About the S.T.A.R.S. Program
S.T.A.R.S. Program (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success)
The S.T.A.R.S. (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success) program offers Latino/a/x youth in grades 7th-12th grade the opportunity to explore their long-term career goals through one-on-one academic assistance and exposure to diverse post-secondary educational paths, trades, and careers.
S.T.A.R.S. seeks to create a middle school to college pipeline for underserved and underrepresented Latino/a/x youth through continuous collaboration with their families, school districts, local universities, community organizations, churches, and Marywood University's diverse offices. The goal is to provide a safe haven to facilitate information, resources, skills, awareness, and empowerment to the youth and their families on how to prepare and succeed on reaching their long-term academic/career goals. By becoming a part of the S.T.A.R.S. program, the youth and their families will engage in community and group-based, culturally attuned mentoring activities and experiences that will build individual relationships and a sense of belonging among the Latino/a/x community.
S.T.A.R.S. In the Media:
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: Marywood’s Stars mentoring program
PA Homepage | Aired: 10/06/23
Marywood offers mentoring workshop for students
WBRE/WYOU | Aired: 01/02/23
Beacons of Hope: This episode takes a look at two area organizations, The STARS Program at Marywood University and the Hazleton Integration Project. Two organizations, one goal: serving the underserved.
WVIA Keystone Edition | Aired: 12/05/22
While the STARS Program’s focus is on Latinx youth, the program is open to all students in grades 7 through 12 regardless of race, color, and national and ethnic origin.
Marywood University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Marywood University, founded in 1915 by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, prepares students to have a positive impact on society at regional and global levels while providing each student with the foundation for success in an interdependent world. Marywood University’s mission “roots itself in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the principle of justice, and the belief that education empowers people.”
Hence, Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success (S.T.A.R.S.) is an after school mentoring program that has been developed in collaboration with Marywood University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion to provide academic and social support to the growing Latino/a/x youth and their families in Scranton, PA and its surrounding areas.
By taking pride in the Latino/a/x cultures emphasis on the values of Familism, Respect, and Heritage/Traditions, the program uses a community and collectivism approach to empower the youth and their families to develop skills and increase their self-efficacy on advocating and preparing for their future.
Through various pro-active, university-wide and community partnerships, S.T.A.R.S. seeks to serve as a bridge between the Latino/a/x community and various educational opportunities, to ensure Latino/a/x youth in NEPA learn about diverse career paths through early preparation and academic and social mentoring. This enables this community to make educated and informed decisions on pursuing workforce opportunities in the trades, military, manufacturing, etc and/or to pursue and succeed in higher education.
Therefore, in the summer of 2018 Marywood University was awarded a grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to fund the initiation and first year of the S.T.A.R.S. program. In collaboration with the Scranton School district, St. John Neumann’s Parish, community organizations, and Robert Spitz Foundation, the program took place in the school of St. John Neumann Parish on Orchard St., in Scranton, PA. The space, donated by the church, was chosen based on the results of the survey in which parents indicated that a site in Scranton’s south side would offer easy accessibility and greatly increase the frequency of their children’s participation.
Furthermore, in the spring of 2022, the McGowan Charitable fund awarded a $60,000.00 grant to Marywood University to expand the S.T.A.R.S. program. This grant will allow for more youth and families to be served on a weekly basis, with homework help and mentoring, and will enable new community partnerships to provide as many wrap-around services as needed by the community.
The program will expand to 2 days a week instead of one in the fall of 2022 since it will split the middle school students and high school students to meet separately (Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m.) at Elm Park Methodist Church in downtown Scranton, PA. Likewise, the expansion will allow for more diverse on-site educational experiences, extensive wrap-around services, and an expanded summer camp.
- 5 Ideas to Stay Creative offers different art activities inspired by the Ghetty’s at collection.
- 92nd Street Y moved all their classes and children’s activities online, where you can find fun art projects.
- JourneyMaker is a free tool on the Art Institute of Chicago’s website that allows you to make your own art and create a personalized tour of the museum.
