Our mission at The EdY Project, a non-profit organization, is to dismantle educational inequity by bridging the achievement gap and nurturing the limitless potential of every student in underfunded schools. We are committed to providing access to quality education, essential resources, and unwavering support that empowers students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to flourish and achieve academic excellence.

Raajna Naidu, M.A., M.Ed., BCBA
Founder, President

Over 7.3 Million

Families live in poverty, meaning that around one-third of America’s families live in low-income households. The children in these families don’t have enough for back-to-school school supplies, extracurricular activities, and field trips that would expand their learning and experience. The problem doesn’t stop here.
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Over 30 States

Are trying to pinch pennies wherever they can. Unfortunately, they’re “finding” those extra dollars in the school funds and, therefore, spending much less on education. This especially hurts in low-income areas as 40% of low-income schools don’t get the share of local and state funds they are entitled to.

Children From Low-income

Households often show up to school tired, hungry, having not eaten breakfast, and wearing disheveled and, often, poor clothing and shoes. Under these conditions, they are unable to easily focus on their schoolwork, they’re prime targets for bullying, and they won’t easily learn. Couple this with the lack of equipment and services due to the lack of funding in the schools.

Private Funding

Community funding, and volunteers could improve the lives of these children. We could watch as the high school graduation rates begin to rise and the achievement gap starts to close. Without funding, none of this is possible.

What We Do

Why Is the EdY project Important?

It all starts with the link between the low-income home and the lack of school readiness, which often interferes with education development and negatively follow students all the way through school.

  • The child’s sensory motor development and physical well-being; this includes their physical health and growth.
  • The child’s emotional and social development; this includes impulse control, cooperation, the ability to identify and communicate feelings and emotions, self-regulation, the ability to limit disruptive and aggressive behaviors, and the capacity to take turns.
  • The child’s enthusiasm, temperament, values, curiosity, and culture surrounding the idea of learning.
  • The child’s language development: this includes speaking, listening, literacy (story sense, drawing and writing processes, and print awareness, etc.), and vocabulary skills.
  • The child’s cognition and general knowledge; this includes math and literacy skills.

Research has shown a direct link between poverty and the lack of readiness for school. These children are less likely to learn the skills necessary for school readiness due to several factors. Since many low-income families are single-parent homes with the parent working off-hours at one or two low-paying jobs, there may be less parental involvement. Some low-income children may have several care-providers or be shifted among homes. The parents may also not have as much support as other homes. There is also the higher chance for poor role modeling in low-income families.

Parents of lower-income communities are also more likely to have premature babies. Babies born prematurely have a lower chance of readiness and are at a higher risk for failure in school. Add this to their risk for failure due to their income-level, and that funding becomes even more vital!

Research shows that students from low-income families are five times more likely to be high school dropouts and 13 times less likely to graduate when they’re supposed to.

Due to underfunding, many classrooms lack even basic materials, such as pencils, books, paper, and basic technology that the students need, unless the teacher provides them herself. Students need these materials to do their work as much as a secretary or lawyer needs a computer, phone, and copy paper!

Those underserved students in under-resourced school districts typically do not get the necessary preparation for college during high school due to lack of funding. At this rate, we are failing our children and America since nearly two-thirds of all job openings require training or postsecondary education.

According to the president and CEO of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), Watson Scott Swail, EdD, students’ experiences while attending under-funded, under-resourced K-12 schools greatly affects their ability to apply for, acceptance into, and success in postsecondary education.

Lower-income children are not on a level playing field. In under-funded schools, the students are literally set up to fail.

The Statistics Don’t Lie

Graph 1
California has the highest rate of child poverty in America with 20% of its children living below the line of poverty.
Graph 2
1-in-5 students cannot afford to purchase the basic school supplies necessary each year
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1-in-44 children are diagnosed with autism, and 30% of children with ASD live in a very low-income home.

What Can Be Done?

We can prevent or reverse the effects of poverty on America’s students!

Early Intervention


Environmental Factors

A child’s potential for educational attainment can be increased by decreasing environmental risk factors
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Prevention and Intervention Programs

Programs, such as those that offer prenatal care, immunizations, and other health concerns in low-income children lead to increased cognitive ability.

Parenting Mentorship, Guidance, or Support

Parental involvement, verbal behavior, predictability, positive role modeling, and positive parenting styles lead to a greater educational support, intellectual stimulation, and school readiness.

Support/Services for Childhood Development

Individualized interventions develop the skills a child is lacking through a range of services and supports. Interventions increase intellectual skills and create great environmental opportunities and motivational changes.

Continuing Intervention

Studies have demonstrated that when interventions like those above are implemented in middle school and high school, they still make a striking difference.

The Pathway to Education Project, a partnership between the community, schoolboard, and health center in Toronto, Ontario, saw dramatic results in their high schools over the last six years. Being funded by various sources, the program included:

  • Student-parent support workers – they advocated for the students at school and connected the parents to the Pathway Project or the school.
  • Contract between the parents, student, and project.
  • Community volunteers who gave their time to tutor four nights a week.
  • Financial support – this included scholarship money for postsecondary education and the public transit.
  • Career and group mentoring in the community.

Do to Continuing Intervention

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The “dropout” rate has fallen by 80% and the academic “at-risk” and absentee rate by 50-60%.
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The graduation rate in the past six years have risen from 42% to 75%
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Eighty percent of the resulting graduates attend postsecondary education

What Can I Do?

  • Advocate for, volunteer at, and support schools striving to implement programs to achieve successful student outcomes.
  • Advocate for, volunteer at, and support programs for intervention providing social, academic, and community support to help low-income students succeed.
  • Make others aware of the costs of not implementing these programs and allowing these students to fail or drop out of school.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to support the educational success of a child or youth.
  • Advocate for families with children on the autism spectrum.
  • Volunteer for to be parent support for families with children on the spectrum.
  • Advocate and support system changes in the schools that will maximize educational success.
  • Advocate for quality care and early education that will minimize the difference in school readiness between children in low-income households and those in higher-income households before entering school.
  • Volunteer to be a tutor or mentor for children from 1st – 12th grade.

Here’s Your Opportunity to Support a
Low-Income Child’s Education!

Giving of yourself to help others is a gift like no others – to those you are helping and to yourself. Donate your time to tutor, mentor, be an advocate, or to be a parent support for families with children on the spectrum today! You can make a difference in the life of a child.

Support by Volunteering

Fill out the form below for more information on volunteering with the EdY Project.