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Soapbox Derby organizers team up with Decatur Education Foundation to support virtual learning


Soapbox Derby organizers team up with Decatur Education Foundation to support virtual learning

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This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — As plans take shape for the start of the 2020-21 school year, the organizers of the annual Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby announced via press release on Wednesday a special partnership with Decatur Education Foundation (DEF) to help students and working families meet the challenges of virtual learning.

The decision by City Schools of Decatur to begin the year online protects community health but creates some complications as well, from gaps in technology and supplies to access to food and supervision.

The “Ramp to Success” initiative — named for the ramp structure that helps soapbox racers achieve a faster start on the race course — will raise funds for the DEF Family Partnership, focused on five areas of need: virtual learning support, tutoring, mentoring, behavioral health, and parental supports. Learn more at http://www.decatureducationfoundation.org/covidlearning.

Gail Rothman, executive director of DEF, shared, “Since 2002, Decatur Education Foundation has been a key partner of City Schools of Decatur with a mission of connecting people, resources and ideas to solve the challenges facing our students. While we could not have anticipated these particular challenges, our goal is to ensure that all students are supported during virtual learning and that families know where to turn to for resources to ensure equity across the district. Together we can mitigate the negative impact that virtual learning can have on certain students.”

The 10th annual Soapbox Derby, originally scheduled for early October, has been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. The event, started by a group of neighbors in 2011, has become a Decatur tradition and through local business sponsorships, participation by racers and community giving, has raised a combined $180,000 for local nonprofits serving youths.

“While we won’t host the race this year, ‘Ramp to Success’ is a creative way to put the energy of the Derby crew, sponsors and fans toward an immediate need while staying true to our mission to give all Decatur kids the opportunity to succeed,” said Madison Avenue resident and Derby representative Raul Trujillo.

Sponsorships from businesses, families and individuals will go directly to support tutoring, mentoring, scholarships to satellite learning centers for low-income families, emergency food assistance and DEF Grants that fund creative solutions to COVID learning challenges that will ensure equity across the district and help reduce the widening of educational deficits during virtual learning. To make a donation please go to madisonavesoapboxderby.org/donate.

Oakhurst Market has signed on as a presenting sponsor for the initiative, offering families who donate to “Ramp to Success” benefits ranging from free kids meals to a $75 gift certificate.

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