Due to COVID-19, student participation in virtual classes at some schools lagged in their academic performance, and researchers stated that the percentage of students in 3rd to 8th-grade metro Atlanta students deemed proficient in English language arts and math dropped over 40%.

To address this issue, AARC will be launching its newest program, DreamEd, to help the underperforming students from low-income families who are struggling in the school system and have had a further setback during the pandemic, among the low-performing schools in Gwinnett County. Experts state that schools should focus on low-income, minority students, and the DreamEd program will provide guidance in increasing student performance in schools. Through this program, students in elementary and middle school will be able to receive the help to get back on track for educational success and perform on par with the expected grade level proficiency. AARC has been collaborating with schools in the Gwinnett County school district since 2021 to create a program that will assist the students who are struggling.

DreamEd will help the students from underprivileged, low-income families get back on track for educational success and hope to see incremental growth in confidence, demeanor, concentration, and retention. This will positively impact the students’ output and progress in school and may further identify and evaluate additional areas of support required for the student to reach their optimal potential. Education is key to building strong communities, and we want those who may not have the resources and opportunities to have that solid foundation.

AARC has received its first grant for the DreamEd program from the Mary Allen Lindsey Branan Foundation. The Foundation was created under the will of Charles I. Branan, who passed away in 1929, and named the foundation in loving memory of his mother (1830-1915) who was a widow caring for seven children. The grant provided by the Foundation supports organizations generally in Georgia to promote the relief of suffering and other charitable purposes in the following program areas: public/society benefit, religion, environment, human services, and health.

With funding for the DreamEd program, AARC can further advance the Foundation’s mission to promote the relief of suffering through empowerment and strength to all communities by providing culturally competent support services that enhance self-sufficiency and quality of life; providing human services, education, and job placement to the poor and disadvantaged members of the community in the metro Atlanta area; and assisting the elderly, jobless, single mothers, and unskilled people to break through language, cultural, and social barriers to obtain self-sufficiency and stability. AARC is dedicated to serving individuals and families to be productive citizens throughout the metro Atlanta area with an array of support services and programs. The other programs that AARC works on feed into the education program as it has been established repeatedly that education can help families get out of the cycle of homelessness and poverty.