CORE PROGRAM COMPONENTS
Elm City Internationals is designed to give its participants the confidence, academic support, and personal support needed to be successful students and ultimately graduate from college. The 8 main components of our program are: soccer, academic and personal mentoring, academic tutoring, an enriching reading and writing curriculum, community service, college counseling, access to college scholarships, and lastly, guidance throughout college.
Soccer is considered the international sport and the majority of the boys in ECI have been enjoying soccer since they were very young children in their home countries. All of the boys who participate in ECI thrive on the soccer field and as a result gain confidence as a team and individuals. Since the ECI coaches also act as teachers and academic mentors, the confidence gained on the soccer field then easily translates to the classroom.
ECI students tend to appreciate all the opportunities that have been given to them and therefore also like to give back to the community. All of our students are encouraged to volunteer. Their favorite service activity is coaching soccer to younger kids in the New Haven community. The community service component of ECI not only benefits the community but also gives our students a sense of confidence and can often be used to help them network and explore career opportunities.
ECI works hard to ensure that all of its students are prepared academically and athletically for college but the reality is that many students still face financial challenges that can make it difficult to attend college. Therefore, ECI helps students seek out private scholarships for college. ECI has helped students receive both full academic and athletic scholarships and many have been awarded partial scholarships. In order to make sure that 100% of ECI students are able to attend college, ECI initiated its own scholarship fund, the Elm City International Scholarship Fund (“ECISF”). ECISF is designed to fill in any gaps necessary to students in our program to ensure that they can all attend college.
It is only natural that the boys bond with their coaches due to their shared love and interest in soccer. Therefore, the ECI soccer coaches make successful “head mentors” for the boys. In addition to the head mentors, the boys are individually paired with mentors whom they meet with one-on-one. The mentors provide the boys with adults whom they can trust and relate to. The mentors can help guide the students with personal and academic matters and ultimately help guide the boys through the college counseling process.
READING & WRITING ENRICHMENT
ECI acknowledges the importance of being adept readers and writers. Not only are reading and writing the basis of all academic subjects but research has shown that writing skills are the number one indicator of college success. Due to the fact that English is a second language for many ECI students, the majority of ECI students come into our program multiple years below grade level in both reading and writing. Therefore, ECI is in the process of creating a rigorous reading and writing program that first makes sure that students understand the basic semantics of the English language and then exposes them to many genres of literature and encourages analytical conversations and essays. The goal of our reading and writing program is to ensure that students develop the knowledge, skills, and curiosity to be successful in the college classroom and beyond.
All of the ECI students are first-generation college students. Therefore, families are going through the college process for the first time. ECI offers its students academic and personal guidance throughout college to ensure that they have they can navigate the system and graduate from college.
ECI expects academic excellence from all of its students; however, we understand that all of our students have various academic needs. ECI provides the boys with mandatory group homework time (on the days of soccer practices) which is led by the coaches but also has additional tutors present so that the students can have one-on-one assistance if needed. In addition to mandatory group tutoring sessions, students can sign up for one-on-one tutoring throughout the week as needed. Tutors and students can work around their schedules and choose the time most convenient to meet.
From the day a student enters ECI the focus is to prepare them for college by providing them with academic, athletic, and social support. They are reminded that all of the choices they currently are making as a student, athlete, and community member will not only reflect who they are as an individual but also as a college applicant. ECI team members are brought into an environment where early on they view themselves and teammates as future college students. When a student enters 10th grade, ECI begins to formalize the college application and recruitment process. Coaches and mentors begin to work with students to see what types of colleges could be good fits and then begin to reach out to college soccer coaches and admissions offices to find schools that are interested in particular students. During junior and senior years, mentors work on college essays and college applications with students, take students on college visits, and continue to act as liaisons between college soccer coaches, admissions offices, and students.