This year, Positive Tomorrows is proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We’ve come a long way from that first day in November of 1990, operating out of a small space in the 2nd Street United Methodist Church. We had a staff of two teachers, a secretary, a director, a speech pathologist and a social worker. Just 8 students attended the first day of school.
Founding partners included the Mayor’s Taskforce on Homelessness, Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) Junior League of Oklahoma City, YWCA Oklahoma City, Neighborhood Services Organization, Campfire and United Way of Central Oklahoma. A satellite of OKCPS, more than half our funding came from the Oklahoma Department of Education.
We soon moved into the YWCA Oklahoma City’s childcare facility, then in 1997 into our current, confidential location where we’ve continued to grow our impact on homeless students and their families.
Our history is not without challenges. We lost the funding from the Department of Education in 2006 with the passage of No Child Left Behind. However, thanks to strong leadership and generous community partners who believed in our mission, we reopened the following year as a fully private, tuition-free elementary school.
Today, Positive Tomorrows is stronger than ever. This year we received the highest level of accreditation from AdvancED, a national education leader specializing in rigorous on-site, third party external reviews of public and private schools. Our outcomes show our students achieving great academic progress, with some showing growth of more than four grade levels in a single school year. This past year, 91% of the families we served maintained or improved their housing status.
In the last 25 years we estimate over 5,000 students have been served by our programming. Our capacity is now at 58, and we serve over 100 children every year. Sadly, we turn away nearly the same number we serve due to a lack of space in our current facility.
It is our dream for the future to build a larger facility to increase our impact on the more than 7,000 homeless children estimated to live in Central Oklahoma. We wouldn’t be here without the support of this community. It’s been a truly meaningful 25 years, and we hope you’ll continue to be part of the many more that are to come.