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ProsperUs Collective launches first Cradle to Career solution

May 31, 2022

Windsor, ON – ProsperUs, a collective of Windsor-Essex community partners is launching Ignite Academy, a new out-of-school solution designed to improve math and literacy skills for children between Grades 2 and 7, while providing wrap-around support for families. A large gathering of community partners celebrated the long-awaited announcement at General Brock Public School on Tuesday.

“We know math and literacy skills are critical indicators of future success, including having more students graduate high school, and having more graduates move on to post-secondary education,” says Jessica Sartori, ProsperUs Leadership Council Co-Chair and CEO of John McGivney Children’s Centre.

This locally designed solution will support 360 students at six program sites starting in September. Ignite Academy will be hosted within neighbourhood school communities in both Windsor and Leamington, including General Brock, Begley, Immaculate Conception, St. James, St. Louis and Queen Elizabeth elementary schools.

Ignite Academy will provide structured academic supports that align with school curriculum. It will provide daily program delivery that includes nutrition, recreation and cultural activities. There will be mentorship, mental wellness programming, family success coaches, parent engagement and support for the diverse cultural needs of the communities of Windsor-Essex.

The following community partners are combining resources to deliver Ignite Academy:

  • Advocating Young Minds
  • Arts Can Teach
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex
  • CommUnity Partnership
  • Family Services Windsor Essex
  • Greater Essex County District School Board
  • Multicultural Council of Windsor & Essex County
  • South Essex Community Council
  • United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
  • Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board

Ignite Academy is the first solution to come out of an extensive community consultation process conducted by ProsperUs, which is a collective made up of more than 40 system-leading organizations, residents and community leaders.

“From those consultations, we’re designing made-in-Windsor-Essex solutions that will allow families and kids to get the support they need, when and how they need it, and to align resources to serve the community more effectively,” says Sartori.

Barriers to families were highlighted during the ProsperUs public consultation, including access to transportation and technology, a lack of awareness of existing community supports, negative stigma associated with using existing services, a lack of multilingual supports, and the need for culturally diverse program staff and increased opportunities for parents to engage with staff and participate in programming.

“Since 2019, ProsperUs partners have engaged in some deep and meaningful conversations with parents, residents, youth, social service delivery providers and other experts to understand more about those barriers,” she says.

“More than ever before, service providers will be working as a collaborative team, sharing learning and aligning resources, including sharing data, evaluating results and being accountable to the community,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO at United Way. “Together, we will continuously improve and build our collective capacity to deliver better results for the community.”

The same residents who provided valuable feedback during those consultations shared their excitement about Ignite Academy in a new ProsperUs video, available on the ProsperUs website www.weunlockpotential.com/IgniteAcademy and YouTube.

Other Ignite Academy goals include helping students and families improve school attendance, increase self-esteem and build stronger relationships with peers. The service also looks to encourage more children to be physically active, to inspire more parents to be engaged with community partners and staff, and to help build parent awareness of community supports.

The ProsperUs Cradle to Career strategy aims to give every young person in Windsor-Essex County the opportunity and support to succeed – from the time they’re born until they find meaningful employment as a young adult.

It was September of 2018 when ProsperUs partners first came together to create the Cradle to Career vision. Then, in 2019, ProsperUs came out with the Coming Together Milestone Report, which outlined some of the barriers children and families face and provided ideas on how we can build a hopeful future together. That same year, ProsperUs created the Community Action Network working groups. Members of these groups continue to collaborate, learn, share, and design new solutions that will help children succeed.

More solutions are in the works and will be announced as solution design and partnerships become solidified over the next few years.

Media Contact:

Karen Brady, Marketing & Communications Manager
United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, ProsperUs Backbone Team

kbrady@weareunited.com    |   M : 519-564-8554   |   @WEProsperUs

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