I have worked with Laura Sumner-Coon at another non-profit - San Juan Diego Middle School. I saw all the expertise she has to be Executive Director of a non-profit. When SOAR began, I knew nothing about it. I was not aware of the possibilities for children who wanted to go to private schools that did not have the means to go. When San Juan Diego Middle closed because of the economy and grants were how the school fuctioned, Laura stepped up took everything in her power to be sure SOAR was up and running so the San Juan Diego children who did not have money for a private school could go to a private school. The scholarships for the children to go to the private schools is from constant letter writing, grant writing, contacting individuals, businesses. Laura knows how the system works. I was fortunate to be helping with closing the books of San Juan - when children would come in with their parents to her office saying they wanted to go to a private school. This is a wonderful non-profit. Also besides the scholarships given to children, Laura has a mentoring program with each child that has a scholarship to have a mentor whether in high school or middle school or grade school. I was fortunate last year to have an eighth grader at John Paul Academy II - besides me helping her every Tuesday afternoon, she taught me a lot too! The Christmas program was very enjoyable and I helped with it because my mentee was in it as a sheep. She had to make her own custume and did a great job. The bonding of mentor/mentee is amazing and very meaningfull. SOAR has a breakfast I think it is four times a year - to ask people to be Table Captains and invite people to hear the story of SOAR and give. Laura makes sure there are students there and they tell their story. I am moved by Laura's compassion to help the children that want to learn in a private school. The Board of Directors are wonderful and also willing to help Laura. This year I am mentoring a sixth grader I just started last night. We worked with Science and again I'm learning all over again. I'm also a donor to help these children go to and learn at a private school. SOAR is a Compassionate/Worthwhile non-profit.
This has been the first year that St. John's Lutheran has been part of the S.O.A.R. family. It has been wonderful working with Laura Sumner Coon. Her devotion and dedication to this program is tremendous. She has provided our school and faculty with in-service opportunities, a network of professionals, and a school counselor intern. This program is a great resource for the students of Racine. I would encourage individuals and businesses to find out more about this program and invest in the future of the children of our city.
SOAR is an extremely valuable community resource for children and parents in the Racine community who are seeking access to quality education. SOAR is also offering a great resource for teachers and administrators who work in schools that are affiliated with the program by providing access to in-service training, school-based personnel, and collaboration with leaders in higher education.
I have worked and continue to work with SOAR as a peer community collaborator by helping them support their participating schools prepare themselves to serve a potentially new population. SOAR is a fantastic, passionate organization with its only mission to help families provide the best education for their children as they possibly can. It is an honor to work with them closely and assist in making that education the best for everyone involved.
Trinity Lutheran School decided to become one of the SOAR participating schools for one reason. We see as our mission to minister to those in our community regardless of race or economic need. SOAR has provided support and expertise in helping all of our participating schools. We look forward to our partnership now and in the future.
SOAR of Racine (Scholarships, Opportunities and Access in Racine) began several years ago to provide scholarships for lower-income students to attend any of the network of our faith-based schools in Racine. The need is overwhelming - 10 students have scholarships, 90 are on the waiting list and others have had to be turned away because we are no longer accepting applications for now until more funds become available. Laura, our Executive Director, does far more than raise money for scholarships; she supports our scholarship students and families to make sure they succeed. And they have - all 10 got through their first year in the school of choice with good academic records. Laura monitors their progress, has formed a group of volunteer mentors who meet with their students at least once a week for tutoring and she has begun a partnership with a local university to have their graduate pyschology students provide counselling services to any student from our school network who could benefit from it. Providing students with scholarships and support, emotional and academic and even transportation at times is more than a full-time job and Laura happily meets it. Kudos to her and our students and families and let's hope that we can support many more over the years.
SOAR is an organization whose goal is to provide children and their families access to educational opportunities in Racine that are otherwise unattainable. Our families face financial challenges that make it difficult for them to afford private education. SOAR provides them with the lift they need to make this happen.
What an amazing opportunity SOAR offers when over 90 families are on the waiting list to get into private schools. My children are currently waiting to get in and the SOAR director has kept us abreast of the funding issues and our position in line. To help do our part, we sold raffle tickets and helped at the carnival that was held in hopes to raise enough money for SOAR to offer more scholarships. If SOAR can get the funding and get students placed it will truly benefit those in need and give lower income families a chance for their children to rise above poverty in the future.
Racine SOAR offers less previledged children an opportunity to obtain a superior education with a wholistic approach. Not only do SOAR students attend good schools with tuition support, but they are appointed mentors and tutors that become their 'education families' that almost guarantees that they live a wholesome life in and away from school. The SOAR model is unique. SOAR children simply blossom and the progeam strengthens the spirit of the whole cummunity. Nothing is more important than the future of our youth. I enjoy working and volunteering for SOAR activities and watching the students grow in so many ways and loving their lives. They are the future beacons of our community.
I am very impressed with the dedication, caring, and expertise of the leaders of the SOAR program. Offering a private education for children whose families can't afford one is a very worthwhile goal.
As the new administrator of John Paul II Academy Catholic School in Racine I was greeted immediately by SOAR representatives whose mission was very simply to provide a quality education to children in need. Their job is daunting, their task is overwhelming, their funds are limited and yet they forge on bent on their mission to serve children. They have inspired me to begin my own program regarding Catholic School education called "Pray It Forward" and together with SOAR we will ensure that children who seek a private school education will receive it.