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St. Augustine Academy (SAA), located in Norristown, PA, is an independent tuition-free, after-school program for girls in grades two, three and four. SAA’s mission is to supplement classroom learning by offering academic support and enrichment through exposure to the arts, while emphasizing life skills and building self-esteem. We do this by providing assistance with homework and by encouraging leadership skills with a focus on manners, respect, and taking responsibility - all in a stable, cooperative and supportive environment.
The current enrollment of 28 girls comes mainly from Gotwals Elementary and Hancock Elementary schools. We serve a diverse population of African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian families. A significant number of the girls come from low-income and/or single parent households.
Our program operates from 3 to 6 PM every Monday and Wednesday, concurrent with the Norristown Area School District’s schedule. After arriving via the free bus, which SAA provides, the children begin their homework, working individually or in small groups with volunteer assistance. This is followed by a nutritious meal, conversation and socializing. The meal is prepared by volunteers and occasionally by the girls themselves or their parents. Each girl has an opportunity to be a "table captain" which requires her to be responsible for that day’s meal from delivery through cleanup. The captains also lead the group in a favorite activity, the "SAA cheer". Next, the girls do a creative activity such as writing, painting, cooking, music or drama.
For additional enrichment, we have taken our girls and some of their parents on field trips to the Barnes Foundation, the Walnut Street Theatre, People’s Light & Theatre, and an organic farm. We have also funded four week summer sessions to Norristown’s ACPPA Community Art Center and have provided one week art camp sessions at Wayne Art Center.