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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Senior Learning & Community Impact Consultant

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Joe Pyle, MA

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Nadia Ward, MEd, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Bridget Talone, MFA
Grants Manager for Learning and Community Impact

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Hitomi Yoshida, MSEd
Graduate Fellow

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Ashley Feuer-Edwards, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Philadelphia City Rowing Mental Check-in

Philadelphia City Rowing

Philadelphia City Rowing Mental Check-in Logo

Program Website
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Target Population:
Children and Adolescents

Program Description

Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR) was founded in 2010. We are a privately funded non- profit organization that empowers urban youth through the sport of rowing. PCR’s programs are offered free of charge to public school students in grades 7-12. By providing nutrition education, mentoring, enrichment, and academic support in conjunction with a highly structured athletic program we can improve the academic achievement, health outcomes, and development of the whole participant-mind-body-spirit. We incorporate all of our different program offerings to suit different ages and levels of experience. Rowing is a demanding sport that requires exceptional discipline, perseverance, and teamwork. PCR works to reinforce these values and to help student-athletes apply them in all aspects of their lives. PCR strives to provide an atmosphere that encourages excellence, teamwork, accountability and sportsmanship. Our multi-faceted programming leverages staff, volunteers, and community partners to provide PCR students with a variety of services and opportunities for growth and development. We recruit at-risk students in order to reach those who have the most to gain from our programming, and to ensure that all of our participants benefit from a team environment that reflects the rich racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Philadelphia.


Research shows that when students’ mental health needs are properly addressed, the likelihood of school success increases. Since PCR strives to promote academic success by providing tutoring and SAT Prep and knowing that the Philadelphia School District is financially strapped, it made sense for PCR to monitor the mood of our participants as well as provide goal setting and various workshops with each participant. Utilizing Team App, we ask all of our participants to complete a weekly Mood Survey. Additionally, PCR was presented with an opportunity to collaborate with Youth Mentoring Partnership (YMP) to work towards more participant interactions, provide social support as well as to promote goal setting utilizing the SMART Goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reaching, Timely). PCR hosts 2-3 staff twice a week that provide our students with interactive and promotes self-esteem through achievement. YMP provides an extra layer of follow up with our participants.


PCR has been highly successful at maintaining a 100% on time graduation rate for our high school participants. We believe this is due to our multi-facet program. PCR incorporates nutrition workshops with academic and behavioral health supports and fitness. Nutrition presenters provide information and support to students on issues such as nutritional eating, body image, and weight management and how all are interrelated to a positive mental attitude. Our program has always been willing to collaborate with other organizations. Utilizing the collaboration with YMP, Drexel Medical School students for nutrition, tutors from Drexel, Temple and UPenn, Up2Us for staff trainings and our own staff, we have been able to implement this program fairly easily. Our staff communicates with our participants and parents through email and Team App in additional to personal interactions. Parents are made aware of our various workshops and we utilize social media to promote our programming.


PCR is committed to continuous evaluation and improvement. Tracking the performance of our participants is important for organizational planning, but also to allow our participants to appreciate their own development. With our recent hiring of a Certified K-12 Guidance Counselor, we have an employee that is dedicated to monitoring this information and will continue to track our metrics. We believe that developing the “whole” participant is integral to fulfilling our mission of reaching and serving the youth who have the most to gain from our program. We believe that we can leverage the organizational experience and outcomes assessments from our first year to access grant funding and private donations to sustain the program in years to come. The nature of PCR will meet the specifications of many youth development grants available through foundations and corporate giving


Most youth development programs aim to promote the “whole” child but do not always include an emphasis on behavioral mental health. By specifically targeting this area, it can raise awareness and create a dialogue for further programming, thus working toward destigmatization of common mental health challenges. Implementing the weekly survey on mood teaches student athletes to build introspection skills about their own mood changes. This in turn promotes program introspection and leads to potential future trainings on topics that arise. An added bonus is the creation of a data base from which to monitor changes. Developing collaborative relationships with other organizations that are also engaged in positive youth development as well as promoting academic achievement will create opportunities to recognize a need for early intervention. There is enough data to validate the connection between academic success and positive mental health.


PCR aims to offer an inclusive program that values diversity. In working to achieve this mission, our anticipated outcomes are: -Training staff to build positive relationships with students in order to increase connectedness. -Training students in conflict resolution, stress management and positive peer interactions -Developing a mental health awareness that allows students to feel comfortable talking with coaches and another staff. -Creating a physical environment that is viewed as safe, comfortable, and appealing to students. -Establishing a data base of survey results and utilizing the data for programmatic changes. The goal is to de-stigmatize mental health by showing the correlation between mental health with physical health.