American Educational System
The American Educational System is a great one. Unfortunately, it is rolled out at the social and economic level of the community it serves. The barriers and circumstances of those living in poverty negatively burden this otherwise good system. What would it take to make the system equitable for all children? That is a question I have asked myself daily since 1999, after witnessing firsthand the struggles and extreme suffering of people living in the city of Detroit.
At first, we responded to the needs we saw, trying to help the best we could by providing donations and enrichment programs. The first steps allowed us to walk alongside and bear witness to the extreme suffering of children in our community and to encounter illiteracy, one of the biggest obstacles we need to overcome.
Although our work has been focused in the city of Detroit, this problem plagues our nation. I have often said, “When speaking of the magnitude of those needing help, it will take all of us and then some”. Fortunately, the American people have a heart for this work. As we come together to meet the needs of those struggling in our own communities, it will empower all of us.
When we open our eyes and fully take in the struggles children and families living in vulnerable communities face, bearing witness to their pain, the healing begins. Acknowledging someone else’s suffering validates his or her own existence, letting them know that they matter. Although the need is great, the solution is simple; open our eyes and our hearts to the value of every person, including the weak and vulnerable, and respectfully find a way to work together to lift them up. As we embrace LIFE, Literacy Is For Everyone, it will change everything. This has been the journey of Beyond Basics. As we partnered with principals and teachers in schools, we discovered students could not read. By helping children see their own value, we invest in their future and offer hope. Today we have a proven method for achieving reading success and grade level movement for students in grades PreK -12. Our hope is to bring literacy to everyone. We offer hope to young people and their families who are under resourced, helpless, and directly affected by poverty.