The KISR! Program is a collaborative initiative between Cincinnati Public Schools, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Hamilton County Job and Family Services and Activities Beyond The Classroom. The goal of the program is to create equitable opportunities for children in foster care to participate in after school and extracurricular activities. At ABC, we realized that children who are in the foster care system face additional challenges that make it more difficult for them to enroll and remain enrolled in such activities. Some of these challenges include lack of transportation, caregiver turnover and less previous exposure to athletic programs.
Through the KISR! Program caregivers are encouraged to get the youngsters involved in a variety of activities. These activities include team sports, afterschool clubs and other activities such as overnight camps, sports camps, gymnastics, swimming, horseback riding, tutoring and much more.
Kyle Vismara, KISR! Enrichment Coordinator, works with the school athletic director, KISR! Liaison and individual caregivers to ensure that students who are in the foster care system have the same opportunities as their classmates. Furthermore, he meets monthly with the Education Specialist and Caseworkers assigned to each student by Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services to provide updates on student involvement, including current enrollment and potential enrollment opportunities that he is working to fulfill.
Caregivers such as Tracey Porter, are excited to have the young people in their care be afforded the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. “Every time I reach out to [Kyle], he responds very quickly. I will be enrolling my foster child in karate this September. KISR has been great!!!”
KISR! works to transcend barriers that typically exist between child welfare and educational systems and boosts education outcomes for KISR! students through:
• Increased school stability
• Improved coordination among systems
• Improved direct communication about individual students
• Reduced disruptions and removals from school for discipline or other reasons
Kyle and the team at ABC are working to ensure that additional resources are provided at each school in an effort to help create a support system for the young people involved in the KISR! Program. At any given time KISR! supports between 300-400 CPS students, “We’d like to increase the number of students supported by KISR! as well as increase the amount of support each child receives,” said Sally Grimes, Development Director of Activities Beyond The Classroom. “If you would like to help us reach our goals, please consider making a donation to ABC today!”
If you are a caregiver living in Hamilton County, Ohio with youngsters who attend Cincinnati Public Schools and would like more information about the KISR! program, contact Kyle Vismara at email@example.com. To receive updates on the KISR! program, sign up for the KISR! newsletter.