TAP In Expansion

TAP In Leadership Academy, one of Mix IT Up’s community partner organizations, recently received exciting news in the form of a $1.35 million grant. The three-year grant from the Illinois State Board of Education will allow TAP In to provide its youth-empowering enrichment programs to hundreds of middle-schoolers and high-schoolers at three sites.

The grant was written by Sally Carter, the founder and executive director of the program, and Shameem Rakha, a PhD candidate in the College of Education who has worked extensively with TAP In through the Youth Community Informatics Project at GSLIS. Most of the visible changes arising from the grant will take place in January; TAP In is currently establishing the administrative groundwork to enact these changes while still providing an excellent after-school program at Edison Middle School.

TAP In began two years ago as a summer program at the McKinley Foundation, across the street from GSLIS. Though the program has already gone through a number of different forms — TAP In has already created after-school enrichment programs at McKinley and Edison as well as the McKinley summer program — its model, rooted in cultural understanding, service learning, and one-on-one student-tutor relationships, has remained constant.

Though the grant will allow TAP In to pay for several staff members to assist with administering the three sites, TAP In will remain a volunteer-centered program. Sally is looking for staff members with a volunteer mindset — people whose commitment to the program is based on a strong belief in the program’s goals. Furthermore, to continue to provide one-on-one tutoring for all of its students, Sally estimates that the program will need at least 300 new volunteer tutor/mentors. This is truly an exciting time for Mix IT Up to partner with TAP In, as Mix IT Up students are afforded an on-the-ground perspective on these massive organizational changes.


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