September 19th 2010
Many of you may remember the young, charming Ivan Stevens from the Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special, Waiting on the World to Change, which aired in January 2007.
Ivan was a 4 year old homeless boy who wanted nothing more than anything to be Superman and find his family a place to live.
After Sawyer’s gripping and touching expose about Ivan’s family in impoverished
Camden, there was an outpouring of support from people across the United States. UrbanPromise received letters and donations to help that 4 year old boy, his mother and his 3 year old brother, Imere.
Because of your generosity, we were able to help find Ivan’s family an apartment, enroll him in our CamdenForward School and obtain a job for his mother. The experience of being a conduit for your generosity and compassion was an extraordinary moment for me and our team at UrbanPromise.
Looking back, I remember that Ivan really struggled to catch up with his school work. Understanding abstract concepts and simple math required extra time and effort on his and his teacher’s part. Our principal worried about him but Ivan persevered and did not give up.
This summer our principal called me to her office. “Dr. Main,” she exclaimed excitedly, “Just take a look at Ivan’s test scores! They’re incredible.”
I looked down at the boy’s color-coordinated bar graph. It towered well above the national average.
64th percentile for reading comprehension!
80th percentile for math. Wow!
What made those numbers so impressive? Nationally, the average score in poor, urban communities is typically between the 20th and 30th percentile. And also Ivan had gained about 15 percentage points each year he has been in our school. Despite his early setbacks Ivan caught up and passed his peers. I think you’ll agree: that’s news to cheer about!
Last week Ivan began his third grade year at our CamdenForward School. And what’s more, Ivan has been teaching his brother, Imere, how to be a good first grader at our school.
But, as always, I need your help to keep Ivan and the other 140 boys and girls at our school moving forward. The students need textbooks and other educational supplies which will give them all the opportunity to succeed.
Please consider making a donation this September for a child, the Ivans and Imeres, at the CamdenForward School.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Bruce Main
PS: I’ll keep you posted about Ivan’s and Imere’s progress this fall. I know you’ll be interested to watch these two impressive young men grow and mature even more. And they and I will be ever grateful.