Round up on your tab at Omaha-area Goodwill stores to help alternative school

by Marjie Ducey Omaha World-Herald Jun 6, 2021

Shoppers at Goodwill stores in the greater Omaha area can round their purchases to the next dollar throughout June in support of the CUES School System’s Summer of Learning program.

“Education is one of the most important factors in the career and financial success of adults, and many of the people we serve are people of color or from low-income backgrounds,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “A lot of times, our participants are people who the standard education system didn’t work for. If the funds from this campaign can help these students catch up, get ahead, experience activities they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, and enjoy school, then we see that as a big win for the students as well as the community as a whole.”

McKinsey & Company research suggests that U.S. students are an average of seven months behind academically as a result of learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, and that number is even higher among students of color. In addition, many low-income families may not have access to reliable child care during the summer months.

The CUES School System serves a high proportion of students of color and students from low-income homes in east Omaha. The Summer of Learning program gives them a chance to catch up if they fell behind over the past year — or work ahead for the next school year.

The program incorporates field trips and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities, so it’s almost like summer camp, which most CUES students haven’t experienced. The program also provides a safe place for students while their parents are at work.

The alternative school’s fundraising goal is $100,000. Participating Goodwill stores are in Omaha, Bellevue, Blair, Council Bluffs, Fremont, Gretna and Papillion.