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: Kindergarten Readiness
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. Ninety six percent of children were kindergarten ready after completing the program, compared to 32 percent before.
More than 150 Nationwide Children’s employees serve as mentors at neighborhood schools and in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Columbus and the Harmony Project. Mentors meet weekly with their students and provide homework help, reading support and guidance.
Upward Bound Math and Science
Nationwide Children’s Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) aims to increase the number of students who pursue postsecondary education in math and science. Students will receive support through the academic year program, including mentor-tutoring and Saturday morning sessions with cultural and career exposure and hands-on learning. A six-week summer session will provide students with a college-going experience and expanded experiential-learning and work-study opportunities.