Strengthening the Connection between Better Health and
a Better Academic Experience
There is a large and growing body of research linking health and academic achievement. It shows that higher levels of health can enhance cognitive abilities, behavior and physical performance. While schools have become a focal point in the movement to improve health and wellness in children and adolescents, the large majority, particularly those in public systems facing budgetary restrictions, simply don't have the resources.
An Achievable Dream (AAD) academies seek to meet this need despite the financial obstacles. Its students are considered at-risk of failure in school due to socioeconomic factors. Many of them live in single-parent or other-than-parent households in areas where crime and poor health are prevalent.
We have joined AAD's effort for meaningful change in our schools by funding and operating health clinics at their elementary and middle/high schools. Although most schools have a nurse's office, AAD follows a far broader vision of health and wellness. Our nursing staff educates students about healthy behaviors, helps them manage chronic conditions and creates a foundation of physical and mental health to support success.
For more information on An Achievable Dream Academy, and additional services our school clinic provides, visit the Newport News AAD website.
A multi-year corporate contribution by PNC Financial Services Group through its PNC Foundation, directed to supporting the work of the Riverside Clinics located on the two An Achievable Dream campuses in Newport News.
Over the last century, PNC has evolved from a network of predecessor banks into a comprehensive financial services institution that covers the banking needs of more than six million consumer and small business customers. Their banking resources are available at over 2,700 branches, through online and mobile services and via 7,400 ATM machines. In addition to retail banking, PNC is also a leader in providing asset management, corporate and institutional banking and residential mortgage banking.
Both Riverside and PNC uphold a strong sense of mission. When Roger Wallace, VP of Corporate Communications, and Sonia McCormick, VP of Director of Client & Community Relations at PNC facilitated the partnership, they discovered just how closely the organizations' values aligned. "Along with green building practices, one of the philanthropic areas where PNC is focused," Mr. Wallace said, "is school readiness and childhood development."
“Those goals are paramount in a current PNC initiative, ‘Grow Up Great,' designed to help prepare children for success in school and life. When we saw what Riverside was doing within An Achievable Dream Academy, we knew it was a perfect fit with our ongoing efforts to invest in the future through corporate gifts that impact children.”
Ms. McCormick added, "As an organization, PNC is only as successful as the communities we serve. Our objective with all of our philanthropic efforts, our volunteer work and our advocacy is to choose an area where we believe we can make a difference. The combination of health and wellness programs, professional nursing, education and social skills that Riverside and An Achievable Dream bring to at-risk children is clearly part of that category."
"One of the more distinctive areas where the Riverside Clinic is making an impact," Ms. McCormick said, "is through the yearly personal health assessments that the nurses carry out with each student. With the information they gather through these assessments and screenings, they can tailor the learning experience to meet specific student needs. This level of individualized care, which reflects the personalized approach inherent in An Achievable Dream, is a model that we all hope will be repeated in other locations."
Although the PNC corporate gift is directed to the Riverside Clinic and its work within the schools, Mr. Wallace believes it has even broader implications. "What Riverside and An Achievable Dream are doing is a vital end unto itself. But as a large and growing financial services company, we're also interested in helping to create the workforce of tomorrow. It's good to know we can draw from a highly qualified pool of people. That's a bonus for what else is going on at AAD and it's a very gratifying return on an investment in the future."
To join in our community's partnership with PNC to support health and education through An Achievable Dream, please contact a member of Riverside Foundation at (757) 234-8740.