Hunger, education, and homelessness. These three areas are the focus of our mission and outreach here at Trinity. Recently you heard Warren Henry and Carol Sugg speak about hunger in Charlotte and our partnership with Friendship Trays and the Friendship Garden Network. Over the coming months, we will be speaking to you about education in Charlotte and our partnership with Nations Ford Elementary.

A 2013 study on the equality of opportunity from Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley found that Charlotte-Mecklenburg ranked 50th out of fifty in upward mobility, meaning that a child born into poverty will not be able to move out of poverty in their lifetime. In learning this shocking statistic, community members and nonprofits rallied to form a task force to study how to improve life for residents of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force released a report outlining their findings and recommendations, some of which I will reference now.

I think we all would agree that education is a key determinant in giving children and families an opportunity to move out of poverty. The task force identified education as a key factor for predicting upward mobility as well. And If you took a moment to really analyze the impact of education, especially at an early age, you would quickly realize that not only is education important, it is critical in giving children tools to improve the trajectory of their life. 90% of brain development is complete by the age of five, before a child even begins kindergarten. Children not prepared for kindergarten begin school at a deficit making them half as likely to be proficient readers by third grade. To compound this, children who are not confident and proficient readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to dropout of high school. Essentially, children entering kindergarten have four years before the end 3rd grade to become excellent readers. And if you are born into poverty, what are your chances of achieving this?

In Matthew 19, little children are brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Trinity, Jesus has brought us little children. They are 5 to 10 years old and attend Nations Ford Elementary, a school that is just one of many in Charlotte-Mecklenburg that serve children who live in poverty. We have a tremendous opportunity to potentially alter the course of entire lives and break the cycle of poverty in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by helping to educate God’s children at Nations Ford Elementary. I have been praying that your hearts will be open to this opportunity to change lives. I hope you will consider contacting Grace or a member of the Missions & Outreach Ministry Team to learn about Nations Ford and how you can get involved.

Katherine Nims