By: Renee Binwald
A little more than a year and a half ago, Jaxon Stone’s father died, but not long after he made a new friend through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.
Jaxon is one of the many children supported by the Big Brother Big Sisters school program. His match led to a quick bond, but when financial insecurity followed his father’s death, Jaxon and his mother had to make the difficult decision to move to Raleigh.
Last week, the family returned to Henderson County and on Friday Jaxon was reunited with his Big Brother.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC and the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County are two United Way of Henderson County funded community partners that work toward the improvement of their member’s success in school.
Beginning with its 2014-15 funding cycle, the United Way of Henderson County has shifted its focus to the six most critical community issues that need to be tackled over the next 10 years, crafting its new “Henderson County 2025” plan. One of the issues identified was the success rate of economically disadvantaged children within the school system.
Data collected by the United Way showed that only 65.7 percent of economically disadvantaged third graders and 69 percent of economically disadvantaged eighth-graders were at or above grade level — a common indicator for student success.
“With a 10 percent disparity on reading tests in the third and eighth grade between all students and economically disadvantaged students, United Way believes it is important to have mentors in elementary and middle schools as well as sources for students to be prepared for school, including child care that emphasizes school success,” United Way Executive Director Ruth Birge said. “Our funded community partners under the area of school success, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club, and other nonprofit organizations, are instrumental in helping make students successful.”