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April 2022 - It Takes A Village To Raise A Child


A well-known African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Many have taken a position regarding whose responsibility it is to raise a child. My position (since I was a kid) is that the responsibility of teaching, guiding, and showing a child the magnificence and wonder of learning, is the responsibility of the entire village. Each member of the village plays a different role, but collectively can produce positive, delightful, and far-reaching effects in a child’s life.

At GAP our Family Leaders serve as the first teachers, followed by pre-k teachers and then schoolteachers. Teachers are part of the village and serve as guides. Guides are critical to helping children be able to explore and wander through a world of experiential, literary, scientific and artistic modes of learning. GAP relies on volunteer tutors to serve as guides for the students enrolled in the GAP program. The guide’s goal is to serve as flint and light a spark of curiosity inside a child that will develop into a love for learning. The spark will lead the child to want to learn more than the minimum and learn as deeply as their interests take them. Tutors are part of the village! GAP’s enrichment volunteers show students new ways of learning through involvement such as swimming and basketball skills, robotics, experiencing nature or learning to grow plants. Enrichment Leaders and Mentors are part of the village!

If all of a child’s learning is limited to teachers from Pre-K to graduation from high school, that child is missing two thirds of what a village can give them. Sports, Sunday School, dance lessons, scouting, intramural sports, summer trips to grandma’s house or day camp, are all a part of that learning community as well. The community is part of the village also!

Families live in areas where yards are not safe places to play, or the soil doesn't allow for plant growth. Family leaders work long hours, multiple jobs, have one car or no car, and can’t afford lessons, summer camps or swimming don’t allow all of our youth the experience that community level learning affords.

Grade A Plus Incorporated is a volunteer community-based organization committed to providing academic support and enrichment opportunities for youth in the Columbia and Boone County, MO area with a focus on serving children from marginalized families. Grade A Plus bridges the gap to provide academic support as a supplement to the work provided by families, teachers, and schools. GAP is a part of the village!
As we enter into the May-June 2022 session, GAP plans to offer a hybrid experience to students this year. Some activities will be virtual and some in person. For example, activities such as Field ‘n Stream, Basketball and swimming will be in person. We’re planning to host reading circles, math challenge groups and writing for publication, to kick off our return to in-person learning.

To continue our efforts, we need a village, our village, you, and me. If you would like to be a part of the GAP village in 2022 during May or June, as a tutor, enrichment leader, or support team member; if you have something you would like to offer for one hour, a four- or eight-week series; or if you would like to work in a virtual or in person setting; contact us right now. April is our month for planning with a roll out of options for activities beginning in May.

Email us at  or call 573-268-4372. Let’s talk about your being part of the village that makes a difference for youth in 2022.  And if you operate a camp program for children in the month of July, do let us know now so we can help more of our students go to camp in 2022!


Dr. J 

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