Bilboards remind us why ESLC's stakeholders do what they do

Billboards remind us: Why ESLC?

Did you see the billboards by the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children stating, “Minnesota schools are the worst in the nation for our children of color.” Some people were shocked by the facts behind the billboards. From my perspective, the billboards are not about assigning blame to schools, teachers, or anyone. They are challenging us as Minnesotans to consider our core values: Do we really, truly believe every child has potential and should have equal opportunity? If so, what are we going to do about it?

ESLC’s former Executive Director S. Audrey Lindenfelser, SSND, once said to me, “They are all our children.” All of us at ESLC embrace this concept. Regardless of the circumstances of birth—experiences, race, socio-economic status, sexual identity, gender, religion, ethnicity, language spoken at home, or any other label used to categorize people into groups—every child is a human being with potential. Every child in our program is treated with dignity and respect, while receiving the support needed to learn literacy skills. Every child in our program is treated with dignity and respect while receiving the support needed to learn basic literacy skills. That support begins with taking a strength's-based approach to learning. 

My values and faith compel me to find ways to improve our programs and services with a single purpose. Every child acquires the foundational skills required to learn to read, write, and speak. My values also compel me to keep asking you to support the children financially and with your time and talent.

East Side Learning Center’s Literacy Mentoring programs have a positive impact on each child because of four key practices:

  • You Partner with us. We cannot change the trajectory of a child’s life in isolation. We must partner with community elders, teachers, donors, volunteers, Board members, and parents to meet the unique learning needs of every child in our community. Your contributions make ESLC's programs stronger. During 2019, you have more than $47,000 as individuals to support ESLC's mission. Many of you gave more or for the first time, which helped ESLC earn its 2019 Challenge Grant match from The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation. So far this year, Literacy Mentors have provided more than 7,000 hours of tutoring for our children. 
  • Trained teachers guide the program at every site. In an ideal world, reading instruction for would be individualized to each child's strengths and learning style. With large class sizes, this is challenging, if not impossible, for a teacher to do alone. That’s why ESLC hires teachers to adapt the program for each child. This greater financial investment is worth it. Having an educator review session plans, monitor student reading progress, and review notes of Literacy Mentors (tutors), and listen to teacher and/or parent feedback makes it possible to adjust activities so every child learns. This year, six educators are coordinating services at 11 sites throughout the Twin Cities. 
  • Scientifically proven materials are adapted for the needs of each child. There is a session plan, but the plan will continue to be adapted based on a child’s culture, experiences, and learning style. 
  • The majority of ESLC’s Literacy Mentors commit to tutor the same child multiple days a week for an entire year. This relationship with an adult who cares about the child’s reading progress contributes to each child’s relationship skills growth. Without this relationship, it’s harder to coach a child on self-management skills (social emotional learning). Going forward ESLC will be providing deeper training on coaching a child to control their mind, emotions, and bodies enough to focus on learning. Some call it mindfulness training. Others refer to it as teaching a child self-control.

Thank you for all you do as tutors, donors, teachers, and partners to support all of our children. Please copy this URL and share it with friends and family or talk with them about the impact you are making.