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Abstract

The Richmond non-profit organization, Kid's House, complements imperfect educational models with creative and flexible community-based programs. In Northern Richmond, children living in oppressed communities have diminished educational opportunities and outcomes. I use the term "oppressed" to describe these communities because it highlights various political, social, and economic power that has historically been exerted in the process of creating poverty. An NGO's staff is effective in reaching poor students and parents when they are attuned to local social processes. Kid's House teachers negotiate an uneasy existence as mediators between the spheres of structural bureaucracy and local poverty. This ethnographic study culminated in a senior thesis project. The author spent one summer completing participant observation, and three years mentoring and teaching weekly at Kid's House. While Kid's House continually works to develop legitimacy in Northside, its daily implementation of program goals shows an interest in fostering sustainable solutions to urban poverty.