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One American Classroom

One American Classroom

by Jacob Martin

I took national statistics about all students in America, and shrank them down to represent an average-sized classroom. If you have a child in school, these could be their classmates. If you had the chance to spend time with these students, each one a stand-in for millions of kids like them, imagine what they could teach you.

If all kids in America could be represented in a single, 25-student classroom, 16 put together a puzzle or played a boardgame with a parent this week; 12 went to the library with a parent this month; 8 are having some difficulty reading; 8 are going to have an anxiety disorder by the time they’re 18; 5 are going to be bullied this year; 1 will be pushed, shoved, or spat on; 3 will be robbed, assaulted, or raped, 1 while at school; 5 live below the poverty line; 2 aren’t sure that they’ll get their next meal; 1 may lose their home; 2 will never graduate. Get involved in your community. There’s a classroom that needs you.

Details and Resources

Parental Involvement
In a 2012 survey, 64% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported playing board games or doing puzzles with their children in the previous week.
Table 207.20
In a 2012 survey, 44.8% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported visiting a library with their children in the previous month.
Table 207.30
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_sga.asp

Education
68% of all 4th grade students were tested to be at or above the Basic level, denoting “partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade.”
Table 221.20
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=147

Mental Health
A 2010 study found 31.9% of adolescents, aged 13-18, met criteria for at least one anxiety disorder
Table 2
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946114/

Bullying
In a 2013 survey, 21.5% of students, ages 12-18, reported being bullied at school during the school year. This does not include cyber-bullying which affected 6.9% of students surveyed.
Table 230.40
In a 2013 survey, 6% of students, ages 12-18, reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spat on at school during the school year, of which 20.8% reported a resulting injury.
Table 230.40
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719

Violent Crime
In a 2013 survey, 10.7% of students reported experiencing “serious violent victimization,” which includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Note that robbery entails the use of force.
In the same 2013 survey as above, 4.9% of students reported serious violent victimization while at school, which includes inside the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school.
Table 228.20
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=49

Poverty
In the 2013 Current Population Survey, 21.5% of children and youth under the age of 18 were identified as living below the federal poverty line.
Table 3
http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.html

Hunger
A 2014 survey found that in households with children under age 18, 9.4% of children were food insecure, 1.1% of children were categorized as having very low food security. Food security indicates that people have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life through the year.
Page 16, Figure 2
http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err194.aspx

Housing
In HUD’s 2015 report to congress, 2,830,000 million families with children were in worst case renting scenarios (renters with very low incomes [below half the median in their area] who do not receive government housing assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions, or both). The report found an average of 2.09 children per household in severe housing situations. There were 116,030,000 total households in 2013. Therefore, 2.439% of households with children were in worst case renting scenarios and could be projected to have 2.09 children per household, meaning a projected 5.098% of children live in worst case renting scenarios.
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/affhsg/wc_HsgNeeds15.html

Homelessness
A Fall 2013–Spring 2014 school year survey found 1,301,239 public school students (pre-k through 12th grade) experienced homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act.
Page 8, Table 2
https://www2.ed.gov/programs/homeless/data-comp-sy13-14.pdf
In Fall 2013, 50,045,000 students were enrolled in public school (pre-k through 12th grade).
Table 203.10
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_105.30.asp
The 1,301,239 students experiencing homelessness would account for 2.6% of all enrolled students, or .65 of 1 student in a hypothetical 25-student representation of all American public school students.

Attainment
In a 2015 survey, 6.8% of the population were “Status” dropouts, meaning they were civilians age 16–24, not enrolled in school, and have not completed a high school program or equivalent certification such as GED.
Table 219.70
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16

Classroom Size
A class size of 25 was chosen as a rounded average (from 25.30) using a 2011-2012 school and staffing survey of class sizes in public primary, middle, and high schools implementing departmentalized instruction. Departmentalized is defined as instruction to several classes of different students most or all of the day in one or more subjects. Departmentalized instruction classrooms were chosen as they are the most common type of classroom. All classroom types, including self-contained, combined-grade, and specialist classes, would average out to 20.84.
Table 7
https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_007.asp

What it means to help a child and why it matters in 9 quotes

What it means to help a child and why it matters in 9 quotes

What it means to help a child.

Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.
— Fred Rogers, television personality and educator

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.
— John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Not a day passes, but I get a letter from a child. … I answer every one personally. When I was a child I know, if I had received a real letter from an author whose book I’d read, I would have been the happiest boy alive. And if I am to do any good in this world my highest ambition will be to make children happy.
— L. Frank Baum, author of children’s books such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

All the little ones of our time are collectively the children of us adults of the time, and entitled to our general care.
— Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
— Carl Jung, influential psychiatrist and psychotherapist

The welfare of a child is not to be measured by money only, nor by physical comfort only.
— Nathaniel Lindley, English judge

There is something deeply hypocritical in a society that holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam but does not hold the high officials of our government accountable for robbing her of what they gave their own kids six or seven years before.
— Jonathan Kozol, author and public education activist

Nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home.
— Brenda Donald, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources

Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.
— Garrison Keillor, author and radio personality

What drives you to make a difference in the lives of children? Is it someone you knew when you were young? Is it something you saw that changed the way you thought about the world?

