Our Youth Academic and Enrichment Programs are designed to provide comprehensive support to children in our community. Through a combination of educational and emotional support with enriching extracurricular activities, we empower them to achieve academic excellence and develop into well-rounded, confident individuals.
After School Program
Belong! runs an academic and social-emotional learning after-school program for elementary and middle school students. Our dedicated staff diligently creates a meaningful, warm, positive, and safe learning environment for students who will benefit from extra support.
Students receive personalized one-on-one mentoring, starting with initial reading and math assessments to identify areas that they need to work on. Mentors guide students through various stages: letter recognition, phonics using the Reading One-to-One and BOB books, or advanced text reading and discussion. Vocabulary and comprehension are enhanced through discussions or reading sessions fostering growth across age groups.
Similarly, in math, mentors target specific skills using assessments and offer a range of tools like games, manipulatives, and worksheets to help students master the skills they are working on in school.
We place a strong emphasis on mentorship, emotional development, and the forging of positive social skills and trusting, caring relationships. We are dedicated to providing a loving environment that empowers students both academically and emotionally. We strive to offer a well-rounded after-school experience that fosters their personal and academic growth, ensuring a nurturing space where they can truly thrive.
Stay tuned for the upcoming fall after-school program registration - opening soon! We will share the specific date of enrollment as soon as it is available.
For quick answers to frequently asked questions, check out our FAQ section here. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to us at 571-325-8689. Your questions are important to us, and we are here to provide the answers you need.
The Reading One-to-One program is an integral part of our after-school classes at Belong. This proven initiative, which uses decodable BOB books and targets different phonics skills, was developed at the University of California. It pairs dedicated volunteers with elementary school students seeking additional reading support. By focusing on phonics, this program empowers kids to master decoding skills, boosting their confidence and transforming them into successful, proficient readers and writers. Join us in shaping a brighter reading future for our youth!
To achieve our mission, Belong! always welcomes volunteers to uplift the children in our after-school program. With increased volunteer support, we can expand our reach and create a positive influence in the lives of a greater number of kids within the community.
Volunteer mentors will work one-on-one with the students on a weekly basis. In addition to providing academic support in math and reading through engaging games, read-alouds, and other fun activities, mentors will play a pivotal role in fostering a nurturing and supportive environment. Volunteer mentors will offer guidance and encouragement to help children learn, grow, and flourish.
We prefer that mentors participate for the entire school year and request a commitment starting from September 2023 at least until the end of January 2024 but ideally through mid-May 2024. This ongoing dedication enables mentors and students to build meaningful, trusting relationships, leading to greater academic and emotional growth.
To facilitate valuable interactions, mentors are expected to dedicate around 2 hours per week - an hour to an hour and a half with the child and thirty to forty-five minutes planning ahead of time.
To ensure mentors are well-prepared and confident in their roles, Belong will provide comprehensive training, engaging activities, and ongoing support and guidance. We want to make sure our mentors feel valued, motivated, and that their experience is both rewarding and fulfilling.
To understand our mentoring volunteer role better, check out the job descriptions for working with elementary students here and middle school students here. Attend one of our orientations to learn more about Belong and how you can help. If you are ready to start making a difference with us, please complete our volunteer application. Do you have questions or are you ready to move forward? Feel free to email email@example.com. We’re here to guide you along every step of the way, ensuring you have all you need for this fulfilling journey.
In January 2023, Belong! started hosting weekly Lego STEM Clubs for K-6th graders at our two tutoring sites. Students work in small groups with Lego mentors and are given a variety of fun and creative Lego challenges that engage them in learning basic concepts of engineering, math, coding, teamwork, and problem-solving.
To learn more about our Lego Mentor opportunities, you can see the full Job Description here.
