Introducing our first Astronaut! #WishfulWednesday

By LaunchPad

What is the Astronaut Program?
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Two and a half years ago LaunchPad was just an idea that we weren’t sure would actually even work! As it grew we were able to see the potential impact it could have not only on the children and sponsors, but the schools and communities at large!
When it finally began as a project to see if the model worked, we were so giddy with excitement that we let kids go through as many times as they wanted! We thought “Hey, this our goal! We want to expose kids to different activities so let’s not make a limit!” We were accomplishing the mission and the process was working, we could see that!
We found that many of the funds were going to repeat children rather than providing the opportunity for even MORE kids to experience that exposure. We had to make a pivot so that we could scale the program to serve more children that could use our help!
Enter The Astronaut Program!
Who is it for? 
The Astronaut program is the second level of LaunchPad for the children who have already completed three different activities and written their thank you notes! This shows us that they are dedicated and grateful for the scholarships they have already received. Since the Astronaut program is a commitment of one year of uninterrupted participation in an activity they chose to “stick with”, we only take children who have been through our program for the first year as we ask a bit more from them during this second year!
How does it work? 
Astronauts are added to our website, just like every other child with the annotation of “Astronaut program” in the heading.  We ask for a bio and letter about why they are choosing the activity and how they hope to use it in the future. We will add this to our blog to let sponsors read and learn more about this amazing child and their goals! We want to share the transformations of these children with others to show the impact from the child’s perspective!
The child is also required to send in a quarterly update so that we can track their progress. This is to replace the thank you note piece in the first year.
What happens at the end of the second year?
Once a child has completed the second year of the program, we send them a LaunchPad t-shirt and a certificate of completion of all of the activities they have experienced in the program! Our goal is to highlight their achievements rather than the exit from the program. Our sponsors will always have the opportunity to sponsor the child for another year if they are interested!
This is not a long term fix for the children entering our program.  However, with just two years of activities under their belt we believe that this is a great way expose these children to more opportunities. To name just a few, it gives these children the opportunity to tryout for high school teams, boost self-confidence, gain new friends and feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments.