JP4 Foundation Receives $30,000 to Expand Its Unparalleled After-School Program
St. Paul, MN – An unusual and successful St. Paul after-school program will soon double the number of students it serves thanks to a generous grant from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.
The JP4 Foundation, a local non-profit that serves youth from underserved communities, is the proud recipient of a $30,000 grant.
The funds will broaden Diamond Club, the JP4 Foundation’s after-school program for students attending Urban Academy and Achieve Language Academy in St. Paul, which neatly aligns with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation’s priorities to support organizations that blend academic, social and emotional supports for young people most impacted by educational inequity.
Currently serving second and third-graders, the expansion will add fourth and fifth-grade students, doubling the program’s enrollment to 120 children.
Since its inception in 2021, the mentor-led Diamond Club has made significant and measurable achievements. In a recent survey of teachers whose students participate in Diamond Club, 70% reported noticing “a positive change” in academic performance and a stunning 100% noted increased positive relationships in the form of new friends and more respectful manner towards their peers and teachers.
“I love that Diamond Club gives kids a safe and fun way to connect after school. This is an amazing resource, and I wish it covered even more grades,” enthused Achieve Language Academy teacher Donna Prewedo. “It’s the most popular after-school activity we have, and the staff is awesome and engaging.”
In weekly 90-minute sessions, Diamond Club offers a 2:1 student-to-mentor ratio. This small ratio allows mentors time to check-in with their students while they enjoy a healthy snack. Heart-pounding physical activity combined with academic learning and social-emotional skills follows. Each session ends with time for students to check-out with their mentors.
“The key to the program’s success lies in two essential factors,” stated Jeff Huth, Executive Director of the JP4 Foundation. “First and foremost, everything we do is intentionally designed with students at the center of our planning. Secondly, our collaboration with World Youth Connect and the Page Education Foundation ensures our ability to hire and train mentors from the local community. Our mentors are the cornerstone that truly makes this program special.”
Mentors Hsi Hsi Paw, Your Paw, and Ku Gay agree the mentor relationship is highly valued. “Offering more days for the after-school program is crucial because it will provide children with more time to interact with their mentors and build a strong relationship, have stress-free time and act like kids,” said Ku Gay.
The JP4 Foundation remains committed to securing additional support from the community to ensure the sustained success and expansion of the Diamond Club after-school program.
The JP4 Foundation is dedicated to building the next generation of youth by promoting lifelong healthy habits that positively influence their lives. By adopting a holistic approach to their well-being, emphasizing healthy activity, nurturing relationships, and nourishing meals, the foundation aims to create a lasting positive impact.