CARTERVILLE – The Poshard Foundation announced Wednesday it will donate $50,000 to Resilient Southern Illinois (RSI), which works to improve academic, health and social outcomes for children in 15 school districts, fostering trauma-responsive schools and effective family, school, health and community partnerships.
“So many children in Southern Illinois have experienced trauma in their young lives. We are grateful to partner with the Illinois Education Association and the Harvard Education Redesign Lab and Harvard Graduate School and congratulate them on focusing on the needs of traumatized students. With their assistance and our support, many of these children will develop the resiliency needed to overcome difficult experiences,” said Glenn Poshard, founder, Poshard Foundation for Abused Children.
The award is truly valued by the districts and organizations doing the work in southern Illinois.
“Resilient Southern Illinois would like to thank the Poshard Foundation for the donation. We value partnerships like this that have a positive impact on support and services in southern Illinois. Together, Resilient Southern Illinois staff, local educators, health practitioners, and community leaders can jointly address outside stressors and better serve our students,” said Illinois Education Association (IEA) Director of Teaching and Learning and RSI Coordinator, Mary Jane Morris.
RSI is a multi-year effort in the southern Illinois region that strives to spread awareness and meet the needs of children impacted by childhood trauma and toxic stress. It includes resources, tools and networking opportunities for educators and other personnel in member districts that are designed to meet the needs of the “whole child.”
“We are inspired by the collaborative efforts of the Partnership for Resilience and Resilient Southern Illinois to create trauma-responsive approaches to support all students in rural southern Illinois. As a member of EdRedesign’s national cross-sector network, Resilient Southern Illinois has been an exemplar and leader in innovative, student-centered work, and I look forward to their continued contributions thanks to the generous support of the Poshard Foundation,” said Paul Reville, Francis Keppel professor of practice of educational policy and administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Kristine Argue-Mason, executive director of the Partnership for Resilience, the parent organization for Resilient Southern Illinois noted the foundation’s past generosity in the region.
“The Poshard Foundation has a long history of philanthropy within communities across southern Illinois. Improving the lives of children by joining with others with a similar vision has been its laser focus. The Partnership for Resilience, by way of Resilient Southern Illinois is extremely grateful for the opportunity to enhance its services which will impact our youth in such a meaningful way. The generous donation from the Poshard Foundation will further our work with building trauma responsive spaces for our students and their families,” said Argue-Mason.
Mary Beth Goff, dean of students at Unity Point School #140, has seen what a difference the program makes for students and for educators.
“It also provides a positive learning environment where students can—and are—willing to engage and educators can—and do—provide support for students’ personal experiences thus nurturing socially and emotionally responsible citizens. It is a win-win for the entire community,” Goff said.
Joshua Stafford, superintendent of Vienna High School, said the positive outcomes of RSI were evident from the start, but have been tested even more so by the challenges of the pandemic and a community tragedy – an automobile accident involving six students and claimed the lives of four.
“One of those events on its own would be enough to create lasting derailment. The network that has been built and continues to be built; professional development for school staff that is provided; research and applicable practices that have been developed and refined; and numerous other activities of RSI; all better positioned our school community to have the capacity to face these tragedies and further develop resilience for our young people and adults. It is exciting that the Poshard Foundation, with its valuable history of being dedicated to children, has been able to identify the need to expand these efforts and make them accessible to more kids and families in our region,” Stafford said.
Districts participating in Resilient Southern Illinois are Carbondale ESD #95, Carbondale HSD #165, Carrier Mills-Stonefort CUSD #2, Eldorado CUSD #4, Giant City CCSD #130, Grayville CUSD #1, Herrin CUSD #4, Johnston City CUSD #1, Meridian SD #101, Murphysboro CUSD #186, ROE #21-Project ECHO & STARQuest, Sparta CUSD #140, Unity Point CCSD #140, Vienna PSD #55 and Vienna HSD #13-3.
You can download a recording of today’s event here.
At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.