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More School Districts Added to LEARN WELL Initiative

bnsf-5-392x304United Way has expanded its LEARN WELL education initiative this fall to include two more school districts: Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and Everman ISD.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw is using United Way funding to launch a program called the Aspiration Initiative. It supports at-risk students at Chisholm Trail High School and Saginaw High School so the students’ unique potential can be developed. The goal is for every student to graduate on time. The Aspiration Initiative is currently working with 40 students and plans to grow to 200 students.

“When kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to sleep at night, it is hard for them to think beyond today,” said Aspiration Initiative Coordinator Allison Bode. “The Aspiration Initiative has the opportunity to help kids think beyond today and help them make their dreams into something real.”

Allison has been an educator for 17 years, and she has a great passion for her students. “I want our program to give support to the kids at risk of not graduating,” she said. “Aspiration Initiative will be able to remove some of the obstacles for these kids. This program can help them start thinking about college and help them visit college bnsf-2-392x304campuses. We will help them get on a path to a career.”

In October the Aspiration Initiative students toured the BNSF Railway facility (shown here) and learned about some great job opportunities in Fort Worth. They were able to check out the train dispatch headquarters and work on a collaboration and creativity challenge with Lyle Hayes and Ed King from BNSF.

Everman ISD is using its United Way LEARN WELL funds for a Graduation Coach and a Family Engagement Specialist for the district’s Destination Diploma program. Graduation Coach Tiffany Bynum and Family Engagement Specialist Jason Jarmon help engage and support parents and families, improve academic performance, raise student engagement and create systems that will help students succeed. They are working with 200 to 250 kids at risk of dropping out of school.

“Destination Diploma is here to support kids on campus and to help eliminate barriers that are keeping these kids from having their needs met,” said Jason. “We want to change their way of thinking and the way they view school. I want to teach them how to choose healthy relationships and help them begin to see themselves as a success.”

Destination Diploma students have taken several field trips to learn about a world outside of their own. They heard a World War II veteran speak about his experiences and attended the Fort Worth ISD College Fair. At Hill College, they learned about the tech industry. “The kids are still talking about it,” said Tiffany.

Destination Diploma students also helped provide meals to those in need as part of the annual Central Market Feast of Sharing. They helped host the City of Fort Worth job fair and learned how to network.

“One of my main goals for the program is to grow personal relationships with each of the kids,” said Tiffany. “I am excited about watching the kids walk across the stage their senior year, knowing that I played a role in them getting there.”