We liberate kids from reading barriers so a bright future is possible for them (and our country). AteamBC is an afterschool and summer program with a vision of wiping out functional illiteracy amongst children and youth who do not read up-to- grade-level by the end of third grade.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn about program FAQ
Why Our Program
Why do you pay mentors: can’t they just be volunteers?
Mildly to completely opposed to donating money to any nonprofit that pays salaries? Reality is that everyone has bills to pay and being an Ateam mentor requires such a large time commitment (same as a fulltime job) that after working for Ateam there isn’t enough time for work to pay the bills. It takes several weeks of all day trainings to become a mentor (after collegiate education and experience working with kids) to learn about functional neurology, become a tutor or of our reading program, and feel comfortable with Ateam’s operational stye (ie interaction technique with kids, program structure, life skills coaching, etc.). Only then are mentors ready to interact with students and run the program effectively.
We could have set AteamBC up as a for-profit company rather than a nonprofit: then no one would mind our mentors getting paid. But it is not the wealthy (typically) who have reading struggles: quite the opposite. From the beginning it was our desire to make the program available to all and especially those of lower SES.
Another matter in question is commitment. It is easier to simply not show up, or allow other things to get in the way of a volunteer position. Employment is a contractual agreement with an understanding on both sides of what is required. Ateam kids need the consistency that employed workers bring.
We look for male mentors who are examples to the boys and can relate to them—highly and successfully functioning people in life and society. Typically these men have good jobs and are supporting a family. They do love kids but if we cannot pay them we cannot expect them to come work for Ateam at the expense of their families.
Why can’t my donation just go to the kids?
It is a mistaken notion that money is not going to the kids if someone is getting paid, as long as that someone is passionate about, dedicated and committed to seeing to the success of the children. Our mentors are our greatest asset and their work is the biggest benefit that goes directly to the kids. A beautiful facility to meet in, amazing playground or library may be nice “things” for the kids but things don’t compare to having someone that teaches, plays with, cares about and believes in them, and is willing to do what it takes to help them succeed in learning to read well. Knowing how to work and experiencing the result is valuable—It takes a dedicated, always-there person to teach and model that.
Do you use volunteers?
Yes! We can train and use volunteers in important ways—in parts of our program, such as tutoring, providing lessons (for example in swimming or tennis), service projects, etc. These are more flexible and less time consuming so volunteers don’t feel that they are being taken advantage of. We love and appreciate volunteers and couldn’t run the program without them.
Whereas people in the past were more willing to donate time than money, today it seems that although a monetary donation is hard for some, it’s even harder to get people to donate their time. We hear over and over again, “I am stretched so thin.”
Why are mentors paid a salary and not just an hourly minimum wage?
Usually educated workers won’t work for minimum wage and paying an uneducated worker minimum wage to be a mentor misses the point of what we’re trying to accomplish: i.e. teach kids that life is full of possibilities and he can choose his future more than he realizes, if he can read well and is educated. He may not be able to control the wind but learning (which takes reading proficiency) is imperative to being able to adjust the sails. We help boys see ways to get out of a cycle of dysfunction if that has been what they’ve seen modeled or for some reason is the result of how they’ve interpreted personal experiences. (Dysfunctional families or lives are not necessarily the reason a child struggles to read! Strong families with invested, awesome parents can have a struggling reader)
How do I know no one is getting wealthy working for your nonprofit?
There have been some whose earnings in the nonprofit sector have far outweighed the worth of the work that was done because of personal misconduct in relation to the board of directors or through some other unethical means. These situations have seriously hurt those who are truly invested in making the world a better place. Information on salaries of employees are (will be) public as they should be since through the generosity of others we exist. Donors make our program possible.
A thought process that may need to change: A CEO or partner of a large corporation is admired, praised and looked up to in proportion to the amount of money they make: The more money, the more admiration, while the CEO of a nonprofit is looked down on in proportion to the amount of money he/she makes.
Why is this? Perhaps there’s a hiccup in what we believe is valuable. A for-profit company “produces” something of value to society, and rightly so a leader earns in accordance to whatever that is worth. Unfortunately people don’t see nonprofits as “producers” so many frown on anyone getting higher wages when “nothing” (it seems) is produced. But nonprofit leaders who work just as hard as for-profit leaders are “producers.” They produce happier, more productive, contributing human beings. That is priceless and of value to all. Unfortunately many don’t recognize this.
