Project EXCEL (Extending Community Efforts to Learn) was created by the Orange County Youth Commission in school year 1988-1989 to address the school drop-out rate by impacting upon the reading ability and self-esteem of children in lower grades. The first year there were only 5 volunteers at Orange Elementary School and 12 High School students who worked with student at Prospect Heights Middle School. Since that time, the program had expanded and each volunteer works with 1-4 children.
We are still currently looking for dedicated volunteers to head up, and participate with, this wonderful program so we may re-establish them in our elementary schools.
OOY Volunteer Application
Benefits of Project EXCEL
During the first three (3) years of the program, the school psychologist, John Otallah, evaluated the level of self-esteem of the students. He used the Piers/Harris self-esteem assessment both pre and post tutoring. A randomly selected control group was also evaluated. The results indicated that the self-esteem of the children who were tutored rose more than 5 points while the self-esteem of the control group actually dropped. Additionally, a similar study was done one (1) year in a different elementary school with similar results.
Some of the benefits of the program are the volunteers see the importance of their involvement with their students, teachers see the improvement in their students' reading ability, and the parents enjoy the progress of their children.