INDIANAPOLIS – The Oaks Academy, a multiracial classical school in Indianapolis that promotes a culture of high expectations, is a finalist for WORLD’s 2016 Hope Award for Effective Compassion.
The annual Hope Award goes to an organization that demonstrates the power of effective compassion by fostering life-change through personal, Christ-centered help to those in need. Each year, five regional awards go to organizations that embody all that the Hope Award stands for, qualifying them for the national award.
When The Oaks Academy opened in 1998, its home was a former public school building in a crime-ridden neighborhood called Dodge City that was full of vacant lots and abandoned houses.
The school’s founders wanted to help families in need by going deeper than after-school tutoring and summer camp. Putting Oaks in a tough neighborhood helped fulfill that vision, and the founders wanted a tough curriculum. Soon 53 students, almost evenly divided between black and white, were memorizing the preamble to the Constitution, diagramming sentences, and working on Latin conjugations.
Students, prompted to be all they could be, responded with hard work.
Outside the school, change also came. The Oaks helped attract adventurous middle-class families who rescued broken-down houses and built some new ones on the vacant lots.
Over the years crime decreased, the neighborhood improved, and the school grew to 665 students—half are low income, one-fourth middle income, and one-fourth higher income. Racially, of every five students, two are African-American, two are white, and one is biracial, Asian, or Hispanic.
The school curriculum incorporates a biblical worldview but does not shout it. “We are Christ-centered,” says administrator Bruce Crawford: “Christ modeled for us how to love one another in community and in fellowship. It’s not just in chapel, but all day long. We’re trying to live out our faith and not just adopt the Christian label.”
The overall 2016 Hope Award winner will receive $15,000 for the advancement of its ministry. The other four finalists will receive $2,000 each. Read WORLD’s full article on the Oaks here, then submit your vote at wng.org/compassion. The deadline is August 29. A WORLD reporter has thoroughly vetted each organization, so voters can be confident that whichever of the five that wins the grand prize will steward the money wisely.
About the Hope Award for Effective Compassion:
The Hope Award for Effective Compassion is sponsored by WORLD News Group, a nonprofit organization that produces WORLD Magazine, WORLD Radio, and a wealth of engaging digital content, all dedicated to providing clarity in the news through wise insights into the stories that matter most. To learn more about WORLD and its award-winning Christian worldview journalism, visit wng.org.