The Warehouse

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The Problem

While there is a great deal of attention and resources dedicated to out-of-school time programming for children grades K-6, children in upper middle school grades experience a lack of enriching afterschool programming. The State’s Purchase of Care policy provides subsidies directed toward after-school care for families of low- income. These subsidies, however, can only fund programming for children under the age of 12, leaving an entire population of middle school youth without enriching opportunities during a time when they are both vulnerable and in a critical phase of development. Programming that is available, however, is often targeted to support children K-6. As a result, there is a dearth in programming geared toward the specific social, emotional, and developmental needs of middle school youth.

Schools lack the capacity to coordinate programming that meets middle school youths’ needs. Providers are uncoordinated and do not communicate with one another to share resources or insights that could vastly elevate a child’s experience and development during out-of-school time. As a result, middle school youth are left susceptible to risk.

The Solution

First and foremost, the Warehouse is a center designed by teens for teens to enjoy and rely upon for high-quality after-school programming. The Warehouse will provide middle school youth with opportunities to explore their interests, develop a range of skillsets, and depend upon a team of near-peer mentors for support as they grow up.

The Partnership

Through Social Contract’s deep partnership with the Pete DuPont Freedom Foundation’s Reinventing Delaware, Social Contract led The Warehouse group in the establishment of:

1. A regularly convening “Backbone Team”

2. Engagement of National Allies

3. Partner/Teen Alliance through Dual School at The Warehouse

4. The establishment of a foundation for a “Network Effect” – priming the conditions for collaborative governance and shared vision for over 40 teen program providers in Wilmington, Delaware, a city dubbed “Murder Town USA,” in 2016 by USA Today.

In the summer of 2018, Social Contract, in-conjunction with the State of Delaware, helped The Warehouse launch Dual School @ The Warehouse; a pilot project that spawned from the groundwork laid earlier in the year. With a rigorous and comprehensive interview process, we accepted and employed 20 at-risk teens, of over 50 applicants, from the city Wilmington to help bring the Warehouse concept into existence, with the conscious utilizing youth voice. The program focused on teaching professional development skills, youth-agency, and ultimately empowering teens to design and execute self-directed prototypes of the programs they envision for The Warehouse.

“After the Warehouse won the Reinventing Delaware pitch contest, sponsored by the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, we were introduced to Social Contract to help us operationalize our concept by facilitating meetings with our potential partners.

The energy in our first Warehouse network meeting was electric, and the momentum grew so rapidly that we had to seek an alternate facility to accommodate the partner demand. This response led us to approach Capital One with the concept of them donating the Prestige Academy building to us for the Warehouse concept. Needless to say, if it weren’t for Social Contract (and Capital One, of course), we would be in a 100 year old warehouse, instead of a nearly brand new 43,000 square foot facility with more than 60 partners to date.

Social Contract continues to walk this journey hand in hand with us as we revolutionize teen engagement.”

Logan Herring CEO of REACH Riverside

When kids do not have the opportunities to make good choices for themselves, they encounter an impossible problem with no real solution. The Warehouse seeks to change this reality by providing an array of opportunities for youth to make healthy choices through stimulating and enticing after-school programming.

The Impact

After the Warehouse won the Reinventing Delaware pitch contest, sponsored by the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, we were introduced to Social Contract to help us operationalize our concept by facilitating meetings with our potential partners. The energy in our first Warehouse network meeting was electric, and the momentum grew so rapidly that we had to seek an alternate facility to accommodate the partner demand. This response led us to approach Capital One with the concept of them donating the Prestige Academy building to us for the Warehouse concept. Needless to say, if it weren’t for Social Contract (and Capital One, of course), we would be in a 100 year old Warehouse, instead of a nearly brand new 43,000 square foot facility with more than 60 partners, to date. Social Contract continues to walk this journey hand in hand with us as we revolutionize teen engagement.

LET’S MAKE PROGRESS TOGETHER