How do you plan to fund the program?
The short answer: any way we can (that’s legal, moral and ethical) It’s all about getting money for the kids, no matter how we go about getting it.
We speak with wealthy individuals who we hope will be inspired by the goodness of our program, our effort and vision of what’s possible for improving a child’s life. The impact of this program can completely change a future!
We search foundations for grant money although we find it difficult to find the best matches, usually tedious to fill out applications that can be lengthy. The process can be very time consuming.
We have fundraisers. Fundraisers actually serve many purposes. They bring a community or group of people together, raise awareness of the nonprofit’s mission and help us make connections. Fundraising events are a time honored way of helping nonprofits survive (and even thrive). Typically our news page features one or more upcoming events.
Someday we hope to have one definitive answer to this quandary faced by all brave enough to help those in need. One source someday, or at least multiple reliable sources would be a huge benefit for us as we then could spend all our time with the kids, improving the program and raising awareness of an effective solution to reading problems-- AteamBC.
AteamBC is a program for effectively teaching kids and youth (approximately 9-13 years old) to read proficiently. We meet after school and during a part of the summer. Reading and test scores significantly improve.
It is a balance between a strong reading emphasis and play. It is not an academic grind or boring.
It includes an entrepreneurial project that adds an exciting element. Through it the kids get practice in reading and learn life skills such as creativity, effort, awareness, responsibility and social skills.
It is for academically-struggling youth: It is not for “troubled” youth. (i.e. Kids who display at-risk behavior such as using drugs or alcohol, sexual preoccupation or perversion, no conscience, out-of-control tendencies, or inability to follow simple directions and understand the need for rules).
It is a place for kids to learn to serve others.
Ateam is independent and interactive fun that inspires diligence (persistent effort) It is encouraging and rewarding.
It is individualized. It is not a “one-size-fits-all.” We take reading level into consideration and move a boy from where he is to where you want him to be.
It is “faith-based.” It is not tied to any religious institution. We do not teach, preach, train in, or promote any particular religion. We have faith in a child’s ability to learn, grow and put forth effort.
It is supported by privately donated funds. It is not a financial burden to any participating family.
It is implemented by well educated mentors with combined experience in many fields of study with lots of experience with children.
It takes a life-coaching approach: it is not simply a “tutoring” session. Ateam removes reading blocks, teaches reading basics where there are holes and inspires a love for learning.
It is life changing! It is a big time commitment for a short period of a child’s life. The return FAR outweighs the investment.
The four elements that make up our program: namely-- Academic tutoring, entrepreneurship, athletics & mentors Building Competence
Academic Tutoring: Our program’s focus is reading and our goal is to see that every child reads proficiently. We use Cognuro technology to wipe out stumbling blocks and tutor an effective curriculum to get results that stick.
Entrepreneurship: We incorporate an engaging entrepreneurial project. Kids develop their awareness of the world and practice critical life skills while getting reading practice.
Athletics: We play sports and creative games, go hiking and to the lake, take swim lessons, etc. Active play is not just rewarding but essential to healthy growth.
Mentors Building Competence: They make it happen. Confidence increases in a big way when kids feel competent in reading: Creating a business and physical play assist in building competence. Optimistic, caring, and invested youth-and-kid-loving mentors are central to the success of our program.
To catch boys up with their reading-proficient peers. This builds self confidence, raises quality of life and gives them options in the future. Children and youth who read up-to-grade-level improve their chances for on-time graduation from high school. The research shows that poor readers too often experience academic failure and drop out of school. Besides the academic blow, the emotional, economic, mental and physical price-tag of living with poor reading skills into adulthood is incalculable. Our aim is to expand a boy’s vision to see the vital role that reading well and life-long learning plays in the quality of his life. Our wholesome real life experiences increase his awareness of the world and his own potential.
How and why do you incorporate lessons (swimming, music, etc.) in your program?
