A Message From Our Executive Director
Students With a Goal (SWAG) began with a remarkable group of 12 teenage leaders who frequently came by the Miller Avenue United Church of Christ (UCC) to get something to eat after school. Among the things they talked about was their desire for an after school program. Following their lead, the pastor of the church brought together a number of non-profit organizations in the Summit Lake neighborhood. Together, they created the framework for the program, collected seed money, and launched a pilot program in January 2013, originally called “Youth Alive,” which met at OPEN M. As the program grew, space was obtained at the Summit Lake Community Center and the newly formed Reach Opportunity Center. Students who were active in the program chose a new name, “Students With A Goal” (SWAG), to best describe the program.
Dedicated leaders of organizations in the Summit Lake neighborhood along with suburban churches formed the SWAG Board, with the United Way of Summit County serving as the fiscal agent. The Board developed by-laws, articles of incorporation, received official status as a 501 (c) 3 in 2017, and actively seeks funds necessary to sustain the program.
SWAG convenes Monday - Thursday from 4:00 PM until 7:30 PM, during the academic school year.
3:30 - 4:30 pm : Recreation
Students unwind from school and play basketball, kickball, and other group centered activities. Students are also offered a snack during this time.
4:30 - 5:30 pm: Academic Hour
Students bring homework and work with SWAG academic tutors. Together they develop and track short-range academic, behavioral and leadership goals.
5:30 - 6:30 pm: Family Supper
Staff, students, and volunteers gather for one full hour of supper in a family setting.
6:30 – 7:00 pm: Leadership
Students engage in group programming learning, along with community leaders and mentors, to shape their own world through growing in the arts, vocational awareness and relationship building. Students are safely transported home at 7:30 pm.
Once a month, on Thursdays, SWAG students experience one of two incentive trips: “Kick Backs” can be trips to the YMCA or to a suburban partner church. “Reward Trips” are earned by each student and can be anything from ice skating, to movies, to Laser Quest.
Our Other Programs
Summer Enrichment Program
While school in not in session it is important that our students work to retain the knowledge they received over the course of the year. During the Summer, our students are able to participate in SWAG three days a week for eleven weeks. We use this time to continue academic learning to ensure the students are prepared for the Fall when school starts. We also attend various field trips to museums and parks to give our students a change in scenery.
Summer SWAG is located in Lock 3 in Downtown Akron. Transportation and a meal are provided for all participants. If you would like your student to participate in Summer SWAG, please contact our Program Director at email@example.com.
Southern College and Cultural Tours
Every October, SWAG takes a group of 15 students to visit colleges across the U.S. The students are required to raise money for their participation in the tour by receiving sponsorship for high academic marks.
During the visits, we also tour museums and participate in activities that educate the students on African American culture in our country.
After the students return home from the tours, they write essays about their experience, which is shared with our Board of Directors and supporting partners. For more information on the college tours, please email our Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaven Lenses Program
The LLP is our multi-generational program we offer for 11 weeks during the Summer. Participants become apprentices, learning the art of Photography. At the end of the program, the apprentices receive a Certificate of Completion, and stipend which can be used to start their own photography business.
Seniors On The Move
Instructed by Janice Taylor, Seniors on The Move has taken Akron by storm, providing fun exercise for our seniors. Each June in Summit Lake Community Center parking lot, seniors participate in a city event called Happy Feet Keeps the Beat, where participants are able to speak with medical professionals for free, win a pair of shoes, and eat from Akron's Largest Salad Bar.
To those of you who have supported us in the past…your generosity is so appreciated! To those of you who are considering a future gift…please accept our thanks! We hope that by browsing our website and reading the information below about why our friends choose to donate to SWAG, you will add us to your annual giving.
Why support Students with a Goal (SWAG)?
Helps to provide academic support to students ages 12-18.
Provides a safe place for students to gather for recreational and enrichment activities four evenings per week during the school year and also over summer months.
Provides students with an opportunity for a “family” dinner each evening. Many of these kids do not get this experience at home.
Allows students to receive incentives for achievement of academic, behavioral and leadership goals.
Provides transportation for students to and from the program
Allows the opportunity for mentoring, vocational awareness and leadership goals
Refer A Child
Click here If you are interested in joining SWAG, please fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.
Click here to learn more about the SWAG Mentoring and Volunteering opportunities.
Click here to donate to SWAG. Any funds donated will go right back to SWAG in order to improve and expand this program