Engaging the community to Save the Children

An eight year investment in the community is underway with the goal of establishing long term early childhood and family support.

The Knox County Public Schools, through Berea College’s Partners for Education, is one of the newest districts to add Save the Children programs and services through a federal grant.

Save the Children’s Sponsorship-funded Basic Education program strengthens the community by providing literacy resources and support with the goal of increasing kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade level reading outcomes. Your involvement can make the difference.

A kick-off meeting was held on September 27, and as Travis Estridge, community engagement specialist for Save the Children points out, the success of students on kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade reading proficiency tests is an indicator of future success.

“These two indicators are important as they give us an idea of how prepared children are to learn and to succeed in school,” explained Estridge.  “We looked at data specific to Knox County that shows 60% of children are not ready to learn upon entering kindergarten and 56% of children are not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade.

The county-wide Community Collaborative provides comprehensive, community-based support for sponsorship program implementation within the school and across the community.

The Community Collaborative is composed of cross-sector representation of the community including business leaders, local community organizations, faith-based partners, higher education, local schools, families, and various community sectors. The Collaborative membership roster expands and evolves as partnerships grow within the community.

Those in attendance at the kick-off meeting understand the importance of continued support to the collaborative and the importance of inviting new members to join.   “Participants signed a pledge to document their commitment to increasing literacy outcomes for children in Knox County,” said Estridge.

One of the first wins for Save the Children in Knox is the distribution of books.  “Save the Child Early Childhood Ambassadors Brandi Mills and Brenda Brison are out in the community providing programming and resources to families with children 3-5 years old,” said Estridge.  Participants discussed ways to get over $1,000 worth of books into the hands of children.

The Community Collaborative focuses on community-wide program action planning and implementation, increasing continuous program improvement, communication and awareness of program benefits and garnering support of the community at large for children’s education and development.

To become involved in the Community Collaborative or to learn more about services that are available to children in Knox County contact Bill Dixon or Brandi Mills, specialists representing Save the Children in the Knox County Public Schools, at (606)546-3157.