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Hoops and Homework

Hoops and Homework is a safe and nurturing neighborhood-based after-school program which expands opportunities for youth in Framingham.
Hoops and Homework

Our Vision

All children in Framingham, regardless of income or neighborhood, will have the support and guidance they need to succeed in school and in life.

Introduction:

Hoops and Homework provides afterschool programming that is high quality, flexible, accessible through scholarships, thanks to our donors and partners like you. It is important to us to give our youth an opportunity to thrive. We are committed to our youth, families, and city, going further, and finding different and creative ways to serve. We are committed to expanding and enhancing our programming.

How we are funded

Since Hoops and Homework is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all operating costs – staff salaries, program supplies, equipment, services, parent fees and other costs associated with programming, are covered utilizing funds received from private donations, grants and through the state voucher program. These funding sources are extremely important in providing and sustaining quality programming for the youth.

Population we serve:

Hoops & Homework is located in the two lowest income housing complexes in Framingham – the program is unique and unduplicated in the area because it is neighborhood based. Below are some statistics reflecting the demographics we serve:

  • 76% of residents in the target neighborhoods are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino
  • 64% of residents live in single parent households – 87% of which are headed by females
  • 47.5 % of families below the federal poverty
  • 100% qualify for free school lunches.
  • 77% of the students from our area fall into the high service need category. (These are students at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who are far below grade level, who have disabilities, or who are English learners.)

 

Hoops and Homework provides safe, supervised afterschool educational and recreational activities for children and youth attending elementary and middle school, and high school who primarily live at the Cochituate Homes/Maloney Properties (Interfaith), and Framingham Housing Authority Neighborhoods at Carlson/ Pusan Rds. and extends to the Framingham Community as a whole. Staff and volunteers supervise students in the completion of their school assigned homework, promote reading and math skills, and provide opportunities for a variety of recreational, cultural, and enrichment activities that will promote the exploration and development of the students’ skills, talents, and hobbies.  We provide programming in the highest poverty section of Framingham. In partnership with local organizations, we provide meals for children and youth daily

Demographic Data:

Our Executive Director, Kevin Lopez is Latino and comes from the community we serve.

In terms of board, staff, and intern demographics, five of our board members are Caucasian, four are African American and two are Latinx. Two of our staff are Caucasian, five are Latinx and one is African American. Four of our interns are Latinx and two are African American.

All 11 of our 11 board members live, have lived or work in Framingham. Four of our eight staff live or have lived in Framingham. All our interns come from Framingham Public Schools; they have the same lived experiences as the students we serve. Often, they have had the same teachers and have faced similar challenges and obstacles as our students. Our interns are key to making students feel heard and understood by positive role models who have gone through what they are going through now. Our 3-year strategic plan as an organization includes DEI focused items including intentionality for board and staff selection and DEI training in year 2 of the plan.

Organizational History

Founded in 2012, our work is driven by the idea that all children in Framingham, regardless of income or neighborhood, should have the support and guidance they need to succeed in school and in life beyond graduation. Hoops and Homework, provides two safe, supervised learning environments for children who live in the Cochituate Homes (Interfaith) Complex, and the Carlson/ Pusan Public Housing developments – these are the lowest income sections of Framingham. Since the majority of our families come from households with low to moderate income levels, it’s difficult for parents to afford private tutoring or enrichment programs for their children. H&H provides affordable educational support, reducing academic disparities and providing access to extracurricular activities.

Study data

Data from the MetroWest Foundation, an organization that has monitored trends in adolescent health and risk behaviors in central Massachusetts since 2006, reveals alarming trends within the student body of Framingham which our program strives to address. The 2021 MetroWest Foundation survey of Middle & High School students revealed that substance usage significantly increases for students in 8th grade and increases from grades 9-12. The survey also indicated that rates of substance abuse are higher for females across most substances. This is an alarming trend that highlights vulnerabilities that our students face in and outside of school. As an after-school program, H&H acts as a safe and supervised space for students to use once school is out and parents may still be at work. Having this space available during vulnerable after-school hours reduces the risk of exposure to dangerous situations. Studies have shown that children who participate in after-school programs are less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse. At our facilities students also interact with positive role models via our caring staff and high school interns from Framingham who are aware of the complex issues facing students in today’s world. Our staff and interns offer guidance, support, and encouragement which may help our students make more informed life choices that impact their wellbeing. Ultimately, we work to create a sense of community for students to rely upon.

