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Propser Chitongo ’17 evaluates impact of Fiver programs

By Upstate Institute on July 17, 2015

The Fiver Children’s Foundation is a comprehensive youth development organization that makes a 10-year commitment to children from underserved communities throughout New York City and central New York. Through character-building summer and year-round out-of-school time programs, Fiver empowers children to make ethical and healthy decisions, to become engaged citizens, and to succeed in school, careers, and life.

Fiver works with 500+ students ages 8 to 18, one hundred percent of whom, upon enrollment, qualify for free or reduced lunch at school. In addition to coming from economically disadvantaged circumstances, Fivers face other daunting and complex challenges of poverty. More than half are being raised by single parents and many have had to learn English as a second language. Most Fiver students come from groups under-represented in higher education and professional careers, have few examples of academic persistence and are hoping to be the first in their family to attend college.

Fiver bases their programs on measurable outcomes, and they conduct internal and external evaluation and research projects that have led to improved program practices. In the last five years, they have adopted a Theory of Change model that depicts the journey of a Fiver student from the initial referral to graduation at age 18. Behind the model is a matrix of outcomes and measurement tools. A Program Evaluation Manager works with Fiver to utilize the Theory of Change, its associated measurement tools and the resulting data to the fullest extent possible. This data includes demographic information, program attendance and retention records, and survey responses. Prosper Chitongo’s responsibility this summer was to work with this Evaluation Manager to assist with administering Fiver’s program evaluation plan.

Prosper’s responsibilities included becoming familiar with Fiver’s Theory of Change and with the Youth Survey that is administered throughout the summer; assisting in developing a survey implementation schedule to ensure that all eligible Fiver students complete the age-appropriate survey during their stay at Camp Fiver; and preparing new technology (tablets) for administering the Youth Survey. He then administered this survey to the campers over the first two sessions of the summer program, ensuring they had proper instruction in how to complete the survey. He also helped the camp director to guide program participants in administering the Camp Program Quality Assessment tool created by the American Camp Association.

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