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Breaking Down Our Mission Statement: What We Do

Updated: Jan 5

The Winston Opportunity Projects seeks to provide a diverse array of services, tools, and resources to student's and their families to spur and foster the future success of tomorrow's work force. At the Winston Opportunity Project, we define our mission as an effort to equip youth in our city with the tools and resources they need to achieve their pull potential for success in all that they do

Our mission: The Winston Opportunity Project exists to provide the tools and resources needed for all youth in our city to reach their full potential for success in all that they do.


In this post, I want to break the mission statement and provide some more background and examples of what we do and how it addresses the problems that we have identified in our community.


The Winston Opportunity Project was founded around the idea of providing equitable opportunity for success for youth in our community. We want all youth to have a chance at achieving a successful future, but there exists many factors which are preventing this from being a reality in our city today.


The greatest obstacle that we face as we work towards this vision of equity is poverty.


Socioeconomic status is responsible for much of the achievement gaps that exist in today's society. Students from low income households are less likely to have access to high-quality learning environments, adequate support systems, and outside-of-school enrichment that other more privileged students have access to, according to the research organization Child Trends. Factors like these result in a statistically significant in the educational success of economically disadvantaged students. In our city, the graduation and school attendance rates for economically disadvantaged youth are well below the district and state averages, and students with lower socioeconomic status's experience a lower percent proficiency in science, math, and reading than their peers.

Compounding these achievement gaps, the extreme lack of socioeconomic mobility serves as another significant barrier for youth in our community. As I discussed in "Our Cause: Foundation of the Winston Opportunity Project," Winston Salem is the hardest city from which to escape childhood poverty. A 2015 Harvard Economic study found that for every year a child living in poverty spends living in Winston Salem, Forsyth County, their annual adult income decreases by 1.1 percent. This is the largest number out of the thousands of counties examined by the researchers.


Poverty and low socioeconomic mobility which in turn result in clear educational achievement disparities are the forces at work which are keeping youth in our city from reaching their full potential for success.


With these problems in mind, the Winston Opportunity set out to devise creative solutions that can lead our community in the right direction - one in which equity and success for all are prioritized. In our mission statement, we say we exist to provide tools and resources to youth in our community. What sorts of tools and resources do we provide?

1) Support: Students in our programs will have access to a diverse support system of mentors, community leaders, and other students who are dedicated to helping them succeed.

2) Opportunity: We provide students with the opportunity for further learning and self-discovery of their interests, strengths, and passions through career education and mentorship.

3) Supplemented academic enrichment: At WOP, we not only want to provide students with the resources and opportunities to continue learning about what they're passionate about outside the classroom, but we also want them to be prepared for the future. Our programming paves the way for students to develop successful goal-setting skills along with import soft skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking in a fun, hands-on manner.


The skills, experiences, and takeaways from our programs are applicable to all aspects of their life and their future. We strive to build a sense of self-efficacy in our students as we support and guide them on path towards academic, vocational, and personal development and achievement.


Sources:

Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren. "Data from Chetty and Hendren: Causal Effects, Mobility Estimates and Covariates by County, CZ and Birth Cohort. " http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/index.php/data.


Vanessa Sacks. "The Other Achievement Gap: Poverty and Academic Success." https://www.childtrends.org/blog/the-other-achievement-gap-poverty-and-academic-success


WSFCS. "Local Education Agency Comprehensive Needs Assessment 2015." https://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001395/Centricity/Domain/48/2015-2016%20WSFCS%20Comprehensive%20Needs%20Assessment%20Report_FINAL_092917.pdf

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