After our program development phase (2018/2019) we intend to include short term lessons in various things along with our functional neurology therapy and tutoring. The purpose of this is to give Ateam youth a broader view of the world and increase their awareness of life and the countless possibilities for them if they are educated. We are interested in creating above-grade-level reading kids. Proficient readers have the opportunity and confidence to become whatever they choose.
How are Ateam “mentors” different than a “school teacher” or “reading tutor?”
Ateam mentors may have degrees in public education, or they may not. Some have advanced degrees (such as in business, etc.) along with experience in other fields of study. They educate and mentor a boy in areas and ways that are uncommon in the normal school arena (such as “one-on-one” functional neurology therapy, academic (reading) tutoring, leading our entrepreneur project, playing team sports with the boys and running creative outdoor recreational activities).
Our mentors are men of integrity with a strong sense of the importance of family, education, personal growth and rendering service to others. They offer examples of how successful men care about, contribute to, and act in society. With today’s pop culture it can be difficult for a boy to find a role model that many engaged parents would find acceptable.
The positive consequences of an educated society reach far and wide and are important to us but the most important aspect of our mission is that each boy individually understands what reading ability means to him personally: namely a better quality of life, greater self-respect and independence.
The greatest determiner of happiness tomorrow is happiness today (Shawn Achor, MA, positive psychology researcher, author) Ateam fosters positive mental attitude and around here being happy is the norm rather than the exception.
We have two main goals: 1. All students read proficiently, 2. All students awaken to their ability, through effort and good choices, to create a life that is rewarding and meaningful.
Other goals include a beneficial experience with athletics, improvement of life skills and expansion of awareness —awareness of themselves, others and the world. We help the boys see possibilities rather than problems and potential rather than current assessment.
Single-gender (SG) learning environments are controversial. Ateam follows the research that shows that there are persistent differences in how boys and girls learn and behave in educational settings and those differences merit educating them separately.
In 2008, the US government sponsored a study, Early Implementation of Public Single-Sex Schools: Perceptions and Characteristics, which listed the benefits of SG schools. Some of them are: (1) Decreases distractions in learning, (2) Reduces student behavior problems, (3) Promotes a sense of community among students and staff, (4) Improves student self-esteem, (5) Addresses unique learning styles and interests of boys( or girls), (6) Decreases sex bias in teacher-student interactions, (7) Improves student achievement, (8) Decreases the academic problems of low achieving students, (9) Allows for more opportunities to provide social and moral guidance…
Our initial focus on boys rather than girls is because there are more boys that don’t read well, more in remedial programs, more that do not graduate, and fewer go on to college.
In general it is students beyond third grade—approximately ages 9-13
Extensive research findings are that by the end of third grade (when a child is 8-9 years old) the students who cannot read proficiently (i.e. mastered third grade reading level) are “four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who can. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his…proficient, wealthier peer.” (American Education Research Association) BUT children of different races, ethnic backgrounds and even socio-economic status that are proficient readers all graduate at about the same rate: in some areas it’s as high as 90%, therefore being a good reader is key: It alone can overcome other obstacles.
After third grade the basics of reading are no longer taught. Through third grade a child learns to read: after, he reads to learn. Students are expected to know how to read proficiently so the lessons in math, science, history, geography can progress independently. In order to understand a grade appropriate textbook and make necessary inferences a student needs proficient reading skills. Without knowing how to read on a third grade level at the end of third grade, a child falls further and further behind each year.
Public schools have their hands full considering all the reasons a child may not read well. Students who are behind are moved into some type of remediation program which often helps, but not significantly enough for many kids.
Because the research findings are clear (that struggling elementary school readers are in large part the dropouts of tomorrow) there have been concerted efforts and enormous amounts of money spent in public schools on prevention in the early elementary grades.
On the minds of government officials on both sides of the aisle for quite some time is the critical need to reform education. AMERICA 2000, the strategy President George H.W. Bush proposed in 1991 to carry out six national education goals determined by a governors panel in a ground-breaking accord, chaired by then Governor William J. Clinton included students demonstrating competency over subject matter, U.S. students being number one in math and science achievement and a 90% graduation rate by the year 2000. (Information taken from A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation) President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was moved through Congress with the help of Senator Edward Kennedy was passed in 2001. It promised that all students would at least be proficient in reading/language arts and graduate from High School. Unfortunately 17 years later this still hasn’t happened.