- Kinder Art provides access to different challenging art activities
- 50+ Genius STEM Activities for Kids will stimulate your child’s mind. This includes science, technology, math, and engineering project ideas.
- Chegg Learning: See step-by-step how to solve tough problems. And learn with guided video walkthroughs & practice sets for thousands of problems in the following subjects: computer science, economics, physics, statistics, accounting, and chemistry.
- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology Learning Activities includes exercises like how to make a cloud in a bottle, a Jupiter orbiter, pinhole camera, and a rocket. Lessons for grades K-12.
- PhET (Physics Educational Technology) Simulations creates free interactive math and science simulations.
- Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Resources is designed by Purdue University faculty and teachers, who are engineering design-based activities focused on STEM. For grades 3-6.
- Smithsonian Institution Fun Stuff for Kids Online provides activities on topics such as the distribution of freshwater, disaster detection and preparation, geography and migratory birds.
- STEMWORKS provides several STEM activities, with a step-by-step outline, including: building a galaxy, NASA coding, space math, and more!
- USGS Kids, U.S. Geological Survey contains a curated collection of educational resources across the grade levels from Pre-K through college that is focused on all of the earth sciences including geology, ecology, hydrology, atmospheric sciences, and planetary sciences.
- Welcome to ASCEville: Just for Fun, American Society of Civil Engineers provides games and challenges while children try civil engineering for themselves.
- 25 Ways to Get Kids Writing by Scholastic provides resources on how to get kids writing. Tips and tricks are broken up by age group.
- 25 Activities for Reading and Writing includes tips and tricks on how to read to your child.
- 3P Learning gives you access to worksheets and activities covering math, spelling, literacy, science, and e-safety.
- ABCya offers fun interactive word and math games for kids of all ages.
- AoPS Alcumus gives you free access to worksheets and activities in pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and more.
- Articulation Station is a free app that helps people of all ages learn to pronounce their words more clearly.
- BrainPop has videos and exercises for all middle school subjects
- Calico Spanish helps young children learn Spanish.
- Epic is a digital library that gives you access to over 40,000 books for children under 12. There are audiobooks as well as books that can be read on-screen. The first 30 days are free.
- GeoGebra is a free math app that gives you access to tutorials, activities, and other resources. All math subjects are included.
- History for Kids is a free online network of all things history and offers lessons, worksheets, and quizzes.
- iCulture offers students immersion into Spanish, French, and German-speaking cultures and is free until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Sign up for Khan Academy
Career Aptitude Tests
Post-Secondary/College Education Exploration
The S.T.A.R.S. program is committed to working with community partners (local universities and community organizations) to provide updated community resources, information, and opportunities to the growing Hispanic/Latinx community in NEPA. Community events such as legal clinics and health fair screening clinics, in partnership with various community partners, were coordinated for the broader immigrant community to ensure access to the accurate information and resources.
In the summer of 2023, the S.T.A.R.S. program held two week-long day camps for middle and high school youth. The high school summer camp hosted Sr Cor Immaculatum Heffernan, the founder of Marywood's acclaimed MFA program, to teach students about wood sculpting.
The S.T.A.R.S. program has been a success due to local University students who have committed their time to mentor and empower Latino/a/x youth. Mentoring will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday at Elm Park Methodist Church from 4-5:30 p.m. We will be following Marywood University’s schedule for dates of programing. Whenever Marywood University is closed due to holidays or weather, the S.T.A.R.S. program will also be closed.
If your schedule only allows for you to participate one day a week, that is okay. We only ask that you come on the same day each week, because you will be paired with the same youth throughout the academic semester and/or year in order to develop a trusting relationship and build rapport with the youth. If you, a student mentor volunteer, would like to be part of this wonderful opportunity, please email or call S.T.A.R.S. Program Director, Jenny Gonzalez Monge, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-348-6253 for more information. The college student mentor will complete an application and participate in a S.T.A.R.S. mentor orientation before starting the program. Lastly, before any student can volunteer, they must obtain clearances.
Information about obtaining clearances can be found at the links below: