TEEN SUCCESS AT AFH
Just as AFH supports teens in their creative pursuits, we also strive to support each participant as they grow, learn, and pursue their goals. To support continued growth and self-sufficiency, AFH has a dedicated team providing multi-tier support to participants through academic tutoring, college readiness initiatives, creative portfolio reviews, and scholarship support.
To equip participants with college readiness, Artists For Humanity offers no-cost SAT Prep, Resume and College Essay workshops, and College Information sessions. Off-site, teens are invited to participate in campus visits to nearby colleges and universities. Many of these same institutions — such as Lesley University and Massachusetts College of Art and Design — also offer creative portfolio reviews to AFH participants, in which teens can gain insight as to what art schools seek in prospective teens.
Name: Lesley Kantlehner
Position: Education Director
1. How does after-school tutoring support AFH's mission?
Our goal at AFH is to support teens in their personal growth and in achieving their goals. Some teens require additional academic support in order to achieve their goals for high school graduation, college admittance, or simply to raise their GPA.
As needed, AFH provides teens with individualized, one-on-one tutoring to help them develop basic and advanced comprehension in core subjects, succeed in tests, and improve grades. Part of our mission is educational enrichment that supports and encourages high school graduation and post-secondary education.
2. What subjects is tutoring offered in?
Right now, we're offering support in TOEFL, Writing, Algebra, Calculus, Pre-Calc, and Physics. In the past, we've offered tutoring in Chemistry, Geometry, German, and more. Tutoring is provided on an as-needed basis. Currently, we're seeking Latin tutors!
3. How long has SAT Prep been hosted by Artists For Humanity?
For several years, SAT Prep was informally offered by request and when a tutor was available. Since we have had a AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow, we’ve been able to offer SAT as a formal tutoring session once per week with several committed volunteers.
4. Tell us about the College Essay and Resume workshops at AFH.
Seniors participate in a learning session about the College Essay, which focuses on either the traditional personal statement or the artist statement. Seniors respond to a prompt and then work with volunteer tutors on their essay: brainstorming, outlining, or revising what they have already written. During the Resume workshop, participants learn the basics of a resume which, in AFH’s case, includes an Exhibitions section. After the short learning session, participants are invited to work with volunteer tutors on their resume - whether starting from scratch or revising what they already have.
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9. What is the role of the AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow at AFH?
AFH partners with Massachusetts Promise Fellowship at Northeastern University to support our educational offerings. The AmeriCorps Promise Fellows’ projects at AFH help us monitor each participant’s academic progress at school and facilitate tutoring sessions four times a week, in order to help teens in their pursuit to graduate high school and matriculate to college or transition to vocational work. This project aligns directly with MPF’s goals around academic engagement and high school completion.
10. If you could offer one piece of advice to high school aged teens, what would it be?
First, I would suggest that juniors get started early! While it is so hard to fathom doing “school” work over the summer, getting as much done before you start senior year is completely worth it. If you need to take the SAT again in the fall, it can be really overwhelming to have so much to do - your essay, applications, senior year course load, and studying for the SAT.
Also, visit as many colleges as you can, as early as you can. Visiting colleges, even if they are not ones you plan to apply to, will help you figure out what you like and don’t like in a college and the campus. Plus, experiencing a college in person can be dramatically different than hearing about it from others or seeing pictures online.
Artists For Humanity (AFH)'s mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design.
Here, we sit down with Education Director Lesley Kantlehner to dig into the nuts and bolts of Education initiatives at AFH.
5. What is the biggest challenge participants face when it comes to the resume?
I have found that participants need the most support in figuring out what should be included in their resume. They often omit very important elements because they had not realized these elements would be useful to include on the resume. We discuss this and volunteers are prepped to focus on this specific challenge.
6. College visits sound fun! What do those entail?
They are one of my favorite parts of my job because I get to learn so much about the individual teens that come with us on those trips! The informal time spent with the teens is invaluable. During Boston Public School breaks and non-federal holidays, AFH takes participants on trips to nearby colleges and universities. Campuses we've toured in the past include Maine College of Art (MECA), Montserrat College of Art, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), Lesley University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Framingham State University, Fitchburg State University, and Bridgewater State University.
If there are AFH alumni attending the school, we connect them with our teens. Alumni will often give us a personalized tour of the campus and tell us about their experience.
7. Why are College Information sessions important?
Because College Information sessions take place at AFH, teens have the chance to connect with college representatives and ask questions in a familiar setting. Some teens might not have availability in their schedules to physically visit the schools they are interested in, so this gives them key insight as to course offerings and financial aid options without the commute.
8. How do Creative Portfolio reviews at AFH work?
By request, our Photography Studio photographs artwork by teens for their creative portfolios. Additionally, we invite representatives from various art and design schools—such as MECA, Montserrat, MassArt, and Lesley University—to conduct portfolio reviews with our seniors. These critiques provide valuable insight into what art and design schools are looking for in portfolios from prospective students.
Studio: Graphic Design
School: Massachusetts College of Art
"Before tutoring, I had a resistance towards math because I didn't understand how it would help me in the ‘real’ world. When my tutor helped me see the numbers in context, and how they apply to real life, suddenly the equations made sense. My math grade shot from an F to a C, and eventually, I earned an A- in that class!"