Learning Centers Help Close Opportunity Gap

Learning Centers Open, Help to Close Opportunity Gap for Youth

Addition of More After-School Sites

First Tee – South Central Wisconsin is excited to announce the opening of three (3) Learning Center locations as part of our after-school programming this fall! When our after-school programs were put on hold in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, we deepened our relationship with Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and revamped our Learning Center opportunities to focus more on what our youth need NOW and to better serve our kids. Beginning today, all participants (grades K-5th) will attend our Learning Centers multiple times a week with some youth attending every day. Learning Centers are located at Cherokee Country Club, Odana Hills Golf Course, and East Madison Community Center. “Our Learning Centers are important because they help kids who struggle with reading and math get the help they need,” said First Tee – South Central Wisconsin Director of Community Outreach Nate Savado. “With growing classroom sizes, we know it can be hard for teachers to give their attention to each child who needs it, even though they try. Here at First Tee, we want to help those teachers help their students.”
Learning Center 2020
Learning Center students at East Madison Community Center

Building Game Changers

First Tee’s after-school programs teach life skills to at-risk youth. More than 83% of our participants are eligible for free and reduced lunch, over 85% identify as diverse students, and 45% are girls. Students who regularly attend our programs are seeing improvements by one and a half to two grade levels in reading and math scores. More than 90% of participants saw noticeable academic improvements and over 80% of participants reported to have improved behavior at home and in school.

Big Impact for Youth

In addition to increasing both the number of students served and the frequency of their attendance at our Learning Centers, First Tee has also partnered with Scholastic Books to provide books to kids. We also incorporate a focus on mental health and emotional support into programming in lieu of recent data from students during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During these difficult times that our students are facing, we want to be a safe place for our students to go after school,” said First Tee – South Central Wisconsin Director of Programming Allyssa Ferrell. “While First Tee’s main purpose is to help the students with education, we also understand the need to be there for them emotionally. We want to provide our students with a sense of belonging and routine to their everyday lives as we all navigate and find our new sense of normalcy.”