During the 2016-2017 school year, an ARCHS' community partnership with Purina® has introduced Mutt-i-grees® to theAfter School for All Partnership for St. Louis (ASAP). Over the past year, the staffs of ASAP's 30 after school program sites have participated in Mutt-i-grees® trainings, with many locations implementing the curricula in fun and innovative ways.
Mutt-i-grees®seeks to build calm, confident, and caring children. Its innovative PreK-12 social/emotional learning curriculum highlights the unique characteristics of shelter pets (mutts) to teach essential skills for academic and life success.
The project is designed for use in various classroom settings, character education, after school programs, and libraries. More than 4,000 schools in over 40 states are using the curriculum, often in conjunction with bullying prevention and efforts to enhance school climate. Lesson plans align with the National Health Education Standards and Common Core State Standards.
Locally, Purina® provides professional development from North Shore Animal League of New York, grade-level lesson plans, pre-post evaluation by Yale University's School of the 21st Century, animal visits by local assistance/therapy pet organizations, and library resources. At the end of this school year, many ASAP sites were visited by dogs from CHAMP.
Photo: A CHAMP assistance dog visits the ASAP after school program at Mann Elementary School. Photo by Diane Page.
As part of this year's Child Advocacy Day, Missouri KIDS COUNT® released the annual county rankings of child well-being. The county rankings this year are based on six indicators – poverty, food insecurity, preventable hospitalizations, child asthma ER visits, births to teens, and graduation rates. Several hundred child advocates attended the release event on April 6, 2017 in Jefferson City. Pictured above: Child care advocates representing Missouri's 20 community partnerships under the direction of the Family and Community Trust (FACT).
Trends and notable findings for 2017 include:
•Poverty generally is declining, but poverty density is increasing. More children are living in high poverty areas in Missouri, more children are homeless, and more children are uninsured.
•Births to teens, graduation rates and teen unintentional injuries are improving.
•Hospitalizations for children ages 1-19 have increased for both mental/behavioral and substance abuse diagnoses.
•Race Disparities – teen birth rates for Black/African American teens was 1.5 times that of Whites; child asthma ER rates for Black/African American children is more than 8 times that for Whites; the preventable hospitalizations and low birth weight rates for Blacks/African Americans are more than twice as high as for Whites.
FACT is a nonprofit organization serving as the Annie E. Casey sponsored KIDS COUNT® organization in Missouri. ARCHS serves as FACT’s KIDS COUNT® representative in the St. Louis region.
Download Missouri's 2017 indicator update
In March 2017, ARCHS was prominently featured in a six page case study by Social Solutions. The profile highlights ARCHS' innovative use of Social Solutions’ Apricot Software™ to enhance ARCHS' outcomes management strategy for the 35 organizations and programs that ARCHS funds and supports.
ARCHS’ staff uses Apricot Software™ on a daily basis to keep track of more than 3,000 program dashboard data points at 380 community locations.
Download Social Solutions' case study of ARCHS
Did you know that Kids Vision for Life - St. Louis (KVFL) has gone high tech? KVFL now uses The Spot Vision Screener, a handheld portable device that quickly and easily detects vision issues. This state-of-the-art equipment helps KVFL accurately screen students -- even squirmy preschoolers who don’t yet know the alphabet.
KVFL purchased two Spots through funding from The Saigh Foundation and a family foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. Additional recent funding from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Healthy Vision Association means that KVFL is on pace this school year to screen more than 37,000 students from low-income families and provide more than 5,000 free custom-fit eyeglasses in 14 local school districts.
KVFL’s school-based impact has expanded by a factor of more than 50 (more than 5,000%) since its inaugural year in 2009, when KVFL served one urban core school district with vision screenings for 700 students and provided 80 eyeglasses. This spectacular growth, including the purchase of KVFL’s own mobile clinic van, is made possible by a “visionary” partnership with ARCHS, Crown Vision Center, Essilor Vision Foundation, University of Missouri - St. Louis College of Optometry, and a blend of funder organizations, individual donors, and volunteers. As always, KVFL remains committed to providing its comprehensive vision services at no cost to the students or their families.
In February 2017, youth participating in an ARCHS' funded and supported mentoring program spent the day learning about careers in the pet grooming industry. The youth spent the day at Paw Purfect Grooming Salon observing all aspects of the business.
Thanks to ARCHS’ partnership with Purina®, the youth are continuing to learn how to be more calm, confident, and caring with both pets and people through a range of innovative Mutt-i-grees® activities.
The youth mentoring program has been using Mutt-i-grees®, but with a special focus on interactive career exploration. The mentors are using Mutt-i-grees® curriculum during their monthly meetings with the more than 80 teenagers the program annually serves.
The mentoirng program has hosted similar career exploration events at BJC HealthCare, Dierbergs Markets, Ranken Technical College, and other leading area companies. The mentoring program is a partnership of ARCHS, Missouri Department of Youth Services, and Fathers' Support Center.