A team of three Clinton School students is working with Every Child is Ours to conduct an analysis of the community-school partnership between the nonprofit and the Tuckerman School District. In April, the team will complete work on an impact report filled with stories, statistics, quotes, and pictures to tell the story of ECIO.
Since 1997, ECIO has met the needs of children, families, and elders in Tuckerman, Ark., a town of 1,700 people in the northeast corner of the state. Founder Jan Paschal has continued to find ways for ECIO to serve the school and community, offering tutoring sessions, literacy programs, and guest speakers among other services. In 2008, the organization opened the doors of a local food pantry that now feeds more than 1,000 people each month.
“We believe that together we are able to meet the needs of our children,” Paschal said. “We can’t control everything, but what we can do is make sure that every child that comes through our school has shoes, has a coat, has people who care about what happens to them.”
ECIO’s successes have helped shape ideas about what a program like it can do for similar communities.
The organization’s immediate goal is for the impact report to serve as an external piece for marketing and development, with long-term plans of creating a model for communities to implement a successful ECIO program of their own, turning each town into a successful, thriving area where citizens are eager to stay and build their lives. Within this idea, there is a hope to see students receive equal education and opportunity.
“We don’t have our message out very well. And I think that’s where (the Clinton School students) are going to be very helpful to us,” Paschal said. “But we need to have help in order for this to go other places, and we think we’ve found an answer for areas that are not succeeding.”
The Clinton School team comprised of Maggie Benton (Jonesboro, Ark.), Christian Canizales (Jonesboro, Ark.), and Brady Ruffin (Clinton, Miss.) is collecting data on student, teacher, and administrator experiences with ECIO. The group will also collect test scores from the district to investigate a possible correlation between changes in those scores and the work of ECIO.
“Our main goal is to highlight the stories of Every Child is Ours,” Ruffin said. “To show how the beneficiaries see the role of Every Child is Ours through specific program services or personal stories.”
Additionally, the report will help the organization understand areas where it has the greatest impact so that it can streamline its operations, maximize resources, and broaden its ability to impact families and children in the school district.
“Our kids are succeeding on every level,” Paschal said. “If we can let people see, through what (the Clinton School students) prepare, I think that will be a huge undertaking. What they’re doing will be the tool that shows people that could support us that we are a valid source.”