“How do we get the kids to show up?” is a question I’ve been asked often when problem solving and event planning with my Promise Corps teams. Coming from working with elementary school students and now working with high school students, I can immediately see the concern for engaging high school students after school and even during the school day. Elementary school students are a captive audience. When you’re working with teenagers, school might be the last place they’d like to spend time in!
I learned that the determining factor of success for the West Philadelphia and Sayre High School teams is to engage students with FOOD!
Pretzels, popcorn, chips, water, juice, cookies (and occasionally a healthy snack)!
Offering a snack or food item has been a huge catalyst for seeing students more often and a great incentive for us to engage students in meaningful ways! Once students visit College and Career Ambassadors in the Promise Corps classroom, we can get a chance to truly teach them about what we do and how we can support them in planning their futures.
My co-worker and I have started reaching out to local companies to request in-kind donations of food, gift cards, or other incentives that would benefit our students.
Our first response was a great local resource: Herr’s Chip Company! Herr’s donated four cases of chips to two of our sites to use in the Computer Programming after school program at Sayre, at Think Tank planning meetings, during modules, or while completing an Individualized Student Success Plan (ISSP) with a student.
It may seem small, but the students appreciate treats and it gets those who may have never come to show up, see what Promise Corps is about, and find out what we can do for them.
As we used to say back in the day, “It’s all that and a bag of chips!”
– Leya Egea-Hinton, Promise Corps Site Supervisor