Starfish Connection supports promising students from low-income families in the City of Stamford. Our approach is longitudinal, comprehensive, and individual – it’s about transforming lives, one at a time.
Most mentoring programs for inner-city youth are short-term interventions. They may, therefore, have more moderate, even temporary, outcomes. Starfish Connection begins to work with students at the start of 3rd grade and continue through high school graduation. Each year, we enroll five or more children from Stamford’s high-risk socioeconomic groups and provide mentoring, advocacy, educational support, and enrichment activities.
The mentors we select are highly qualified; many are teachers and retired teachers and all are dedicated to helping Stamford’s youth succeed in school and in life. Our structure is an all-volunteer community of adults who work together for the success of each child and the organization – a true Village.
We are proactive in setting the highest of expectations, exposing children to the world around them, enriching their lives, and monitoring their progress at every step. We offer interventions when needed, and we seek out growth opportunities to ensure that each child will become a successful young adult.
With the new Team Leadership structure in place, we are even better positioned to provide the children and teens at each grade level exactly what they need to be successful students and citizens.
In the elementary school years, it’s all about exposure – through biweekly outings with their mentors, individually selected enrichment activities such as instrument and dance lessons, participation on sports teams, and classes in a variety of areas, and Starfish group events to museums, science centers, cultural activities and performances, and nature activities.
During their middle school years, we are closely monitoring academics and work behaviors as classes become more difficult and giving the ‘tweens’ a forum to meet as a group to discuss topics on their minds as well as ones we know are important such as decision making, self-advocacy, resiliency, values and friendships.
In high school, mentors and their teens meet regularly to ensure success in academics, community citizenship, internship and job hunting, and the college preparation and application process.
Our approach is longitudinal, comprehensive and individual – it’s about transforming lives, one at a time. Most mentoring and intervention programs for inner-city youth are temporal interventions, and therefore have more moderate and even temporary positive outcomes. From the beginning of their 3rd grade year, we are proactive in setting the highest of expectations, exposing children to the world around them, enriching their lives, and monitoring their progress at every step along the way, bringing to bear interventions when needed and seeking out growth opportunities, to ensure each and every child will become a successful young adult.