April 18, 2023
Proverbs 22:6 advises us to “train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it”. This remains the core of why we are so passionate about the overall development and wellbeing of our youth in East St. Louis. A key component of a child’s development is Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are critical for the education environment. It further speaks to the CAC mission statement to help children thrive academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, for us to accomplish this mission, we must not ignore the trauma or adversities that have a negative impact on a child’s learning. According to Dr. Tiffany Gholson, Director of Parent & Student Support at School District 189 in East St. Louis, “a child focused on survival will not focus on education.”
This highlights the challenges that we face with some of our students. Nevertheless, because of your support, be it through volunteerism or financial giving, the CAC continues to embrace kids with the love of Christ, make them feel safe, and inspire them to learn and grow.
Enrollment increased for the first quarter (99 students) in comparison to the first quarter of the prior two years. Regular attendees (those who attend 3x or more per week) are very engaged in our various program offerings. We are excited about this trend and with the hiring of additional educators, our goal will be to double enrollment.
The chart below shows the impact of the tutoring/homework help we provide our students in the area of English and Language Arts (ELA).
At the CAC, we want our children to explore new fields. For example, a cohort of Pathways students (middle/high school) have been working with the Alumni Broadcasting Association in downtown St. Louis on Wednesdays. They are learning how to produce radio, tv, music, podcasts, videography, photography, and other media skills. Our newly hired Creative Arts Teacher, Ms. Talexia Johnson (a CAC alumni) is also teaching students the art of video editing.
The SOAR Into STEM program continues to be a success as we sent our third cohort of Pathways students to the program. To no surprise they are learning about aviation science, piloting planes, piloting drones, aircraft maintenance, and opportunities to use aviation to serve others abroad.
Financial literacy remains an essential part of our programming. Students have continued learning about the financial concepts of money management, home ownership, and credit. Scott Credit Union returned again this semester to help students with their savings accounts, opening new accounts for students and allowing others to continue making deposits. We now have several students who have been in this program for several years with jobs that make direct deposits into their account to increase the interest they earn each month.
Finally, regular bible devotions help our kids learn more about God and his purpose for their lives. Whether through song, story reading, or drama, learning about the Bible brings excitement to our youth and gives them a sense of hope!
In closing, I want to thank you for your continued financial and prayer support. Your giving helps us provide a safe place for our children to develop their potential. Future contributions will allow our youth to attend church summer camps, participate in Friday field trips, and a host of other summer activities. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Friday June 23rd, as Northwestern Mutual Fairview Heights presents the 16th Annual Golf for a Brighter Future Tournament at Stonewolf Golf Course! With your support I’m sure it will be even more successful than prior years – I hope to see you there!
Dr. Jeffrey A. Williams
Christian Activity Center