CINCINNATI, Ohio, August 4, 2020 — During this summer of quarantine, forty-eight motivated kids in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood choose to spend their afternoons reading. But they’re not alone. In COVID-19-compliant tents Monday, on the lawn outside Carson Elementary, trained tutors helped the kids strengthen their reading skills, practice their English, or simply feel known and loved.
The one-on-one Summer Reading Program coordinated by Back2Back Cincinnati, an organization trained in trauma-informed care by Trauma Free World, helps fill the void left by school closures for kids who desperately need it.
Donations to Trauma Free World were collected by The SGN Store, which is managed by Sevenly.org: The Starbucks Foundation is matching those donations for COVID-19 relief efforts, up to $1 million. This omniwin partnership with SGN is coordinated by 5th Element Group.
Trauma Free World is an international organization committed to training people in how to provide holistic, trauma-informed care for the one billion of the world’s children who experience trauma. Here in the US, Trauma Free World is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it empowers like-minded organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club, Rising Leaders, and a host of other schools and organizations.
One in three children live below the poverty line in Cincinnati. In the most challenged neighborhoods, a child’s life expectancy is ten years less than peers in surrounding areas. Helping programs like Back2Back Cincinnati’s reading program become trauma-informed helps improve outcomes for these at-risk children. In the program’s first summer, last year, every student participant jumped at least two grade levels in reading and, now in its second year, enrollment has increased by 400% in response to invites from the resource coordinators at local elementary schools.
“We’re always looking for an invitation to come alongside people,” said Chris Cox, Back2Back Cincinnati Director. Recognizing a need to improve their educational outcomes, the students chose to participate in the tutoring program to fill that need, and knowing their reading buddies knew how to connect with them so well made the choice that much easier.
The donation to Trauma Free World helps them amplify and deepen great work like Back2Back’s summer reading program. Staff and volunteers at Back2Back engage kids in a trauma-informed way and, by doing so, helps Cox and his team connect with those they are serving in a way they otherwise wouldn’t be able.
The kids lit up Monday, reports Cox, when, as a gift from Trauma Free World, they received their SGN t-shirts, hats, and stickers. “What you’re doing is indeed some good news for people,” Cox told the students when they asked what “SGN” means. “The world wants to know.”