These goals and promises remain unrealized. Federal Statistical agencies in a 2009 report found that 68% of 4th grade public school students in this country scored below the proficient reading level. An unbelievable number--83%-- from low-income families failed the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. Over the years the scores have not changed significantly. The latest report (2017) shows that only 35% of fourth grade students in the United States read proficiently (at or above grade level)
It’s nearly impossible for even a talented, caring public school teacher to teach reading basics successfully to older struggling readers because learning has to move on to cover required lesson material that prepares a child for further education and life. A child who cannot read well by the end of third grade is naturally left behind.
Because neither public school prevention programs targeted at students K-3 that are meant to keep kids from falling behind nor remediation programs that are meant for catching kids up, are working for all students. A significant number fall through the cracks. The nation’s report card keeps coming in at school year’s end showing that many (even most) children cannot read well enough to grasp the classroom material presented.
Ateam provides functional neurology to wipe out reading stumbling blocks and tutoring in the basics of reading in a way that’s different from what public schools offer. We know that their way does not work for all kids.
An article entitled Waiting Rarely Works: Late Bloomers Just Wilt by the American Federation of Teachers was written based on findings from three longitudinal studies. In summary the article states--
“…The [old] developmental lag theory posited that difficulties in learning to read would fade as the brain matured... In contrast, the [new] skill deficit theory [these researchers developed] claimed that waiting wouldn't work; children wouldn't pick up these skills unless they were taught directly and intensively. In fact, waiting would be harmful, as it condemned children to falling further behind.”
The article asks the question, “do struggling readers catch up?” The answer they give is that it is rare. (see http://www.readingrockets.org/article/waiting-rarely-works-late-bloomers-usually-just-wilt for more information)
In an article by Joseph Torgesen, he too agrees that struggling readers don’t catch up and he pushes for a prevention program to be implemented in the early elementary grades. (http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/torgesen.pdf no longer available) It seems that Torgesen’s solution simply calls for more of the same that has not worked thus far: namely, teach… intensively: i.e. Hit the books harder, longer, in essence, with the teacher demanding more of what struggling students dread.
Families don’t pay for our service unless they choose to. Contributions and gifts are gladly accepted and appreciated but not required in order to be a part of Ateam. We are about helping every reading challenged young man whether the family can pay or not.
We find generous donors who love kids, want them to succeed and know the importance of childhood literacy. Good readers have a better quality of life and are an asset, rather than a liability to our country. We depend on donations to fund our program.
We use Cognuro! A brand new technology developed by doctors and scientists to assess deficiencies in the brain. The information gathered on each student from the use of the two-part kit is fed into a control center and through an algorithm an individualized set of exercises is generated for each child. The boys then use a smart device (such as an ipad) to complete their 5 minute brain exercises several times a day, every day.
Besides CGN we do not use technology but rather devoted mentors who focus on reading to the kids, tutoring, and projects (such as recreational activities and entrepreneurship) A caring adult willing to see a child through to success is vital to a child's progress and is of greatest value.
Kids that do not read well by the time they finish third grade are a much bigger deal than most people realize. It is good for everyone when a child can read. There are 1.2 million dropouts each year and each one costs the tax payers about $300,000 over their lifetime. Those dropouts are often the kids who cannot read well, get way behind and give up.
Millions of American children get to fourth grade without the ability to read up to grade level “and that puts them on a dropout track.” (Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters report by Annie E. Casey Foundation) According to the researcher and writer of the Casey foundation report (Leila Fiester) students who cannot read proficiently today are likely to become our nation’s most costly citizens tomorrow. Without a dramatic change we are “cementing failure and poverty into the next generation and the US will lose an essential proportion of its human capital to poverty…”
“The education achievement gap leads to a productivity gap between the United States and other countries…” It is estimated that trillions of dollars are lost in GDP each year when students enter the work force uneducated which keeps them in low wage jobs. The Secretary of Education from 2009-January 2016, Arne Duncan, said, “We have to educate our way to a better economy.”
