Children are among the poorest age group in the United States – with 1 in 6 children living at or below poverty level, and more than 73% of these children are children of color. Access to and participation in high-quality education is the most effective and empowering way to diminish widespread poverty. As young people gain knowledge, critical thinking skills, and career-specific qualifications in school, their future employability and wages increase.
The need for quality education begins when children are very young. Less than half of children born into high-poverty areas are ready for school at age 5, compared to 78% of their wealthier peers. However, access to high-quality preschool and early education programs are proven to safeguard children against the lasting effects of poverty, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences.
Keeping kids in school is also a vital aspect of violence prevention. Spending more time around school-oriented peers in positive supervised environments—like classrooms and after-school programs – fosters an environment where young people can grow into productive thinkers, problem-solvers, and community members.
Young people that receive a quality education will develop problem-solving skills, have more opportunities for employment, be more likely to secure a higher income, and give back to their community. Education, in this way, is not just a means to an end, but rather an end in itself as it empowers and expands a young person’s choices and opportunities.
Local religious and community leaders like the Claretians are uniquely positioned to work in partnership with local schools and parents to ensure that young people have sustained access to the kind of education that will allow them to become successful, informed, and productive community members.
St. Jude League Community Development is committed to addressing these issues in neighborhoods across the United States and Canada. Our Lady of Guadalupe School in South Chicago is funded in part by St. Jude League Community Development. The 200+ students at this school have been given access to a high-quality education, before and after-school programming, and safe transportation in an area that otherwise may not have the resources to provide them with such opportunities.
Your support of St. Jude League Community Development programs will help fund education initiatives in these communities with less access to high-quality, affordable education.
To learn more about the work of specific St. Jude League Community Development programs, please visit our Programs page or lend your support and help empower young minds realize their potential.