What is Care to Learn??
For thousands of kids in Missouri, school isn’t just a place for learning. It’s a shelter. A kitchen. A refuge from suffering. For these kids, hygiene needs go unmet. Meals are few. And clothes rarely fit. They come to school distracted by hunger and limited by embarrassment—their education an afterthought to survival. It’s for these kids that Care to Learn was created.
The Mission of Care to Learn is to provide immediate funding to meet emergent needs in the areas of health, hunger and hygiene so every student can be successful in school. A toothbrush. A coat. Deodorant. Breakfast. These are the things that stand between children and belonging—basic unmet needs that cause pain and embarrassment.
Different mascots, same pride.
The frontline of the Care to Learn program is the schools. Faculty, bus drivers, administrators, nurses, counselors and others are able to end suffering quickly by identifying students in need of help. Having a Care to Learn chapter in their school means many hunger, health, and hygiene issues can be addressed immediately and discreetly. Currently, there are 33 Care to Learn chapters in Missouri, helping students every day. To learn about upcoming events, become a Care to Learn fan on Facebook or visit Care to Learn- Ava.
In the fall of 2007, founder Doug Pitt heard some sobering statistics about poverty in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri. The growing trend of poverty was an unwelcome shock to the local businessman who had lived and worked in the community for over 40 years.
Doug shared the information with those close to him. Doug told about children living in poverty who had to share a toothbrush, a fifth-grade boy who was being made fun of because he had to wear his mother’s jeans and teenage girls missing school because of the lack of personal hygiene products. Doug and those he talked with felt strongly that no child should suffer physically or emotionally due to lack of food, access to medical, dental or mental health care, or hygiene issues.
Within 24 hours, Doug called upon community leaders and shared the same stories of children in need. Several responded immediately and before the end of the business day, a fund was established to meet emergent needs of students in the areas of health, hunger, and hygiene. With this strong foundation and growing support from a caring community, Care to Learn was born in 2008. By 2009, Care to Learn Chapters were founded in Springfield, Bolivar, Ozark, Nixa and Ozarks Technical Community College.
While Care to Learn’s roots started in Springfield, founder Doug Pitt and the governing board of Care to Learn wanted to ensure students in schools throughout Missouri had access to the same support. Care to Learn has grown to 32 chapters from Southwest Missouri to St. Louis and from Kansas City to Cape Girardeau. Care to Learn is focused on adding more chapters throughout Missouri in 2017 and beyond so that more students will have access to immediate funding for health, hunger and hygiene needs so they can stay in school and be successful.