Marywood Making an Impact on the Community with After-School Program

STARS program

Pictured from left: Emily Coleman, Dunmore, academic support specialist for English Language Learners at Marywood University, and STARS program director; and graduate students in the School of Social Work at Marywood University, Michelle Ramirez and Jenny Gonzalez.

A recent grant, funded by The Robert H. Spitz Foundation, is giving Marywood University representatives the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the community. The STARS, Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success, Program, an after-school mentoring/homework help program for students in grades 7-12 has been established in the community.

With the continuous growth of the Latino population in Scranton, Marywood University knew there was a need to build more relationships in the Latino community. A former English as a Second Language teacher in the Scranton School District, Ms. Emily Coleman, academic support specialist for the English Language Learners at Marywood University, and STARS director, has had many interactions with the Latino students and their families.

Through conducting a needs assessment in Spanish with the parents at St. John Neumann Church and the Steamtown Church, Scranton, the idea came together to create a program for secondary age students. Additional support for the STARS program was provided by administrators in the Scranton School District and the Educational Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center.

Marywood students are mentoring the Latino youth to bring more awareness to different degrees and options that exist in higher education by sharing their educational journey and aspirations with the youth in the hope that they can inspire them to start thinking about their futures.

Graduate students in the social work program at Marywood University, Michelle Gonzalez and Michelle Ramirez, have been working with Ms. Coleman to bring the STARS program to fruition. Both Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Coleman have created mentoring themes, ideas for both youth and parent workshops, and help conduct volunteer training with a focus on mentoring and cultural awareness.

There is considerable interest in the STARS Program. Currently the program is able to serve 22 youth with a wait list of 20 additional students. Throughout the academic year, STARS will not only hold parent and youth workshops on topics such as public education and the process of applying to college, but has also formed an advisory board made up of parents and Latino community leaders to keep ongoing conversations about how the STARS program is performing and to make any adjustments to the program to fully serve the Latino population.

For additional information about the STARS Program, visit this website or call (570) 961-4559.

YCMA Offering After School Programs

YMCAA new school year is filled with potential—a chance to start new routines and habits, build new friendships and discover new possibilities and interests. It’s an exciting time for many kids, however—at the end of the school day, 11.3 million kids head to homes where they are unsupervised form 3 to 6 p.m. according to Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness organization.

As children transition from summer to fall, the Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs are proud to offer programs to school-aged children to keep youth active, busy and engaged during out-of-school time. Through a well-rounded approach to youth development, the Ys’ programs offer activities in a caring and safe environment during the critical hours after school. Whether through sports, mentorship, or academic support, the Y nurtures the potential of youth throughout the school year.

“One in five children do not have someone to care for them after school, an essential time to help increase children’s success in school,” said Meghan Carnevale, Senior Director of Mission Advancement & Marketing, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs. “Afterschool at the Y is an opportunity for families to ensure their kids are receiving additional support, continued learning and a chance to participate in meaningful activities that can inspire children’s motivations and abilities to succeed.”

For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s afterschool program, please contact Janine Shaffer, Youth Director, at or visit For more information about the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA’s afterschool program, please contact Jennifer Brennan, Director of Education and Child Care Services, at or visit