The United way, the Pittsburgh Youth Futures Commission, schools, businesses and police departments partnered today to launch the "Caught Being Good" program to promote academic achievement especially in disadvantaged communities. The pilot programs started today in Pittsburgh's Homewood and Hill District neighborhoods and will begin in Northview Heights October 30th and Braddock November 11.
Project Director Laurie Moser says leading up to this program that talked with kids over the course of the past year and the students told them they wanted "a few kind words and encouragement" and "were sick of the put-downs."
Moser says the program targets Pre-K to 5th graders and the students will sign a pledge to "get caught being good." The program will recognize their efforts such as perfect attendance, punctuality, homework completion and academic improvement. They will receive points that can be redeemed for event tickets, video rentals and other prizes.
Moser says they want to counteract the "anti-achievement culture that pervades disadvantaged communities" so that the distractions of the middle school years such as drugs and gangs are less attractive.
Moser says they will be going door to door to engage parents, neighbors and businesses so that when they see a child wearing a Caught Being Good button, they spend a few minutes with them and encourage them.