John Grab, Manager of New Teacher Development at Teach For America (TFA) and Lynette Jean Alumna at TFA and Associate Director of Programs at Jacksonville Common Threads were on Wednesday’s First Coast Connect.
TFA was founded to in an effort to dismantle educational iniquity. The organization’s goal is to level the playing field for kids, regardless their background.
The organization could be described as a provocation poking a hole in the system and saying it doesn't have to be this way.
“Talent is equally distributed across lines of race and class but opportunity is not,” said Grab.
TFA Jacksonville has been joining forces with the city since 2008 to make change in students’ lives with over 200 alumni working alongside parents, other educators and community partners to equalize educational opportunities in our schools.
It’s important to build those relationship with kids said Grab. There are a lot of people who care for students and schools and that is “why we are here,” he added.
Jean elaborated on her work with TFA and Jacksonville Common Threads, including cooking and nutrient programs to prevent childhood obesity.
Children tend to be more overweight growing up in a poor household due to healthy meals with fresh ingredients can seem too expensive and unattainable, said Jean, adding, children growing up in low-income families are largely not empowered to cook or eat healthy meals.
There is limited healthy foods access, especially on Jacksonville’s Northwest side and you would see the kids come in hungry, Jean said. Jean continues to work to improve outcomes for our community’s most vulnerable children and adds the community needs to “create an agent of change to empower their community and be models for their families.”
TFA’s intent is to go in the most underserved schools in the country.
“Being able to be embedded in the community is what creates that change,” said Jean
Teach For America’s annual student showcase at Lee High School on Saturday, May 5.