Cameron Taylor, Head of the Imago Dei Middle School, spoke to our club about the school, the community it serves, its’ operation & special services provided, and about the THREAD project.
      In operation for 14 years, Imago Dei is a private, tuition free G5-8 downtown Tucson middle school serving low-income families exclusively. Most students enter classes well behind with their families struggling, and an average family size of 5 with family income of $17k or less. A 5th grade student may enter the school with math skills at the kindergarten level or below. The school’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty thru education and to strengthen families, changing the students’ whole life trajectory. 
      The schools operation includes 10 hour school days & classes on Saturdays, year-round study, and 20 student class sizes with 2 teachers per classroom. Supplementary services are also provided for the students & families including student meals, a family pantry, programming & workshops, GED studies, tax preparation, & student support after graduation. Imago Dei has an impressive track record, having graduated 183 students - more than 97 percent of the students enrolled, with many continuing their education beyond the secondary level.
      The THREAD project supported by our club-sponsored district grant & charitable fund is helping to sustain 23 severely under-employed and economically disadvantaged parents. By providing materials for sewing 10,000 masks, skill training and employment has been enabled during the pandemic. To date, two participants have landed positions with local garment makers. So far, more than 17,836 masks have been sewn with a payout of over $62,426. The THREAD project is a part of a larger relationship between our club and the school.
Foundation Moment: Joe Hentges highlighted the Durango Daybreak Rotary Club’s “Navajo Solar Lights” project, lighting homes of Navajo Nation families & elders who are “off the grid”.
Guests: Our Sept 3 ZOOM club meeting welcomed one guest, Mandy McKaskie, from the travel industry.