Approximately three out of every four African-American children under the age of six live in poverty in Cincinnati. Nearly half of all children citywide live in families whose household income is below the federal poverty line. Cincinnati, like many cities and towns throughout the region, has long struggled to lift its most vulnerable children and families out of these difficult social and economic conditions. Too often, efforts designed to improve outcomes in low-income communities fail to appreciate the complex, wide-ranging circumstances that contribute to and exacerbate family hardship. In certain instances, our highest-need children and families require more consistent, intensive support to overcome persistent challenges and achieve their long-term goals and aspirations.
Research has long shown that when the head of household thrives, the entire family thrives – and that when the family unit is strong, a child is much more likely to realize his or her academic potential. 2Bloom’s Family Empowerment Coordinator serves as a caring, supportive adult who works closely with the head of household to help her address the specific, holistic needs of her family. At the same time, this coordinator communicates regularly with our school-based Student Success Advocate, who collaborates with teachers, staff, and relevant, in-school providers to address the individualized needs of the child. Together, our team: (a) supports the head of household in her efforts to increase the academic and social-emotional well-being of her child(ren), and (b) coordinates the delivery of holistic services for a given child, head of household, and family to uplift the entire household.
Key Features of 2Bloom Case Management
The Family Advocate Model is rooted in the fundamental idea that long-term, family-to-child mentoring relationships with caring adults are key to transforming the life of a child. Our team matches a selected child with a Family Advocate, a Cincinnati-area family (with a child at/near the same grade-level) who serves as a compassionate advocate and support system for this young person throughout his or her childhood. In ways both big and small, Family Advocates facilitate meaningful life experiences, open doors and create opportunities, and help to ensure that children reach important, age-specific milestones. Through our efforts, we aspire to uplift our community, cultivate shared empathy and understanding, and create opportunity – one child and family at a time.
Building the Social Infrastructure to Support Meaningful, Long-Term Relationships
Our team aims to create the infrastructure and support systems to allow Family Advocate (FAM) relationships to develop and flourish over time. There is no blueprint for successful family-to-child mentoring. We know that the character of each relationship will look different depending on the specific circumstances and interests of a given family and child. With this in mind, our team strives to provide FAMs with the individualized support necessary to help these relationships to thrive. As part of this effort, we also cultivate small groups of Family Advocates, participating children, and their families that join together to form a larger network of families across the city. These groups serve as supportive communities where FAMs can attend organized, family-friendly events, share best practice, ideas, and resources, and forge lasting, new friendships.
Over the past three decades, the achievement gap between children from low-income and high-income families has increased by approximately 40%. Significant educational challenges persist among the lowest academic achievers in Cincinnati Public Schools. This diverse student population typically includes high-need, low-income students and “difficult to reach” youth who may be multiple grade levels behind their peers in one or more core subject areas. Too often, this group of students is treated merely as a liability to be managed, rather than as children with individual hopes and dreams who like all other kids merely want the opportunity to succeed academically and realize their full potential. The tools available in today’s education sector fail to engage low-performing students in authentically individualized instruction and facilitate deep conceptual understanding.
Ascend is an innovative, learning initiative that is designed to dramatically improve outcomes among low-performing students. Through the use of live, 1:1 video conferencing technology, Ascend aims to reimagine the paradigm of teaching and learning for our highest-need youth. Selected students will receive 1:1, outcome-driven instruction in Mathematics during the school day, over a multi-year period, from a core of highly-trained Learning Coaches. If successful, Ascend will yield accelerated academic and social-emotional growth for participating children – propelling them on an upward educational trajectory and renewing their faith in what the future holds.
What We Do
What Makes Ascend Different?