The V.
Mark and Mahea Gaskins grew up in the community they now serve, always actively involved as educators, volunteers and mentors. Over the years they saw a concerning trend: Black youth were moving through the K-12 pipeline successfully until middle school, when youth experienced challenges that were preventing their continued success. In a three year listening campaign and analyzing data, they met with stakeholders in the community (including students and families, principals and teachers, clergy and civic leaders) and identified the following areas of concern: - Disproportionate discipline rates - Low academic achievement - Lack of awareness of college entrance requirements - Communication gaps between families and schools - Lack of positive cultural representation in school and community It became very apparent that, while everyone wanted to connect, they lacked the capacity and knowledge in how to do it. Through this research and years of mentoring students in the community, their theory of action is to: - Build Capacity for Youth Development and Academic Achievement - Foster Family Engagement and Presence in Community Efforts - Raise Awareness for Inclusion of African Culture and Leverage Community Resources This is a holistic approach to enhance the individual, interpersonal, and community relationships and our commitment to empowering our community culturally, educationally, socially and promote sustainable narrative change.