Love, Commit and Advocate

Khalea Neal and Mariah Garner have a unique view into children’s lives. As Dubuque public school teachers, they see how barriers set children up for long-term learning challenges.

“Our families have a lot of obstacles to tackle before academics, such as access to technology, language barriers, and overall consistency in the home,” they say. “Many students come to school with a lot of struggles. We’re helping them cope while also teaching them.”

Their experiences underscore a major challenge: Minority families and families in generational poverty are disproportionately impacted by issues that negatively affect children’s learning and development.

No matter how well-resourced, schools alone cannot solve these problems. That means children’s well-being is the responsibility of all of us. How can teachers tend to students’ socialemotional needs? How can parents support positive development? How do we ensure families can access the internet and other resources?

Addressing these challenges takes a holistic approach and a passion for nurturing new generations. At the Community Foundation, our passion shines through Every Child Reads, which drives early literacy success and builds a foundation for long-term academic achievement; our Dubuque College Access Network, which changes the lives of students who never imagined going to college; and Vision to Learn, which brings free eye exams and glasses to children.

Facing adversity requires all community members to think and act like parents: love, commit and advocate. It’s the approach Khalea and Mariah take, and it’s the approach the Foundation takes to help children through challenging times today and long into the future.

This story is part of our 2020 Annual Report.