GOLD2023

Open Connections Inc

Freedom to Learn and Create

Newtown Sq, PA   |  www.openconnections.org

Mission

At Open Connections we empower people to create the life they want, full of purpose and fulfillment. We do this by offering programs that nurture Intrapersonal (I), Interpersonal (We), and Impersonal (It) skills through a variety of activities. When people leave Open Connections we hope that they are knowledgeable and and confident in who they are; able to communicate their needs and wishes, and hear the needs and wishes of others, in a respectful and effective way; and prepared to tackle life’s challenges and opportunities using both creative and critical thinking.

Ruling year info

2022

Principal Officer

Rick Sleutaris

Main address

1616 Delchester Rd

Newtown Sq, PA 19073 USA

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EIN

23-2069406

NTEE code info

(Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions) (B21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Open Program

The Open Program (OP) starts with the belief that people are natural learners. In this program youth drive their own learning. They are given a great deal of FREEDOM in how, and with whom, they spend their day. These days can also be a youth’s first experience with INDEPENDENCE and the facilitators support each young person as they navigate this new experience. Because we recognize the richness and value that VERTICAL AGE GROUPS provide, this program spans multiple years and youth are typically enrolled for several years, giving them the opportunities to be inspired by older youth and be a leader to younger youth.

The OP provides each youth EXPOSURE to a variety of materials, tools & activities. The OP experience affords youth both the time and the space to be tinkerers, explorers, friends, creators, collaborators, and problem solvers, while simultaneously offering outlets to further develop their intellectual curiosity and social interactions in a warm, safe, pro-social environment.

Population(s) Served

Group I is a one or two day program that may be best described as a transition program – a hybrid of the Open Program and the traditional Group Programs. It offers a mix of play-based self-directed learning, and structured facilitator-initiated activities.

Activities are planned with an emphasis on helping youth develop intrapersonal, interpersonal, and impersonal skills including: self-regulation skills, collaboration skills, creative expression, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and further nurturing and deepening youth's understanding of OC core values and philosophy. Group I takes advantage of OC’s resources including the Art Studio, Woodshop, kitchens, and campus.

Activities and projects can vary from year to year with one exception – the Comprehensive Project. All youth will have the opportunity to work on this project, a self-directed research project, in which they select, research, develop, and share their learning about a topic of their choice.

Population(s) Served

Group II is a two day program meeting on Tuesday and Thursday. Group II’s hands-on, project-based activities keep in mind that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” In addition to exposing youth to a variety of materials, tools, and ideas, Group II activities are also geared toward developing each youth’s intrapersonal (knowing yourself), interpersonal (communication and collaboration), and impersonal skills (problem solving, critical thinking). While the day’s activities are mostly facilitator-initiated with youth input, the flow of the Group II day also allows for flexibility to spend additional time on topics as desired. Some projects and topics will be one-time events while others will continue for multiple weeks. Group II makes broad use of OC’s resources including the Art Studio, Woodshop, Multimedia Room, and campus. Activities and projects can vary from year to year with one exception – Group II offers Comprehensive Projects on both days.

Population(s) Served

Group III is a two-day program, supporting pre-teens in their personal and social development through activities and experiences that allow for pursuing youth-driven interests as well as exposure to new ideas and content. Multiple areas of study are explored in a variety of approaches, providing opportunities for growth in self awareness and self knowledge, as well as in the communication and collaboration skills needed to work effectively with others. Whether engaging with language arts, social studies, visual/performing art, health and wellness, logic/math, science or technology-there are opportunities for independent and/or group engagement with content that is accessible and relevant to the youth and utilizes the resources we have available in the Makerspace, Multimedia Room, Woodshop, kitchens, Art Studio, and the campus. Some projects will be one-time events while others will continue for a number of weeks, allowing for deeper investigation and the valuable iterative process.

Population(s) Served

Group IV is a two-day program, meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, designed to support and develop a broad range of skills in teens ages 13-15. This program offers a combination of facilitator-initiated, youth-led, and self-directed activities that encompass the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and impersonal realms of knowledge. An emphasis is placed on supporting strengths and providing opportunities for further development in areas such as executive functioning, communication (oral and written), critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving, with the goal of providing teens the tools necessary to personally incorporate OC values and philosophy into their lives as they develop into autonomous young adults. Special attention is given to the unique social/emotional needs of this age group as they work to develop a healthy and stable sense of self and increase their level of confidence in their ability to understand and assume greater ownership of their education and life choices.

Population(s) Served

Shaping Your Life (SYL) is a two-day program that aims to provide a fulfilling, enriching and dynamic educational experience for teens ages 15-18. This final stage of the OC journey exposes older teens to a wide variety of content areas and skill sets that are critical to their becoming thoughtful, vital and engaged participants in society, while encouraging each group member to more fully define, explore, and take charge of their own alternative educational paths.

The SYL program is designed to mindfully combine group collaborations with independent study in an inclusive, facilitator-supported environment that strives to place learning in a meaningful context for young people and allows for maximum initiative, ownership and autonomy of group members. Unlike the younger Group programs that utilize parents as gatekeepers, we invite the teens in SYL to display a high degree of self-reliance and personal responsibility through direct contact with facilitators around program parameters.

Population(s) Served

The Choice Program meets on Wednesdays and provides youth an opportunity to spend significant time DIVING DEEP into topics mostly of THEIR CHOICE. Twice a year youth provide feedback on the offerings that they would like to explore and every effort is made to schedule topics that honor each youth’s interests. Regardless of the topics chosen, each youth will have ample opportunities to develop their intrapersonal (knowing yourself), interpersonal (communication and collaboration), and impersonal skills (problem solving, critical thinking).

The Choice Program day itself consists of a morning topic and an afternoon topic separated by time to eat lunch, socialize, enjoy the outdoors, and play a game or two. Two topic areas are explored every eight weeks and typically utilize a variety of campus resources including the Makerspace, Multimedia Room, Woodshop, kitchens, Art Studio, and our 28-acre grounds. By the end of the year youth will have explored eight different offerings.

Population(s) Served
Children
Children
Children
Children
Children
Adolescents
Children
Adolescents
Children
Adolescents

Where we work

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

Open Connections Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Open Connections Inc

Board of directors
as of 01/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jennifer Pohlhaus

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data