Just like the children we serve, The Shadow Project is growing, evolving and achieving goals that once seemed impossible. The Shadow Project was founded in 1997 when a mother realized that with some extra encouragement, her son, struggling in school because of his learning disabilities, could become a courageous learner. The volunteer-run program started with 40 kids in two Portland classrooms and grew organically over the years. But we knew that we could do more.
In 2011 we partnered with the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon to help define a future path for Shadow. Its members recommended working more broadly in our communities and measuring our successes more rigorously. In 2013 we found a partner, Vibrant Village Foundation, excited to support this transformation, and we got to work.
So what is happening these days at The Shadow Project? Our mission is the same: we partner with special education teachers to help close the achievement gap. We’re also infusing our work with cutting-edge research on student mindset and achievement. We have a book that tells the Shadow story – The Boy Who Learns Upside Down – that teachers use to offer lessons in courage.
What drives us is the knowledge that there are so many children struggling in school who could benefit from The Shadow Project. This year, we are serving a record 1,500 students in 33 schools, including our newest region, East Multnomah County. Portland Public Schools selected Shadow as one of a handful of community partners for a cohort focused on improving 3rd grade literacy at five high needs schools. Over the coming months we’ll share stories with you about our new students and expanded program services so you can follow along with us as more children turn “I can’t” into “I CAN!”
Megan Leftwich, Board President, The Shadow Project