Fight for Life Foundation, a nonprofit that helps underserved youth develop by providing social-emotional learning programs, has been awarded a $200,000 Elevation Grant.
The Elevation Grant Program is a partnership between the Indianapolis Foundation, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City-County Council. Its goal is to decrease crime and increase opportunity.
Funds from the grant will support organizational growth and schools’ access to technology.
“Everything we’re able to do through Fight for Life and Building Dreams is because of community partnerships and a shared understanding that various solutions are needed in order to support students and families, as well as address underlying issues,” said former Indianapolis Colts Marlin Jackson, Fight for Life Founder and CEO.
“The Fight for Life Foundation is proud to be one of many solutions being supported to provide prevention and early intervention methods for youth who are in need of guidance.”
Fight for your Life Foundation Building Dreams
The foundation created the Building Dreams platform.
It is a software packed full of features based off education models that are commonly used: MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports), SEL (social-emotional learning), and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports).
“Through a student-centered approach, we use a proven process to build stronger classrooms and create healthier schools. This is an aspect of mental health care and us acknowledging the zones of stress. I know firsthand how hard it can be when you enter school with stress and personal trauma,” Jackson said.
“Students are facing all types of adversity, and sometimes those things can affect their focus and behavior in school.”
Currently, over 6,000 Indianapolis youth are using the Fight for Life Building Dreams program/platform across seventeen sites.
Some schools are directly using the software modules to combat bullying, provide students with mechanisms to anonymously report (or self-report) safety issues, understand the needs of their students, teach critical social-emotional learning competencies and more.
Elevation Grant Program
There is also a unique communication portal similar to social media. Students can safely interact with each other and communicate with school leaders.
Each school that licenses Building Dreams has the autonomy to customize the way it is implemented. This is to best fit the needs of a school’s culture and climate.
“One of our PBIS tools includes the ability for teachers and students to document and reinforce positive behavior through a gamified system,” said Anna Sutter, the foundation’s director of program management.
“By using football terms like ‘First Downs’ and ‘Extra Points,’ students are able to get excited about participating in prosocial and safe interactions with their peers and teachers at school.”
Funds used from the Elevation Grant will support Building Dreams technology development. This can include the creation of new behavior tracking modules, and organizational growth, including the hiring of an implementation specialist.
Once hired, an implementation specialist will further help schools expand their access to the software.
This person will provide proper integration into the organization’s existing systems and may train employees. They will also support efforts to ensure Building Dreams is meeting the needs of those using the software.
To learn more about Fight for Life Foundation and its Building Dreams app, visit FightForLifeFoundation.org.