The Encore Academy lies in the Milan neighborhood of New Orleans, a subdistrict of Central City in the Uptown region. The neighborhood dates back to the 1800s, and it grew to become the largest African American commercial district during the Jim Crow era. After desegregation, many African American families moved to other areas in the city, leaving many businesses and homes vacant. Currently, Central City has one of the highest murder and violent crime rates in New Orleans. Although the Encore Academy is able to offer students an education, it is an established charter school without a library.

We are not exactly sure why the school, which is housed in a refurbished structure, does not include a library, whereas most of our other affiliated schools in the United States do. Not only are students lacking free books to borrow to help them with their education, but they are also required to purchase and wear a uniform to school, which creates a financial burden for their parents. While the uniforms downplay socioeconomic differences to foster school spirit and a sense of unity, the cost to families living in poverty is huge – especially when they have multiple children in school at the same time, and are already having a hard time making ends meet.

A growing population of students

Sponsorship support sometimes goes towards purchasing books so that children are not only reading in their leisure time at home, but they also have a sense of ownership when they might not otherwise while living in poverty.

The school hasn’t been able to expand enough to create a library for our sponsored and unsponsored children, but attendance at the Encore Academy is expanding fast. Since its founding in 2012, the school has grown from 220 students to over 550 in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth. The academy is an open-admissions charter school, which means that children from all over the city attend. Where it is lacking in books, the school does have a strong foundation in the arts, especially in music, as well as a before and after school program called Champ Camp. Run by our partnering organization at the Encore Academy, Communities In Schools (CIS), some of the camp’s enrichment activities include voice and theater production. In the past, Children Incorporated has provided Hope In Action funding to help with these important enrichment activities.

Giving children the gift of books

Since these children don’t have access to literature outside of school text books, sponsorship support sometimes goes towards purchasing books so that children are not only reading in their leisure time at home, but they also have a sense of ownership when they might not otherwise while living in poverty. Although we hope that the school will be able to establish a library for its students in the future, we are grateful for our sponsors, who are supporting children with basic needs and books so that they can obtain an education and have a brighter future.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.