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Our Academic Achievement Partnerships
When 9-year-old Mason Gilbert leaves Lincoln Elementary School at the end of the day, his mom, Jacqueline Hunter, knows that while she’s at work, he is going to a safe, enriching environment: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque.
“I can’t imagine what his out-of-school time would be like if he didn’t go to the Club every day,” says Jacqueline. The family moved to Dubuque from Florida in 2019, and the Club has provided a valuable social network for the newcomers. “I like coming here to see friends,” Mason adds.
Mason is one of 144 children enrolled at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque, an organization that serves as a center for learning, character-building and general well-being. As the Club continues to expand on its work supporting local youth, it has partnered with the Community Foundation to deepen its impact.
“When those kids walk through door, we try to provide anything we can to support their success in school and in life,” says Executive Director Tom Sullivan.
Children’s academic achievement is a major focus of the Community Foundation’s work, which makes partnerships with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club essential. The Foundation provides resources that support their programs and operations, including endowment-building expertise and its Every Child Reads network, which comprises civic and nonprofit partners collaborating to bolster success in school.
These types of partnerships are more important than ever. Nearly half of third-graders in the Dubuque public schools are not reading proficiently, a key predictor of high school graduation. While schools are helping students make progress, many students also face obstacles that schools alone aren’t equipped to tackle.
“Issues like poverty, brain health and family instability impact children’s learning,” says Kelly Krause, Ed.D, the Community Foundation’s education officer. “It takes an entire community to support our youth.”
The Boys & Girls Club has long provided an array of programming focused on academics from first through 12th grade. These include STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) offerings and its Degrees to Diplomas program. It also is addressing issues like food insecurity by providing a full dinner nightly.
The Club has started a new endowment fund with the Community Foundation that will enable it to provide its members with scholarships for any type of post-high school education, from college to apprenticeships. The goal, Sullivan says, is to provide a continuum of support for youth from grade school through high school — and now beyond.
“The social-emotional support kids get here is just as important as the academic support they get in school,” Jacqueline says. “I’m very thankful for the Boys & Girls Club.”
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