Advancing Systems Change & Taking Action Now

“Together, we can use our collective power to eradicate poverty and bring upward mobility to our community.” - Aqua Y. Porter, RMAPI Executive Director

Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) identified its priorities for 2024 and many children and families Education Success Foundation serves are among those who will benefit most from policy changes. In fact, most of our students can't afford to wait for systems to change, and we believe they shouldn't have to. For this reason, Education Success Foundation simultaneously supports our community's efforts to advance systems-level change, while providing student and family-level programs, and leading collaborative initiatives, which help students and families, now. Working together, we can dismantle systemic barriers in the future, and foster upward mobility for families, today. Below are community-identified policy priorities and how our real-time efforts align: 

Priority: Increase affordable housing options throughout Monroe County, with a focus on rental housing for low/very low-income households and homeownership for low/moderate income homeowners.

How we help: Many families served by EnCompass Family Navigation identify affordable housing as a critical need impacting their children's academic success. Family Navigators work 1:1 with families to identify housing solutions collaboratively, which includes securing safe, affordable housing; providing rental and down payment assistance; and connecting families with rent assistance programs and homeownership opportunities. (link to Emiley & Daisy’s story from appeal)

Priority: Ensure that households have sufficient income to meet their needs through living wages, gradual transitions off of public benefits and opportunities for savings and wealth generation.

How we help: The Hive, a Monroe County ARPA-funded project led by EnCompass, and   is preparing tomorrow’s workforce for mid and high-wage careers by developing the skills of 15,000 youth; placing 1,000 youth in jobs, and elevating 10 career pathways to middle and high-wage jobs. Students from Hive collaborators, EnCompass, Black Men Achieve, Boys and Girls Club, The Center for Teen Empowerment, and The Hub585, and from across Monroe County are offered year-round Employment Education, Job Placement, Career Exposures, Career Camps, and Behavioral Health supports. These experiences are runways for careers and lasting prosperity.  Why Career Pathways?

EnCompass Future Ready equips middle and high school students from 120 different schools with comprehensive academic, college and career readiness, and social skill development- which enhances their abilities to secure living-wage employment after graduation. Students are well-prepared to enter the workforce with the potential for financial stability and upward mobility, thanks to personalized college and career planning and job placement. With guidance to pursue higher education and career pathways, Future Ready graduates advance the long-term community goal of economic independence and self-sufficiency.

Priority: Eliminate penalties, fees/fines and financial practices which exploit low-income people and criminalize poverty.

How we help: Education Success Foundation is adamant that quality educational options should not be determined by a family’s financial status. Our Student Success Project, Powered By Parents, equips families, particularly those with limited financial means, to navigate educational systems. The high cost of educational consultants and lawyers hinders access to quality education for low income individuals, but SSP provides free guidance, peer groups, workshops, resource connections, educational evaluations, and legal consultations. SSP staff are parents with lived experiences who empower families to advocate for their children's educational rights and navigate complex systems that perpetuate inequities.

Priority: Invest in more flexible and affordable childcare and school-age care options for all families.

How we help: EnCompass’ year-round, out-of-school-time programs reach thousands of Rochester students grades K-12+ and are safe, enriching, flexible, and free. These programs are delivered at RCSD schools or community locations, with transportation provided, and offer healthy meals and snacks. Programs comprise targeted tutoring, social-emotional skill-building, and clubs and structured activities, beyond school hours. EnCompass Future Ready takes place at our Sands Family Campus on Lake Avenue and was developed for Rochester middle and high school students. Afterschool time is filled with meaningful college and career preparation, field trips, and social activities. 

Priority: Increase access to culturally responsive and affordable mental and behavioral health services.

How we help: Culturally responsive mental and behavioral health services are a priority; many of the families we serve in Navigation have had negative experiences with providers and describe pervasive bias. Navigators build strong, trusting relationships with families and leverage a network of trusted providers. Drawing on their knowledge of each child and family member, and curated community-based resources, Navigators thoughtfully pair individuals with providers. Additionally, they engage in year-round professional development in culturally responsive support. 

The Hive and its comprising organizations prioritized free, reliable, culturally responsive behavioral health care for students. The Hive employs a Behavioral Health Specialist who is a co-located and shared resource, providing youth ages 8-13 with group sessions and individualized support. The Hive reaches youth who often have greater barriers to accessing care.