“Analyses of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicate that the US will need 60% of its population to possess a post-secondary degree by 2025 to remain globally competitive…”
To achieve that goal we need 16 million more college graduates each year and that means kids who graduate from High School; and this requires that more kids who can’t read proficiently by the end of third grade get help!
What is the role of family in Ateam?
The value and importance of family cannot be overstated. Parents have been given an incomparable blessing to rear their children in love, to teach them, and to provide for their physical needs. The family is part of God’s plan to see to the care and keeping of precious children. When a family spends time playing and working together, communicating, etc., a child has the best chance of having a happy, good life. We are concerned with the disintegration of the family within society. We promote and support those things designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
We encourage parents to be a part of their child’s education and the Ateam experience. We offer ways to encourage reading and maintain a lifelong love for learning. We are always willing to answer parents’ questions or schedule a meeting with them. We teach parents how to support their son in our program and give them exciting updates on progress and positive observations.
We do not seek to, nor can we replace the invaluable role of a parent but through our activities we want to reinforce parental responsibility, further enabling the best chance kids have to learn.
The boys will choose books from the Ateam library to keep and share with their family. Interestingly there is a direct correlation between reading ability and number of books in a child’s home. We do all we can to promote childhood literacy.
How does my son get on the Ateam and what is the purpose of the Q&A session?
For our 2019 kick off of functional neurology (along with tutoring) we are contacting parents about the participation of their kids in our program.
Following our test we will be admitting students who reach out to us. If you are interested please get in touch with us and we will set up a Q&A session where you, your child and an Ateam rep can all ask questions of each other. If you would rather meet with us without your child and include him later we will arrange for that. The purpose of this Q&A is a getting-to-know-you that helps you and Ateam determine if our program is right for your son. If so then you simply fill out an application and sign a waiver. Our contact information is easy to find on this website.
Overlooking the shores of beautiful Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada, the FIRST location of AteamBC is a perfect place for boys to learn, play, and explore. A lake with endless opportunities for water sports, many hiking trails, a paved 34-mile bike trail and a mountain basin riddled with mountain bike trails are a part of what this small town with lots of wide open spaces has to offer. Nearby to the South is the Colorado river and historic Hoover dam, and 15-30 minutes to the North are the cities of Henderson and Las Vegas which offer learning experiences in the way of children museums, shark aquarium, and cultural events. (We do not go to or participate in entertainment that is not wholesome, uplifting and suitable for kids) The first AteamBC is a “model” for similar programs we anticipate moving across the country to help boys READ.
Our interest is in creating a nation of kids with solid reading skills. Therefore academic tutoring seems logical but tutoring isn’t successful if a child doesn’t want to be tutored, doesn’t have any confidence in his ability to learn or little drive to do so. A big part of our job is to light a fire, not just fill a bucket. The entrepreneurial and athletic elements of our program help us do this. They help us develop a relationship with the boys, and that is powerful in getting them to engage.
Engaging in an entrepreneurship project is an exciting way to give the boys experience and practice in reality. It embraces the life skills we want to see the boys personally incorporate. Through our entrepreneurial component a child decides he needs to read for future success, can see the benefits of reading and gets practice doing it.
Our athletics element gives kids rewarding experiences through physically active, fun play. It’s clear that playing fills not only physical needs but also social, emotional, and even mental needs. A child is more ready to read, or learn anything, when other needs are met. Our broad range of different activities increase awareness and kids find physical things they enjoy and can continue throughout their lives. Kids emerge from participation in active play better athletes (even when they are not “athletic”) and better people.
What does entrepreneurship mean to Ateam?
An entrepreneur is a person who takes initiative to organize, operate, manage, and assume the risk for a business venture. An entrepreneur gets to be his or her own boss . . . and do the work too. Entrepreneurs seek to solve a problem; identify a need and fill it. They are people who want to change the world (in a small or very big way) and usually are optimistic, value self-reliance, and like a challenge. Entrepreneurs are important to our economy. Entrepreneurship may not be something just anyone can learn (i.e. entrepreneurs are born not taught) but it can be encouraged and studied. The valuable character traits and life-skills that entrepreneurship requires offer us building blocks for mentoring kids.
How can kids build a business?
Granted our kid-businesses will not be hitting Forbes’ list of Americas Most Promising Companies any time soon but we walk the kids through an exciting process. We define a problem, write a business plan and invest time, resources and creative energy coming up with solutions.
