The I AM Learning Partnership programs sponsored by Arnerich Massena are as robust and busy as ever this year. There are currently 21 dedicated employees from Arnerich Massena who are participating in one of the partnership programs at Irvington School, including before-school tutoring in math and reading, after-school Homework Club, Math & Science Club, and Girls’ Club. These volunteers help enable the partnership to support approximately 80 Irvington students in need of academic support and resources.
Arnerich Massena employee volunteers provide much more than tutoring. Each employee spends time checking in on a personal level with their student(s), creating an additional support system that is an important part of a child’s social development. Our volunteer mentors positively reinforce the student’s efforts, which helps to raise self-esteem as well as provide a positive platform to carry throughout their day. Arnerich Massena employees model different reading strategies or offer alternative math tips, which is beneficial to developing brains and may be just the tool that will truly impact that child’s progress. Many of the employee volunteers are not wholly aware of their far-reaching influence; when consistent time is spent with a child in this capacity, an indelible mark is made on their inner psyche. The message that someone cares is a priceless gift.
This October, a very meaningful honor was bestowed upon Arnerich Massena. The Portland Business Journal awarded our I AM Learning Partnership and Tony and Christine Arnerich with the “Innovations in Philanthropy” Award. As Tony accepted the award, he voiced our collective goal of of forming similar partnerships between companies and schools, in order to provide additional meaningful educational support opportunities to students and their families. Tony, Christine, and the entire Arnerich Massena firm were honored by this acknowledgment for supporting education and literacy efforts in the community for 22 years.
This year, the I AM Learning Partnership is sponsoring an important skill-building class for the Irvington School third graders. The Oregon Children’s Theatre is bringing a speech preparation class called “Loud & Clear” into each third-grade classroom. The program provides fun, engaging activities and games for students to learn the basics about public speaking. Students are gaining valuable knowledge and practice around speech articulation and voice power, and will also focus on the importance of body language. This four-week program also guides each student through the writing process while they construct their own speech, learning how to “hook the audience” in the beginning and then continue to engage with a strong body and conclusion. Public speaking is a Portland Public School requirement as part of the Common Core standards for third graders. The Oregon Children’s Theatre’s “Loud & Clear” class is the perfect opportunity to help Irvington students attain these standards.
The holiday season can sometimes bring additional stress to individual families who may be experiencing economic hardship. The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report estimates that 59.1% of Oregon’s homeless are families with children, an increase of 2.5% from last year (this increase is the fifth-highest in the nation). Sadly, Irvington has families that fit into this statistic. For this reason, years ago, Tony began the tradition to bring some joy to needy families by providing necessities and gift items in time for the holidays. This year, Arnerich Massena’s annual Giving Tree is assisting 16 Irvington families, a total of 35 children. Arnerich Massena employees and the Irvington School teaching staff will be providing gifts for each child. In addition, as each parent/guardian arrives to pick up their items to take home, they will have the added opportunity to choose from a variety of undergarments for their children. These items were collected by the Arnerich Massena office staff and the Irvington School community during the months of October and November for a drive called “Socktober.” Due to its success, this will become an annual event; these items are often the most needed and an added family expense that is eliminated or overlooked when budgets are bare bones.
As the year 2016 draws to an end, it’s important to recognize that Arnerich Massena is incredibly fortunate to have a firm comprised of so many giving individuals. Whether it’s time shared to participate in the I AM Learning Partnership programs, time and resources provided to donate undergarments for needy children, or the holiday kindness extended when selecting gifts for a child in need – the support is perennially there. Kudos to all who give so generously — your assistance is greatly valued! The I AM Learning Partnership is looking forward to ringing in the New Year with continued support from the wonderful community that makes up Arnerich Massena and Irvington School.
Other I AM Learning Partnership programs also contributed to a thriving student body at Irvington School for the 2015-2016 school year. During the school day, Partnership staff Kate DeGraw and Marisa Izzard provided small-group literacy instruction for students not meeting Oregon state literacy benchmarks for kindergarten through third grade. A total of 66 students were serviced in this program, all of whom would not receive additional support were it not for the I AM Learning Partnership's reading intervention program. The Partnership also assisted twenty-five Homework Club members to stay current with assignments and learn to organize and prioritize.
If you are interested in joining the volunteer efforts of the I AM Learning Partnership, please contact Kate DeGraw or Marisa Izzard.
Tony and Christine Arnerich, Kate DeGraw, and Marisa Izzard
I AM Learning Partnership