Ophelia Project (2019-2020, 2018-2019, 2016-2017)
The Ophelia Project, a program of John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation since 1998, is a comprehensive five year group mentoring program serving hundreds of girls annually in 8th through 12th grade, in all three Unified School Districts in Coachella Valley. Unlike other mentoring programs held after school and on weekends, the Ophelia model consists of group mentoring that takes place in the schools during the school day at the invitation of the school districts. The goals of the Ophelia Project are to: increase grade point averages; reduce drop-out rates; reduce absenteeism, build self-esteem; increase graduation rates; increase parent engagement in their child's academics; promote higher education pursuing college or trade school; encourage career goal setting; and receive scholarship assistance.
The program model includes customized curriculum designed to support each school district's goals and philosophies, and the comprehensive certification training required of all program volunteers (mentors). We utilize over 200 volunteer mentors and community partner guest speakers, who receive the training to become certified in the Ophelia model. The curriculum is designed to encourage: high school completion, college and career tutoring; goal setting; art projects designed to engage students and enhance scholastic achievement; healthy relationships; building self-confidence; teen obesity awareness; delaying having children; bullying prevention; substance abuse prevention; self-defense skills; financial planning; community service; business etiquette and provides opportunities for academic scholarships. By participating in planned activities with these volunteer mentor "role models," teens are assisted with setting goals for their future and are guided away from at-risk behaviors and environments. Our objective is to encourage young girls to acquire the skills necessary to make their dreams a reality.
Fit and Healthy Family Program (2015-2016, 2014-2015, 2013-2014)
The innovative Fit and Healthy Family Program is an obesity prevention and intervention program that promotes healthy eating and active living. The objectives of the program are to: develop family goals to promote healthy behaviors; change parental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior; and improve parenting skills to generate the necessary motivation to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily routine. The program is carried out by Home Visitors, who provide information, guidance and support for the family. Since families receive valuable nutritional information delivered to them in person by a trusted Home Visitor, they are more likely to use the materials thus increasing the probability that participants will maintain some of the gains they achieve in the program.
We anticipate that this program will provide children with the motivation and opportunity to take a leading role in promoting healthy eating and physical activity in the home. Children feel better about their role in the process of the family becoming healthier and closer; parents will feel better about their parenting skills and about their child; and families get stronger as they become equipped with information, focused, goal oriented, and motivated to build a “Fit and Healthy Family…One Child at a Time.”