Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

Lutheran Children and Family Service

Program Name

West African Teen Outreach Program (WATOP)

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

The program offers positive youth development activities and programs that promote pride in cultural identity and facilitate better inter-community communication and cooperation.

Program Description

The program operates as an after school program designed for West African youth to help them take pride in their cultural heritage while also introducing West African traditions to youth from other cultural backgrounds. Educational enrichment aids refugee students who need to catch up with their grade level. The program has employed W. African staff (Liberian and Sierra Leonean), hosts a West African meal twice weekly, has sports teams organized by national heritage, and has included African dance instruction. Activities, such as arts, music and science, have a cross-cultural focus. Sports and food are often the most popular elements.

Resource Materials Used in Program

Classroom and gym space; arts & craft supplies; cultural enrichment activities; office supplies; computer software; reading, science and math instructional materials; field trips; recreational activities; West African food.

Groups Served by Program

Program Funding

Funding comes from the Philadelphia Safe and Sound/Children’s Investment Strategy. Funding varies based on the number of youth who participate, but is around $50,000/year.

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

1 full-time group leader; 2 part-time teacher aides; 2 part-time tutors; 1 part-time security officer.

Program Evaluation

Surveys of parents, youth and the school principal are conducted, and the agency Vice President for Quality Improvement conducts an annual assessment for an end of year report.

Program Outcomes

Additional Comments

The program has helped to build bridges and understanding between African and African-American youth in the program. LCFS also offers ESL classes at Bartrum High School and a large number parents who attend are parents of youth in WATOP.

Program Contact

Leonard Wakefield
(215) 276-5500, x 110

Program Dates

Operating since 2001, and currently has 25-35 youth participating per day.