A national nonprofit founded in 1992

BELL Brings Established After School Program to Augusta Scholars

BELL Brings Established After School Program to Augusta Scholars

AUGUSTA, February 8, 2010 - BELL® (Building Educated Leaders for Life®), a leader in after school and summer learning programs, today announced its expansion into the Richmond County School System in Augusta, Georgia. BELL will bring its After School Program to 14 elementary schools and two middle schools, providing mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment services to a total of 480 students who can benefit from additional academic support. BELL is proud to serve these students, who are designated BELL Scholars.

"We're very excited to be partnering with BELL," said Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden. "This partnership will allow us to offer additional quality after school programming to our students who are the most in need of the extra academic assistance. BELL has a proven track record of success in other regions, and we are eager to bring these programs to scholars in our district," he said.

The schools that BELL will be serving are:

Monte Sano
Terrace Manor
Wheeless Road
Wilkinson Gardens
Windsor Spring
Murphey Charter

"We're thrilled to be bringing BELL to Augusta," said BELL Deputy Regional Director Roberto Gil, Jr. "We know that BELL After School will help scholars in Augusta achieve the educational progress they need because we have done it before. We are excited to get started," he said.

In each of the last five years, children entering BELL After School at the failing level typically advance to higher performance categories. For example, last year, more than 80% achieved ‘proficient' or 'advanced' levels in core skills.

"The Richmond County Board of Education and BELL partnership is the kind of contribution that will make Augusta an industry leader," said President and CEO of The Community Foundation R. Lee Smith, Jr. "Most organizations make their mark by putting their name on buildings or erecting statues. We are pleased that BELL is making a contribution in a meaningful way, spending money and devoting effort where it is really needed by extending learning opportunities to the children in Augusta," he said.

BELL is working closely with principals in Augusta schools to kick off the after school program, which begins on February 8 and will run three days a week for two and a quarter hours until the end of the school year on May 20. Thirty students from each school will be offered the opportunity to participate in this free tutoring and mentoring program, providing scholars with the equivalent of nearly one extra full day of education each week.

"We know from our research that the right out-of-school programs can help students reach their academic potential and by doing so help lift an entire school system and community," said BELL Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye. "Working hand-in-hand with the Augusta schools, BELL will help give Augusta scholars the skills and the ambition they need to ‘be all that they can be,' " she said.

In addition to bringing much-needed extended learning time services to Augusta's youth, BELL is creating jobs in the community in the process. BELL has hired Brenda Morton, a life long Augusta resident, as Community Outreach Manager, as well as five local site managers and Roberto Gil, BELL Augusta's Deputy Regional Director, who relocated from New York to lead the BELL implementation in Augusta. Further, teachers and lead teachers from each school will participate in the program, who are compensated by the Richmond County School System.

BELL was founded in 1992 by a group of Black and Latino Harvard Law students. Its K-8 scholars receive tutoring in reading, writing and math, as well as enrichment activities to help scholars develop higher self-esteem. BELL After School is a supplemental educational program designed to boost children´s academic and social achievements in a safe and supportive environment. Through private and public funding, BELL's programs offer more extensive, more robust and more effective tutoring and enrichment services than most other providers.

About BELL
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality after school and summer educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in low-income, urban communities. BELL serves more than 11,000 children annually in schools throughout Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Charlotte, New York City and Springfield, Mass. Please visit www.experiencebell.org for more information.

Jane Munkelwitz 617-933-5021

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