"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
- Steve Prefontaine
The tenet of Prefontaine's quote is at the heart of Project Infinity’s Perks Program (P2), a reward system for students. Participants earn points redeemable for prizes, by self-reporting any positive progression made in three primary reporting areas: academic performance, attendance and behavior. The self-reporting component empowers the student restoring a degree of power back to him or her.
Project Infinity’s P2 operates on the principle of positive reinforcement and rewards improvement of any kind. For example, although a grade of “D” is less than satisfactory, under the P2 Program improvement from an “F” to a “D” would be rewarded. P2 also features a cloud-based Brag Wall where students can “hang” artwork, post report cards or showcase other accomplishments.
Building self-esteem is the backbone of all of Project Infinity’s programs. Of the five, the program that achieves this organizational objective in the most innovative and comprehensive way is Project Opportunity (PROPP). PROPP offers financial assistance to meet the social needs of homeless students, by sponsoring participation in school-related events, interests and enrichment activities.
Financing a student’s extracurricular activities is not a new concept, but PROPP takes the idea a step further, by also designating funds in order to facilitate parental engagement. Not only will PROPP pay for a student’s field trip, athletic or prom fees, but it would also cover the cost of transportation as well as any related expense for a parent in transition to for example, chaperone a class field trip, volunteer on the PTA, attend a parent-teacher conference, or go to a school ball game. Research shows that an involved parent is important to any student’s success, however it is especially crucial where homeless education is concerned.
PROJECT RESOURCE OFFICER
Project Resource Officer (PRO) puts a new spin on an old idea, expanding the scope of the Shop with a Cop Program beyond the holidays. Project Infinity’s partnership with law enforcement offers individual supplemental support to homeless youths. School Resource Officers volunteer their time to accompany PRO participants in shopping for the materials needed for special school projects, such as participating in science fairs or other similar academic activities.
The fundamental premise of the PRO Program is that this collaboration will build a positive relationship between families in transition and local law enforcement. Not only does PRO meet the most basic of student needs, furnishing materials and supplies, but by doing so, it also helps to counter one of the factors contributing to absenteeism in this demographic. Often when homeless students lack resources to complete assignments, they will be absent from school on the day the assignment is due.
Where the PRO Program enables students in transition to obtain the materials they need to complete assignments by connecting them with supportive, caring adults, Project Infinity’s Program, Closet Infinity (CI), operates differently. Like PRO, CI is also a resource for concrete supports, but functions on a self-serve basis. CI participants, get to “shop” online at Project Infinity’s online store, picking out their own binders, pens backpack, notebooks, folders, etc. from this virtual supply closet.
Teachers upload an individual student's supply list which serves as a guide for his/her “shopping spree.” Student “orders” are fulfilled and delivered to the student’s school the following academic day. Not only does CI meet a student’s basic needs, but the program is designed to empower and boost the self-esteem of the student as well.
Project Infinity believes that in order to realistically support students in transition with their classroom assignments, it takes more than just furnishing them with school supplies, they also need printing access, which is why Project Printout (PPO) was created. PPO runs on the same principle as CI. Student’s upload anything school-related that needs to be printed, including any charts, essays, artwork, or reports. Those files are printed as specified, on special paper or in special sizes, then the finished print job is delivered to the student’s school the following academic day.