Sandy Springs is one of the wealthiest cities in the state, so many of its residents may be surprised to learn that over 50% of students in the community’s public school system are economically disadvantaged. Sandy Springs public schools were thrilled when a nonprofit organization reached out personally to each school to see where their specific needs were. Sandy Springs Education Force provides free supplemental programs within the city’s public school system to support students to excel in high school and to assist and encourage them to move on to higher education or vocations upon graduation. Any child attending Sandy Springs public schools is welcome into SSEF programs.
SSEF began by sponsoring after school programs. These programs run for two hours at the end of every school day. The first hour is focused on academics, and free tutoring and time for homework are provided. The second hour consists of a variety of enrichment opportunities. These programs are open to all students at no cost to the family. SSEF covers the full expense.
Sandy Springs public school administrators and teachers are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by SSEF. The organization helps with everything from providing school supplies, which in many cases would otherwise come from the pocketbooks of the teachers themselves, to donating books, covering SAT/ACT and college application fees for those in need, and helping students decide which path they may wish to take beyond high school, whether that be which colleges to apply to or matching these high schoolers with potential employers and training programs following graduation.
What is the best course of action for a student who plans to enter the workforce upon high school graduation in lieu of continuing their education? How do these students know what training programs are out there and how to connect with employers other than blindly sending out resumes over the internet? One of the more exciting initiatives new to SSEF is the High Demand Career Fair scheduled to take place this November at Riverwood High School for both North Springs and Riverwood students. There will be companies and organizations in attendance offering jobs, apprenticeships, internships, and training programs designed for high school students and graduates! Companies such as UPS and Northside Hospital will participate, and students who attend are all offered help with their resumes which they will provide to the employers.
What can be more important than the futures of our children? If you are looking for a way to give back to our community, SSEF makes it rewarding, easy, and fun! SSEF is happy to train volunteers to help coach students along the pathways to succeed through college. Volunteers are needed to assist students with the college application process as well as to help match soon-to-be graduates with colleges or careers. There are volunteer opportunities for those who would like to be trained to work directly with students, one-on-one, as mentors, coaches, tutors, reading buddies and more. If you prefer to volunteer behind-the-scenes, there are also opportunities to help by collecting books, school supplies, etc. for various literacy programs within SSEF, and still larger roles filling much-needed help with their major fundraising efforts, the Lightning Run and STEAM Showcase.
“Everyone can do ONE thing. And if everyone does just one thing, we can move mountains, we can change the world.”
Irene Schweiger, executive director of Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF).