In school, having another student explain difficult concepts is usually a more effective than having a teacher explain, because although a teacher may be more knowledgeable, they cannot explain the topic from the unique level and perspective that a student can. We understand this intrinsic concept and have incorporated it into the core of our SMOA operation.
A teacher in school has many demands, naturally. In addition to meeting national and state educational requirements, there is also the small matter of ensuring that some amount of knowledge transfer takes place in a critical mass of students in each class and issuing grades. Add to this the school schedule and various other demands, and the student-teacher interface becomes quite challenging. These factors, combined with less than ideal home environments can lead to student confusion. hampered learning and poor performance. Naturally, this breeds further disengagement from academic progress. Think back to how explaining a concept to a friend was and is so much easier than asking the time stressed teacher for help.
SMOA uses the Youth-to-Youth (YtY) paradigm as the basis for all SMOA activities. It's easier, and student-proven (ask any student, ever) for youth to teach & share other youth-centric topics & activities. Transmitting information via the Youth lens is instantly kinetic.
"True" as viewed by SMOA
By virtue of being youths, we automatically know what other youth are going through, whether its learning math, writing an essay, doing a social studies project, learning ecology, improving basketball skills, coding, or doing hands-on-science. We know what it means to save some money for a pair of shoes, or a bike, and also, to get sick.
SMOA feels that, 'True' means that our Youth are in charge of recognizing the areas wherein underserved youth need help, planning the service event from engaging supportive adults & having them coordinate with responsible adults caring for underserved youth, developing service materials to include assessment tools, setting the delivery environment, coordinating transportation, securing the local SMOA team, engaging with youth in need, assessing their learning, and then communicating the lessons learned to both the responsible adults as well as the supportive adults and the larger stakeholder community.
This has little in common with efforts wherein a larger adult structure has set the direction, programmatically, and youth typically, follow along. Learning may or may not be assessed, and the relevancy to the instant circumstance is not often considered.