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How Urban University is Making a Difference for Local Middle Schoolers

Just a generation or two ago, family consumer science classes were standard rites of passage for middle school students.

From sewing a pillow to cooking a meal, these projects taught more than just practical skills. Students learned about time management, patience and the feeling of accomplishment. These days, school budget cuts often leave family and consumer science programs on the cutting room floor. Other electives, like art and music, are at risk, too. So what’s a creative kid to do?

Enter Urban University, an 8-week after-school and summer program in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Urban University, run by the Erie City Mission, provides enrichment experiences for urban middle schoolers who might not have the opportunity to take electives during the regular school day or participate in extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. Watch the video to meet a few participants and see what the program is all about and the impact it has made on a few families.

Urban University: A Closer Look

Urban University is not your typical after-school program. With a concentrated emphasis toward mentoring relationships and a goal of developing future leaders, it’s changing young lives one class at a time. 

Through Urban University, middle school students are paired with mentors to take a deep dive into art, academic and career-exploratory experiences.

Course topics include:

  • Fiber art and sewing
  • Culinary arts
  • Photography
  • Sign language and performing arts
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Woodworking

Erie Insurance is helping the program thrive through a grant, one of the many initiatives within our Giving Network. It’s also not unusual to see ERIE employees or local agents volunteering their time to mentor the Urban University students.

Read more stories about ERIE’s social responsibility projects or search #erieforgood for the latest posts wherever you share.

Abby Badach Doyle and Raychel Adiutori contributed to this story.

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