Phillips Charitable Organizations (PCO) is dedicated to helping individuals overcome financial obstacles to success and personal fulfillment. With the majority of its philanthropic endeavors focused on assisting single parents, injured veterans, and engineering students, the nonprofit has drawn on its resources to support a variety of charitable initiatives and partner organizations. One such group is the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), a community-based nonprofit that has enriched the lives of local youth for over half a century.
EHTP prepares students for success in college and beyond by doing the following:
Building a Strong Academic Foundation
The East Harlem Tutorial Program’s after-school programs and charter schools provide a challenging, student-focused learning environment where youth can receive the guidance to reach their highest academic potential. Offered year-round for approximately three hours after school, four days per week, EHTP’s after-school programs create a safe and consistent space for students to receive extra assistance in specific subject areas, advance their knowledge, and even discover new interests, all at no cost to their families.
These tuition-free programs include resources for students of all ages. In the EHTP Elementary Program, children from kindergarten to fifth grade follow a rigorous academic curriculum designed to improve their mastery of math and literacy, while a variety of additional activities enable students to develop their critical-thinking and social skills. Students receive lessons in subjects such as nutrition and art, supplemented by field trips to educational and community-focused events. Elementary school students who need a bit of additional help with their studies can even visit their EHTP center on Saturday mornings to take part in homework help sessions.
EHTP’s elementary school program has had a significant impact on East Harlem students. During the 2015-2016 school year, 100 percent of students were able to approach or meet Common Core writing standards for their grade levels, and 93 percent of scholars who had previously failed to meet reading benchmarks improved their reading skills by at least two grade levels. However, EHTP’s work doesn’t stop there.
Once students reach middle school, EHTP’s after-school program provides personalized academic support in small-group learning sessions. Middle school scholars have the chance to shape their own educational experiences with electives such as theater, robotics, and jazz. EHTP continues to guide scholars in mastering key academic subjects throughout high school, when college awareness and preparation take center stage.
The East Harlem Tutorial Program ensures that its scholars’ academic growth doesn’t halt when the school year ends. All after-school program participants are eligible for the nonprofit’s summer programming, which provides full-day instruction in academics, music, and art, as well as physical activity Monday through Friday for four weeks each summer.
Inspiring Personal Growth
The lessons that the East Harlem Tutorial Program teaches go beyond mere academics to help students develop the skills and strength of character to be successful in life. All of the nonprofit’s programs revolve around a set of core values that, taken together, represent the ideal scholar: Service, Courage, Humility, Originality, Leadership, Achievement, and Reflection.
While students at EHTP’s after-school program practice math, reading, and STEM skills, they also learn the importance of giving back to their communities, taking risks, and embracing their individuality. EHTP’s curriculums help youth learn to make the most of leadership opportunities and pursue excellence in all they do; recognize and improve upon their shortcomings; and set aside time to reflect on their past experiences and future goals.
Facilitating Community Involvement
Community has been at the heart of EHTP’s operations since it began in 1958. The organization originally formed in the living room of a Harlem resident who hosted a reading group for local children. As it has evolved into a formal nonprofit organization and public charter-school operator, the East Harlem organization has relied heavily on community support—at present, over half of its employees are volunteers.
By giving families opportunities to play an active role in their children’s education, the East Harlem Tutorial Program is doing its part to ensure that the empowerment of local youth remains a community effort. In addition to hosting family council meetings to solicit feedback and discuss current issues, EHTP works with families in its School Admissions Program, which assists students and parents in navigating the school selection and admissions process for both middle school and high school. Other EHTP programs seek to build a sense of comradery and community amongst its students. For example, the nonprofit’s high school programs regularly host Friday-night social events, as well as student discussion groups and community service projects.
Preparing for the Future
As EHTP scholars approach high school graduation, the organization provides a wide range of resources to help them explore their future opportunities. EHTP’s year-round University Program for 9-12th grade students begins with a robust college-awareness curriculum to help students develop a familiarity with high school graduation requirements, the college application process, SAT testing, financial aid, and more. Students can opt to receive one-on-one tutoring and mentoring as needed. They can also choose to explore potential career paths through elective programs like MedAchieve and Media Studies.
Through EHTP’s University Program, high school scholars have the opportunity to tour both public and private universities throughout New York. During the program’s Summer Institute, students entering their sophomore and junior years get to experience college life first-hand. For a week, students live in dorms and attend classes on the campus of a Washington, DC, college, spending their free time exploring the city’s rich history and culture.
Over the past five years, 95 percent of high school seniors involved with the East Harlem Tutorial Program have gone on to attend a university. In 2012, EHTP launched its College Scholars program to offer continued support to its students as they embark on the next stage in their lives. In addition to a laptop and book stipends, College Scholars also receive academic and career advising, and are eligible for special EHTP scholarship funds.