Free Scott Co. program aims to bridge gap between schools and African American families

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- It's after dinner time, and class is still in session for these kids. And they're not the only ones. Their parents are getting schooled too.

Davenport schools are on a mission.

"Anytime you can get families to come together, it's a good thing," says Marcus Taylor. He is a parent of a fourth grader and fifth grader in the Davenport School District.

The Taylor family is one of only three participating in the Strong African American Families program. It's free to any Scott County family with kids in school.

"There is a lot of disconnect between the schools and the actual African American community, and they wanted to bridge that gap," says program facilitator Lisa Lacy.

Chapter one isn't about addition and subtraction. It's knowing right from wrong.

"To learn about peer pressure and learn how to be better and be good in the classroom," says fourth grader Marcayla Taylor.

Chapter two, establishing solid communication and trust with your kids so they're confident enough to make those tough decisions.

"I want them to know they can always come and talk to me. Don't be afraid to be brutally honest with me because I always want to be on their side no matter what," says Marcus Taylor.

The last chapter is harder to digest.

"With black lives matter and the things with the police and racism and all these sorts of things, I want my kids to know that they're more than just what they see on the Internet or TV or the news and how to deal with certain things and how they're going to be perceived in this world, so teaching them to become better people and deal with different situations," says Taylor.

It's starting a conversation that's not always easy to have.

"We don't want to wait until it's too late. If we start getting families together now, we would have less people entering the judicial system. We'd rather have more people in schools than in prisons," says Taylor.

The group works to build stronger students and stronger families.

The program is once a week, it's free, and the next session starts up in April. If you want to get involved, talk to your school principal for more information. Any African American family in Scott County is encouraged to participate.