A recent CDC study showed that providing children who have experienced trauma with supportive, nurturing relationships can help prevent the long lasting effects of childhood trauma.
A large percentage of students in south Atlanta have experienced childhood trauma, so Purpose Built Schools partnered with COR, an organization that offers social-emotional support programming to trauma-impacted students marginalized by poverty and race-based educational inequities.
“Like Purpose Built Schools, we believe that a community is only as strong as its youth,” says Jennifer Henn, executive director of COR. “We partnered with Purpose Built Schools to make sure that students in the Carver cluster have the support and tools needed to overcome structural disadvantages and flourish at school and beyond.”
COR works with students at Carver STEAM Academy to help remove non-academic barriers to learning, including behavioral health services and wraparound family care.
“Our approach is unique because our team is located on-site, in the school,” says Jennifer. “This allows us to develop meaningful relationships which are integral to addressing and moving through trauma, creating protective factors, and enhancing student success.”
But with the COVID-19 school closures, COR has adapted to serve students beyond the walls of the school.
“In addition to distributing food and hygiene resources to students and their families, the COR team has been reaching out via phone, text and video chat to check in with the students we work with at Carver STEAM,” says Jennifer. “We’re talking with each student to identify needs, from food and hygiene to talking through anxiety and depression.”
The team also created a Remind text group with students so they can share resources, motivation and encouragement. The text chain provides a way for students to reach their COR counterparts while apart.
“Connection during this time is so important and our students have shared how much it means for us to keep an eye on them right now,” continues Jennifer.
To help decrease the effects of food insecurity that came from school cafeterias closing, COR helped Purpose Built Schools distribute more than 3,000 pounds of food in several neighborhoods where students and their families live.
Additionally, COR is partnering with Purpose Built Schools and the Atlanta Community Food Bank to provide a weekly grocery distribution at Carver STEAM Academy and Thomasville Heights Elementary. In its first week, the pantry served more than 75 families with a week’s worth of groceries.