By Sally Lee and Kate Lawler
Raising a family in the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Kentucky isn't easy. Nearly one in four children in the state live in poverty; in Jackson County, where Savanna Jacome lives, almost 37 percent of kids are poor, 38 percent of adults don't have a high school diploma, and the unemployment rate is the third highest in Kentucky. "The key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education," says Mark Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. programs for Save the Children. "If a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, that child is going to have academic problems all the way through school." Save the Children runs 33 innovative early-language and literacy programs in Kentucky schools -- and 168 in rural communities across the United States -- that are bringing real hope to families like Savanna's, who dream of a better future for their kids.