From team-building exercises with horses to an engaging drug and alcohol panel discussion with local court officials to a children’s activities fair with the community, it was another busy and productive summer for Bloomsburg University’s TRiO Upward Bound Program. It was also a summer of celebration, marking the 50th anniversary of the federal grant program and its 37th year on campus. Since 1965, Upward Bound has grown from 17 initial programs with 2,061 participants to today featuring 964 funded programs working with more than 80,000 students.
Upward Bound is a national program funded through the Department of Education that more than doubles the chances of first-generation students graduating college. Locally, the BU program serves students from Berwick, Mahony, Milton, Mount Carmel, North Schuylkill, Pottsville, Shamokin and Shikellamy high schools.
The program – with the help of a mentoring and support staff of Bloomsburg University students – provides a wide range of services to prepare its participants to succeed in college. They include weekly tutoring, test preparation, college application and financial aid form assistance, cultural enrichment programs, field trips and a summer academic program.
Among the highlights of the 2014 Summer STEM Academy were:
- a drug and alcohol panel featuring Columbia County Judge Thomas James and other county court officials
- team-building exercises at Willow Creek Farms in Numidia
- a STEM Activities Fair at McBride Memorial Library in Berwick
- a Family Movie fundraiser with the Berwick Theater
- an interactive workshop with The Actor’s Company Theatre
- several site visits and campus tours of universities across the region.