The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), a place-based nonprofit located in East Durham, has offered an ecosystem of data-driven academic interventions, out-of-school programming and family supports since its creation in 2011. Working with more than 35 partners, EDCI focuses its efforts within a 120-block area identified by the state as a particularly vulnerable neighborhood of Durham. Recognizing the importance of early childhood experiences and trauma on brain development and learning, EDCI enrolls children from birth and connects families with a team of Family Advocates, who aim to engage parents in their children’s education. Its vision is a future where all youth successfully graduate from high school, ready for college or career. EDCI’s work strives to prepare students and support families – academically and social-emotionally. Its ultimate goal is for the EDCI Zone to be a safe, healthy, and economically thriving community.
EDCI Family Advocates support families by conducting screening and assessments, delivering parent workshops, providing referrals to services, and functioning as a crucial bridge between families, teachers, and schools. In parallel fashion, EDCI offers academic programming and enrichment opportunities outside of the classroom. These programs include STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics) Saturdays programs, academic summer camps to prevent summer learning loss, Youth Leadership Councils to develop youth leaders who design and implement community solutions focused on improving health, and health initiatives like Bull City Fit. Additionally, EDCI offers workforce development supports through partnerships with Dress for Success and Partners for Youth Opportunity as well as English courses for speakers of other languages.
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