Imagine being invisible—not the superhero kind of invisible but the bad-dream kind. That’s life for some kids along the Main Line, and they can easily get lost in the shuffle.
But they’re not invisible to Wayne’s Tom Colman. He and other local residents formed the Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown to fund programs that give students the attention they need to succeed. “I’ve talked about what FLITE does, and I’ve heard folks say, ‘What disadvantaged children?’” says Colman. “All public school districts are under increasing budget pressure and need some additional support from the community.”
In four years, the volunteer-based organization has helped about 300 kids get over personal hurdles, whether financial, environmental or emotional. Of FLITE’s 14 programs, the most popular is the after-school homework club in seven of the schools—and transportation home is a real expense. “The school district doesn’t provide buses because of the cost,” says Colman. “It’s funny how a bus ride makes a lot of things possible for a kid.”
Other programs include summer reading enrichment, musical instrument rentals and college prep workshops. “While we don’t know who the students are, we do get a report of their grade progress,” says Colman. “We see changes in attitude, performance and achievement.”
Funding mostly comes from generous individuals inspired by FLITE’s annual letter-writing campaign or its Staff Tribute Program, where parents donate in honor of teachers, bus drivers and so on. And Conestoga Alumni Supporting Excellence has donated the proceeds of its fall golf outing every year so far.
To learn more, visit flite-pa.org.