Stories: Shannon was behind as a student and falling further back every year, until your support provided a new way to learn


Your support of United Way has helped Shannon succeed in school and get back on track with her peers. This type of success can impact her future as well as her present, improving her overall quality of life in many ways.

This story comes courtesy of Knowledge Quest’s Executive Director, Marlon Foster. Names and images have been changed to protect privacy.

Shannon’s family has benefited from one of United Way’s network partner agencies that offers after-school adventure education programs which strengthens the lessons boys and girls learn in their regular school studies.

Shannon and four of her sisters have attended classes at Knowledge Quest, a United Way partner agency. Shannon is one of nine children and she had been falling behind in her school progress. During her first few days in the adventure education courses, it was obvious Shannon was the tallest girl in her class, standing head and shoulders over the rest of her grade peers. Although she had long passed the age where children suck their thumbs for comfort, Shannon still exhibited the behavior at times. It was clear Shannon was not learning as quickly as the other students in her regular school and had been held back instead of progressing to the next grade level.

The agency learned Shannon and all four of her sisters had failed one or more grades in the past, pointing to a possible issue with supporting school lessons in the home environment. When Shannon first entered the after-school adventure program, she could not pass the courses required to leave third grade and enter fourth grade.

Your Support Impacts Lives“Third grade is all the more difficult when a child enters school unprepared,” said an agency counselor. “This is where Shannon’s story makes a dramatic shift toward her new horizon. Our mission here is to offer an awesome experience of intellectual advancement and character development through an innovative, hands-on learning strategy and engaging artistic and sport activities.”

Using this markedly different approach in her after-school classes, Shannon’s grades in her normal school setting started to improve. In time, she saw a dramatic rise in her scores.

“She brought three F’s up to A’s,” said the counselor. Shannon also improved in other classes, transforming another failure grade into a C and two D’s into A’s. She even earned a B in her most challenging class, Social Studies.

Thanks to your support of United Way’s work to improve local education outcomes, students like Shannon can be introduced to different methods of learning, which often leads to better grades and catching up with one’s social peers in school. While our region’s challenges in education are too large for any one organization to address, our network of nonprofit partners is working alongside local teachers to impact the lives of children in unique ways every day.

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