Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stepping Stones

"Every day she was in the program, coming back [home] she would say, 'Oh, Mama, I'm learning this and I'm learning that,' and she was very excited..."
-Mother of a young participant in Stepping Stones, a program of the East Durham Children's Initiative

This article from the Durham News brings another bright spot from Y.E. Smith Elementary, this about the impact of a summer learning program on one little girl. The article discusses the work of the East Durham Children's Initiative and is well worth a read. A few things that jump out at me:

  • The 120 block area of East Durham has some of the city's highest rates of crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and child neglect, and some of the lowest levels of school achievement
  • EDCI Executive Director David Reese commented that these community challenges leave kids without the same supports that higher wealth students might enter school with. So EDCI's goal is to "Create the same opportunity for low-wealth kids that high-wealth kids have."
  • And it goes far beyond preparing for standardized tests. Reese says they're preparing kids to thrive in a global economy.
  • EDCI draws on several existing nonprofits, public agencies and programs and works within schools that already have their doors open.
  • And they work on building relationships between teachers, social workers and parents.
  • So a lot of EDCI's work is about creating synergy among resources that already exist. Improving communication, working together.
That's exactly the kind of thing I want BIKE NC to support. MORE investment in education for sure. We can't keep cutting dollars. Teachers need to be paid and school buildings maintained. But we also need to make a BETTER investment. Look at what we have and how to make it work better, by making a COMMUNITY investment in education.

Please click the "Donate!" button if you think EDCI's work is worthy and promising. Programs like this need your support. And I need your support to put a strong message behind BIKE NC: We believe every kid deserves an equal chance to succeed in school. Thank you!

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