Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT)

NGO Spreads Stories of Student Transformation with Tech Donation

If you were a black male living in Richmond, Virginia, you would have a 50 percent chance of graduating from high school. In an area like Richmond, where dropout rates are high and graduation rates low, many students don't see bright futures for themselves. But one NGO, Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT), is working to change that. In 2002 CHAT founder Percy Strickland and his wife Angie opened up their home to provide homework help after local youth expressed a need for such support. CHAT pairs each student aged 4 to 18 with a tutor for an entire school year. CHAT provides tutors with a comprehensive literacy program that is designed to get each child to or above grade level in reading. CHAT has grown from one tutoring site to seven and has provided one-to-one help for 450 students since 2008.

In addition to tutoring services CHAT also offers a Tiny Tykes program for preschoolers, summer day camps, and a private intervention high school for students who did not succeed in traditional educational environments.

In order to sustain this growth, CHAT needed to find an engaging way to connect with more parents, donors, and other community members. With a donation of Adobe Creative Suite via TechSoup, CHAT was able to create video testimonials that let the youth do the talking. "To tell someone's story is one thing. To hear someone tell their ownstory is another," explained Paul Granger, Director of work groups at CHAT. In these videos, one can hear the excitement in the students' voices and see their faces light up. This meaningful glimpse into the organization's successes helps assure parents and prospective donors that CHAT has a positive impact.

With the help of these videos, CHAT was able to raise a total $380,679 from local community members in 2013 alone. With these funds and tech tools on hand, CHAT now has its sights set on serving the greater Richmond community.