In 2011, we became one of 15 organizations in the nation to receive a U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhood planning grant. As lead agency for this initiative, we direct a city-wide coalition of non-profit, corporate, and local government partners who work together to ensure that all children and youth in Nashville have access to great schools and strong systems of family and community support that will prepare them for college and career. Throughout 2013, we collaborated with Communities in School to provide professional development in elementary schools, Regions Bank to open college savings accounts for young learners, and MDHA, MNPS, and Novation Broadband to install high-speed home internet in Cayce Place housing units.
Throughout 2014, we will continue to expand our service reach through several strategic partnerships. Last August, we received a five-year grant from Nashville Career Advancement Center (via the U.S. Department of Labor), allowing us to expand our Work Ready services to provide intensive job training and career education supports to high school students. In September, we were awarded a three-year Byrne grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, through which we will partner with Metro Nashville Police Department, the YWCA, Family & Children's Service, MDHA, the Mayor's office and Vanderbilt to develop a place-based strategy to address interpersonal violence in Cayce Place. This project is aligned with Mayor Karl Dean’s citywide domestic violence initiative.
Our highest priority at Martha O’Bryan is ensuring that children living in poverty grow up to be well-educated, high school and college graduates who are healthy and employed. We are making great strides. The strategies which address the greatest barriers to healthy families and vibrant communities in East Nashville address inadequate transportation, transitional and educational expenses, affordable childcare, and the lack of a full-service grocery store within walking distance. Small gifts of financial support can have a big impact on need.
§ $5.25 purchases an all day MTA bus pass
§ $10.55 provides a week of meals for the elderly and disabled.
§ $35 covers the cost of a college application
§ $75 covers the cost of a GED exam
§ $105 per month scholarships one child in the Early Learning Center
§ $850 provides 6 weeks of academic summer camp for one youth
While service extends to all residents in Davidson County, our primary service is to the approximately 9,000 youth and their families attending the 14 schools in the Stratford cluster of MNPS and Maplewood High School. Currently, our community work focuses on four of the most distressed neighborhoods in Nashville, including Cayce Place, CWA Plaza Apartments, the Shelby Hills neighborhood and Historic Edgefield neighborhood, all within Census tracts 117, 119, 192, and 193.
The Board of Directors clearly understands that Martha O’Bryan Center is a strong non-profit performer, responsive to neighborhood needs as well as city priorities. In this, our 120th year of serving Nashville’s most vulnerable families, we find ourselves evaluating our tremendous growth over the past 12 years (218%). As an organization focused on deep and meaningful community change, we are working with national experts to ensure that the governance structure between community centers and schools is efficient and streamlined. Our successes have been built by the historically strong guidance and support of our Board and the dynamic subject matter expertise and visionary leadership of our staff.
The Early Learning Center at MOBC provides high quality early education opportunities to 88 children 6 weeks to 5 years old in six classrooms. Serving low income families, the ELC is a 3-Star, nationally accredited program operating 12 months a year. Last year, 97% of our 4 year olds met national benchmarks for Kindergarten readiness.
Tied Together is the center’s 9 week parenting program for expecting parents and families with at least one child age 4 and under. The program combines four core strategies: prevention and early intervention, empowerment and strengthening, development of supportive social networks and promotion of broad community change. This year, 103 of 125 Tied Together participants graduated, and we now boast over 400 alumni.
THRIVE is a comprehensive, daily out-of-school time program that benefits 204 K-8 school students, teaching them the academic, social and life planning skills necessary to successfully navigate transitions and successful high school completion. THRIVE reaches beyond homework, stressing fundamental building block skills in math and reading.
RAP’s reading/ math program serves 320 students at 9 school and community sites and has been recognized by TN Dept of Education for best practices. At the end of 2012-13, 231 RAP students increased their reading ability by 1 grade level or more, and 138 students increased their mathematical ability by 1 grade level or more.
Academic Student Unions (ASU): Top Floor at Stratford and College Zone at Maplewood provide case management, tutoring, enrichment activities, ACT preparation, college application and financial aid workshops to 773 high school students. Sixty-Six seniors were accepted to college this year making it the first year that 100% of Top Floor seniors who chose to apply to college were accepted; these seniors represent $4.3 million in grants and scholarships!
