According to Columbus City Schools data, 34 percent of Columbus children are behind when they enter kindergarten. We know that education is the foundation for lifelong success. That’s why the HNHF initiative supports a number of programs to improve educational outcomes focused around school readiness and mentorship.
SPARK helps prepare children for kindergarten by working with families, schools and the community to engage up to 80 preschool age children per year. Through a home visit each month, children receive a new book, a lesson activity and educational supplies, and participate in learning opportunities — all with the goal of increasing the child’s success in school and life.
The program also helps develop parents as children’s first — and best — teachers. Kindergarten readiness scores improved nearly 50 percent after participating in this program.
Connecting ME (Mentorship Experiences) is a community-based mentoring program, created in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, Community Development for All People, Franklin International and Harmony Project. It supports group mentoring and then matches students one-on-one with a mentor.
In its initial year, more than 50 Nationwide Children’s employees were trained to mentor youth. In addition, the hospital has long supported Project Mentor. Nationwide Children’s volunteers mentor students in schools near the hospital weekly beginning in third grade. Volunteers support these students as they advance through middle and high school.