The goal of Families and Schools Together (FAST) is to empower each child to be successful at home, in school, and in the community.
In many different cultures, in 48 states and 20 countries, FAST has made a difference in the lives of children, families, schools, and communities. The nonprofit organization, Families and Schools Together, Inc. is one of five partners supporting the PhillyFAST-i3 project in 60 Philadelphia elementary schools, 2013-2017.
A research-based program developed by Dr. Lynn McDonald, FAST is an 8-9 week program full of activities that empower parents and children alike. All the activities seem fun on the surface. However, each activity is supported by research and has an important purpose—
- to help children express their feelings and thoughts
- to give parents new tools to build their child’s self-esteem
- to remind children of the value of respecting and serving their parents and guardians
- to give parents and guardians time to interact with other school parents, to share ideas and concerns
- to build bridges between family and school
- to empower children with confidence to make good choices and seek success—at school, in their home, and in the community
A Typical FAST Session
Each 2.5 hour session over the 8-9 weeks includes:
Hour 1: A healthy, free meal, and family activities
Hour 2: Time for parents to meet, apart from their children. During Parents Time, no children or school staff are present. Parents promise to protect each other’s privacy. During this hour, children go to Kids Time, where they enjoy supervised play or school-related activities.
Lottery & Winning as a Family
Every week a family takes home a full basket of items, including games, plus money to supply one meal to the group. (Each family is guaranteed to win once). In this way, families give and receive as members of a healthy community.
Kindergarten–2nd grade families are ALL invited to attend FAST this school year.
Which family members are invited?
ALL of them. All members of your family, living with you, or extended, might attend FAST. Everyone gains from attending this program.
Often, grandparents will bring grandchildren. Single parents and foster parents also attend with their students/children. Each family is unique and special; all are valued and welcomed in FAST. The program is built to be multicultural—to serve all the diverse families that attend Philadelphia schools, including families who speak languages other than English.
How is FAST scheduled?
FAST Program Days are assigned for each school, and FAST sessions are scheduled for 2.5 hours after school. You are invited to attend the program, even if you missed the first week(s). Some programs might be held in the evenings for parents with conflicting work schedules. Parents and guardians who want to attend but are unable—due to work schedules—should let their school’s Turning Points’ Manager know.
Who leads FAST sessions?
A TEAM, which includes:
• Parent FAST graduates
• Teacher or school members
• Recreation coordinators, and
• Community and agency partners
Want to learn more? Check out our Parent Frequently Asked Questions!