Education is a fundamental human right. It is the foundation that enables children and adolescents to grow, develop and gain the knowledge, values, and skills to obtain economic independence, play an active role in the communities, and reach their full potential. However, research has shown that students with marginalized backgrounds limit their enthusiasm for school activities more than non-marginalized kids, increasing their levels of school dropouts.
Empowering Strategies That Reduce School Dropouts and Reach Academic Goals
The mission of Communities in Schools of Spokane County is to surround students with a community of support and empower them with strategies to prevent school dropouts. They believe that students cannot meet their academic goals without developing strong social and emotional skills, having their physical and mental health needs met, and feeling safe in a culturally-sensitive environment. To support their empowering strategies, Believe in Me is excited to announce a $16,000 grant award for Communities in Schools of Spokane County to partner with The ZoNE to fulfill their goal of improving the well-being of young people academically, physically, and emotionally.
The ZoNE is a community initiative that builds hope and opportunity through collective action in the neighborhoods of Northeast Spokane. By helping to reduce disparities in health, education, and economic outcomes, they give children, youth, and families opportunities to succeed.
What Is Driving School Dropouts and How Can This Problem be Solved?
The communities within NE Spokane have high rates of marginalized kids, with more single-parent homes than surrounding neighborhoods. Families are struggling to stay employed and support their children. Also, many students are responsible for taking care of their younger siblings while facing food insecurity, trauma, and other challenges that pose barriers to school engagement.
Children who live in poverty and attend quality school programs experience long-lasting primary and secondary positive effects. For example, kids going to school have a place to interact with other kids. They also learn how to follow the rules and be respectful of others. A school is a place where kids can grow physically and emotionally. They can join sports teams or other clubs that help them improve their self-esteem and social skills.
When these kids and young people grow, they will be more likely to hold higher-paying jobs, have better health outcomes, and live longer lives. They will be more likely to participate in their communities and contribute to social cohesion. In addition, educated women are more likely to work outside the home contributing to greater gender equality and increasing their household income.
Staying in school also reduces engagement in criminal activity. Kids who are busy learning and interacting with their friends get involved in positive activities such as volunteering and community service. Findings suggest that staying in school can have a profound impact on the lives of young people and that it should be encouraged.
Providing New Opportunities To Young People
There is hope. Not all students with marginalized backgrounds will drop out! Despite the many challenges they face, youth are incredibly resilient. Regular attendance at school, strong motivation, and an enthusiastic interest in the world around them are all strengths that can help counterbalance the risk of dropping out. Moreover, a constructively educational experience that includes exposure to books, field trips, and interactive discussions with people of different backgrounds and interests can go a long way toward keeping youth engaged in learning. By providing young people with opportunities to explore their world and discover their talents and interests, we can help them develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life.
The Believe in Me grant will also support the acquisition of additional materials like sporting equipment for physical activities, games, puzzles, supplies for academic activities, arts and crafts, cooking class, STEM activities, field trip costs, snacks, and 6-week trauma-informed yoga class for Communities in School of Spokane County’s programs.
Furthermore, the partnership between Communities in Schools and The ZoNE is providing a holistic approach to solving the school dropout problems by providing educational opportunities to families and after-school and summer programs for students at no cost.
Your Support Makes The Difference
Education is often seen as a key to success, and for good reason. By opening doors to opportunities and increasing the available choices, school dropouts can be minimized with an education that helps lead the way to a better life. Communities in Schools of Spokane is an organization that provides invaluable support for kids in our community. Their success depends on the contributions of people who share the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity for education. The funding Believe in Me receives is essential to ensuring that we can continue to support marginalized kids in our communities. We are grateful for the support of those who believe in our mission and contribute to our success. Thank you for your support!