JLC Cornerstone Project at Reid Park Academy
Throughout its history, the Junior League of Charlotte, Inc. (JLC) has taken opportunities to focus on a specific Cornerstone Project to make a concentrated impact in the local community. The JLC’s Cornerstone initiatives are identified through an application and evaluation process, and ultimately voted upon by the JLC Board of Directors and membership to support. The Cornerstone Project is a commitment the JLC makes of both financial and volunteer resources above and beyond recurring financial and volunteer investments.
In May 2012, the JLC Board of Directors and membership voted to approve the JLC’s current Cornerstone Project at Reid Park Academy: Listen. Learn. Link. This initiative is in strategic alignment with the JLC’s Healthy Family Initiative (formerly the Healthy Child Initiative), which began in June of 2013. The Healthy Family Initiative’s focus centers on the physical, dental and mental health of Charlotte area children with an emphasis on the importance of family decisions and their impact on children.
Why Reid Park Academy: This community is ready for change – ready and willing to invest in the future. Help us support Reid Park Academy and ensure bright, healthy futures for these kids and their families.
- Reid Park Academy is a full service, Pre-K-8, Title One, Community School located on West Tyvola Road. There are eight neighborhoods that feed into Reid Park Academy: Arbor Glen, Boulevard Homes, Capitol Drive, Clanton Park/Roseland, EaglePark, Pinecrest, Ponderosa/Wingate, and Reid Park.
- The Reid Park Academy feeder neighborhoods have a population of 9,436 and median household incomes ranging from $7,460-$29,341.
- Reid Park has a disproportionate number of female headed households with children.
- 49% of residents receive food stamps.
- The underemployment rate is 15%.
- 95% of the 918 students receive free and reduced lunch.
- Reid Park Academy has a 40% mobility rate.
- Currently less than 50% of students at Reid Park Academy are on grade level.
- Metrics of success in Pre-K-8 schools include increased attendance, academic achievement and sense of community.
The Effort: A Child & Family Success Model: Wrap-Around Services, Collaborative System of Care, and Community Programming by Trained Volunteers
The Vision: Provide students and families a cohesive and accessible framework of resources and services in an effort to meet academic, social, emotional, physical and mental needs.
Wrap-Around Services: A pilot initiative was launched in February 2011 by a collaboration between Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Mecklenburg County and The Larry King Center, a division of Council for Children’s Rights, to build a wrap-around Community School Model to serve the most vulnerable students at Reid Park Academy, a Pre-K-8 school. The wrap-around services model follows a System of Care philosophy, involving collaboration across agencies, families, and youth to improve access and expand the array of coordinated community-based services and support for children and families. The Larry King Center, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools worked with Reid Park Academy and local non-profit agencies to develop planning teams called Child and Family Teams, based on the Cincinnati STRIVE model. The focus areas are: early childhood, parent involvement, health and mental health, and social services. The Reid Park Academy was born from this pilot initiative.
Collaborative System of Care: From this initiative, several lead agencies have agreed to provide family case management:
- Communities in Schools
- Mélange Health Solutions
- Charlotte Housing Authority
- Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services – Community Services Division
- Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services – Youth and Family Services
The Lead Agencies will work collaboratively with each other, support providers, school staff, and families to develop individualized, comprehensive plans for each child.
In all, 20-30 agencies and groups have committed to participate in the System of Care framework of support focused around four key areas – human and social services, physical and mental health, family involvement, and early childhood education.
Impacts of the Collaborative System of Care model will be evaluated by an external evaluation team utilizing key metrics and outcome measures revolving around attendance, behavior and academic performance.
Community Programming by Trained Volunteers: The JLC is excited to be involved directly with Reid Park Academy by contributing programming activities carried out by our trained volunteers. The JLC has already incorporated several volunteer placements into Reid Park Academy activities, including bringing Kids in the Kitchen and JLC Puppets to the students and their families. The JLC will incorporate more current programs into the community in 2013 and also launch new volunteer placements specific to the wants and needs of the Reid Park Academy families. Results including contributions from the JLC’s trained volunteers already include:
- The JLC breaking ground on the JLC Community Garden (August 2012)
- Building of Reid Park Academy’s first playground thanks to KaBOOM!, Foresters, Habitat Charlotte, UNCC, and many additional community partners (October 2012)
- JLC participating in Reid Park Academy Family Nights (2012 ongoing)
JLC’s Commitment: A $1 million investment in Reid Park Academy
Financial Commitment: Our goal is to raise $500,000 in funds for the JLC Cornerstone Project. Pledges will be solicited from June 2013-May 2014 and the collection period will run from January 2014 – December 2016. Funds raised will provide:
- A Community School Coordinator to lead the Community Support Model to deliver wrap-around services that serve the most vulnerable students and their families at Reid Park Academy, enabling all service providers to collaborate in addressing all of the issues facing the child and building a comprehensive plan to ensure future academic and personal success. This position will be housed on the Reid Park Academy campus so that the students, their families and the entire community will have access to this important individual.
- A Volunteer Coordinator to maximize delivery and synchronization of volunteer time investments at Reid Park Academy. Volunteer opportunities include literacy initiatives, parent involvement, health outreach, community programming, and early childhood development. This position will also be housed on the Reid Park Academy campus.
- Outside project evaluation of key metrics by an external evaluation team.
- JLC programming contributions to Reid Park Academy. Current programs include Kids in the Kitchen, Go! Kids! Go!, and JLC Puppets. Additional programs and projects will commence in 2013 and will include Big Shots Saturdays, Family HealthLink, Girl Scouts, Second Harvest, and more.
Volunteer Commitment: The JLC has committed $500,000 of volunteer time by JLC members over a five-year period, June 2013-May 2018, as valued by IRS guidelines. This equates to a minimum of 114 volunteers giving at least 40 hours of their time every year for five years to the JLC Cornerstone Project at Reid Park Academy and its associated initiatives.
How You Can Help: Our fundraising campaign for the JLC Cornerstone Project at Reid Park Academy has officially begun! Your help today will enable to Junior League of Charlotte to make a lasting impact in the lives of the students and families at Reid Park Academy. If you would like to learn more, please contact the JLC Development Office at 704-790-6533.
Reid Park News:
- May 2012 JLC General Membership Meeting Presentation
- October 2012 JLC General Membership Meeting Presentation
Previous JLC Cornerstone Initiatives:
- Levine Children’s Hospital Family Resource Center
- Double Oaks Family Resource Center
- Charlotte Speech & Hearing Center
- Historic Rosedale Plantation
- The Newcomb-Berryhill House
- The Duke Mansion
- Discovery Place
- Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
- Charlotte Nature Museum