The Post Secondary Success Initiative provides academic and socio-emotional support for first-generation and low-income college students to equip them with the skills and resources necessary for college success. This year, the PSSI will work with 90 college students enrolled in 12 area colleges.
The Family & Community Services continuum supports Cayce, CWA and east Nashville neighborhoods by putting community voice and choice at the center of all activities, by igniting the flame of learning for adults and children alike, providing a real safety net for those in dire or immediate need.
Last year, 8,952 families accessed these Martha O’Bryan Family Resource Center services: 554 adult & ESL education; 194 job training/placement; 168 dental/health screening; 5,053 food bank; 100 Meals on Wheels; 51 Legal; 22 Voter Registration; 144 financial and 265 holiday assistance.
Marsha Edwards has led MOBC since 2001, emphasizing financial responsibility, quality programming, and fund development. Her background as a litigation attorney, small business owner/entrepreneur and education advocate has spurred her vision to build a broad continuum of services to support all children educationally and socially. Under her leadership MOBC has tripled its budget, filled many gaps in the MOBC Highway of Services, developed school and community-based programs, and launched an elementary charter school in East Nashville.
Marsha serves on the Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Champions business committee that works to engage the business community in support of reform of our comprehensive high schools into small learning academies.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Marsha received her undergraduate degree from Warren Wilson College. She is married to Eric Vaughter, has 2 sons and 2 daughters, and resides in Brentwood, TN.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Early childhood education and pre-K programs embrace the crucial stages of brain development in children that when ignored, put children at risk for entering the public school system with an avoidable early learning deficit that will hamper their ability to learn and succeed in school and in life. Almost 90 percent of brain development occurs before a child is old enough to enter kindergarten, but many families cannot afford quality early education programs.
Tennessee is 38th Among All States in Maternal Mortality; 38 Percent of Women
Live in a Medically Underserved Area, according to Amnesty International. About 11.7 women died for every 100,000 deliveries in Tennessee from 1999 to 2004, the Amnesty report said. Graves believes if Tennessee tracked its maternal deaths, the state would probably learn that fatalities are much higher. The same health problems — obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure — that earn Tennessee poor grades in numerous health rankings, to include infant mortality rates, also contribute to the deaths of Tennessee women during childbirth. Additionally, some hospitals in rural areas may not be equipped to handle high-risk pregnancies. Hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding, for example, is a common pregnancy complication that can lead to death. Please learn more about this issue affecting the Tennessee community.
With global competition, technological changes and the growth of knowledge- and service-based economies, even entry-level jobs require more advanced skills than they did several decades ago. There is great demand for workers with education, skills training or both, but jobs that require only a high school diploma are disappearing, or the wages they pay are dropping. Schools offer limited vocational training, and graduates often lack the practical job skills employers need.
In Tennessee, gang presence has been on the rise since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gangs first made a concerted push into the state. Since 2011, police have identified at least 5,000 gang members in Davidson County, and gang-related crimes have increased by 25%. Meanwhile, cities with 50,000 or fewer inhabitants have seen gang-related crimes triple in frequency nationally since 2005.
Tennessee's population grew by an impressive 11.5% from 2000 to 2010.
Browse our state's population growth and decline, changes in racial and ethnic concentrations and patterns of housing development, and view demographic information for specific counties on this interactive map, courtesy of NYTimes.
By MATTHEW BLOCH, SHAN CARTER and ALAN McLEAN | Source: Census Bureau; socialexplorer.com
One million more people will move to the Middle Tennessee region before 2035, making the lack of public transportation in this area a significant and pressing issue. Consensus is growing that expanded transportation options will be critical both to our future economic stability and growth, as well as the environmental well-being of our region.
The need for better mobility in and access to small urban and rural communities is placing new emphasis on the availability of public transportation services, as this will be essential in sustaining and guiding growth in flourishing areas as well as revitalizing areas that continue to struggle.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215