Community Gems: Kim Jarvis helping build foundation for underserved children

Kim Jarvis, right, is the founder of On Purpose Academy and Mentoring Center.
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Kim Jarvis, right, is the founder of On Purpose Academy and Mentoring Center.

VANDALIA — Preschool is the precursor to a child’s success, Kim Jarvis said.

As the founder and executive director of On Purpose Academy and Mentoring Center, Jarvis is helping to build a foundation for success for underserved kids throughout Montgomery County.

“I want to be a disruptor in early childhood education,” said Jarvis, who lives in the Vandalia area and works to close the educational gap for disadvantaged families.

On Purpose Academy, at 51 Best St., north of Dayton, serves kids ages 2 ½ to 13 with a year-round preschool program, after-school programs for school-age children and summer camps. The goal is to change their perspectives and access through field trips, speakers, experiential learning and opportunities that the kids may never have been exposed to otherwise, she said.

The academy began in 2015 as a mentoring program for girls only but has grown to become a year-round preschool, Head Start partner and a Preschool Promise partner that also accepts Title 20 childcare assistance.

Meredith Florkey met Jarvis because their kids attended the same school, and they remained friends due to their shared interests, particularly in children. Florkey, of Waynesville, nominated Jarvis as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“She’s always saying ‘yes’ and bringing opportunities for her kids,” said Florkey, who added that her friend is well-recognized in the early-childhood community and is always partnering with others to bring the best for her students.

Jarvis, 53, sees her role split between caring for kids and advocating for them. She also is in the process of launching a new initiative next year to help parents of preschoolers who have difficulties transporting their kids to current preschool locations.

“If we don’t change the system, the lives of kids will not change, which has a negative generational impact,” Jarvis said.

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