The Success Through Academic and Recreational Support (STARS) Program is the brainchild of former mayor Wilbur C. Smith III. The program was initiated to help the youth of the City of Fort Myers realize that their future need not be bleak and to help them set and obtain goals.
Through the STARS Program, our youth achieve alternatives to drugs, crime, illiteracy and poverty through activities such as sports, music, dance, arts and the academics.
The mayor created a partnership between the HUD, the City of Fort Myers, Fort Myers Housing Authority, Lee County School Board, Youth Partner Organizations and the corporate sector. All these groups have a common denominator: STARS.
Who Are the STARS
This innovate program is proving to be invaluable in helping our at-risk youth in the City of Fort Myers. These children are:
- Youths 6 - 14 years of age who either attend city schools or who live in our at-risk areas
- Children with little or no parental guidance
- Children who live in poverty in crime ridden neighborhoods, who are raised in poverty, and see a bleak future, with no way out
- The youth who seek acceptance on the street because that is where they can be "somebody"
Who Can Become a STAR
Students between the ages of 6 - 14 who have been identified as being at-risk can become STARS. The students and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign a performance contract agreeing the child will:
- Attend school regularly
- Display exemplary behavior in school and in the chosen activity
- Seriously commit to increasing his/her academic achievement
- Achieve and maintain a C average or agree to be tutored after school
- Participate fully in his/her chosen activity
- Maintain and support lifestyle without drug, alcohol and substance abuse
Importance of the Program
The children at-risk in our city are faced with situations that can be detrimental to their development into productive adults. Unless they are given positive, goal-oriented, adult guidance, they will be faced with obstacles such as drugs, child abuse, poverty and crime. All these factors contribute to the high dropout rates among our children at-risk.Programs have been designed to break this cycle and channel these youth into the mainstream of our society.