Move the Middle initiative reaches 2,000 Rockford middle schoolers

Middle school students at Lincoln
"It's been gratifying, being able to support my students and knowing the extraordinary impact that we can make in their lives," says Roselyn Laguna, one of three new United Way employees working inside Rockford middle schools. For the first time since its inception, Move the Middle has expanded to a second middle school this year: RESA (Rockford Environmental Science Academy) Middle School.
Roselyn and Teagen Bodoh are both Achievement Advocates who spend every day at RESA. The school has a majority Hispanic student body and both Roselyn and Teagen are fluent in Spanish, allowing them to be a helping hand to students in need. "Not a day goes by without a student stopping by my door, seeking counsel, help, or simply someone they can trust to share a few words with," says Roselyn.

Also new to Move the Middle is Amanda Childers. Amanda is Move the Middle's Data Analyst, focusing analytically on the process of paying attention to every student and identifying those heading down a path toward dropping out.

Move the Middle team
Our Move the Middle team: Britney Lindgren (bottom left), Nicole Bennett (middle), Teagen Bodoh (bottom right), Roselyn Laguna (top left), Amanda Childers (top right).

The support of Move the Middle has been overwhelming since it kicked off at Lincoln Middle School over two years ago. Through a grant from Woodward Charitable Trust and the amazing generosity from our donors, community workplaces, and volunteers, Move the Middle was able to expand. Without it, our strong partnership with Rockford Public Schools, and the ability of our Achievement Advocates to identify our students' unique needs, many children would be lost and without the help they need.

"Each day is different, some are filled with the contagious joy only a child can give, and others with the very harsh reality of our communities, but in the end I know that had it not been for our program and for every individual that makes it possible, a young student out there would have gone yet another day without the care and attention they deserve and need," says Roselyn.