Step Forward

About Step Forward


Step Forward convenes community leaders and uses data to illuminate obstacles faced by children of color and those living in poverty.  Through a shared community vision, Step Forward and its partners use evidence-based decision-making and collaborative action to make positive changes for North Louisiana children.  This type of change can only be achieved through a partnership with the entire community.  CFNLA seeks success for every child in North Louisiana with the ultimate goal of all children obtaining a sustainable, living-wage job by age 25.


addressing trauma and strengthening mental health among children of all ages

early childhood education and kindergarten readiness

college preparedness and workforce development

One driving force behind lagging child health and education outcomes are persistently high levels of child poverty in North Louisiana. Safe environments and nurturing caregivers allow children to build resiliency by protecting them from impacts of adverse conditions like poverty. Nurturing the social and emotional development of children, so they may succeed in school and beyond, depends on strong partnerships between parents, their out-of-home caregivers, and the community.

Being kindergarten-ready allows a child to take full advantage of all available educational opportunities. This decade, greater than half of incoming kindergarteners in the Shreveport-Bossier City-Minden area lacked the letter and number awareness, understanding, and fluency expected of students upon school entry. This means that about 3,150 5-year-olds in the area, on average each year this decade, were not prepared when they began school in the fall.

Data demonstrates a close correlation between poverty and education levels. Thus, encouraging and enabling students to pursue education beyond high school results in less poverty, a stronger workforce, and better future for North Louisiana.