Melting Pot Ministries is saying thank you to its partners with a communitywide dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 15 at Nativity Church, 5811 Curry Road, South Park Township.
The organization helps disadvantaged students in South Park, Bethel Park and Baldwin-Whitehall school districts.
“We are so very grateful for the many community partners, including foundations, individual donors, community leaders and especially the families who work closely with us in helping their children achieve success in school and in the community,” Brenda Atkins Lockley, executive director and chief executive offier of Melting Pot Ministries, said.
Fifteen years ago, the organization was formed to determine how best to close the achievement gap among disadvantaged students, and since that time has come for major progress in helping students to improve their grades and behavior.
For example, high school graduation rates for students who attend Melting Pot’s programs on a regular basis have increased to 93%. Each year, more of Melting Pot’s high school graduates are attending four-year colleges, community colleges and technical schools.
Melting Pot now has several students who have graduated from college and are currently gainfully employed.
Lockley cited the story of Bia Hasbonish who graduated from nursing school and is now a licensed practical nurse. She has announced the establishment of her own scholarship program to help current students achieve their goals to succeed through high school and eventually through higher learning.
Melting Pot will honor partners at the Nov. 15 celebration including five churches that played a vital part in the early days of the organization: Peters Creek Baptist Church, Shiloh Church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Sunrise Baptist Church and Faith Temple Church, which is no longer in existence. Additional churches have since become partners with Melting Pot: Bethel Baptist Church, First Bethel United Methodist Church and Nativity Church.
Also recognized will be officials from the South Park, Bethel Park and Baldwin-Whitehall school districts, representatives from more than 15 foundations, a growing base of individual donors, Melting Pot staff members and the families of the children who attend Melting Pot programs.
Based at Nativity Church, Melting Pot has the use of seven classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, AV/game room and computer lab. Melting Pot’s Learning Konnection’s programming includes students in first through 12th grades.
Throughout 11 months of the year, students receive:
- Academic tutoring and enrichment provided by certified teachers
- Social and emotional skill building provided by a licensed professional counselor
- Digital learning
- Swimming and water safety lessons
- Art instruction
- Peer mentoring
- Indoor and outdoor recreation
- Culturally enriching field trips
- Open gym activities
- Hot meals and healthy snacks
Lockley said that Melting Pot uses a positive youth development strategy that includes helping students in areas such as self-esteem, anger management, communication skills, conflict resolution, team-building skills and goal setting.
Melting Pot also provides group and individual counseling, family counseling, school liaison meetings with counselors and teachers and weekly Teen Center for high school students.
In addition, Melting Pot develops peer leadership through its student leadership program, support for families with behaviorally challenged students, partnering with behavioral health agencies, and mental health first aid training opportunities for parents and interested adults.
Lockley emphasizes that Melting Pot provides academic remediation to students performing below grade level through individual and group teaching and online instruction, using certified teachers who do not focus on homework help only. Melting Pot attempts to maintain a four-to-one student-teacher ratio, especially at the elementary level.