Current work

We prioritize ensuring children have access to health care, possess social emotional skills, are Kindergarten ready, involved in their community and are ready to start work.

Priorities were chosen based on the strength of the community call to act, existing momentum, and data that supported the interventions with potential for high impact. These goals are holistic and broad to set high expectations for Ready by 21 St. Louis’ work.

Ready by 21 prioritized five of these outcomes for initial focus to amplify and accelerate work currently occurring in our community: access to health care, possess social emotional skills, Kindergarten readiness, youth involved in community and career-ready youth. According to research from The Brookings Institution’s Social Genome Project, success in these five priority areas are predictive of children achieving middle class by middle age.

Safe & physically healthy: access to health care

Ready by 21 collaborated with Health Equity Works and a variety of health and education professionals to increase the number of school-based health centers in regional schools and to identify sustainable partnerships to maintain and expand services through the School-Based Health Alliance

Academically successful: Kindergarten readiness

The St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council established early literacy and developmental screening as key priorities to support kindergarten readiness for the region’s children under 5

Launched an early childhood education needs assessment to expand a supply and demand study completed in 2017

Heard & empowered by their community: youth violence prevention

In partnership with the City Department of Health and the Youth Violence Prevention Partnership, Ready by 21 conducted a community analysis of gang and gun violence to identify factors underlying violence and to inform a 5-year plan

Hosted youth cafes to ensure the experiences of teens and young adults inform plans to reduce violence

Prepared for their careers: career-ready youth

In partnership with 15 youth employment agencies, Ready by 21 formed the Regional Youth Employment Coalition and developed a 15-month strategic action plan

Gateway Go Card was launched in June as a pilot program to provide 50% reduced fares on MetroBus and MetroLink for youth in need of transportation to summer jobs, summer camps, and other personal and professional development opportunities

Socially & emotionally supported: develop positive social-emotional skills

Ready by 21 worked with the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund and school district leaders to develop a holistic strategy for School-Based Behavioral Health supports across the county based on current models and best practices

Three school districts have changed their out-of-school suspension policy, and more than 20 districts have committed to implementing practices that reduce out-of-school suspension

A vision for child well-being

Children are said to exhibit well-being if all of the following criteria are met:


They are growing and developing as kids their age and stage should


They have what they need to be successful adults


They are able to enjoy being kids