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Op-Ed: Partnerships that Shift Power to Communities Lead to Lasting Success

Submitted by: Vanessa Ward, CEO Omega CDC

Published April 30, 2023 in Dayton Daily News


DDN Editor’s Note: National organization StriveTogether announced this week that Learn to Earn Dayton received its highest designation - Systems Transformation. The honor signifies that Learn to Earn Dayton is on the leading edge of building the civic infrastructure necessary for all students to succeed, a designation bestowed on only three communities in the nation. Throughout this week, Learn to Earn Dayton’s local, state and national partners will highlight the successes of their collective action approach, and the power of aligning with a shared vision across the cradle-to-career continuum to ensure that all learners have equal opportunity to achieve.


Since 1997, the Omega Community Development Corporation has been serving children and families in Dayton. Founded by the Omega Baptist Church, our mission has focused on breaking the cycle of poverty by implementing a two-generational approach that addresses educational, health, and economic barriers that children and families have faced for decades. We resolved to partner with Dayton Public Schools, churches, non-profits, and organizations like Learn to Earn Dayton to align efforts to realize better academic and whole-family outcomes, particularly for residents of northwest Dayton.

While the Omega CDC had been doing its best to serve children by offering tutoring, after-school, and summer learning, we realized early in our work that we lacked the resources to support children in meeting the aggressive academic and social outcomes expected. Gaps in the academic achievement of children in grades k-12 remained staggering despite our efforts to contribute to every student’s success. As a non-profit, community development organization with deep community roots, we sought to partner with Learn to Earn Dayton because it delivered strategies for closing academic gaps that would help organizations like ours to move the needle for Dayton students.

Read the full letter at


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