Elizabeth Rydeen, Community Relations Department
Up on Top provides quality after-school and summer programs for under-served children living in the poorest neighborhoods of San Francisco. Up on Top’s mission is to “offer hope, stability and fun to children of low-income families in San Francisco, preparing them to be successful in school and life.”
Sister Carmen Barsody, who sponsored the OWM application, knows of the program’s good work and effectiveness. She worked closely with Associate Rev. Kay Jorgensen, who founded the program back in 2001. Children who receive services at Up on Top “often live in substandard housing conditions with no place to run and play,” according to Sister Carmen. “It’s not unusual for some of the children to live through periods of homelessness or to have parents, siblings or relatives in jail . . . programs such as this are invaluable to their human development.”
The OWM grant supported expanding Up on Top’s summer program from six weeks to eight weeks with a goal to provide low income and often marginalized children and their families access to the same resources as their more affluent peers. Concentrating on literacy, the program is designed to help children retain and improve their academic skills over the summer months. Students were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the summer. Of the 91 who had complete assessments, half were able to maintain their skill level and 47 percent actually gained skills during the summer—an excellent result!