Transform Learning, Transform Lives
Over the past 20 years, The Heart of America Foundation has worked to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn and grow through vibrant and modern learning environments. Since 1997, Heart of America has served a generation of over one million students in need by distributing more than 4 million books and transforming nearly 400 school libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums, college and career centers, tech labs, and many more educational spaces in high-need areas across the United States. Heart of America has done this by mobilizing thousands of volunteers who spread a culture of compassion as they help improve their communities.
Schools in Disrepair
The quality of children’s educational environments has a dramatic impact on their development. While the importance of many developmental factors, such as health, housing and parenting are widely recognized, the importance of a child’s educational environment is becoming more apparent. After parents and teachers, the physical environment is considered a child’s “third teacher.”
Too many students in America go to school each day in buildings that are dark, drab and in serious disrepair. Poorly maintained environments like these communicate to children that they are not a priority and studies show that these children have lower self-esteem, lower achievement and lower overall participation in school and community affairs.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the infrastructure of American Schools a “D” grade. At least $270 billion are needed to modernize and maintain school facilities in the United States, but, as of 2012, government spending on school construction has been cut in half from 2000-2008 averages.
- 61% of low-income families have no books at all in their homes.
- At least $270 billion are needed to modernize and maintain schools in the U.S.
- Government spending on school maintenance has been cut in half from 2000-2008 averages.
- Children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.
- Poorly maintained schools communicate to children that they are not a priority and studies show these children have lower self-esteem, lower achievement and lower overall participation in school and community affairs.
- Seven out of ten fourth graders cannot read at grade level.
- Low literacy can lead to crime, unemployment and poverty.
- Studies confirm that the availability of reading material is the strongest predictor of a child’s ability to read and succeed academically.
Heart of America is stepping in to address this growing and critical need by providing students with vibrant, engaging and safe places full of high quality educational resources where they can learn and grow. These environments are designed to support multiple and diverse ways of learning, personalized to promote a sense of belonging and filled with high-quality educational resources to enable learning.
Heart of America is committed to transforming learning and transforming lives by creating vibrant learning environments that provide students with the inspiration, volunteers, partners, and resources they need to pursue the opportunity to learn and grow.
Three Key Strategies
Heart of America employs three key strategies, based in service and community, to achieve this goal.
- Our partners are schools, sponsors and other non-profits. We transform desolate spaces into well-designed, welcoming environments that are conducive to learning. We work with our partners to provide educational resources and tools to enhance these environments and ensure students get the most out of the redesigned environments. In order to ensure the long-term impact of these redesigned spaces, we rigorously screen and intentionally select sites that demonstrate both a need and a commitment to sustaining the vibrant learning environment.
- Our team sparks a sense of pride and inspiration that motivates students, teachers, volunteers to support education and further improvements to educational environments in their community.
- Our work highlights the importance of physical environments in children’s learning so that schools and communities outside of our immediate reach will be inspired to create positive environments for their students.
Are you interested in transforming learning and transforming the lives of children across the country? Join us!