The majority of the children involved with EVO are from non-traditional urban families. The parent(s) or guardians work and often have limited resources to provide the child-care and educational support that their children need. The traditional structures are not able to meet the needs of these families, children and youth.
EVO's passion is to provide a safe place for these urban families and adults to find care.
Bloomfield, Friendship and Garfield are our primary areas of ministry, though many of our children also come from East Liberty and Lawrenceville. Garfield has had a population decline since the 1970's due to the steel mill closings and struggle to find meaningful employment. Additionally, much of the subsidized housing is in the renovation process, thus requiring many residents to relocate to other communities.
Lawrenceville and East Liberty areas that struggle with unemployment and poverty. East Liberty has been designated a Weed and Seed community by the City of Pittsburgh. Lawrenceville is part of the 16:62 Design Zone. Design Zone is a program funded by the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development and in part through the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
All of these communities have seen a decline in the educational learning of the children living in the neighborhoods. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in the August of 2003, Ft. Pitt Elementary, Friendship Academy, Woolslayer Elementary, and Arsenal Middle School had more than 50% of their students score below profieciency level in both reading and math. Statistics indicate that 3 out of 4 African American children are below the national level of proficiency in both reading and math. Over 90% of the children we serve are African American.
Other concerns that follow the continual decline in academic progress is that public schools struggle to provide quality, individualized education because of the varying academic abilities of the children. Additionally, the children spend a significant amount of time unsupervised while their parent(s) are at work.