Students work on a project in a Temple lab
Students learn about chromatography while conducting chemistry experiments in the Temple labs.

As part of Temple University's commitment to serve the local community, the Intergenerational Center (IGC), a long-standing center within the College of Education, continues its efforts to expand programming and increase the impact on the local community and Temple student body alike. The Intergenerational Center, part of the Temple University College of Education, works to strengthen communities by bringing generations together to meet the needs of individuals and families throughout the life cycle.

This summer, through the generous support of Philadelphia Works, Inc., the IGC launched a pilot program called Future Focus. The grant is part of workforce initiative efforts to provide meaningful career exposure and preparation to Philadelphia youth. Although career exposure is an important part of this program, the goal is not simply to help youth find a job. A vital mission of Future Focus is to empower youth in their journey to building a fulfilling future. Developing interpersonal skills and expanding and strengthening social and communal supports is an integral part of this process.

Twenty-eight middle school students from Potter-Thomas Promise Academy participated in a 3 week academic and career readiness summer camp on Temple's main campus. This afforded students the opportunity to experience a college setting, creating a positive imprint early in their academic career. Future Focus students toured the sets of TUTV, worked in Temple chemistry labs, and used design programming through the Makerspace at the Paley Library. During the course of the camp, four Temple students served as mentors to the middle schoolers. This was a dually rewarding relationship, allowing the middle school students to engage in positive role model relationships and affording Temple students a leadership role while giving back to their community.

A critical aspect of Future Focus is the program's dedication to family engagement. Future Focus acknowledges that the student does not make the journey to college and career alone and that engaging family is an integral part of the process. Families and loved ones of the Future Focus students were invited to campus on the last day to help celebrate the success of the students as well as participate in a number of informative workshops. While enjoying music and catered food, participants spoke with Temple University police to learn about the Police Academy and also gained valuable information from the Student Financial Services office regarding college financial options.

Future Focus is a part of the IGC's growing partnership with Potter Thomas Promise Academy, a local public school in the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia. IGC has worked to bolster the services the school offers to meet the needs of their students and families. Potter Thomas served as one of the launch sites for the IGC's Gear Up program and the IGC's Grandma's Kids program which continues to run an out-of-school time program during the school year.