Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Strengthens Minds and Bodies in Wabasso

successful student

Miss B’s Learning Bees (MBLB) received funding from the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation to expand their free academic success program for struggling learners who live in or near the poverty line to a new neighborhood hub in the Wabasso community. The Foundation also continues to support the unique network of neighborhood hubs which eliminate transportation barriers for low-income families.

Miss B’s has taken on the responsibility of helping to eliminate every barrier for families to ensure children from deep pockets of poverty succeed in school. MBLB establishes neighborhood hubs close to where low-income families reside; they employ highly skilled teachers to work one-on-one with children in K-12; they provide nutritious snacks and a meal before a child goes home; and they provide door-to-door transportation – all at no charge.

By providing academic enrichment, behavioral services, meals, and eliminating the barriers that prevent this population from accessing services, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation is helping MBLB to change the face of poverty in Indian River County.

Education is one of the great equalizers of the world. MBLB provides children from concentrated areas of poverty with increased opportunities to learn and is ultimately giving them the keys to lift their entire family out of poverty. Children from these low-income working families access MBLB’s high quality after school programs to ensure they learn foundational skills and solidify their academic foundations. Children that benefit the most are the ones that have fewer opportunities to participate in such high-quality programs because their parents work, cannot provide transportation and can’t afford to pay for tutors.

When a child falls behind, MBLB uses diagnostic tools to assess the gaps in their learning. Highly qualified teachers work one-on-one with each child to fill in the specific foundational building blocks they missed in the classroom. Using research-based best practices, MBLB addresses behavioral or learning differences which are barriers to their success. A third-party assessment tool tracks the real progress a child makes. Eventually as children demonstrate mastery of the foundational concepts necessary for reading, language, math and scientific thinking, the children meet and exceed the Florida State standards, develop confidence and self-esteem, and demonstrate gains in the classroom.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Has been a supporter of MBLB for _ years and is a vital resource to keep Miss B’s available to children and their families free of charge. Formed in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (MFCF) has a commitment to, and partnership with, schools, teachers, families, and community. Their vision is to inspire and transform the lives of all children by supporting and developing healthy and positive youth development programs. Currently, MFCF supports over 2,400 children throughout Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive, and successful lives.

Miss B’s Learning Bee’s is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization founded by LaToya Bullard, Executive Director, and governed by a Board of Directors. Ms. Bullard has been recognized as a Distinguished Educator by the Florida Department of Education and has taught in the Indian River County School (IRC) district since 2004. She recognized that children in deep pockets of generational poverty often need help in the areas of reading, math, and science and, in 2006, began tutoring children in her kitchen. Working with these children, she found that they were missing fundamental building blocks needed for them to move ahead and succeed with the next level of work. When she ensured that the students mastered these missing pieces, they began to succeed.

MBLB attained non-profit status in 2014. In 2016, MBLB began collaborating with local organizations that target the same population but do not provide the academic component. MBLB’s program model has been proven to be successful as certified by data from the Florida Department of Education. In 2017 Miss B’s Learning Bee’s began a summer learning program to prevent students from “sliding” backwards in the summer months. In year 2018 two hubs were opened – one in Central Vero Beach and the other in Oslo, South County.

Miss B’s Learning Bee’s has earned GuideStar’s Gold Seal of Transparency.

Photo: One of Miss B’s Learning Bees proudly shows off the academic progress they have made with a gain of more than 30 points on their recently completed work. Miss B’s establishes neighborhood hubs close to where low-income families reside; they employ highly skilled teachers to work one-on-one with children in K-12; they provide nutritious snacks and a meal before a child goes home; and they provide door-to-door transportation – all at no charge to the family.

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