Dare 2 Soar Loses Columbus Site, Gains Chester High

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Dare 2 Soar, which provides tutoring and mentoring to Chester youth, has discontinued their Columbus Elementary School site, while trying to launch a new site at Chester High School.

Dare 2 Soar, which partnered with the Chester Education Foundation to provide tutoring and to run a literary magazine at Columbus Elementary School, will no longer be able to work there due to funding issues.

Stephanie Scappa-Hall, Assistant Program Director at the Chester Education Foundation, explained that the Chester Upland School district was given half the grant funding they usually receive from the state to support after-school programs. The Chester Education Foundation partners with Dare 2 Soar to “ease the connection with the district,” according to Scappa-Hall, and to provide a Chester-based contact for the organization.

“Without the grant, which we currently understand to have funded the staff, security and facilities fees needed to keep the program running, it is not possible to keep the students after school,” Sable Mensah ‘11 and Sylvia Boateng ‘11, the former Columbus site coordinators, stated in an email.

Mensah and Boateng said that it was unclear if funding transportation was also an issue: students from other schools were bused to the program, and then all the attendees were taken home afterwards.

“I think the Columbus students will miss the interactions with all of the college students they worked with last year,” Scappa-Hall said. “Hopefully the district will step up and run something else [at the site].”

Scappa-Hall said that the program had about 49 regulars (students who attended the program for more than 30 days) as well as 40-60 other students who attended occasionally.

Dare 2 Soar also runs tutoring and mentorship sites at the Community Action Agency of Delaware County (CCDC) and at The Nia Center, which focuses on education, arts, and cultural enrichment. The student group also runs the Saturday Program, which brings Chester students to the college. They have 25-30 tutors signed up this semester.

In terms of beginning a new site at Chester High School, Scappa-Hall is working with the Dare 2 Soar coordinators to, “evaluate where they can best serve [the students].” This may include running after school clubs as well as tutoring. They plan to launch the site in the spring as a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday program.

“Swatties will have an opportunity to sign up and be involved as subject tutors, language tutors, and club leaders,” Mensah and Boateng stated. “There are also leadership opportunities available to Swatties who are interested in being founding and continuing organizers of this brand new site for Dare 2 Soar and the Chester Education Foundation.”

Dare 2 Soar is also working to make the relationship between their group and the Lang Center more explicit and as well as continuing to recognize The Black Cultural Center’s contribution to the program.

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