What do the boys learn through your entrepreneurship project?
That entrepreneurship (and life) thrives with the adoption of a growth mindset where problems are merely challenges that can be overcome and mistakes are gifts that teach us what doesn’t work, mark the path forward and provide opportunity to grow. Our entrepreneurial project gives boys practice in reading and writing.
Here is our top 15 list of what the boys in our program learn from an entrepreneurial element.
1. Persistent effort and determination pay off
2. Fear of trying new things is not necessary
3. Giving up gets you nowhere
4. Success begins with an idea, desire to make it happen, and belief
5. Self-reliance is satisfying
6. It’s consistent, small steps that produce big results
7. Awareness of need brings opportunity
8. Making a plan and setting goals are important
9. Getting help from others who have what you do not (knowledge, experience or resources) is a good idea
10. Teamwork is vital to success and respectful communication is vital to teamwork
11. They can talk to grown-ups and many are open to requests
12. Their follow-through affects progress so they must take responsibility
13. Work can be a fun challenge that is rewarding in the end (and at times along the way)
14. Accomplishment, seeing the fruits of their labor feels great
15. There are solutions to problems
What’s different about Ateam compared to other after-school programs?
AteamBC leads a boy from reading-anxious to reading-confident using Cognuro (CGN), a brand new technology for assessment and application of functional neurology therapy to make and strengthen brain connections where there are deficits, through simple exercises. We are the first and only in NV (as of January 2019) to have access to these highly effective tools (the Look and Gait pieces in the CGN kit).
In tandem with CGN we do DRA testing to find a child’s/youth reading level and then tutor them using a multisensory reading program that teaches reading basics through a little different approach.
Ateam is a year round program (approximately 11 months long) that a boy actively participates in for about a year (more or less depending on progress) Ateam continues into the summer to keep kids from losing gains made in reading during that school year. Summer learning loss produces a gap [especially] for low-income students [and readers that are behind]. The gap widens each year and by the end of elementary school a . . . student can be as much as three years behind in reading, according to the National Summer Learning Association. (http://www.summerlearning.org/)
Ateam also has a community outreach component meant to influence and educate the public concerning our reading problem and the need to build reading competency in boys to improve their lives and the future for all.
What are the hours my child will participate in Ateam?
This is an afterschool (approximately 2-3 hours) and partial summer program. The exact schedule will be determined after running our trial year (2019)
Why should I seriously consider AteamBC for my child?
Because it could positively change his life forever: If your son is eligible for our program then there are some things you should know. Kids who are behind in reading at the end of third grade rarely catch up. They need extra help. Behind-ness in reading affects a child’s future in possibly many ways that have long term consequences--daily stress in school, struggles with homework, a dread of taking tests, unhealthy levels of anxiety, frequent absence, held back a grade, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, embarrassment in public situations, etc. Struggling readers are four times more likely to drop out of High School than their reading proficient peers*, college choices are narrow, career choices are slim, poor readers earn less money, are more often on welfare (or homeless), more often fall in with the wrong crowd, and miss so many enjoyable things that can improve quality of life. Being a poor reader becomes a whole-life problem.
Active participation in Ateam will greatly increase a boy’s chance of catching up with his reading proficient peers which will increase the freedom he has to choose his life path rather than being stuck on a track that provides little opportunity. We are like NO OTHER reading program in our area. We have a successful multi sensory tutoring program AND in tandem with it we use Cognuro, a brand new technology for the assessment of brain weakness. The results are sent through an algorithm that creates a set of exercises specific to your son to strengthen reading centers in his brain.
*Note that the percentage of children who enter 4th grade as struggling readers is remarkably similar to the number that drop out of high school (Why Kids Can’t Read by Patrick R. Riccards)]
What kind of commitment is required from me, my son and my family?
A commitment to Ateam is imperative if you want it to be a powerful program in your son’s academic success. Ateam sessions must be a top priority for as long as it takes to get him reading proficiently (hopefully no longer than one year) Ateam is a sacrifice: i.e. giving up something good in order to get something better. In this case it’s in order to get something priceless: the ability to read!! Simple, enjoyable practice at home will increase the ability. Do you know what that does for your son’s self confidence?
