Building Educated Leaders for Life, or BELL, operates in 11 cities. The average American student loses one month of math and reading skills per summer, according to a 2011 study by the RAND Corporation and for low-income the study finds skills are set back two months.
Participating students can get up to 8 hours assistance, 5 days a week for up to six weeks. Students also participate in music, art and science activities and receive breakfast and lunch.
The program was born in the 1990’s out of a discovery by black and Latino Harvard law students volunteering to mentor teenagers at public schools. They learned their students could read at only a second-grade level. As a result several volunteers led by Earl Martin Phalen and Andrew L. Carter, created BELL in 1992. The program has a waiting list of 3,000 students.
They are opening a new location in Dayton, Ohio and expanding as quickly as they can. They also plan a pre-kindergarten program. According to Tiffany Cooper Gueye, leader of BELL, in Boston, “They come back as graduates of high school and as college students and serve as tutors for the next generation of BELL scholars.”
For program evaluation reports, to volunteer, donate or sponsor a scholarship visit http://www.experiencebell.org