Many of the Central Florida area schools, (primarily the elementary schools) have students who live in poverty or who are homeless with their siblings and family. When families struggle, the children suffer. Their suffering extends from home front into the classrooms leading to poor attendance, being unprepared for class and overall feeling disconnected from a world that promises endless opportunities. A Grateful Mind is proud to announce their partnership with United Way, as their collaboration will create an even greater impact to bridge the gap between communities & schools. The program is entitled "Leading the Way: Interfaith School Turnaround Project". The Interfaith School Turnaround Project (IFSTP) is a special initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which seeks to engage faith-based and community organizations in support of Title I public schools.
The Heart of Florida United Way was selected to lead this program in the local community because of its commitment to improve public education and increase high-school graduation rates. Locally, the program is supporting Memorial Middle School and its feeder schools: Catalina, Richmond Heights and Palmetto elementary schools. Other partners include the City of Orlando, University of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools.
The Interfaith School Turnaround Project's Goal is to:
1. Boost school attendance and reduce chronic tardiness/absenteeism by implementing innovative programs and incentives.
2. Decrease negative student behavior, in part, through the use of mentors who coach at-risk students and encourage success, achievement and good behavior.
3. Improve academic performance through the use of volunteer tutors and remedial help provided through quality after-school, weekend and summer programs.
4. Increase access to post-secondary education by encouraging students to set educational goals, consider career choices, and become informed about scholarships, financial aid and other tools.
"Relationships are building blocks to success. With kids, productive community 'relationships' encourage them to work hard with a positive goal in mind" said Founder & Executive Director, Cindy Rand. The organization just completed a 'Community-Connect Project' enhancing the 'Field Day' activities with their Adopt-A-School recipient Rock Lake Elementary; therefore the partnership with Heart of Florida United Way could not have come at a better time considering the positive impact their 'Community Connect Project' left on the faculty, students and parents of Rock Lake Elementary. "In addition to the other programs we offer for the homeless & impoverished, we will just have to work harder to duplicate our efforts for the additional school we assist in the IFSTP Program; and pray that we have enough to resources to reach each child we interact with. We are excited! - but nervous at the same time due to our lack of funding streams," said Rand.
A Grateful Mind Community Outreach Services' mission is to provide immediate humanitarian relief to individuals and families who are experiencing a crisis; while providing them access to educational resources that will empower them to move beyond their crisis. The agency plans to jump start their efforts by hosting: "Creating Great Minds School Supply Drive" starting in June to collect school supplies, backpacks and more to help these young minds thrive while studying.
You can help make a difference in the lives of these children, as well. To offer your support of these efforts consider engaging your Colleagues, Church, or Social Group in a School Supply Collection Drive - or- if you don't have the time coordinate a drive and still want to help please make a Tax Deductible Donation (of any size) to A Grateful Mind International on their website at: http://www.AGratefulMind.org.