Christy Crites, CMT
Board Member, Compass for Kids
“How will these young people ever aspire to reach their potential if they don’t know the paths available to them?
Compass provides an avenue for these young people to understand what the possibilities are. It’s our job to bring that to them …
United Way is our biggest supporter.”
Children enjoying one of the activities put on by Compass for Kids.
As we reach the midpoint of our United Way Workplace Giving Campaign, we’re excited to share how the organization is making an impact through one of its partner agencies: Compass for Kids.
Compass for Kids is a nonprofit organization in Springfield, IL, that empowers under-served elementary students by supporting their academic and social-emotional skills with innovative schoolyear and summer programs.
CMT Vice President Christy Crites has served on the board of Compass for Kids for two years and has volunteered for the organization for many more.
Christy notes that many of the children Compass serves are experiencing homelessness, have parents who are incarcerated or are contending with other hardships. These circumstances, Christy says, “take a toll on them that I don’t think the average person can understand.”
Compass’s programs are a welcome respite and often the one place these children can go where they can “just be kids.”
“The Compass after-school program is theirs,” Christy says. “It’s something special, just for them.”
Through these programs, children get one-on-one academic support and learn life skills in areas such as nutrition and finance. They also engage in enrichment activities they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience – visits to the swimming pool, explorations at a local farm, and trips to the movie theatre, for example.
The results speak for themselves, with Compass students making gains of 90% and higher in math and reading. What’s more, Compass has been credited with motivating participants to maintain perfect attendance at school so they can take part in enrichment activities.
The organization’s vital services and increasing community footprint are supported, in large part, by significant funding it receives from United Way.
“The United Way is our biggest supporter in all of our programs,” Christy says. “Without United Way, you would not have seen the growth from one after-school program to seven, or the Club Compass summer program going from serving 100 kids to 800.”
The ripple effects of Compass’s impact extend beyond the students it serves. For Christy, engaging with Compass for Kids has been life-changing, as well.
“I have a much greater awareness of the impacts of socioeconomic differentials,” Christy says.
“The old adage ‘Pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ – I don’t think that works,” she continues. “How will these young people ever aspire to reach their potential if they don’t know the paths available to them? Compass provides an avenue for these young people to understand what the possibilities are. It’s our job to bring that to them. They don’t have the resources to find it themselves.”
To learn more about Compass for Kids, check out the video below: