This is our list of frequently asked questions. If you have a question that you'd like answered, just shoot us an email or pick up the phone and give us a call.
How old do students have to be to get into the program?
Students are recruited around 9 or 10 years old. There are several reasons for this including making language acquisition much easier; it also allows for us to help the children transition through adolsence in a safer environment than they'd most likely have back home.
What kind of contact do they have with their families back home?
The kids are encourage to keep in contact with home. Most families either visit internet cafes or friend's homes to borrow internet so they can Skype with their kids here in America. We want the families to be very involved. We find that the parents want to make sure their children are doing their part and reinforce and request that we have. Parents will often sign up for Facebook too so they can view photos, etc.
What are the criteria for acceptance into the program?
We use several metrics to measure a child’s emotional and intellectual potential. We want bright students with a high functioning social skills. Families are interviewed to make sure they will be supportive of their children and understand what is happening. Teachers are also interviewed to gauge a student's potential as a student in our program. All students must demonstrate financial need.
How long is the program?
We are fully involved with the students through high school, including helping with college financial aid applications.
What happens to the students after high school?
Gleb and Max our first student to be living this phase and we are in touch often. They call on us for advice like other kids would call their parents. We don't replace their parents, but there are also certain parts of American life that their folks just haven't experienced. Gleb and Max return home (to us) for the holidays, if for no other reason than to thaw out! Beyond college, Gleb and Max are a part of our family and will forever be so. We hope to watch them pay forward (or back to RenProject.org) the kindness and generosity that was showered upon him so he too can change a child's life.
What happens when a student has disciplinary issues?
This is tough. We are well aware that we do not recruit angels, but real human kids. The reality is that the kids in our program must be "better" than most others. Any behavior that jeopardizes their scholarship at Academy could jeopardize their stay in America. Children who demonstrate chronic poor choices, or defiance that exceeds the normal "attitude" associated with teenagers could find himself on a plane home. We will not tolerate one bad apple jeopardizing the opportunity of a life time for a whole group of kids.
Do they have to speak English?
Nope. We place them in a classroom and watch the magic occur. With no language instruction most are "fluent" by the end of the first year (with a limited vocabulary) and completely fluent (speaking wise) by the end of year two.