The name gives insight into what this day is all about for the youth in our tutoring program. Popcorn, pizza, a special birthday celebration is just a few of the enjoyable activities associated with “Fun Friday”. Although “Fun Friday” is about having fun, it’s also about modifying behaviors and replicating those successes by rewarding youth for a job well done. Learning can be fun and the goal with Fun Friday is to remind children to have fun.
We also hope to change behaviors by training youth to process information differently. Targeted behaviors include starting on time; staying on task; completing assignments, improving listening skills and overall attitude adjustments. Youth receive monetary rewards for their successes in these areas in the form of Bonus Bucks dollars.
These dollars are accumulated over a designated period of time and on Fun Friday children are prompted to go through a mock banking system and complete specific tasks, including paying bills, saving and tithing a portion of their earnings to learn simple money management skills All of these activities must be completed prior to being invited to spend monies in the “Bonus Bucks Store”. Although most children are invited to Fun Friday, which takes place on a designated day each month, only children who successfully improve grades, social skills and attendance are invited to buy items from the Bonus Bucks Store.
Our goal is to help our children succeed in life and we believe rewards can actually change behavior for the better. By rewarding behaviors associated with academic and social successes, we reinforce the value of improving these behaviors and help children set achievable goals that empower them to succeed.
Fun Friday is also used to teach children the concept of serving others. We will randomly pick that day to have our youth clean areas in our fellowship hall, clean at someone’s home or get involved in a community service project to remind them how rewarding and fun it can be to give back without getting any tangible return on that investment of time and effort. Through this encounter, youth begin to realize the positive feelings associated with helping others. By teaching the value of making sacrifices, youth will begin to model that behavior in other areas of their lives as well.