and self-sufficiency, as well as the skills and behaviors needed to achieve such success; and
- supports social-justice education and our youth’s critical analysis of how they can contribute to a more just world.
Our civic engagement program teaches youth about civic participation through community-based service projects and awareness-raising events. Focus is placed on empowering youth to take an active role in addressing issues that adversely impact their communities. Awareness-based activities include attending community forums, academic lectures, and guest speakers. Participants learn about a range of issues, including gentrification, immigration rights, hunger and homelessness, community violence, and mass incarceration. Community service work has included food and resource distribution to individuals experiencing homelessness, urban gardening, community clean-ups, and volunteer support to several community partners.
Our tutoring program supports our youth with their academic work and long-term educational goals. Youth attend tutoring 1-2 times per week and work one-to-one with their tutors. In addition to improving academic performance, emphasis is placed on improving attitudes towards education and the importance of educational attainment as a pathway to self-sufficiency. While there is a particular emphasis on literacy-building, our tutors work with youth across subjects areas and educational levels, ranging from middle school to college. We have three different tutoring programs at Georgetown’s campus: Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday, and Saturdays. A fourth tutoring site on Saturdays serves detained youth at the DC Youth Services Center (YSC).
Our healthy lifestyles program incorporates a health education module and a physical fitness component. Our goal is to not only teach youth basic fitness principles, but for them to understand the relationship between fitness and maintaining their health. We utilize resources within the Georgetown community, including the Yates Field House. ASK partners with student groups with an interest in athletics and physical activity to provide our youth with diverse opportunities. Youth are educated on how wellness principles, including nutrition and mental, behavioral, and emotional health as a means to improve their competence surrounding a healthy lifestyle.
The ASK Program was created in 1987 when juvenile probation officers and the Honorable Justice Ricardo Urbina, then presiding judge of the Family Branch of the DC Superior Court, approached Georgetown University’s Father Harold Bradley, SJ seeking mentors for adjudicated youth. ASK’s first tutor was Dr. Daniel Porterfield, who eventually became Georgetown University’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Development before becoming the President of Franklin and Marshall College. Under Dr. Porterfield’s direction, the ASK Program sought to empower adjudicated youth in the District of Columbia to make positive changes in their lives by challenging them with new learning opportunities and teaching them the necessary skills to successfully meet those challenges.
To learn more about the ASK Program and how to get involved, email the ASK Program Director.
The After School Kids Program falls under Georgetown University's Protection of Minors policy.