As summer nears its end, I ask you to remember the children of Epworth as they anticipate the start of school. The Epworth academic program is committed to serving every child who comes to Epworth. In the last year, that meant enrolling 181 children in school, providing them with the clothes and materials needed to be prepared and confident in the classroom, and then supporting them throughout the year.
Providing academic support to children who have experienced abuse, neglect and loss is a not a “one-size-fits-all” task. It takes a daily commitment to give each child the individualized support he or she needs. Support for children like Alisha, Eddie and Anthony.*
Alisha arrived at Epworth last fall as a 14 year old performing significantly behind her peers developmentally and academically. Though she was in the 8th grade, she was reading on a 1st grade level. Epworth met with her teachers, helped develop a specialized learning plan for her at school, and reinforced it with afterschool tutoring at Epworth’s Barnes Learning Center. While she still has a long way to go, she will enter high school this year with improved literacy skills and on a path to graduation.
Eddie is a 10 year boy who came to Epworth last year because his family was homeless. While he and his mother lived out of a truck, school was not a priority. As he settled in at Epworth it was evident that Eddie was very bright, though his grades did not show it. Through therapy sessions with his counselor, continued visits with his mother who worked to rebuild her life, and daily encouragement in the cottage, Eddie began to turn things around. By the end of the year he was on the honor roll.
Anthony is entering his high school senior year. When he first arrived at Epworth, he was 14 years old and so delayed developmentally after years of abuse that he could not tie his own shoes. Today, after years of hard work, Anthony is on the path to graduate. This summer he is studying for his SAT/ACT exams and is planning to go to college next fall. This young man now has a new hobby—creative writing—and the opportunity of a lifetime.
These are just three of the ways the academic program at Epworth is transforming lives and creating a culture of success for our residents. Last year that culture of success meant 57% of residents improved their reading and/or math skills by one or more grade levels in less than one year’s time, over 50% made honor roll, and a 100% graduated from high school.
As we begin a new school year we invite you to consider continuing your support for the care of children at Epworth by making a financial contribution to this life-changing ministry. Your gift will enable Epworth to help children like Alisha, Eddie, and Anthony break the cycle of abuse, neglect and shame, and achieve the academic success required to live a life of self respect, responsibility and productivity.
John Holler, President
*Resident names and photos changed to protect their identities