Students walking through library

Reading to learn, and learning to rebuild communities 

Closing the achievement gap with reading intervention

Closing the achievement gap with reading intervention

Senior tax associate Abigail Mabley had always earned top marks in school, but when she entered the third grade, her teachers made a startling discovery: She couldn’t read. To keep her from falling behind in school, Abigail’s parents enrolled her in private tutoring to quickly catch her up to her peers.  

“I think about parents who don’t have the resources for expensive lessons, and I know there are kids that need extra support to keep up with their classmates,” she said.  

Volunteering to pay it forward 

Passionate because of her childhood experience, Abigail began volunteering with Jumpstart during her studies at the University of Mississippi. Jumpstart is a national early education program that trains college students to teach preschool children critical pre-kindergarten literacy skills, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap.  

“Building these reading skills at a young age is so important because by the third grade, students switch from learning to read, to reading to learn, and that’s when unprepared students can fall behind,” Abigail said. “It was a huge blessing for me to have those extra reading lessons, and I want to share that gift of reading with others.”  

Baker Tilly Wishes grant provides crucial new funding  

A key component of Jumpstart is providing transportation for students, who must travel up to two hours twice a week for lessons. The $10,000 Baker Tilly Wishes grant will help the organization purchase a new van for transportation.  

“Their old van has about 350,000 miles, so it’s ready for a replacement,” Abigail added.  

A community-focused organization that empowers families

A community-focused organization that supports struggling families

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Crosby Steen knows the power of building a community that helps children thrive. That’s the mission of Agape Oasis, which provides 24-hour child care services and crisis intervention services to ensure children and families in Minneapolis have a safe and supportive environment.  

“This organization means the world to me,” Crosby said. “Agape Oasis provides a space for children to grow physically, mentally and emotionally while also supporting men and women who have been impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking.” 

Funding challenges and new opportunities  

For years, Agape Oasis’s crisis intervention and other community services were funded primarily from childcare revenue, but when attendance dropped during the pandemic, the organization had to diversify its funding to stay in operation.  

Agape Oasis will use the Baker Tilly Wishes grant to expand their child care space with more capacity and activities for the kids, while enhancing its crisis intervention services as well. 

“One of the biggest challenges for families is finding child care while parents are at work, and this organization helps lift that burden in the Minneapolis community,” Crosby said.