Obviously life happens: kids get sick, family events come up and so on. But hopefully these will be extremely rare (maybe never in the time your son spends with us) Participation in Ateam may mean a shift in current family schedule or putting on hold for awhile another afterschool activity, family outing, or sport, etc. It may mean a family vacation in July (rather than June or August) one summer, or family dinner at 6:30 instead of 5:30. If a child misses too many sessions the program benefits will be greatly compromised and this could be grounds for giving your son’s place to someone else. The money is there for “him” to attend and reap the benefits. If he isn’t there to take advantage, someone else surely should be.
We admit those kids into our program that we believe will be, or can be persuaded to be, committed 100%. By that we mean that the boys engage, actively participate, and work diligently towards success, regularly attending all sessions possible. We can’t make a boy learn of course, but if he wants to learn he will with us and we have ways of promoting active participation.
How would you summarize AteamBC?
AteamBC is an afterschool and summer program that liberates kids from reading barriers so that a bright future is possible for them, and our country. Our goal is to wipe out functional illiteracy amongst children and youth who do not read well (proficiently) by fourth grade. We work in a unique way to see that kids catch up with their reading-proficient peers for a happier, healthier life.
What makes my son “eligible” for your program?
Here are some generalities that mean your son is possibly eligible (YES) or definitely not (NO). The examples are to help you understand what kids we’re looking for, and what things matter and what things don’t. If you are confused about whether or not your son is eligible please contact us.
Considers “reading” a punishment, or painful and resists it -- YES
Is reading Harry Potter -- NO!
Reading test scores show he’s two years behind where he should be -- YES
Reading test scores show he can read fairly fluently but comprehends little of what he reads – YES
Reading test scores show he’s reading proficiently – NO!
Drags his feet getting ready for school and comes home unhappy -- YES
Jumps out of bed and can’t wait until the bus comes – YES (some kids love the social aspect)
Would rather drop a bowling ball on his foot than do any reading/spelling type homework – YES
Does his homework without a lot of drama but needs lots of help -- YES
Announces fairly often that he hates school! – YES
Actually rather likes school -- YES
Has a learning disability or ADD/ADHD – YES
Has a record of perfect behavior in school -- YES
Has a physical handicap and is extremely limited in his ability to participate in active play – NO
Has little or no resources to pay for some outside-of-school help -- YES
Has parents who are extremely wealthy -- YES
Loves sports -- YES
Doesn’t care for sports -- YES
Talks a lot – YES
Is very shy -- YES
Loves playing video games – YES
Has never played a video game – YES
Hides under the covers with a flashlight and a book until the wee hours of the morning -- NO!
Who may become an Ateam mentor and what is required of them?
There is a strict criterion that mentors must meet in order to be considered for hire, after which is several weeks of Ateam training. Mentors have at least a bachelor’s degree in a pertinent field of study (above that is preferred) and they must have significant experience working with kids and youth.
Our mentors are required to become trained tutors in a research-based, specialized reading program that has been extremely effective in teaching struggling readers. They will learn life coaching skills for solving conflicts and use a positive “connect and redirect” discipline with the kids. Play is critical to a child’s development and our mentors know how to play and encourage it.
The “right” Ateam staff member means everything to this program. We compensate our mentors for full dedication to children’s literacy and their ability to be a positive force in a child’s life. Persons who satisfy our staff requirements must have successfully worked with children in significant ways in the past. They know our program is reliant on and requires high standards, a strong work ethic, a love for kids, and many hours of planning and increasing knowledge of and ability to implement the Cognuro pieces and therapy for best possible outcomes.
Mentors not only run the program for the kids but are responsible for Ateam in total (staff planning sessions, CFO responsibilities, record keeping, budgets, fundraisers, parent meetings, filings to maintain non-profit and tax exempt status, public speaking to raise community awareness of children’s literacy, etc.) They secure funding for the program and constantly seek ways to improve Ateam.
Mentors are required to put in the time and effort necessary to maintain a successful program including Saturday or Holiday work as needed to keep Ateam kids progressing and engaged. Mentors are all in (committed) and model an enjoyment of, and attachment to the program.