Kids Count Footer

NOKidHungry

ASAP logo

MHN Footer

STAR-logo



KVFL CMYK

Family Support

The Ferguson Report: From Words to Deeds

fergusonreport.55f71597594991

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.

Read more: The Ferguson Report: From Words to Deeds

USDA Summer Food Partnership Continues

ARCHS' partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and State of Missouri is set to provide about 6,000 St. Louis children in the Saint Louis Public School District (SLPS) with access to healthy meals this summer.

The partnership’s activities address the food needs of children when school is out of session for the summer and children do not have access to school meals. The program is not open to the general public.

This is the third time ARCHS has been asked to manage this program. A total of nearly 10,000 SLPS children have benefitted from ARCHS’ previous two program cycles, which operated during the summers of 2012 and 2013.  Because this is a federal demonstration project, the program is not able to serve all children in need nor operate every summer.

Read more: USDA Summer Food Partnership Continues

Young Adult Basketball League Leaves Participants with Positive Perception of Police

The St. Louis Basketball League slam dunked 168 hours of life skills sessions, and left 100 percent of participants with a now positive perception of police officers, according to survey results. For 2014, more than 750 young men between the ages of 18-35 formed teams for several 11-week basketball leagues. Police officers coach teams in the league.

To play in the league, participants are required to take six life skills classes coordinated by Fathers' Support Center, which teach the young men about topics ranging from health and fitness, to financial literacy, to STD prevention, to fatherhood responsibilities.

The St. Louis Basketball League is a partnership between ARCHS, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, and Fathers' Support Center.

Read more: Young Adult Basketball League Leaves Participants with Positive Perception of Police

Basketball and Life Skills Brings Police and Community Together

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Shawn Dace watched more than 20 men warm up for their St. Louis NITES Basketball League game at Tandy Park Recreational Center. He greeted two late arrivals with a quick handshake, before telling them to get out on the court with their team.

"We provide a safe environment for these guys to come in and not worry about beefs and whatever is going on out in the streets," Dace said. "We get a plethora of different personalities- guys with criminal records, guys fresh out of the penitentiary, and guys in college. The guys in college mentor some of these guys who are in the streets, and the guys in the streets mentor the guys in college and tell them to keep doing what they are doing. It goes both ways."

The St. Louis NITES Basketball League is a partnership between ARCHS, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, and Fathers' Support Center. Approximately 250 men between the ages of 18-35 form 10 teams for an 11-week basketball league. Police officers coach the teams in the league.

To play in the league, participants are required to take six life skills classes coordinated by Fathers' Support Center, which teach the young men about topics ranging from health and fitness, to financial literacy, to STD prevention, to fatherhood responsibilities.

"The life skills class is the lifeblood of this program," Dace said. "These guys can play basketball almost anywhere, but the real product they leave with is what they get from life skills, because they can use and apply what they learn anywhere.

Read more: Basketball and Life Skills Brings Police and Community Together