A group of 48 at-risk students at Pine Ridge Prep preschool scored as low as the 20th percentile on a pre-kindergarten literacy assessment. After a single academic year, the students now score from the 84th to 100th percentile.
Pine Ridge Prep preschool is located in Pine Ridge Manor family housing. It is a collaborative
effort of organizations including Head Start, Parents as Teachers, Topeka Community
Foundation, Topeka Housing Authority, Topeka Pubic Schools/Foundation and United Way.
Below is a letter from Molika Jenious whose son Howard attends the preschool which plans to double in size next year.
To Whom This May Concern:
Pine Ridge Prep’s director, teachers and partners have been very viable in my life. It has not only given my son a place that is close to learn and build self-esteem, but it has given him a sense of pride in his community. The mentoring program has shown him that there is a future other than selling drugs, prison or death for him. He has a male role model that comes out and invests his time into his future.
The director of Pine Ridge Prep works closely with her parents and encourages us to get involved with our community planning. She gives us the opportunity to become better parents, offering a workshop in conscious discipline that helps me look at parenting in a different way. In addition, she has made it fun to be involved in activities with my child – cooking, gardening and reading. She also has opened up many doors for me to become an advocate for my own children and others. On a regular basis she encourages me to become the woman that God meant for me to be.
I truly thank God for bringing this school into a community with little or no hope. Without Pine Ridge Prep, this community probably would not have any confidence in bettering our situation. Now, the people in the community have to be held accountable if they are selling or doing drugs because of this school being here. Currently, our children get to see productive people come into their neighborhoods with the purpose of serving them. They see and realize that there is something to look forward to every day.
Again, I thank Pine Ridge Prep and all their partners for giving the kids that seem to get overlooked at times because of their social skills or their economic differences. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to write this letter to pay my gratitude to all that will read this. You will never comprehend the hope that was put into my life. I was on the verge of giving up, but just you caring, you restored my hope!