Loaves and Fishes was founded in 1982 by Betty Anne Ford and Nancy Newell as a summer enrichment program for twelve 1st & 2nd grade children living in the Halifax Court federal housing community in downtown Raleigh, N.C. As the children began to make gains in reading and social skills, expansion funds were sought to make possible a year-round program that would enhance the children’s performance in the school classroom. The LAF staff believed that working closely with school personnel and providing daily, holistic support during the year would maximize the children’s chances for success.
Betty Anne and Nancy won a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and expanded Loaves and Fishes into a year-round comprehensive intervention program for grades K-2. They officially incorporated Loaves and Fishes as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1984.
As the original 12 children moved past 2nd grade and out of the program, their school performance dropped. They needed and wanted ongoing support! They were then matched with an adult friend to provide support. Over time, financial support grew until daily programs were in place for children as they progressed from kindergarten through high school. The “match” programs, which brought children and mentors together on a regular basis, were called Study Buddies (grades 3-5), Champs (grades 6-8) and Stars (grades 9-12).
The After-School program takes place Monday through Thursday except when school is closed. During the after-school program, students receive:
Academic assistance - includes assessment, remediation, help with homework, tutoring, and access to computers
Social skills training
School supplies and backpacks
Transportation service from school on LAF mini buses
Opportunities for physical exercise and active games
Opportunities to explore special interests
Experiential learning opportunities
Opportunities for career exploration
Opportunities for spiritual development
Family Support Services
Each month we gather to support Loaves and Fishes families. Family Nights are held monthly to celebrate parents' and guardians' commitment to the children's success and to equip them with informational tools for a safe and healthy home life. After the meal, the adults attend a presentation or workshop on a topic that is critical to their children's well-being with topics ranging from effective budgeting to credit usage to gang prevention while the children are involved in fun activities that are also teaching them life skills.
Family Support Also Includes:
Family Christmas Party
Budgeting and Goal Setting
Advocacy and Referrals
End-of-year Family Celebration – “Celebranza"
Arrangements for summer programs, camps, and classes
Help with college applications
Senior class expenses
We also have Youth Social Groups led by Classroom Facilitators who meet once a month for each grade. They get together for outings and life skills activities. They help LAF staff to develop long-term relationships with the children that will help support them through their journey.