Provide exposure & opportunity to middle school youth in Newark, East Orange, Orange & Irvington, NJ

Committed to social justice and educational excellence for Newark area youth

The challenges and lack of opportunities for low-income youth, irrespective of race, accumulate so that by 6th grade there is a 6,000-hour learning gap. The result is a vast achievement gap in English and math. Without focused intervention, the gap widens as they progress through school. Of Newark youth who do graduate high school, only 53% immediately enroll in college and only 23% graduate college. Link chose to serve students during one of the most challenging and promising stages in personal development – the middle school years. This is a time when children are becoming more independent, peer groups are having greater influence, and stressors can impact their lives. This is also the time when they are most open to positive influence, discovering who they are, and recognizing their extraordinary potential. These are amazing years, but Link is one of few interventions in Greater Newark focused exclusively on them and one of few that takes a whole child approach!

Link Education Partners and Link Community Charter School focus on the mind, body, and spirit of each child with a rigorous academic program and a strong array of exposure with arts immersion, summer programs, elective classes, athletics, field trips, STEM, and much more. It recognizes the need to support the whole child and when it does, they develop all the essential parts of themselves. By embedding opportunities for exposure within the regular school day, Link removes barriers to participation due to transportation, scheduling or ability to pay and provides a cost-effective program. However, it can not do it with public dollars alone. It relies on private philanthropy to close the near 30% funding gap. An award of $25,000 can provide: *300 city youth with outdoor adventure education going up into the woods, *80 students with 27 hours of instruction with a teaching artist, or *30 youth with 4 weeks of a high-quality summer program that builds academic and personal skills.

Since 1969, Link has enhanced the Greater Newark community by providing youth and their educators with resources that dramatically narrow academic and opportunity gaps. Nearly 50 years after its founding, Link continues to be a sought-after gem by local families because of its unique formula of academic rigor, strong social and emotional support, and unparalleled opportunities for exposure. In doing so, Link has delivered unprecedented student success for over 3,000 graduates, who achieve higher levels of educational attainment and greater success as adults, and will continue to do so: *Link’s Class of 2018 grew from 21.7% proficient in English language arts in grade 5 to 62.3% proficient by end of grade 8, outperforming their home districts and outperforming the NJ state average of 60.4%, *Link alumni graduate high school and college at rates comparable to NJ state averages; and 60% of Link’s alumni graduate college, compared to 23% of those enrolled in the local school district.