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Ignite Academy

Focusing on Cradle to Career Milestones 2 & 3: Meeting Elementary Math & Literacy Standards

Ignite Academy is the first community-designed Cradle to Career solution from ProsperUs. Aimed to bolster literacy and math competencies, the program operates after school four days a week, targeting students from grades 2-7. The participating schools are in priority neighbourhoods with the highest rates of childhood poverty: West Windsor, Downtown Windsor, and Leamington.

Children in priority neighbourhoods are farther behind in reading, writing, and math than their peers in more affluent neighbourhoods. Compounding the issue, these families frequently grapple with economic hardships, including low income, food, and housing insecurities, among other socioeconomic barriers.

Neighbourhood residents, front-line service providers, and subject matter experts collaboratively created Ignite Academy to address some of these concerns. Adopting a human-centred design approach, residents pinpointed the obstacles hindering their children’s foundational education. This collaborative effort then carved out a new model for after school programming, which resulted in the creation of Ignite Academy.

What is a typical day at Ignite Academy?

Ignite Academy represents hope for students like Dominik and their families. See what the kids experience, hear from those working alongside the kids, and meet Dominik’s Grandmother Soheila. For her, the program is incredibly important because it brings out generosity and kindness in students and provides a sense of safety.

Kids will have access to:

  • Certified teachers to help them meet provincial standards in math and literacy outside of school hours
  • Regular, preventative mental wellness sessions
  • Social workers to connect families to community resources
  • Culturally appropriate and multi-lingual services and information
  • Individual and group social mentoring
  • Recreational, arts and cultural enrichment
  • Engagement opportunities for their parents

Why It Matters:

Research tells us that children who are proficient in reading in Grade 3 are more likely to graduate from high school, and children who are proficient in math by Grade 6 are more likely to complete a postsecondary program.

By supporting United Way, you’re directly investing in the community’s Cradle to Career strategy, which includes Ignite Academy. We are proud to be among the 40+ partners who are working together to unlock youth potential in our community – with your help.

In West Windsor, Downtown Windsor and Leamington:

  • Families are facing higher rates of housing and food insecurity, unemployment and language barriers.
  • Only half of the residents in these neighbourhoods have some form of postsecondary education, which impacts access to opportunities for families.
  • 36% of children were below the provincial standard in both reading and writing, and 58% of children were behind in math.
  • Over 36% of food bank users are children, and food insecurity is shown to negatively impact cognitive development and academic achievement.

Ignite Academy will help:

  • Improve math and literacy skills
  • Improve school attendance and program participation
  • Improve self-esteem, leadership skills and peer relationships
  • Encourage kids to become more physically active

Ignite Academy is a ProsperUs Community Solution

Ignite Academy is the very first Cradle to Career solution to come out of ProsperUs and the community consultation process. The solution was co-designed by neighbourhood residents with lived experience, front-line service providers, researchers, and other content experts.

What is ProsperUs and how is United Way connected?

United Way is the backbone organization proudly powering the work of the community collective called ProsperUs, a group of 40+ organizations in Windsor and Essex County focused on unlocking youth potential so that a generation from now, we can eliminate childhood poverty.

Over the past few years, many of Windsor-Essex County’s most influential leaders have come together to identify a roadmap for change and make a pledge to the future of our community. A firm commitment was made to align community resources to ensure that the most vulnerable, and the most promising members of our population – our children and youth – succeed in their education, career and life.

Hear what the Community Action Network residents have to say about the solution they helped to build

When a child’s passion is ignited, they believe in themselves. They’re curious, they ask questions, and their confidence grows.” Rose, Leamington Resident

Show your local love. Donate today!

We love where we live and want our kids to succeed.

By donating to United Way, you’re supporting the community’s Cradle to Career strategy.


2023 Ignite Academy Year End Report