OKC Metro Literacy Coalition Member Profile:
It's My Community Initiative
IMCI is OKCMLC's newest member! Will you commit to making Oklahoma City a fully literate community?Click here to join or renew your membership!
It’s My Community Initiative (IMCI) is an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission of strengthening families and communities.
Through innovative, research-based strategies, IMCI works to boost literacy, support healthy families, and generate economic opportunities for Oklahomans. In collaboration with a large network of community partners, IMCI creates systemic and sustainable approaches to improving outcomes for children, veterans, individuals returning to the community after incarceration, unemployed or underemployed individuals, and other vulnerable populations.
“Too often, illiteracy, family instability, and joblessness converge to further entrench generational poverty,” said Sandino L. Thompson, Executive Director of IMCI. “These factors threaten the emotional and financial well-being of our entire community and must be addressed through effective action.”
Rather than focusing on a single challenge, IMCI creates integrated strategies for combating the negative factors that can threaten Oklahomans. It’s My Community Initiative works across a range of populations, but has a particular focus on creating lasting transformation in one of Oklahoma’s most disadvantaged communities—northeast Oklahoma City.
Programs include Reading Explorers, Work Ready Oklahoma, Whatever It Takes NEOKC (WIT) and Count Me In 4 Kids.
To learn more about how It’s My Community Initiative is contributing to stronger families, healthier communities and a better trained local workforce, visit www.itsmycommunity.org or call 405.418.3921.
Nearly 20% of third graders in Oklahoma do not meet reading proficiency standards. While Oklahoma has been gradually improving its proficiency rates among third graders, far too many children are still falling behind.
Reading proficiency by the end of the third grade has been demonstrated to be a critical educational milestone. Literacy is foundational to all other learning and coursework. So if students are not well established in their reading skills by the time they enter the fourth grade, they are more likely to eventually drop out of school.
Recognizing how important it is to help students strengthen their reading skills early on, SandRidge Energy, Public Strategies and It’s My Community Initiative joined together in 2011 to do something about it. The result was Reading Explorers, a fun, multi-faceted program that encourages children to explore the new worlds of knowledge that are introduced through reading.
This high-impact literacy program provides first, second and third grade students at Edwards Elementary in northeast Oklahoma City with engaging literacy activities and one-on-one guidance from a Reading Coach.
Reading is invaluable, but the impact of the program goes beyond mere literacy. “Books help everyone to flourish,” said Chabria Dorsey-Easter, Reading Explorers Program Specialist at It’s My Community Initiative. “But it is the relationships and conversations that are built around these books that create the success of each child.”
To learn more about Reading Explorers’ creative and research-based approach, visit thereadingexplorers.com or contact Chabria Dorsey-Easter at 405-418-3810.
Work Ready Oklahoma
At least 22,800 Oklahomans were without work in 2014. With the recent downturn in the local economy—particularly in the oil and gas sector—those unemployment figures will likely rise even higher.
Work Ready Oklahoma (WRO) provides free workforce services to help employers find the right personnel while empowering individual Oklahomans to find great jobs.
A statewide collaborative co-created by It’s My Community Initiative and Public Strategies, Work Ready Oklahoma equips Oklahomans to rapidly regain employment, reduce their risk of future job loss, and advance along career pathways. Program participants include unemployed and underemployed Oklahomans, workers returning to society after incarceration and new parents.
“In addition to helping Oklahomans find jobs, Work Ready Oklahoma assists employers by offering qualifying personnel with free soft skills and technical training, continuing education, job placement, job coaching and more,” said Blair Schoeb, WRO’s Senior Program Manager. “This reduces the human resources and training burden on local employers while building a stronger Oklahoma workforce.”
Drawing from the latest research and best practices, Work Ready Oklahoma continually looks for opportunities to innovate within the workforce development field. By studying what is working nationally and applying this information to local needs and resources, Work Ready Oklahoma helps local employers find great talent while empowering financially vulnerable Oklahomans to secure and keep high quality jobs.
To see if you or someone you know might be eligible for Work Ready Oklahoma’s free employment services, visit workreadyoklahoma.com or call 405.418.3923.