February 9, 2018, Sofia, TSA:
This week, 35 disadvantaged youth participated in a three day camp at the skirts of the Balkan Mountains in Vratsa. The A Step Toward Success (ASTS) winter camp gathered youth from throughout the country to meet their peers in person and to develop leadership and social skills. The camps aim to foster a community of successful role models and to encourage participants to continuously strive for better academic results.
Prior to the camps, young people have participated in English instruction in their home towns or online. Throughout the next year, ASTS will continue to reach out to 200 disadvantaged youth throughout the country, offering a total of 360 hours of English at the basic user level. Students share that these extracurricular English classes have made them feel much more confident and have even contributed to better performance at school. Vassilen, 14, from the Gotse Delchev town shared that he is happy to have the opportunity to speak in English, the program even provides chances to speak with native speakers, and Evelina, 16, from the Galiche village stated that now she is the best student in her school. As a result of the camp and meeting with role models, Donika from Pazardzhik, who is in her last year of studies, got inspired to apply to a medical university and become a health professional.
ASTS is a nation-wide project implemented by the Trust for Social Achievement in partnership with the“Arete” Youth Foundation, the Fund for Crime Prevention (IGA) and the CORPluS Foundation for Education and Development, with the financial support of the U.S. State Department and the America for Bulgaria Foundation. The program offers English through traditional learning methods as well as through contemporary and innovative educational tools such as distance learning via online virtual classrooms. It aims to encourage democratic and economic development in the country by motivating disadvantaged youth to continue and complete their high school education and improve their job opportunities.