February 2016 Newsletter

At UrbanFUTURE, we rely on the involvement of our community as we gather around our students to collaboratively help raise them up and get them on track for good jobs. This month, Walgreens once again stepped up and supported us in our mission to connect students with jobs, and we thank them. Over the years, Walgreens has played a key role in our funding strategy, and their support has impacted hundreds of UF students' lives. We can't thank them enough!

In addition to Walgreens, the Monsanto Fund stepped up this school year and provided necessary funding for our STEM educational initiatives. Read all about our partnership here! Coming up in March, we will be taking a group of students to Monsanto to tour their facilities and learn more about what they do. We will also be visiting the Challenger Learning Center and the Tesla Drop Everything and Design Day (hosted by the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation). It's going to be a busy March!
Mentor Joe shoots hoops with his mentees.

Another one of our incredible Real World Business Partners has been RehabCare, part of Kindred Healthcare. In addition to supporting our program financially, they have allowed several of their employees to volunteer in different capacities. Joe Causino of RehabCare has been mentoring with us for the past two years. He hasbeen extraordinary this year working with Jay'Quise, Adrian and Tyler. Joe has consistently dedicated his time to helping these 8th graders prepare for high school, improve their character, and even work on their basketball skills. One of Joe's mentees was absent from UF due to personal reasons over the winter season. The minute he returned to the program his first question was "Can I still have Joe as my mentor?"  We LOVE to see this kind of real, impactful relationship being formed. Thank you Joe and RehabCare!

Rebel Rock, a battle of the bands at Saint Louis Priory School, took place on Saturday, February 20th. The Berklee City Music Network class from each of our UrbanFUTURE middle school sites performed their original compositions to a packed house at halftime. Click here to watch our Fanning kids perform! It was an incredible experience for our students to be on the big stage under the bright lights, performing their very own musical pieces.

It's once again time for the
UrbanFUTURE March Magic ExperienceThis year, we have several exciting ONLINE auctions and games, including $100 Squares! Your $100 donation gets you a square on our board that is valid for every single game of the NCAA Tournament!  Click here for all the info and to get your square now!

Thank you for your continued interest and support of UrbanFUTURE. Together, we are engaging and inspiring our St. Louis youth to dream big, and then taking them on the journey to achieve those dreams.

With deepest thanks,

Frank Van Bree
Tutor and student at work

In IMPACT Tutoring, our students continue to make significant gains in their Lexile levels through the use of our Achieve3000 software. Combined with the data we receive from the school's administration on MAP tests, STAR scores, attendance and GPAs, we can combine all this data to see a clear snapshot of each students' growth. Essential to this growth is our volunteer tutors who show up consistently and develop trusting relationships with our students. The MICAH organization through Saint Louis University has been providing some of our BEST tutors over the past few years. The MICAHs show up every week ready to engage our students and help them learn. Thank you MICAHs and all of our tutors, you are making a real difference in our kids' learning!

UF students meet former Fire Chief Sherman George at the Gratiot Museum.

This month, our wonderful INSPIRE mentors worked on the virtues of Caring and Citizenship. To conclude the lessons, students will be sending letters to President Obama addressing needs in their community. These will be sent to the White House once all of the letters are completed.

We took a few very exciting field trips this month - to the Myseum, an interactive science museum, and to the Gratiot Museum of Black History. At the Gratiot, our kids got to meet and speak to the real former Chief Sherman George who was the first African-American appointed fire chief since the department's origin in 1857. What a treat!


Ryyinie is a 7th grader at Fanning and is currently participating in our Nutrition class, taught by the University of Missouri Extension.  Volunteer teacher Ms. Diana Finlay is awesome with our students and has been teaching the class three years in a row!

Through Ms. Finlay's class, Ryyinie has explored her culinary interests. She is a stellar student, and now she wants to become a chef when she grows up.  Ryyinie loves cooking and is learning about how to balance meals and eat healthy. 

Great job to our future chef Ryyinie, and a big thank you to Ms. Finlay for your continued support of UrbanFUTURE!
Impulse Music class by Quintone

This semester, we have had a strong offering of DiscoveryLab classes available for our students; Typing, Everyday Engineering, Photography, Book Club, Impulse Music, Chess, Creative Writing, Beat Therapy and Script Writing & Production to name a few! Through these classes, our students are learning about their interests and where their strengths lie. It's always a joy to watch a student learn a new skill, and to witness the self confidence and pride that comes with this new ability.

TESLA teacher Logan explores engineering subjects with his students
Studio: TESLA through Washington University exposes students to STEAM initiatives while building problem-solving skills, and their students have been teaching a class with us for the past two years. Logan Groneck, a Biomedical Engineering student at Wash U, is the Site Director for their initiative at Busch, and he mentioned to us this month how much he is enjoying volunteering with UrbanFUTURE. What he enjoys most is "seeing the students work hard at a problem and coming up with a new solution we didn't initially think of." Many thanks to Logan and the rest of the TESLA volunteers - our students are learning so much through your class!

In Explore! Careers class students learned important interpersonal skills, including diction, eye contact, firm handshaking, and sitting up and paying attention when being spoken to. We also played communication games, like telephone and mock interviewing, to give our kids the opportunity to see first-hand the importance of strong interpersonal communication. 
Firefighter Irving Moorehead in his full gear

Explore! Careers class also welcomed several exciting Career Speakers in February, including Burnea Lester, Advisor at DeVry University, who challenged students to thoroughly think through their career choices and future professions. We also were visited by Software Developer Danny Wolf from Byrne Technology, Registered Dietician Erin Spoziak, Account Manager Caitlin Oppeland from Stealth Creative, and returning guest St. Louis Firefighter Irving MooreheadThanks to all our stellar volunteers who made February an enriching and productive month!

Tahshara and mentor Sarah Tidwell

Tahshara is an 8th grader and this is her second year in the program. She is a member of the UrbanFUTURE Dance Team, is learning how to play the piano, and loves IMPACT tutoring where she currently has the highest Lexile level of all UF students! She is a real leader in the program, always helping to setup for tutoring and even volunteering to tutor her 6th grade peers

Tahshara loves basketball and most importantly loves the time she has been able to spend with her mentor, Sarah Tidwell of RehabCare. The two have been working together for two years and look forward to their time together each week. Sarah pushes her to work hard in school, and Tahshara's leadership and academic ability has grown immensely! They make an excellent team whom we are all proud of.

Fanning Middle School Graduate Patrick is now a freshman at Carnahan High School. Patrick is on the UrbanFUTURE FIRST Robotics Team, and is hard at work with his teammates and UF volunteer coach Art working on their robot for the regional competition coming up in March.

Because Carnahan is committed to exposing students to the latest technology, Patrick is able to explore his interest in engineering and the potential careers that will follow.  Way to go Patrick, and go UrbanFUTURE Robotics!


UrbanFUTURE March Magic ExperienceThis year, we have several exciting ONLINE auctions and games, including $100 SquaresYour $100 donation gets you a square on our board that is valid for every single game of the NCAA Tournament! 

UrbanFUTURE | 314.776.3434 | www.urbanfuturestl.org