Founded and directed by Dr. John Begeny (developer of the HELPS Programs), the purpose of The Helps Education Fund non-profit organization is to improve educational outcomes for children—nationally and internationally—through research, service, and collaborative partnerships among universities, K-12 schools, community agencies, and/or community members (e.g., parents of K-12 children). In particular, the mission of this organization is supported by (a) developing and/or disseminating effective educational practices and resources that will improve learning outcomes for children, (b) helping to merge research and educational practice, and (c) promoting educational equity.
Given the purpose of The Helps Education Fund, one if the earliest projects of this organization was to systematically develop, evaluate, and disseminate a reading program that is feasible and effective for educators to use, and addresses a critical need in schools—that is, to improve students’ reading fluency. After four initial years of collaborative partnerships with schools and community members, the HELPS One-on-One reading fluency program was finalized, along with the materials needed for implementation (e.g., the Teacher’s Manual, HELPS Curriculum), training (the 90-minute training video), and dissemination (e.g., this website).
Today, the HELPS Programs continue to be supported by The Helps Education Fund non-profit organization, and the HELPS One-on-One Program Teacher's Manual describes why the HELPS Program materials are offered to teachers for free. Those interested should read Chapter 8 of the Teacher's Manual to better understanding the socio-cultural and scientific reasons behind making the HELPS Program available for free. The information from that chapter also reflects some key reasons for founding and sustaining The Helps Education Fund.
For information about other educational projects, services, and materials sponsored by The Helps Education Fund, please read the final section of this webpage.
How The Helps Education Fund supports HELPS Programs
As noted previously, The Helps Education Fund is the non-profit organization that, as one of its services, supports teachers' free access (through this website) to all HELPS Program materials (e.g., Teacher's Manuals, the HELPS Curricula, HELPS Program Training Videos). However, there are other ways that the Fund supports teachers’ use of and access to HELPS. Listed below are the ways that the Fund is currently supporting HELPS Programs. For information about other educational projects, services, and materials sponsored by The Helps Education Fund, please read the final section of this webpage.
1. The Fund assists with developing and disseminating each HELPS Program, including the program for small groups, the program for Spanish speakers, and the program for parents to use at home.
2. The Fund financially supports this website so that all educators, nationally and internationally, can access HELPS materials.
3. The Fund offers free HELPS Program workshops and consultative services to schools and organizations, with priority given to schools that serve a large percentage of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or schools that serve a large percentage of students who do not meet state standards in reading.
4. The Fund offers free HELPS Program sets of materials (which are shipped directly to schools, rather than having the school print and assemble materials from this website). The material donations from the Fund gives priority to schools that serve a large percentage of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or schools that serve a large percentage of students who do not meet state standards in reading.
Click here to learn more about how to receive donated educational materials and services related to HELPS Programs.
How The Helps Education Fund is Financially Supported
Currently, the goals of The Helps Education Fund are financially supported in three ways. First, rather than downloading the HELPS Program materials for free from this website, teachers or schools can opt to purchase a set of pre-assembled, professionally developed HELPS Program materials (for only $55 per set). Second, if there is any income resulting from schools or organizations that sponsor a HELPS Program workshop (i.e., money accrued beyond the presenter’s travel costs), 100% of this money goes to the Fund. Third, individuals or organizations can make tax-deductable donations directly to the Fund, of which, 100% of the donation goes to supporting the goals of the Fund.
The goals of The Helps Education Fund are also heavily supported by volunteers. For example, as executive director and founder of The Helps Education Fund, Dr. Begeny directs and provides ongoing services for this organization on a completely volunteer basis, and therefore makes no personal income through The Helps Education Fund. The Helps Education Fund is also supported by hundreds of community volunteers, including teachers and university students.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with The Helps Education Fund and/or financially supporting this organization, please contact us. Volunteers and donors are welcome both nationally and internationally, and we always welcome such support so that together we can achieve the educational mission of this non-profit organization.
How Money in The Helps Education Fund is Used
Of the combined proceeds from purchased HELPS materials, money generated from HELPS workshops, and direct donations to The Helps Education Fund, 100% of this money is allocated to support educators and educational organizations, such as K-12 schools. Given its mission to promote educational equity, The Helps Education Fund specifically prioritizes some of its funding, such as through material and service donations, to support schools that serve a large percentage of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or schools that serve a large percentage of students who do not meet state educational standards.
Summary of Projects and Services Sponsored by The Helps Education Fund
Although The Helps Education Fund is a relatively young organization, the Fund continues to grow and aims to offer substantial support to the many hard-working and dedicated educators that are committed to improving individuals’ lives and the communities they live in. In doing so, the goal of the Fund is to offer research-based materials and support to educators for free or at very low costs (i.e., costs that are well below typical costs for such educational materials and services). Thus far, the following projects are developed or in development, and we have started several additional projects that will be available in the coming years.
Current and Past Projects
1. Development and dissemination of the HELPS One-on-One reading fluency program.
2. Development and dissemination of the HELPS Program for Small Groups (HELPS-SG).
3. Development and dissemination of the HELPS Program for Spanish speakers, titled Leamos para Avanzar.
4. Development and dissemination of a HELPS Program that can be used by parents in the home.
5. Development of the Systems-Oriented Plan for Academic Achievement (SOPAA), a model of academic support (described within a low-cost book) that can be used to effectively and efficiently improve how educators assist struggling learners in reading, math, and writing.
6. Development and dissemination of Project SPARK (Supporting Parental Activities for Reading with Kids), a web-based platform for offering parents dozens of evidence-based instructional strategies that can be feasibly used in the home to improve children’s reading development. As described on the Project SPARK website, there are many ways that SPARK also assist teachers.
Materials and Services Offered
1. All instructional and training materials from the four different HELPS Programs, which is offered through this website and through donations from The Helps Education Fund.
2. Free or low-cost HELPS Program Workshops for schools, districts, and educational organizations, as well as for parents.
3. The Project SPARK website and related free services offered through SPARK (see #6 above for a brief description of Project SPARK).
4. Free or low-cost workshops for parents to use the instructional strategies featured as part of Project SPARK.
5. Free on-line consultation for educators and schools that use the SOPAA model to assist struggling learners in reading, math, and writing (see #5 above for a brief description of the SOPAA model).
6. Free or low-cost on-site consultation in schools to assist educators with using the SOPAA model.