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Starfish Connection, Inc. is a 501c3 corporation whose mission is to address Stamford’s academic achievement gap by providing long-term mentoring, after-school and summer enrichment programs, and educational support to promising students from the city’s low income and poorly educated families. Our goal is to ensure these students reach their potential and dreams of attending competitive 4-year colleges, breaking the cycle of poverty for themselves and future generations.
Starfish Connection, Inc. a 501(c)(3) organization, was created in April, 2008 by David and Judy Martin to help close Stamford’s Educational Achievement Gap - a gap defined by white middle-class children succeeding at significantly higher rates than our other populations according to Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) results.
Each year, Starfish Connection’s program enrolls five or six children from Stamford’s high risk socio-economic groups in the 3rd grade, and provides mentoring, advocacy, educational support, enrichment, and extracurricular activities throughout their elementary, middle and high school years. It is our belief that with strong mentorship, high expectations, and exposure to some of the background broadening activities that more well-to-do children have, they can achieve similar success. Stamford’s data shows that conversely, without this support, even high potential children fall off the academic path by their middle school years, severely limiting their chances for a better life.
Starfish Connection works with identified students, their families and their schools to provide opportunities for the students to broaden their experiences, skills and knowledge throughout their primary and secondary school years. Each child is assigned a mentor who follows the student from 3 rd grade through high school graduation. Over the 10-year period, the students meet with their mentors on a biweekly basis, participate in after-school and summer enrichment programs, volunteer in the community, participate in background broadening experiences, avail themselves of college preparatory classes, and apply to colleges. Our focus is on the child and his or her success. Our goal is to ensure each Starfish Connection student is ready and able to attend a 4-year college of his or her choice after completing high school.Our approach is longitudinal, comprehensive and individual - it’s about transforming lives, one at a time. Most mentoring and intervention programs for inner-city youth are temporal interventions, and therefore have more moderate and even temporary positive outcomes. From the beginning of their 3 rd grade year, we are proactive in setting the highest of expectations, exposing children to the world around them, enriching their lives, and monitoring their progress at every step along the way, bringing to bear interventions when needed, to ensure each and every child will become a successful young adult.
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