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Give901 Kickstarts Summer of Learning for Memphis Students

COVID-19 caused Memphis students to lose a quarter of the school year in classroom time. Children who are just learning to read, from PreK-third grade, may be the most affected by this loss.

Story Highlights
  • Currently, Give901 is raising funds to supply Summer Learning Kits to over 1,300 children in 9 Memphis schools and education centers.
  • With a quarter of the school year interrupted, Memphis’ education institutions were particularly concerned about their youngest students in Pre-K through third grade who are just learning to read and might get left behind amidst the shift to online learning.
  • “If you are not reading at the third grade level, by the time you're in third grade there's almost a 70% chance that you're going to continue to have lifelong educational setbacks for the rest of your school career. There is also a direct correlation between graduating from high school and reading at a third-grade level, so it's a really crucial time in a child's life.” - Anne Pitts

Two years ago, Give901 was formed to increase corporate involvement in the education sector; however, since then, it has grown into so much more. As a division of local nonprofit, City Leadership, Give901’s primary focus is to support nonprofits that are improving education opportunities for Memphians from under resourced communities.

Give901 currently works with 10 nonprofits that are addressing this need from three perspectives:
1) teacher recruitment
2) innovative schools
3) after school programs.

Nonprofit partners include Memphis Teacher Residency, Teach for America, New Hope Christian Academy, The Collegiate School of Memphis, Soulsville Charter School, Grizzlies Prep, Stax Music Academy, STREETS Ministries, Memphis Athletic Ministries, and Memphis Grizzlies Foundation. Combined, these organizations create a balanced network of community partners who are taking a holistic approach to impacting youth education. Although required to fit within Give901’s designated impact areas, the network is not considered a closed entity, and is open to welcoming additional organizations into the fold.

“It’s a very powerful network because they are all impacting children’s lives in very different ways; but working together allows us to reach each child on every level all the way until they graduate from high school and even beyond. The ultimate goal is that these students take their education and the empowerment they receive and pour it back into the Memphis community” comments Give901 Director, Anne Pitts. The hope is that through Give901’s assistance in raising money and awareness for their partners’ work, not only will they see an increase in new donors, but time will also be freed up for the organizations to concentrate their efforts on fulfilling their respective missions.

Currently, Give901 is raising funds to supply Summer Learning Kits to over 1,300 children in 9 Memphis schools and education centers. This need arose out of conversations between Give901 and schools across the city after they had to close their doors due to COVID-19.

With a quarter of the school year interrupted, Memphis’ education institutions were particularly concerned about their youngest students in Pre-K through third grade who are just learning to read and might get left behind amidst the shift to online learning. This age range is important to note because up until third grade children are learning to read, and after third grade they are reading to learn.

61% percent of Memphis’ students in third grade are not reading at grade level and the statistics do not stop there. “If you are not reading at the third grade level, by the time you’re in third grade there’s almost a 70% chance that you’re going to continue to have lifelong educational setbacks for the rest of your school career. There is also a direct correlation between graduating from high school and reading at a third-grade level, so it’s a really crucial time in a child’s life” remarks Pitts. To combat these statistics, Give901 is filling their Summer Learning Kits with age-appropriate books, printed activity packs and active learning toys.

In order to distribute the learning kits in time for summer and supply all 1,300 children in need, $15,000 must be raised by May 31st. A one-time donation of $25 provides one kit for a child. If you are interested in learning more or donating please go online to give901.org.

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