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MAT (Motivational Achievements Together) is a collaboration between Mercy Housing California, Asian Neighborhood Design, and TODCO, which is committed to increasing leadership skills and academic excellence by providing a holistic afterschool and summer program for children in the South of Market Area. The program includes education, leadership and community building, the arts and recreational therapy. The children in the program are elementary school-aged children (ages 6-12), largely from the Bessy Carmichael Elementary School, a South of Market Area (SOMA)school. The young participants are residents of TODCO properties, Asian Neighborhood Designs properties, and Mercy Housing California properties. The MAT program was created in conjunction with Social Venture Parnters, in part to respond to the educational and environmental circumstances of many SOMA youth. These children often live in neighborhoods that are not always safe or healthy. The Sixth Street Corridor in the SOMA, for instance, is frequently travelled by SOMA youth. In a recent SOYAC Needs Assessment Survey, it was found that 50% of the children surveyed do not feel safe on Sixth Street. The MAT program has found a way not only to provide a safe and secure place for SOMA children, it has also been able to successfully address their academic needs. Academic needs are determined by trained staff through collaboration with teachers, parents, and quarterly assessments. Homework completion plans, tutoring, and special programs are assembled especially for each child. These programs, in addition to homework, include computers, sports and fitness, visual and performance art, and literacy. MAT works with each childís elementary school teacher to assess the childís needs, share ideas and to monitor the studentsí progress.
Youth take advantage of the following services: -homework assistance/tutorial -arts, drama, photography, and dance -cooking/baking -Writers' Corps (creative writing workshops) -computer classes -field trips -swimming -gardening -boardgames -social skills building -exercise (swimming and basketball) -community volunteering -and financial literacy
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