Foundation partners with schools to help students in poverty

ByEmily Rau

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Thousands of children in St. Louis live at or below the poverty line.

That hardship creates a unique set of challenges that can impact education. Kipp Inspire Academy is trying to address those issues.

Kipp is a college prep charger school in the city of St. Louis. Executive Director Kelly Garrett said the school aims to get kids caught up, and even ahead, of where they should be.

“Many of our students come in behind academically. So we provided an extended school day and year and intensive rigorous academics,” Garrett said.

Starting this year educators will get a little bit of extra help, thanks to the Little Bit Foundation.

“We provide everything for basic needs from underwear and socks to behavioral health services,” said Rosemary Hanley, the executive director of the Little Bit Foundation.

Little Bit serves 6,000 children in St. Louis. By partnering with schools like Kipp, volunteers can provide what students living in poverty may need, allowing children to focus on learning.

Little Bit staffs “boutiques” in each of their partner schools. Volunteers can outfit students with items they choose themselves.

“When your needs are taken care of and you’re cared for, it breaks down every barrier,” said Hanley.

The Little Bit Foundation is also launching services as Koch Elementary in the Riverview Gardens school district, at Earl Nance Senior Elementary, and in the St. Louis public school district. It costs $40,000-$60,00 dollars per year for each school Little Bit services.