Rain of Hope, Inc., began programming in August 2013, piloting our first youth program to 20 New Haven Public School (NHPS) students. Today, Rain of Hope provides youth programming to 188 youth each week. Rain of Hope's programs helps individuals understand how their actions create "ripples" within communities and empower them to develop leadership and social skills which, in turn, will create stronger and more caring communities.
From developing youth programs, Rain of Hope began providing programs to the community through special events and workshops. Currently, Rain of Hope, Inc. offers four Youth Programs: Friendship Matters, Seniors Matter, Lyrics n' Music Matters, and Community Matters. These programs are offered in four New Haven Public Schools, available to students regardless of ethnicity or income.
Rain of Hope piloted its first program, Friendship Matters, with 20 students in Fall 2013. Friendship Matters launched to another 25 students in Spring 2014. Since then, we have launched 3 additional programs which have been offered to over 250 students in New Haven Public Schools each year. Today, programs are offered during the school day, observed by classroom teachers, and after school.
While our youth programs primarily target kindergarten through eighth grade, Rain of Hope also engages older youth, college students and senior citizens to act as mentors, interns, and volunteers. Our mentor program, Hope Ambassadors, engages middle school and high school students as mentors and provides leadership opportunities.
University of New Haven (UNH) and Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) partner with Rain of Hope to provide college students hands-on learning opportunities aligned with students' studies and future goals. Rain of Hope's relationship with UNH focuses on integrating community service learning opportunities primarily to non-education majors. These opportunities range from special events to website and marketing development.
Rain of Hope's partnership with SCSU provides education majors the opportunity to gain nontraditional classroom experience and curriculum development. With both universities, professors supervise the college students' experience and provide feedback to Rain of Hope staff and managers to help streamline processes and continue development in both youth program curricula and office operations.
Rain of Hope also partners with local senior centers, recruiting seniors as volunteers supporting our Seniors Matters program. In this program, senior citizens exchange letters with elementary students, helping them build inter-generational relationships. Meanwhile, the curriculum helps students to develop understanding for individuals who are different from them.
Lastly, Rain of Hope is proud to partner with United Way of Greater New Haven's Trauma Coalition to help fund youth programs, making our programs available to communities in need.