When children are hungry, not feeling well and have not been immersed in opportunities that would allow them to develop both cognitively, emotionally and personally from birth, it become almost impossible for academic learning to take place. Despite the wealth of opportunities in the City of Houston, a large amount of children enter the classroom facing the effects of poverty and schools are expected to turn everything around. Education attainment, health and social issues are not separate from each other and a holistic approach is needed.
While many service providers and non-profits exist to counter the various needs, the vast majority of low income children are unable to be reached given the lack of capacity on the service provider side as well as lack of home and school stability.
Organizations focusing on the various needs cannot function in silos and need to be part of a greater coalition within a community that acts to support them in being part of a holistic and systemic approach. Such challenges include, difficulty in tracking outcomes, high mobility of students, lack of sufficient funding, duplication of services, low emphasis on collaboration with other non-profits and services and being at the mercy of school leadership and district policies.
The need for effective management of resources that is grounded in collaboration and sustainability is in dire need. Decades of research have demonstrated what it needed for children to succeed and thus the time has come to effectively target communities and empower them from within.