Yep.  Another book, this one for a cause.  And, a brief diversion from river ranting.  For now.

Privilege and Privation, a Love Story, is a book commissioned by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to focus on personalizing, understanding, and bridging differences in “class” in the Ozarks.  It’s more important mission is to raise money to establish a $100,000 Every Child Promise Endowment Fund at CFO.  Annual awards will provide early childhood education scholarships to young children in need.

But back to the beginning.  In January, 2014, our community made a promise.  At the time 20% of our children were showing up to kindergarten “not ready to learn,” with the attendant long term costs related to remediation, drop outs, incarceration, and unemployment.  And more importantly, the self devaluation of young students burdened and followed with failure.

After six months of broad based subcommittee meetings, study, and brain storming the community came together to announced the THE EVERY CHILD PROMISE, the long term objective related to the promise, and the strategies to deal with an escalating problem.

“Our community promises to empower families, so that every child birth to six has the opportunity to enter our schools ready to learn.”

Our long term objective is to cut in half the number of children not ready to learn by kindergarten, from 20% to 10%, from 440 to 220 students per year, as measured by the Mayor’s Commission for Children, by 2023.

Recommended strategies were many and varied, but centered on expanding access to pre-K education across the community.

Private funding was secured to provide scholarships to children who had no access.  Of the 384 kids awarded Every Child Promise Scholarships over the next four years, 100% of those who finished the program had standardized test scores indicating that they were prepared to enter Kindergarten.  Then the Darr Foundation jumped in with a major grant to expand not only child access but also teacher development.  Finally, the Springfield Public School System was allocated funding to expand pre-K education by 600 students annually over three years.  Combined with extending the reach of the successful Parents as Teachers program, the impact on child readiness is already far reaching and astounding.

THE EVERY CHILD PROMISE will be kept well before the 2023 deadline.  This is a humanitarian and economic impact victory for our community.

Brian Fogle, CEO of the Community Foundation of Springfield, decided that we needed to establish and grow a modest endowment to commemorate THE PROMISE and provide scholarship funding for pre-K education to those who somehow slip through the cracks of new programs and initiatives.  He proposed that I write a book.  I did, and it is being offered to the community at $25 per hard bound copy, with every dollar of sales proceeds going directly into the endowment.  It also features the art of my wife Betty on the cover!

Our goal is to sell 2,000 units by Christmas, generate $50,000 of endowment funding, and receive matching funds to launch the Every Child Promise Endowment at $100,000.  We have already received commitments for 1,000 units without even a book to sell!

Privilege and Privation:  A Love Story, will be formally released on December 1, 2018, though pre-sale orders are already being filled.  It’s a fast track and a lofty goal, but, like THE PROMISE, we are well on our way to delivering.

I hope you might consider supporting establishment of The Every Child Promise Endowment by acquiring multiple copies for personal use and Christmas gifts.  You can go to everychildpromise.org to order copies or come see us at the many presentations/book signings scheduled between now and the end of the year.  Again, all proceeds go directly to the endowment.

Thanks for indulging my diversion.  It is indeed a worthwhile cause.

And please know, that two chapters of an Ozarkian float trip are included in the story!  I wouldn’t totally let you down!

Coming Next, December 15 – THREE GRANDMAS


View past articles from River Rant The Blog here.

Stay current on books, presentations, and blogs at www.ToddParnell.com.

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