School Partnership Offers Academic and Health Resources

Every day, thousands of Philadelphia youth throughout the city can receive academic tutoring, college preparation assistance, healthy snacks and extracurricular activities through Out-of-School Time (OST), a city initiative that offers after-school and summer programs to more than 20,000 Philadelphia youth and their families. Last July, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services designated PHMC as the fiscal and management intermediary for OST. Through PHMC’s involvement, facilities such as Sayre High School, an OST site in West Philadelphia, provide a diverse assortment of essential services to the community.

Through PHMC's involvement, facilities provide a diverse assortment of essential services to the community

Sayre High School serves about 50 elementary- and middle- school children after school, in addition to youth and community members, through its OST program. Staff members from the University of Pennsylvania’s Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships coordinate and administer Sayre’s OST program to provide care at a variety of levels. Through the Sayre Community School OST program, Penn staff and students provide programming to students in kindergarten through grade 8, as well as high-school-age students and adults. Sayre offers homework assistance, recreational activities, cultural enrichment and community service and leadership development opportunities. “Activities such as our family and fitness programs allow us to serve the community as part of our PHMC OST grant,” says Alan Speed, director of the program at Sayre. “We offer classes such as line-dancing, fitness and nutrition, and karate.”

In collaboration with Penn, Sayre High School also makes available the on-site Sayre Health Center, a federally funded and federally qualified community health center that provides its over 3,100 students and community patients with clinical, health education and health promotion services. David Finzimer is one of seven PHMC program monitors who work closely with OST sites and believes that the Sayre Health Center helps give important health care access for families with children in OST. “Sayre has a great working relationship between its school and its health center,” says Finzimer. “At Sayre, when the child needs a physical, we can send them straight to the health center.”

Speed, who attended Sayre as a child and now directly serves families in his former neighborhood through his role as director, agrees. “We use the health center for a lot of our students and families who don’t have health care,” he says. “We also encourage them to come to some of the programs the center provides, including free health screenings.” In addition to community health care, the Sayre Health Center brings OST participants exposure to health-related topics. According to Chris Bower, director of community schools at Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships, “We often collaborate with the health center for after-school workshops covering topics like sexual health and nutrition.”

PHMC staff offer support to Sayre and all other OST sites to help ensure that youth receive high-quality services, which vary based on the site’s focus and age group. “PHMC’s role as the OST intermediary includes a number of different types of work: fiscal, contract, information systems, technical assistance and program monitoring among other things,” says Amy Friedlander, vice president of Management Services & Special Initiatives at PHMC. “We provide professional development opportunities to funded providers in programmatic areas. PHMC program monitors work with each site to ensure the highest possible quality of programming is available to youth enrolled.” Speed adds, “PHMC is not only an intermediary. They allow us to collaborate with like-minded programs and share resources to better help our community.”

Click here for a complete list of OST programs.