Sharing specific stories about how donations translate into tangible benefits for the community we serve is one of the most effective ways of showing our supporters how much we appreciate them, and of encouraging them to keep giving.
Best of the Batch Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of children and families in distressed communities by building character, self-esteem, and appreciation for education. Founded by NFL quarterback Charlie Batch in 1999, Best of the Batch Foundation embodies Charlie's values of dedication, leadership, and trust. Over the years, Charlie has leveraged his status as a Pittsburgh Steeler to attract and engage young people. Every program at Best of the Batch affirms the value of his personal motto--the 5 P's--in all aspects of life: proper preparation prevents poor performance. His passion is to unlock the potential of children and their families by providing resources to educate and empower them to give their best efforts in all they do...to be the best of the batch in life.
BatchPacks for Kids is our back-to-school initiative to prepare the students to begin the school year! Annually, BatchPacks are distributed to 2,500 children in the greater Pittsburgh area. More than 14,000 BatchPacks have been distributed to date! These one-of-a-kind backpacks are filled to the brim with all the school supplies needed for a successful school year. The Foundation also provides teacher bags (valued at $250 each) to give teachers the basic supplies they need for the classroom.
Batch-A-Toys is a significant community program where the Foundation adopts more than 100 Allegheny County families and provides toys and essential household items (dishes, glassware, sheets, pots, etc.). More than 6,000 toys and household products are donated and wrapped by more than 225 volunteers at an annual Wrapping Party at the Clubhouse. The volunteers like the community spirit and togetherness. The Clubhouse becomes a very crowded space for several months as it accommodates presents and elves.
During after-school and out-of-school time, students are given the freedom to explore their interests through on-computer play, art projects, outdoor activities, and STEAM-based lessons. As students come in with homework, or are just looking for a quiet place to read or study, they are directed to our 3rd Floor Study Lounge. In this space, students may also receive tutoring if requested. Additionally, students are welcome to come kick-back and relax by playing Xbox, PS4, or Wii in our Gaming Center.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education provides an avenue for formally teaching the inter-relationships of how subjects relate in real-life. STEAM education can be enjoyable and meaningfully delivered in more engaging and deeply embedding ways within the already well-established realm of education, because it aims to bring functional literacy to all. By providing STEAM clubs and programming, Best of the Best Foundation strives to nurture students' unique skill sets that allow them to learn in alternative ways.
Education and sports go hand in hand. The Foundation teaches life skills and develops future leaders. The Foundation's summer programs work with boys and girls aged 4 to 18. The programs build academic performance, self-confidence, and healthy life styles in our youth. Last year, 52 young people from 13 school districts participated in our Next Level Athletics Track Team. Project C.H.U.C.K., our free summer basketball league, just celebrated its 16th-year last summer and enjoys annual enrollment of more than 250 boys and girls for eight weeks as student athletes.
Girl Talk is a national non-profit program focused on high school girls mentoring middle school girls by building self-esteem, developing leadership skills, and recognizing the value of community service. Girl Talk at Best of the Batch Foundation seeks to support the positive growth and development girls need during the formative middle school years through weekly educational meetings throughout the school year. Starting in 2015, our talented Steel Valley High School mentors adapt lessons provided by Girl Talk nationals to fit the needs, environment, and questions of the Steel Valley Middle School participants they teach. While some lessons are more light-hearted, such as making new friends and the importance of teamwork, other lessons speak on life's more difficult situations, such as racial prejudice, eating disorders, and unhealthy relationships. The root of all our lessons is to provide our middle schoolers correct information, helpful resources, and real advice from high schoolers who have experiences the middle schoolers can relate to.
Over the years, thousands of youth have passed through the doors. Every child has a story. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. The staff knows the majority of the kids by name, which means something to them. The Foundation provides strength to families that need support, provides life skills when they may be missing at home, and often educates parents along the way.
The Foundation is different from many programs in its approach. It is a place of choices and the youth always come first -- no matter what is on the agenda that day. Best of the Batch Foundation knows that a child makes a decision in a split second. It could be the right one or the wrong one, so the moment for that child is now. Through mentoring, the Foundation is breaking cycles and creating new generations of youth who are graduating from school and seeking trades or college.