Uniforms Today, Diplomas Tomorrow
University Settlement aims to provide 1,000 school uniforms to students in Broadway-Slavic Village’s five neighborhood schools: Mound STEM, Fullerton, Miles Park, Willow, and Warner Girls Leadership Academy.
University Settlement is a neighborhood center located in and serving Cleveland’s Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood since 1926. Our mission: We offer the individuals and families we serve resources by which they can learn, grow, and thrive.
In an effort to help ease the cost of school uniforms on low-income families in our neighborhood, University Settlement is raising money to purchase 1,000 school uniforms for kids attending elementary school in Broadway-Slavic Village. Well over half of the families with children in our neighborhood are below the federal poverty limit. Purchasing multiple school uniforms frequently places a financial burden on families already struggling to meet their needs. This often results in children going to school in ill-fitting, dirty, or tattered uniforms- if they attend at all. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District recognizes not having a uniform as a primary reason for poor school attendance. And we know that kids who don’t attend school on a regular basis fall behind and are more likely to drop out, thus continuing the cycle of poverty from which they came from.
Currently, there is no other resource in the Greater Cleveland area providing free uniforms to low-income families. University Settlement is working with a local retailer to purchase tops and bottoms for $15 a uniform. Our goal is to distribute 1,000 vouchers to the five neighborhood schools at the start of the 2016-2017 school year! School staff and administration will distribute vouchers throughout the year to families and children in need. Families can then go to the retailer, which is easily accessed by public transportation, to exchange the voucher for a new uniform.
We need to raise $15,000 total. We’ve already raised funding from a few foundation and corporate partners – for the rest we look to you!
February 2016: Meet with University Settlement staff and conduct research regarding the need for free school uniforms. Survey area principals regarding need for uniforms. Begin contacting potential retail partners.
March 2016: Select a retail partner that is located near the neighborhood and easily accessed by public transportation. Submit proposals to foundations for financial support.
April 2016: Plan crowdfunding campaign.
May-June 2016: Hold and market crowdfunding campaign. Reach out to business partners for project sponsorship.
July-August 2016: Purchase and distribute vouchers to schools. The number of vouchers a school receives will be determined by the number of students in their school.
August 2016-May 2017: School staff and administration will identify children in need of a uniform and provide families with vouchers.
why we’re doing it
Anecdotal evidence from University Settlement staff and school principals with supporting data from the school district and NEO-CANDO indicate that the need for school uniforms is significant. According to NEO-CANDO, 48% of Broadway-Slavic Village residents and 58% of the community’s youth are living in poverty. Consequently, many families are faced with the decision of purchasing a new uniform or meeting the basic needs for food and shelter. Too often, these tough decisions result in children going to school in uniforms that are dirty and tattered or not going to school at all. When a child does not have a uniform, simple access to a school and the right to an education are denied.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District recognizes that not having a school uniform is one of the largest factors in poor school attendance. Regularly missing school due to a lack of a school uniform can have detrimental, long-term effects. A study conducted by CMSD found that missing 10 or more days of school is associated with a decrease of 15 points in math scores, a 12-point decrease in reading scores, and a 34% drop in being on the path to graduation.