Did you know that locally 84% of the children entering first grade receive free lunches because their family's income is at or near the poverty line? And among those children receiving free lunches, 64% will not be prepared for first grade? They will not know their colors, alphabet or even how to tie their shoes. The current research now shows that the gray matter of these children's brains have been negatively affected by that lifestyle. This starts the children down a path to a fixed mindset of "I can't."They lose self-esteem, give up, and 1 in 4 end up dropping out. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
The Dream Team has a three-step approach to address this issue: 1) mother/caregiver 2) child 3) culture. We also have a five point educational approach to help the mothers grow and succeed. We provide tablets, children's books and developmental resources, and also connect them to a new support network consisting of approximately 60 people to help them and their child succeed. We will also educate the caregivers to make sure that they are on the same page as the mother in raising the child. As for the cultural aspect, we have a process to help restore the values of education and personal responsibility that have been lost in the community of poverty.
One of the first things we are leveraging is the existing law to raise funds for early childhood education. The Louisiana Legislature passed a unique package of tax credits known as the School Readiness Tax Credits where every business can choose to divert the first $5,000 of their state income tax to local childhood education. Here the children would be fed and educated and put on the path of success. If the 10,000 businesses in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish would chose to divert their first $5,000 to Agenda for Children, we would raise $50 million. This would educate every child in the two parishes and start the process of breaking the cycle of poverty!
every child enters school ready to succeed as a result of informed and educated parents that instill school readiness where it starts: the home.
The Dream Team is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty that exists today in our local area.
"INVEST IN THE FUTURE TODAY.
Every $1 invested in early childhood education yields a return to society of more than $16."
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