“Minorities are not wounded by one event alone. Our inflictions are securely woven into the inequalities of systems in place and the individuals upholding them. For this reason, it is important that every individual challenges the lens through which they process the information they receive. Judgment will always be there, so seek to understand, gain wisdom and change the world…” Tashyra Jackson of Hope Restores told the La Crosse Tribune about what she hoped society would understand about people of color. The aspiration to dismantle systemic inequalities and change the world for good drives Hope Restores.
Hope Restores educates the public about the issues related to the impact of poverty on children. All of their services aim to help people of color receive tangible resources that support their need. Based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin Hope Restores partnered with the Parenting Place to offer the FAST (Families and Schools Together) program, allowing families to build connections with the school community that will benefit their child for a lifetime. They also developed the Giving Cabinet, which makes nonperishable food items, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and other toiletries available for families to grab at their leisure to meet their needs. This tool is vital to help community members and families through difficult times.
Hope Restores works in partnership with other agencies and organizations to give a voice to those marginalized by poverty and to meaningfully advance the equity, dignity, and full participation of Black people in our society. They help schools develop programs that enhance the education, social, and emotional health of children in economically depressed areas and areas where there is a high concentration of poverty through the Black Student Leaders program. Black Student Leaders is a mentoring, activist, and support group that helps African American students in western Wisconsin feel comfortable being themselves by being able to express their culture and family values. The program helps build confidence and skills in middle and high school students, so they can express themselves and their culture in the educational setting.
Hope Restores supports the school community by holding fundraising events to send students back to school with new clothing outfits & supplies. The organization draws parents and students to the school by hosting cultural and supportive events to engage families at school including fundraisers, elementary face-painting days, and selling dinners.
Hope Restores continues in the footsteps of former NEA President Reg Weaver who highlighted the needs of students living in poverty and was known to pay for students’ needs as a classroom teacher. By both working to dismantle poverty, increasing the leadership skills of Black students, and advocating for a more equitable society, Hope Restores has proven to be an essential asset for Wisconsin families of color and those experiencing poverty.