INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.



 

Joel NewtonJoel Newton is the Executive Director of the Edgewater Collective. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at edgewatercollective.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
Currently, the biggest challenge in the Edgewater area resides in our schools. Nine in 10 students in our neighborhood schools are struggling against the roadblocks of poverty. Without placing the blame, we are building partnerships to make sure that every child in our zip code has a chance to succeed from cradle to career.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Our mission is cultivating partnerships to foster thriving Edgewater schools.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Through the great work of our community partners, we have seen student achievement in our area increase. Targeted programs to increase 3rd grade reading scores and college/career readiness have been implemented in the area. The graduation rate at Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School has increased from 64.4% to 80% this past spring. Gains are being made and it will take collective hard work to continue this forward progress for kids.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Personally, I am inspired by the teachers and school staff who work hard each day to see students learn and grow. I am inspired by parents who work multiple jobs to help their children have a better life. I am inspired by students who are pushing hard against the roadblocks of poverty to succeed.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Our big dream is that our local schools would one day thrive. Thriving schools are places where students are given the opportunity to succeed. Thriving schools are places where students growing up in poverty can push through and succeed academically.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Thriving Edgewater schools would take collective hard work and targeted resources. Resources like funds for programs that are proven to help students succeed academically. Resources like volunteers who are willing to read one on one with elementary students. Resources like adults who are willing to mentor high school students in career building programs.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
The biggest challenge in our area is the lack of affordable housing. This adds stress for our families as they have a hard time finding a safe place for their family to live. Families are having to move out of the area and enroll their children elsewhere.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Listen well. Listen to those who you are serving alongside. Listen to your community.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
We are always looking to connect volunteers with our local schools for a variety of different roles and time commitments.

 


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