Kay Family Chiro gives back to Family Resource Center
NORTH LIBERTY– Dr. Kayla Davis, DC, of Kay Family Chiropractic grew up in a small community. She understands what it’s like to rely on neighbors and friends to have your back.
That’s why Dr. Davis has decided to donate exam fees from her new patients– the entire fee, from all new patients– between now and April 30 to the North Liberty Family Resource Center (FRC) for its tutoring program.
The assistance could not have come at a better time, said Kris Hynek, Student and Family Advocate at Penn Elementary School in North Liberty. The North Liberty FRC, a free resource available to anyone, has been in operation for 19 years, and its primary function is to assist children and families get the things they need to be healthy, productive and secure. The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) now has a student and family advocate in each of its schools, but some of those advocates serve more than one school, and the program’s resources continue to be stretched each year as school enrollments grow, a weak economy continues to impact working families and budgets are cut at every level.
“We are able to partner with people and organizations in the community,” said Hynek. For example, the Optimist Club of North Liberty does a huge food drive in the winter so families will have food at home during the school’s holiday break, and donates school supplies and other items. Life Church has organized Servolution, an opportunity for kids to receive free school supplies, shoes and haircuts before school starts. The City pledged $52,000 to the North Liberty FRC this year, for the programs that operate full time at Penn with Hynek’s assistance, and half-time at Garner and Van Allen schools, with Student and Family Advocate Jill Winders.
Penn’s FRC used to provide a nine-week tutoring program twice each year. Held once a week for 90 minutes, it was a chance for kids to get some academic support outside the classroom. However, said ICCSD’s Youth and Family Development Coordinator Joan VandenBerg, tutoring needs and resources have changed over time.
“North Liberty is booming and our Family Resource Center staff time has been spread very thin,” said VandenBerg. “We decided it was time to step back and see if this is the model we want to continue, and look at other models for how we deliver additional instruction / tutoring. We plan to meet with building principals in early April to discuss what our students need and what programming best fits that need.”
Several elementary schools in the ICCSD receive funding from the district for tutoring assistance, but they are schools with the highest levels of socioeconomic need. At this time, Penn’s population does not meet the district’s threshold. It makes Dr. Davis’ contribution particularly timely.
“We are thrilled that others in the community want to support this,” said VandenBerg. “Community support is most welcome as funds are never sufficient to do what we would like to do.”
Penn first grade teacher Andrew Fenstermaker, director of the previous tutoring program, saw firsthand how the extra academic practice for the kids attending the tutoring sessions provided a boost in their classroom success. Fenstermaker said academic success, and what it takes to achieve and maintain it, is different for every child.
“You have some kids that naturally pick up everything thrown at them. You have some students that need small group intervention at school to help understand new skills and concepts. Lastly, you have some that, in addition to what they get at school, need consistent support outside of school hours to show growth with new skills and concepts,” said Fenstermaker.
“Some require something extra to make the (same) growth that may come naturally to some of their peers. Tutoring can be that something extra, and it presents the opportunity for kids to alleviate learning discrepancies.”
Hynek said even if the school arranged for volunteers to assist children during the day, there simply aren’t enough hours available.
“There is only so much time in a school day and it’s all spoken for,” said Hynek. “When you are talking about support outside of the school day, that’s a different need.”
Fortunately, it’s one Dr. Davis is anxious to help fill.
“When Dr. Davis sent us an email, my mouth just dropped open,” said Hynek. “What a great partnership.”
Dr. Davis met Optimist Club member Sandra Gay at the Tuesday night needle club the North Liberty Community Center, and through their casual conversations, learned about the programs going on at Penn.
“I wanted to do something where I can give back to the community. I grew up in a small community in northern Iowa,” said Davis. “I’d gotten so much help from my family, friends and people in the community growing up, it’s nice to give back. It’s also nice to have an opportunity to help change kids’ lives. When I heard about the tutoring, I thought, that’s even better.”
Dr. Davis’s life work, after all, revolves around the brain-body connection.
“Your brain is your central command station, and from there it tells everything in your body what to do by sending messages down your spinal cord and sending it out the nerves between the bones in your spine,” Davis explained. “If there is a bone out of place in your spine, it can put pressure on that nerve. When there is pressure on a nerve, it decreases the function or the ability for that nerve to do what it should. A lot of times, most people can’t feel when the bone is misaligned in the body until they have something else going wrong.”
Dr. Davis said her chiropractic adjustments can alleviate not just neck and back pain, but other ailments such as vertigo, bedwetting, ear infections, or indigestion.
“I don’t just book people for five minute at a time,” said Davis. “I take a thorough history because it’s sometimes the silent stuff that people don’t realize before they have the outright pain.”
Through the end up April, when new patients come to Kay Family Chiropractic for full services, the exam fee will go directly to the FRC,
“So truly every penny donated is staying in this community to support kids,” Hynek noted.
“Being able to set aside funds for this is wonderful. We know there are kids who need extra support, and we just want them to get what they need to be successful in school.”
Tutoring, Fenstermaker added, is not a magic pill; it takes hard work in school and continued practice at home to close learning gaps. But it could be the difference that keeps a child from falling through the cracks.
“I have seen students’ confidence increase from working with tutors,” he said. “I have seen the light bulb moments when they finally understand a new concept that has been a challenge for so long. Education is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The important thing is that everyone involved is proactive about addressing learning (issues) before the discrepancies impact the child’s confidence and desire to overcome academic struggles.”
Dr. Davis is pleased to be a part of that difference.
For more information about Dr. Davis and her practice, visit her website at www.kayfamilychiro.com, or call 319-626-3500.