Providing Safe and Educational Summers for Students in Need

For over 11 years, the Esping Family Foundation has faithfully supported Circle of Support, and in particular, its Science, Math, Art, Reading, and Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) Program.  Under the financial leadership of William (Bill) Esping, the Esping Family Foundation has enabled Circle of Support to provide a safe summer environment, food, emotional support, and academic enrichment to low-income children in Southern Dallas.  In July 2011, representatives from the Esping Family Foundation joined Circle of Support for its end-of-summer Appreciation Ceremony to celebrate the program’s summer achievements.

Summer can be a critical, and often detrimental, time for underserved, low-income students.  According to Bernadette Nutall, founder and executive director of Circle of Support, “When school doors close, girls and boys in Southern Dallas communities struggle to access educational and enrichment opportunities, basic needs, healthy meals and adequate adult supervision.”  Low-income students typically lose two months of math and reading skills over the summer, and face numerous obstacles to their physical and emotional well-being.

In order to address this need, Bernadette Nutall founded Circle of Support in 1999 to help girls in and near the Frazier Court Housing Development in Dallas.  Over the years, the program has expanded geographically to serve more neighborhoods in the city.  In 2007, the organization added S.M.A.R.T. Boys to begin reaching out to boys in the community.  Circle of Support is the only program in Southern Dallas that comprehensively addresses summer learning loss, nurtures the whole child, and supports families by keeping students safe.  It is also unique in its ability to increase academic achievement, improve motivation, and excite children about learning by using certified teachers.  Circle of Support focuses on more than academics, however: it develops new talents and improves its participants’ self-esteem and confidence.  This successful achievement of this last goal was displayed at the 2011 Appreciation Cermony, as the 7th-9th grade girls publicly presented an affirmation they created to emphasize what they value and how they want to be treated.

Programs like Circle of Support that provide such high-quality care for children at no cost to the families cannot run without community support.  It costs an average of $33 per day to support a student, even though the highly dedicated teachers often purchase supplies for the children out of their own pockets.  While the 2011 Appreciation Ceremony acknowledged many community donors, Circle of Support specifically acknowledged the Esping Family Foundation for its long-time support.  Founded in 1977 by Perry E. Esping, the Esping Family Foundation has given more than $5 million to local organizations providing education for Texan children, particularly those in need.  As Bernadette Nutall, the founder and chair of Circle of Support notes, “We are grateful to the Esping Family Foundation, and all of our donors, for their ongoing support of this program. …Bill Esping and his family are committed to helping our community’s children and we look forward to many more years of serving the community together.”

In his leadership at Esping Family Foundation and in his personal life, Bill Esping is committed to helping those who cannot help themselves.  With a particular compassion for children in need, Esping and his wife Heather provide funds to help students achieve their educational goals that would otherwise be impossibly expensive.  The Espings personally fund these opportunities through their own private non-profit charity the PMC Esping Foundation, contributing to many local charities, and providing advocacy for educational rights through the recently founded Bill Esping Lawsuit and Fraud Support Initiative.

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