At Last! Urban Boarding Helps Children Lift Themselves Out of Poverty
Imagine you have a child with every bit the capability of any other child in their class. But the other children get ahead because they’re wealthier and have access to better educational tools and resources when at home. The only thing that separates your child from other children is the opportunity afforded by money.
In the long-term, the other child becomes successful and realizes all their hopes and dreams. However, yours struggles not because of a lack of talent or poor parenting, but because of a much different financial starting point.
It’s this story that At Last! businessman and attorney Randy Bowman wants to rewrite.
And so, he’s done just that.
Now at least 16 children in poverty in the DFW Metroplex will be able to have the same educational opportunities as much more affluent children.
At Last! is a boarding school that improves the academic performance of children by focusing on the 17 hours per day they are not in school. Children get the educational resources they would have if they were from more affluent families. In fact, the total support they get equals $50,000 in educational and developmental expenses!
And this is all done in a comfortable way for the children. It is not in any way punitive and keeps children together with their families and schools.
How Does At Last! Urban Boarding Work?
At Last! accepts applicants from poverty-stricken homes and gives them the educational environment they need to get ahead. The goal is to help “scholars-in-residence” achieve better academic outcomes in families who have high aspirations for them. In founder Randy Bowman’s experience, the 17 hours per day children are not at school overwhelms the 7 hours per day they are in school. So that time needs to be optimized to give disadvantaged children the best opportunity for success.
To understand how At Last! helps, it’s also important to understand what it isn’t. First and foremost, it is not a school. Instead, it supports what a child does at his or her current school.
For example, a child goes to At Last! on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. They then engage in an optimized developmental ecosystem flush with all the educational tools they need to succeed. The child stays the night. The next morning, they go to their regular school just like they always do. Once the school day finishes, the child goes back to At Last!
They repeat this process the entire week, until Friday. On Friday after school, the child returns home.
Even though the child spends much of their time during the school year at At Last!, they actually spend more time at home during the whole year. In addition to the weekends, children also go home for the holidays and summer.
It’s important to understand that the goal of At Last! is not to separate children from “bad” families. The point is not to punish. At Last! is also not for “troubled” children. It does not provide therapy or treatment of any kind.
At Last! is for children whose families have high aspirations for them, but who lack the financial means to help them get there.
What Facilities Does At Last! Have Available?
Currently, At Last! is a single scenic 4-acre site on Overton Road that houses 16 “scholars in residence,” as they are called. The interior allows in much natural light to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Children quickly love their bedrooms and feel comfortable. A beautiful creek runs through the property and a wonderful park is being developed nearby.
You couldn’t ask for a more picturesque first location.
At Last! will expand beyond Dallas and into many urban areas in the future. For now, it helps scholars-in-residence in the first through sixth grades to achieve optimum academic success at its Overton Road location. Short-term expansion plans include adding housing for up to 180 more scholars-in-residence at the Overton Road location.
How Much Does At Last! Cost?
At Last! does not charge any fees for its services. The organization expects modest “in-kind” contributions from families, such as helping to clean and organize the child’s room or promptly communicating with other At Last! stakeholders.
The real costs lie in the operations and tuition. The entire facility costed $2.4 million just to break ground on.
Is At Last! Licensed by the State of Texas?
Yes. It is. At Last! requires a license from the Texas Department of Family and Protective services to operate. And while At Last! is officially licensed by the State, it does not accept coercive or mandatory placements from courts or agencies.
At Last! Sounds Amazing! How Can I Help?
There’s plenty of opportunity if you want to help At Last! achieve its mission. Simply go to https://atlastboarding.com and click on the red “Donate” button at the top right to make a financial contribution.
Shelley is the Director of Marketing for Mullen & Mullen Law Firm.