By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Wednesday, Dec. 17, Jubilee Partners, a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of at-risk urban youth, will host a “Lunch & Learn” event to discuss their new “Jubilee Academy” Project.
The free program will be held at Oklahoma City’s Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave., in the 4th floor Friends room, from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
Located at 712 S.W. 5 St., in downtown Oklahoma City, Jubilee Partners works to provide at risk youth with opportunities to further their education, develop healthy relationships, and build life skills.
“Jubilee Academy Lunch & Learn is a chance for members of the community to learn about the launch of Jubilee Partner’s new school,” said Kristen Donovan, Jubilee Partners founder and executive director.
While working with students from the Oklahoma City urban community through the Jubilee Partners’ After School Program, organization members discovered that many students needed additional support in developing their academic and life skills.
Through this experience the idea for Jubilee Academy was born.
“We will use a variety of methods with an emphasis on experiential learning,” Donovan said. “Through Jubilee Academy, students will thrive academically, socially, spiritually, and physically.”
Jubilee Academy’s mission is to holistically educate at-risk students, creating strong foundations and equipping students for growth.
The pilot program will launch in January, focusing on elementary school aged students. It will include extensive work in reading, vocabulary development, math, and life skills.
“Once these foundations are solidified, we will proceed with appropriate instruction and guidance in all core subject areas,” Donovan added. “As additional volunteers and resources become available, we will offer a variety of arts, sports, and additional life skills classes.
“Our goal is to expand to between 15 and 20 students by the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Jubilee Academy will equip students with the skills and tools to become life-long learners and healthy, active participants in society.”
Teaming with Donovan from the organization’s inception five years ago, Jubilee Partners board president and Coyle Law Firm attorney J.P. Hill said, “Kristen asked me to help her start a non-profit to reach out to children in a neighborhood where she had been volunteering.
“I saw this as a great opportunity to give something back to my community and I’ve been involved ever since.”
Other programs fostered by Jubilee Partners include Equine Therapy, Mentoring, Summer Kids Club, and Student Leadership.
Donovan said, “We started by tutoring just one day a week and began to see all of these needs adding up. The kids really needed more stability from adults.”
Obstacles facing the students coming to Jubilee Partners were apparent.
Hill said, “We have kids that don’t get three meals a day. A lot of these kids don’t have parents that are going to read to them or that will help them with their homework. That’s where we want to step in and provide support so that they can be successful.”
A number of opportunities are available for those interested in getting involved with the organization.
Donovan added, “We are always looking for volunteers to fill a variety of rolls from tutoring, reading buddies, elective class teachers (music, art, sports), computer networking, lawn care, and even gardening helpers.”
Volunteer Josh Bellieu said, “I’ve seen amazing returns in the lives of the kids that I spend time with. I see them growing, applying themselves in school, and beginning to believe in themselves for the first time in their life. Here at Jubilee Partners I have the opportunity to impact someone’s life. It makes it absolutely worthwhile.”
Donovan said, “We are confident that Jubilee Academy will change the trajectory of many at-risk youth in Oklahoma City. Join us and learn how you can be involved in this exciting new endeavor.”
For more information, call 405-888-1271 or visit jubileepartnersokc.org.