Book Bounce: English and Early Literacy Program for Children Ages 3-5
Belong has recently partnered with the organization Book Bounce to work with preschool-age Dual Language Learners to strengthen their vocabulary, oral, and listening and comprehension skills before they start Kindergarten. The program works with the parents to give them the resources and training they need to help their children at home. At each session children listen to a story in English, play games, sing and have fun acting out the story. Parents then read the same story to their children in Spanish and take the book home to continue engaging at home. We are excited to help close the literacy gap for children in our community! If you are interested in joining the program or need additional information, please contact 571-325-8689
Summer Academic and Enrichment Program
This past summer, our academic and enrichment program was a source of joy, connection, and support for rising 1st through 7th graders and their families. Belong!'s volunteers provided game-based academic and arts instruction, helping kids enjoy math, science, writing, art, drama, and reading in a fun and creative environment. Special visitors provided opportunities to learn about yoga, soccer, bee keeping, birds and reptiles, service dogs, and more. A major highlight of our program was our field trip to the Museum of Natural History in DC. In our fourth week of programming, we collaborated with Vienna Presbyterian Church (“VPC”) to bring Vacation Bible School to our kids. It was a week of hands-on bible/Christian education mixed with arts and crafts and outdoor activities.
Our team of volunteers worked hard to provide exciting and creative challenges while keeping kids safe. Children had a chance to form new friendships, play, explore new activities, and get ready for the next school year. It was an unforgettable time for both children and volunteers!
Summer Program Volunteers 2023 - We have concluded our activities for this year. Information about our Summer Programming for 2024 will be available in May 2024.
Station Leaders or Group Guides: We need volunteers to lead this year's summer program activities (Science, Math, Storytime, Arts & Crafts, Drama & Music, Recreation) or work as group guides. Click here to see Station Leader volunteer Job Description and here to see Group Guides volunteer job description.
Food Prep and Serving: Volunteers in this role help with prepping and serving food to our students. It is an ideal opportunity for those who can only commit for a couple of hours one or more days.
Enrichment Visitors Needed: We need volunteers with specialized skills and talents to share with our students. You would present a 35-minute talk and activity twice during one day of our program. The skills/talents we are looking for are in any of the following areas:
Animals – volunteers with any sort of knowledge of animals– rescue animals, guide dogs, snakes, wild birds of prey, etc.
International Talents – Teach our campers a song or dance. Help them cook or prepare a unique food. Show them how to make and play an indigenous instrument or create a traditional kind of art.
The Arts – Do you enjoy storytelling? What about teaching a short class on painting, pottery, yarn art, book-making, or origami? We also welcome group art projects such as painting a small mural.
Other projects/areas of expertise you can share with the students:
A quick gardening project
Wind power or solar energy, or another environmental project
An interactive demonstration of how our water, electric, or other system runs
A bike safety demonstration
Cooking – making ice cream or baking bread
Simple science experiments
A project involving sharing or philanthropy
Your own unique idea!
Program Dates and Weekly Themes:
Week 1 - June 26th to 30th - Outer Space
Week 2 - July 5th to 7th - Vacation Bible School*
Week 3 - July 17th to 21st - Oceans
Week 4 - July 24th to 28th - Rainforests
**Week 2 is a Vacation Bible School Christian School in conjunction with Church For All Nations, and Vienna Presbyterian Church.
Location: Church For All Nations, 8526 Amanda Pl, Vienna, VA 22180 (across from Cedar Lane Shopping Center)
Volunteers must be vetted, so sign up early. You can also contact Karen Covell.
See the video below to get a sense of how much fun we had in last year's summer program!!!
Thank You, Church For All Nations
Thank you, Church for All Nations for sharing your facilities and allowing us to run our programs. Our students and staff are grateful to have a safe space where they can learn, play, and enjoy each other’s company.
Belong! offers programs during school holiday breaks to keep students engaged while having lots of fun. It also provides support to parents who cannot take time off of work when children are off from school.
Our students are exposed to a wide range of activities designed to keep them engaged and stimulate their creativity. Students get a chance to go on field trips, participate in STEM activities, arts and crafts, sports, drama, music, and socialize with new and old friends.
During our last Spring Break Program, students were visited by a couple of soft and furry alpacas and the cutest baby goat!
Working to Improve Reading Skills Through University Partnerships
In the midst of the pandemic, Belong! was presented with a unique opportunity to partner with Townson University to offer 13 students virtual reading and writing support. This paved the way to form a great partnership with the George Mason University’s (GMU) Sturtevant Center for Literacy. In the last couple of summers, Belong! and GMU have helped over 25 elementary school students access up to 24 hours of personalized reading support with trainee reading specialists. Each student receives one-on-one specialized instruction that addresses their individual needs.
Belong! is proud to provide effective ways to enhance the academic success of our students.