Truly Thrive is devoted to creating the conditions for all young people in Louisiana to thrive, particularly those living in poverty. Our work is powered by our belief that all children are capable of learning and thriving, and that every individual, institution, and sector shares the responsibility to break the negative cycles that hold children prisoners to the conditions and ideology of poverty.
We are Louisiana’s only partnership of our kind, bringing together nonprofits, businesses, communities, educators, policymakers, and ordinary citizens to create equity in opportunities for all young people. Those most challenged to benefit from these opportunities are those bound in a cycle of poverty.
The war on poverty has been fought for decades with an increasing number of young people growing up into this negative and unforgiving cycle. Louisiana has the second highest rate of childhood poverty in the United States. Poverty can have immeasurable impacts on the development of a child, such as a lack of high-quality education, underachievement on high stakes testing, greater likelihood of dropping out of high school, and an increase in welfare dependence and crime. In fact, the percentage of the population not completing high school explains forty percent of the variation in poverty rates among Louisiana parishes.
With a specific and relentless focus on the strengths and needs of poverty-stricken communities, we frame our work around the Five Promises, a proven framework created by America’s Promise Alliance for anticipating and meeting the needs of children in order to reach adult success. Within this framework are five promises that we believe must be made and kept to every young person: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to help others. To deliver these promises we deploy three cross-cutting strategies:
Founded in 2013, Truly Thrive is a statewide partnership devoted to creating the conditions for all young people in Louisiana to thrive. Our founder, Stanley Celestine, Jr., envisioned an organization that would give children living in poverty the opportunity to break the bonds of their circumstances through access to high-quality educational opportunities and services. What started as Louisiana’s first youth-led STEM education program expanded in 2014 to include the state’s first service learning program for youth who are not traditionally asked to serve.
By 2015, citizens of Avoyelles asked Truly Thrive to operate the parish’s first healthy living initiative. Soon after, Truly Thrive added a parent advocacy program for parents to advocate for their children as full partners in the Avoyelles Public School System. Its service array was further expanded in 2016 with the addition of monthly workshops designed to engage parents in meaningful conversations about what matters most – their family and how to strengthen that family by building protective factors.
We have an ambitious new three-year strategic plan, through which we will work at both the ground and system levels, mobilizing resources, empowering communities, and building the capacity of organizations to provide children with high-quality programs and services that enable them to thrive. Our goal is that by 2030, every young person in Louisiana will have the guidance of caring adults, a healthy start to life, safe places to call home, an effective education, and the opportunity to serve others.
At Truly Thrive, if you ask our team members what they like best about working here, the answer you’ll usually get is “the people.” We’re a small, collaborative team and we’re passionate about creating equity in opportunities for all young people. We work hard, but we know how to have fun doing it – we’ve been rumored to break out in escape rooms for team meetings from time to time.
We’re looking for colleagues who want to join us in taking a fearless approach to creating futures in which every child in Louisiana has an opportunity to thrive – if this sounds like you, check out our open positions here!