ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The City of Asheville has stepped up to help address the educational opportunity gap for moderate to low-income youth.


What You Need To Know 

Nine programs were chosen by the City of Asheville to receive over $375,000 in grant awards to address an educational opportunity gap

Read to Succeed is one of these programs and has plans to implement the funds in its staff training, resources and familial connections 

Read to Succeed received $56,125 from the Strategic Fund Partnership Pilot Program 


Nine programs were chosen to receive over $375,000 in grant awards from Asheville’s Strategic Partnership Fund Pilot Program.

Read to Succeed is one of these nonprofit organizations, and it is pushing to set its students up for success.

Jacquelyn Hall, also known as Ms. Jackie, is a teacher and co-director for Read to Succeed, and she personally filled out the application for this grant. She is certain it will be beneficial to her students and staff. 

Ms. Jackie’s classroom is a place of vowels, syllables, laughs, life lessons and a few tears. The classroom is a part of the Read to Succeed and Edington Learning Center partnership.

Its goal is to close the opportunity gap through community-powered literacy programming. However, it’s much more than just books and assignments.

“Sometimes the challenges presented in their reading or in their academics are challenges, really that they’re having at home too,” Ms. Jackie said. “So, being a part of their lives means that I can help with those issues as well, and I can make the academic pieces easier.”

Ms. Jackie has formed special bonds with students as they learn vital reading and writing skills – an opportunity she believes is unique to the center.

“It’s really, really important for kids to see themselves in teachers and adults around them,” Ms. Jackie said. “I think that’s what makes this place really special. They are surrounded by their culture. They are surrounded by people that look like them.”

She said the students’ performance is not reflective of an achievement gap, but reflects an underlying issue of an opportunity gap.

It isn’t a question for her whether these children can succeed; she knows for a fact they can.

“It’s worth it,” Ms. Jackie said. “For them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know it’s there, I can see it for them. But, it’s really important that they can see it for themselves and say ‘even though it was hard, I was able to overcome this.’”

The funds will go toward engaging more certified teachers and training more staff. It will also be used to help deepen the connection between the programs’ families and staff.