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Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Giving the gift of warmth

by Kristen Martin

The past few winters have broken records for cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind-chill. With the cold weather, we pull out warm sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, and coats. Since children grow every year, they need new warm clothes every year. For some families, the expense of providing these necessary protective barriers is impossible. It is up to us to help the children in our community. The four steps in our guide will teach you how to start a coat drive the right way. With friends, you can brainstorm new, creative idea that best fit your community.

Select a Beneficiary

From the beginning, you’ll want to communicate with your nonprofit about their needs and what they can accept. If your first choice can’t distribute the coats, be willing to either switch to something they need or ask if there’s another organization they know in need of a coat drive. Plan with your organization to find the best time and way to deliver the clothing. If you want to have donation bins somewhere in the community, get approval before you start.

Alternatively, consider donating to Operation Warm, which provides new coats for children through community organizations. “For each $20 that is donated, a child in the community gets the opportunity to choose a new coat in his or her favorite color and style.” You give warmth as well as self-esteem and acceptance.
One Warm Coat is another organization that can help you plan and hold your coat drive. They have plenty of creative ideas, materials to help promote, and tools to find local beneficiaries.

Promote

For a successful donation drive, your community has to be aware of it. Get the word out with posters and social media. If your bins are going to be in public places, decorate them in attention-grabbing ways aimed at your community. Don’t be afraid to notify your local media and send a press release.

Host the Drive

You’ll want boxes big enough for these bulky coats. You can get boxes from moving companies or stores that sell large products. Make sure your donations collections are where people will be. You can set up donation bins in specific places over a long period of time, or you can have volunteers encourage donations at a specific location on a specific day. If you opt for a single day, it’s especially important that you accept cash or credit donations for those who decide to donate on the spot. You’ll want to have enough volunteers to work in shifts.

If possible, extend your coat drive to a winter clothing drive. According to a recent study, we may be more likely to get the common cold when we’re breathing in cold air, so balaclavas, facemasks, and scarves worn up over the nose could be important in keeping us healthy.

Sort and Count

After the collection is over, you’ll want to count and sort the donations according to the needs of the organization who will receive them. You may encounter coats that are much more than gently used. In these cases, companies like Goodwill can still accept the donation and recycle the fabric if it’s not able to be sold.

Example Coat Drive Ideas

  • Hold a drive at an event like a holiday party, football game, or service project.
  • Host a winter dance that charges monetary donations or winter clothing donations for entrance.
  • Businesses can offer discounts in exchange for a coat donation.
  • Branches or departments of a business can compete for a casual day or force a departmental boss to wear something ridiculous.
  • Hold competing coat drives at rival schools or school districts—winners get a party or a pie to the face of an administrator.
  • Coordinate with the manager at a department store that sells clothing to host the drive right outside.
  • Host a concert and charge admission in clothing donations.
  • Enlist the support of a local radio personality to mention the drive and participate.

Champions for Kids staff preparing to deliver coats.

We really enjoyed our coat drive last year. We’d love to hear how your drive goes! Share your story with us and we may feature it for others to see.

RazorFest Grant Winners Celebrate with Champions for Kids

RazorFest Grant Winners Celebrate with Champions for Kids

Each year at RazorFest, Champions for Kids gives grants to organizations that work to improve the lives of kids, families and communities. Congratulations to the following organizations!

One-CommunityOneCommunity
OneCommunity is a non-profit organization founded in Northwest Arkansas whose mission is to promote communities working together to enhance the quality of life of all people through use of best practices and outreach services that improve health, education, and leadership skills.

Children’s Safety Center
Every year, hundreds of children in the Northwest Arkansas area are robbed of their dreams, robbed of their self-esteem and robbed of their childhood by physical and sexual abuse. Children’s Safety Center (CSC) is a child-friendly, family-centered facility, located in the JTL Shop in Springdale, AR that coordinates the complex investigation, prosecution and treatment services to these child victims of sexual and physical abuse in Washington County.

Yvonne Richardson Community Center The Yvonne Richardson Community Center is a non-profit organization which promotes educational and recreational activities for the multi-cultural population of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The center was constructed when a group of citizens felt a need to provide a safe, structured environment in which people would be given the opportunity to benefit from positive programs and policies.

Teen Action Support Network Teen Action Support Center (TASC) is a nonprofit organization that  encourage youth ages 13-19 to realize their full potential by providing free support services that promote the development of responsible and productive members of the community.

Life Source
LifeSource International is a non-profit organization in Fayetteville, Arkansas whose mission is to give a hand up,  not just a hand out. The primary objective is to instill positive values and living skills in children, adults, and senior citizens in a welcoming, non-threatening environment. All services are offered free of charge, to anyone in need of the service regardless of race, religious belief, language, or residency.

Calling all Blogging Champions

Calling all Blogging Champions

We are so excited to be able to share our story here on our new blog with you. We hope it is here that you can be encouraged to make changes within your own community. We love to hear the stories across the internet on how and why you are becoming CHAMPIONS for Kids. We are interested in your community and would love to see where you are seeing the needs in your own community. We are also looking for a couple guest posts too. Below is a survey. If you are a blogger we would be honored if you take a couple of moments to answer these questions.