Children’s Jubilee Fund was established in 1997 a scholarship organization, specifically supporting lower-income students in and around Philadelphia who were unable to attend private Christian schools. But Jubilee is much more than merely a scholarship organization. We are a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Kingdom into focus in the lives of the families and communities we serve. We are ambassadors of God’s grace, pointing people to the new hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through offering them new opportunities to thrive.
Jubilee’s ambassadorial mission is built around ten core values, which we’ll explore one at a time in this blog series. The first of these core values is human flourishing.
Human flourishing can be described as “the fulfillment of God’s good purposes for human creatures and includes the dimensions of relationship with God, relationships with others, living a physically embodied and integrated life, and living out a particular vocation in a particular place and time.”[i]
Put another way, human flourishing is embodied in the biblical concept of shalom, of being whole—of prospering in ways consistent with God’s redemptive intent for creation. Jubilee works to accomplish human flourishing within the definition of our mission in three distinct ways: providing new academic opportunities, encouraging new social engagement, and lifting up Jesus Christ as Lord. Here’s how we do that.
Provide new academic opportunities. Jubilee was created in part to address the public education crisis in Philadelphia in the 1980s and 1990s. We knew that city-based students who had no educational options other than their neighborhood public schools would be disadvantaged from the start. Philadelphia public schools have historically struggled to meet system-wide educational performance goals. But the problem isn’t just in the past. Recent data spanning 2012-2019 showed that the School District of Philadelphia performance fell in more than half of its key performance indicators during that period.[ii] Jubilee Network Schools score consistently better than their public counterparts in key performance metrics, and have college matriculation rates of over 90%–nearly twice that of the Philadelphia public schools, which had a 48% matriculation rate, according to their most recent data.[iii]
Encourage new social engagement. Students model their behavior and values from the people around them. Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer authored by Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District:
In recent years, the education sector has faced a variety of hurdles, beyond the increased stress, anxiety, and social-emotional . Like other large cities, Philadelphia, home of the eighth-largest school district in the nation, has battled generational and systemic poverty and a continued . It is hard to prepare our students — more than 80% of whom — to compete globally when they are facing societal barriers that impact their ability to learn and excel.[iv]
Jubilee provides opportunities for students to attend schools with lower student-teacher ratios so that children who need more specialized attention and emotional support can receive it. Our network schools have no-tolerance policies for bullying or violence. And, students are treated with the respect that they deserve because they are image-bearers of God. All these elements (and more) of a Christian school education provide a powerful testimony to students that they have dignity and can hope in a different future for themselves and their communities than they might otherwise face.
Lift up Jesus Christ as Lord. As Christian institutions, each of our network schools is committed to uphold and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas of life. Our schools teach through their curricula from a Christian worldview, and students are encouraged to explore and embrace faith in Jesus. This alone has tremendous impact in the lives of not only our students, but their households and extended families as well. Some of our students will share their faith and make an impact in their families and communities for generations to come.
These are just some of the ways in which Jubilee pursues human flourishing for its students, schools, and communities. To learn more about the work of Children’s Jubilee Fund, visit our website.
Children’s Jubilee Fund depends upon the generous gifts of God’s people to fund the life-changing scholarships we provide. To make a tax-deductible gift of support, click here.
[i] Neil Messer, Human Flourishing: A Christian Theological Perspective, https://academic.oup.com/book/39523/chapter/339351218, last accessed 08/14/2023
[ii] Philadelphia School District website, https://www.philasd.org/performance/programsservices/school-progress-reports/district-scorecard-archive/#AG1_achievement, last accessed 08/14/2023
[iv] Tony B. Watlington, Sr., writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/12/2023 https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/philadelphia-school-district-tony-watlington-jr-20230813.html?query=school%20violence