TRM’s core programs of Homework Help, Tutor Power Hour, and Believe & Achieve began in 1988 to support the academic needs of West Dallas’ growing Hispanic, low-income community. TRM has developed a solid reputation among our families and community for keeping kids in school, creating a culture of achievement for students to thrive, and engaging parents who willingly volunteer 6,000+ hrs/year as an investment in their children’s education. Today, TRM programs are 100% focused on increasing the number of students who are encouraged/empowered to pursue and succeed in high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment. TRM has served 41% more students since 2012 and we have a current waiting list of over 500.
TRM’s 98% Hispanic and economically disadvantaged population are at greater risk for academic challenges and dropout than other demographics in the area. In fact, local Hispanics are 89% less likely to graduate in 4 years than any other ethnicity, there is a 28% gap in reading proficiency between Dallas County’s economically disadvantaged 3rd graders and their more affluent peers, and only 0.5% of the Class of 2015 graduated college-ready (down from 1.6% in 2014). By providing targeted academic intervention that combines academic assistance, tutoring, mentoring, college/career prep, and parental engagement with a “second home and family” environment and culture of achievement, TRM programs are paving the way for college access and achieving our students’ full potential.
Trinity River Mission (TRM) provides educational and social opportunities that inspire students and their families to dream, believe, and achieve. West Dallas’ Hispanic, low-income youth often start off and stay behind in school, unable to catch up with their more affluent peers, leading them to higher rates of dropout, lower academic performance, and not pursuing post-secondary education. TRM programs seek to increase the number of students who graduate high school and enroll in post-secondary education by focusing on the following goals:
- To facilitate successful grade promotion and comprehension of academic material
- To facilitate students’ social/emotional growth and confidence in their future
- To facilitate successful completion of high school and acceptance into post-secondary education
- To facilitate continued participation and readiness for post-secondary education
- To create graduates who have the confidence, abilities, and support network to become the next generation of leaders and to realize their full potential
- To create a ripple effect of positive impact in our students that is passed down to future generations and ends the cycle of generational poverty among our families and in West Dallas.
TRM clients’ chances for succeeding in school and life are considerably higher than their peers without those same support systems. In West Dallas, promotion rates drop 22% from elementary to middle and high school but TRM students average 95%, with 99% being promoted in 2016. In the same vein, scores drop 11% in reading and nearly 30% in math as a West Dallas Hispanic student transitions from middle to high school. But TRM students have grades of 75% or higher in literacy and/or math. Moreover, 95% of TRM students reported increased positive attitudes/beliefs/perception of their self and their sense of their future at the same time that other Hispanics of the same age in the region are choosing not to pursue post-secondary education. In Dallas County, 85% of youth graduated high school in 2015, yet only 61% enrolled in post-secondary education and only 0.5% of West Dallas students graduated college-ready. But, at TRM, an average 98% of students graduate high school each year (96% in 2016!), an average 80% enroll in post-secondary education (93% in 2016!), and SEVEN of our 2016 graduates graduated with both their high school diploma AND their Associate’s degrees, thanks to TRM’s encouragement of students to enroll in early college programs.
Recognized in 2015 by West Dallas’ Chamber of Commerce for our relentless commitment, dedication, and contributions to the West Dallas community, TRM programs are often called a “second home and family” by students and parents. This includes Cesar, a 2015 graduate who describes TRM as “…creating and supporting the dream of post-secondary education that no one else does. Not only do they encourage and support you to seek something better for yourself but they create a ripple effect of impact on so many others as well.” In an area where positive role models are scarce and the opportunity for high-risk behavior is strong, TRM programs are a testament to students that we believe in them and that we want to invest in their futures.