ACSF and United Way of Asheville-Buncombe County have been partnering together for over 12 years to deliver transformational opportunities for the students and educators in Asheville City Schools. As an early adopter of the United 4 Youth Partnership Agreement, ACSF is committed to the work of making sure all of our students graduate from high school ready to pursue their
United Way was among In Real Life After-School’s first supporters in 2012. In Real Life serves as a 4th pillar to the UW Community Schools model at Asheville Middle School - providing extended day activities emphasizing real-world learning and problem-solving. IRL has transformed the ways in which our community’s youth and families are served after school. IRL is an intentionally inclusive program that serves young teens, ages 11-14, of all abilities, ethnicities, and backgrounds in Asheville City middle schools. We know that excellent after-school programming is beneficial for all children, but to make this programming accessible, we address barriers by waiving enrollment fees, providing transportation home after programming, and providing snacks both before and after programming.
While all students enrolled in IRL work on increasing social-emotional competencies, we place a special emphasis on our students who need the most support. IRL utilizes United Way’s Early Warning Response System (EWRS) to inform recruitment efforts and evaluate IRL’s impact upon school-day attendance and behavior. Our Student Advocacy team emphasizes relationship-building which contributes to improvements in attendance and behavior, as measured by United Way’s Early Warning Response System, providing a foundation for academic growth. Throughout the pandemic, IRL enrollment prioritized students with financial need through school administration and social worker referrals. With United Way’s partnership, IRL has now served over 2,300 unduplicated students and counting.
IRL is committed to providing healthy snacks each day for all students in programming. IRL is seeking healthy snack packs for the remainder of the school year and for our summer pop-up experiences. Each day of programming, Monday-Thursday, IRL serves approximately 40-50 students. Non-perishable snacks are needed and greatly appreciated. For more information, and to provide snack packs for local students, visit our Hands on Asheville-Buncombe volunteer center.
Student Connection to Summer Adventure
This summer, our students have called upon us to provide opportunities to explore their city and engage in adventures which encourage them to live a curious life. If you or someone you know has access to unique opportunities such as hiking with llamas or making glass sculptures and art, please contact IRL’s Program Director, Gregory Hall II at firstname.lastname@example.org.