 

The MetroWest Foundation revealed other concerning trends including that mental health measures are at an all-time high for grades 9-12 and that cyberbullying for grades 6-8 is at its highest of all time. Teens themselves have voiced the following needs: 1. Peer support with mental health issues, 2. Safe, enjoyable, and accessible places to spend time and 3. Empathy and respect from adults in their lives. H&H works to address these areas by providing a safe and supportive space for students to access academic and social support while creating a sense of belonging that students are desperately searching for, as noted by the student survey.

ORGANIZATION'S GOALS & OBJECTIVES:

Each day our program sites service 35 students from our target neighborhoods. Over the course of the year, which includes field trips, we service about 100 students total. Since our facilities are located in the heart of the housing complexes that we serve, it’s very convenient for students and families to access our programming. One of the most unique elements of our work is that we are truly neighborhood-based working on the ground in the communities we serve.

Our short-term goals are to provide academic enrichment, homework help and tutoring to students to help them along their academic journey. By providing these services we hope to foster a greater interest in school, a greater interest in extracurricular activities and create a sense of belonging and support for students. In the long term, our services are intended to improve academic indicators for our students and to ensure that students stay in school.

During the school year, a typical afternoon/evening (3:30pm – 6:30 pm) at H&H begins with “study time”: completing written school assignments that may be due the next day, and if time allows children may play a math game, work on a challenge, or read. A healthy snack is also provided during this time. Many afternoons have an enrichment program, for example, science instruction from Broadmoor Audubon or violin instruction from the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest. Volunteers from Babson College work with children weekly, with homework tutoring as well as playing games. Our wonderful volunteers also help children with written assignments, read to children, as well as lead craft projects and play games. There’s also time to just relax color, play a board game and play outside at our state-of-the-art playground. Throughout this time, staff, interns, and volunteers have open and honest conversations with students driven by things that happen at school or whatever is on our student’s minds at the time. It’s important for us that students feel seen and heard at H&H.

During the summer, we operate from 9:00 to 4:00 pm. For students already facing academic setbacks coming from low-income communities, summertime can be especially harmful due to summer learning loss. For this reason, our program offers tutors to strengthen academic outcomes for students along with a summer-reading program offered in partnership with Framingham Public Schools. Our Summer Reading Program is funded in part by the Nellie Mae Foundation and strives to close literacy achievement gaps facing our students by offering structured reading time and lessons. We also offer enrichment activities that support healthy lifestyles such as our Nourishing Garden Project that teaches students about growing and harvesting nutritious food. We also strive to keep students physically active. This past summer we hosted a Basketball Invitational – coaches from Pain University, Lincoln-Sudbury High School, and Framingham High school trained students. Games were held twice weekly, culminating in an exciting championship game. This summer also included swimming lessons at the local YMCA and piano lessons led by professional instructors from Integral Steps, a music-focused organization that offers integrative learning experiences. Over the summer we also take students on field trips to places that may otherwise be out of reach due to their families’ economic situations. Past field trips include the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science.

Our staff and volunteers support children with completion of their school assigned homework, promote reading and math skills, and provide opportunities for a variety of recreational, cultural, and enrichment activities that promote the exploration and development of children’s skills, talents, and hobbies.

In 2017, out of 600 participating organizations, Hoops and Homework was chosen as one of the “10 Best After-school Programs in Massachusetts”. Since then, we have worked hard to maintain the success of our program by creating more partnerships with local organizations that provide musical education, environmental education, and many more tailored programs for our youth. H&H’s main programs include our After-hours Program for teens 14-17, a Summer Reading Program to address literacy gaps during the summer, a Mentorship Program and Music Programs to expose and encourage students to pursue interests in extracurricular activities.

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Come see us

Hoops & Homework
12 Interfaith Terrace,
Framingham, MA

T:  774-578-9847
E: klopez@hoopsandhomeworkinc.com

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