By Wendell E. Kimbrough, ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer
The recent report issued by the Ferguson Commission must become a unifying moment for St. Louis' education and not-for-profit communities. The 198-page document covers a variety of recommendations for the justice system, social programs, and community organizations. A major pillar of those recommendations covers the needs of our region's most vulnerable children.
Upon receiving the report, ARCHS' team conducted an audit of how our current programming supports the recommendations outlined. I was not surprised to discover that ARCHS is actively engaged in the four regional themes framed: Justice for All; Youth at the Center; Opportunity to Thrive; and Racial Equality.
ARCHS and our education and not-for-profit colleagues have been at the forefront of advancing these themes for many years.
ARCHS annually improves the lives of more than 90,000 African Americans living in the region's highest concentrations of poverty. This work represents a multi-generational change that starts with giving children the best possible start – quality pre-school care, extra meals during the summer, glasses for improved vision in the classroom, and safe after-school programming that engages both mind and body.
Our reach extends beyond children through adulthood; we provide parent coaching, job training, life skills building, physical fitness, and much more. Our lifelong learning approach addresses core issues facing our region including reducing cycles of poverty and improving educational attainment. This level of positive impact on St. Louis' at-risk families is achieved through an annual $16.5 million dollar investment in partnership with 200 education and social service organizations.