Kiawah Cares Annual Report 2015-17 - Page 7

FOCUS ON EDUCATION Kiawah Cares is firmly committed to the role that education plays in improving the lives of our neighbors. Since 2015, education support has been guided into two important categories: literacy and student support services. Literacy is arguably the most important skill a student can possess. Illiteracy is both a cause and consequence of poverty, and children on the Sea Islands suffer disproportionately. In recognition of this issue, literacy has been a primary focus for Kiawah Cares. In the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel shooting in 2015, members rallied to support the families affected by this tragic event. 2015-16 literacy support included a substantial gift to the Reverend Pinckney Scholarship Fund. Through 2016’s Kiawah Giving Month, members funded the groundbreaking Angel Oak Elementary School Summer Reading and Math Program. This program fought summer learning loss in students, enabling them to stay on-track for the following school year. Begin With Books (BWB) fills an important niche in the fight for literacy, reaching children before they enter school. This is crucial, as research shows that disparities between higher- and lower-income children become evident as early as 18 months. With support from Kiawah Cares, BWB mails age-appropriate reading material to all eligible Sea Island children, from birth to age 5. Reading Partners is one of Kiawah’s Cares’ most popular partnerships, enabling members to connect with students on a one-on-one basis. 86% of students in Sea Island schools read below grade level, but our co mmitted Reading Partners help teach a child how to read in as little as one hour a week – unlocking a skill that is the foundation for all future learning and success. Student Support Services encompasses ancillary learning needs, from uniforms to direct support of Kiawah Women’s Foundation’s Backpack Buddies program. These services ensure that children can focus on learning. Kiawah Cares works directly with partner programs and schools to provide this support. Communities In Schools (CIS) was one of two recipients of 2017’s Kiawah Giving Month fundraiser. The student support program addresses behavioral, developmental and emotional risk factors that influence a child’s academic success. The program boasts incredible results, with 98% of case-managed at-risk students graduating or being promoted on time. Kiawah Island Women’s Foundation (KWF) - A 100% volunteer organization, with funds dedicated to projects that provide food for hungry children. KWF’s primary outreach program is a weekend food program called Backpack Buddies, which helps meet the needs of children who may otherwise lack access to adequate nutrition.