ConnectiKids was originally formed in 1978 as a community effort to provide a positive summer experience for students from West Middle School. The volunteers, namely from Asylum Hill Congregational Church, found that there was a greater need for youth development services and ultimately decided to create an after-school tutoring program to fit that need. Now, the organization operates under the following mission statement:
“Inspiring Hartford’s children to make positive choices; embrace high expectations and fulfill their potential by providing successful mentors, individualized tutoring, enriching activities, and stimulating environments [see Appendix A for ConnectiKids logic model]. ”
The program, geared toward Hartford students in kindergarten through middle school, is an effort to provide high-quality educational opportunities through both a focus on academics and holistic enrichment. The program values the concept of youth potential and attempts to empower their students to become life-long learners. The Tutoring and Mentoring program is their primary focus. It matches mentees with mentors from diverse backgrounds for one-on-one work, one day a week, for 75 minutes. Their program goals can be summarized by the statements below: “
- Provide students with academic enrichment, tutorial, and recreation programs or activities during non-school hours.
- To develop or expand reading and other academic intervention programs which include after-school programming.
- To strengthen parent involvement in the education of children. Parent and community involvement in school, school district programs, activities, and educational policies.”
ConnectiKids conducts annual surveys of their participants to assess their growth within the program, but found that data lacked evidence of sustained growth and long-term positive outcomes. In an effort to bolster their work in the Hartford community, ConnectiKids entrusted this research project to the Liberal Arts Action Lab in the Trinity College Center for Hartford Engagement and Research. This study is a reflection of our collaborative efforts and the results of the commitment of our community partners.