Thriving kids, vibrant community
One day all of Tulsa’s children living in poverty will have equitable access to the opportunities and resources they need and deserve.
Our Mission & Vision
The Birth through Eight Strategy for Tulsa (BEST) exists to disrupt intergenerational poverty by acting early, when most brain development happens. We envision a Tulsa where all communities are given the same opportunities to thrive, and children are set up for successful life outcomes beginning at birth.
We believe it takes a community-wide effort to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. This is why we work shoulder to shoulder with parents, caregivers and community members to connect, coordinate and strengthen programs and services so all children can thrive. We strive to reach 80% of children living in or near poverty under the age of nine in Tulsa County.
Across the United States and in Tulsa, the circumstances of a child’s birth can predict critical life outcomes. A staggering 1 in 3 Tulsa children under the age of six live in poverty, more than half are children of color. For young children living in poverty, disparities widen over the course of their lifetimes, especially for children of color. A child born in South Tulsa will live 11 years more than a child born in North Tulsa.
Even before birth, Tulsa’s children face systemic challenges that threaten their cognitive and social-emotional development. As a result, many are at risk of becoming further entrenched in a cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Our priorities are:
Black newborns are twice as likely to be born at a low birth weight (after the second trimester) when compared to white newborns
1 in 5 children from low-income households demonstrate initial proficiency in math/literacy in Kindergarten compared to 2 in 5 children from affluent households.
3rd Grade Success
Students that are not economically disadvantaged are 4.5 times more likely to score proficient or advance don 3rd grade reading test than students who are economically disadvantaged.
Positive Developmental Trajectory by Age 3
Children's brains rapidly develop in the first three years of their lives. These early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
BEST is committed to practicing diversity, inclusion and equity—centering race and class—through continuous learning, shared leadership, intentional resource allocation and maintaining community with those most impacted by historical oppression, to increase successful life outcomes for young children and families.
Over the course of 2019 BEST reached over 16,000 children.
expectant mothers reached
Trained THD Family Advocates helped families with young children navigate and get connected to a full range of services.
of moms were connected to community resources
Through a connected continuum of care, BEST is able to refer moms to a host of family services such as prenatal care and help finding a car seat.
“I always want to work with and alongside parents, helping them raise their kids to have better outcomes…
because children are where you can have the most impact.”
– Whitney Downie, Family & Children’s Services
A Year in BEST
The BEST 2020-2021 Impact Report details our strategic priorities and our progress towards ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities for children to thrive.