DiscoveryFEST aims to provide quality afterschool, recess, and summer programs from experienced providers and qualified staff, featuring hands-on activities that build on what students learn in school. We accomplish this by providing youth and their families access to diverse, robust enrichment experiences that youth, themselves, cultivate. DiscoveryFEST is unique as it is not in one specific building or one single program. Rather, it is a network of providers that have made a commitment to introduce students to new worlds of enrichment.
opportunities and results:
- Increased opportunities for physical activity
- Creation of a culture of play within a school setting and in the larger community
- Development of social-emotional skills and resiliency
- Discovery of new ideas and opportunities
- Development of life-long healthy habits
- Encouragement of cultural awareness and critical thinking
- A safe, enriching space for children in the hours when they are most at-risk.
- Engagement of the whole child, including physical activity, social-emotional learning, and health-and-wellness so that all children can explore and develop their own interests.
- Single point of registration for access to multiple, hands-on afterschool activities
New Orleans is known for its celebrated culture, delicious dishes, lush gardens, athletic fandom, and vibrant arts scene. 40% of Louisiana parents state they would send their child to an afterschool program where they would gain these cultural, athletic, creative, and culinary experiences in their youth if one were available. Unfortunately, only 15% of children statewide have that opportunity (After School Alliance, 2015). This statistic outlines a scary reality; that in this day and age, many children simply do not have access to activities such as cooking, physical and performing arts, sports, and many other extracurricular opportunities that encourage New Orleans’s signature culture. DiscoveryFEST aims to provide children with the abilities to discover these domains while also gaining skill and experiences in character education; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); language arts; reading comprehension; and more by offering students and families access to many of these enrichment activities at no cost. Additionally, all students in the DiscoveryFEST program receive a healthy, balanced dinner before the conclusion of the program day. However, DiscoveryFEST does not stop there. Enrichment instructors and staff work with participants over time to help them find additional opportunities and continue on with activities that they enjoy--stimulating a process that hopefully encourages life-long interest and learning.
Finally, FEST also serves as an acronym for our program’s mission: Fostering Enrichment and Student-Driven Thinking. In addition to offering these opportunities, researchers and educators agree that interest and skill breeds greatest when children themselves plant these seeds. DiscoveryFEST hopes to develop this ability to choose and explore interests as well as provide its young participants the opportunities to collaborate and discuss with their peers, utilize conflict resolution skills, foster a sense of personal and community identity, and more, all furthering the development of their social-emotional identities.
DISCOVERYFEST's core values
DiscoveryFEST programming is directly inspired by Louisiana’s many cultural festivals. In New Orleans and its surrounding regions, festivals are multi-day events where people come from all over to experience the food, music, culture, and more of the celebrated entity. At DiscoveryFEST, we hope to cultivate a similar type of atmosphere, an environment where young people take part daily in exciting activities and experiences that celebrate the processes of discovery, curiosity, and imagination. As such, our program's core values also take inspiration from Louisiana festivals as we work to bring play, learning, and discovery to New Orleans youth.