MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A local group is doing everything it can to help children in our area.

Jonathan Salazar said Opportunity Tribe made one of the biggest impacts on his life.

“Something I really struggled with was my personality … I was really shy … really introverted and it was hard for me to really open up and talk to people,” said Salazar.

Salazar has been part of the organization since he was in elementary school. He now works for them as Opportunity Tribe’s Youth Director.

“Our school counselor then recommended us … they chose a select few from our school and I was one of them,” said Salazar.

That’s all students need, a recommendation by a school counselor to qualify for its programs.

It focuses on leadership. Growth. Mentorship and all while cultivating an appreciation for reading.

“We’re going into schools to help kids learn how to read but more than that to believe that they can do hard things,” Opportunity Tribe Executive Director Ben Wall.

Opportunity Tribe in Midland has free year-round programs and camps.

“We work with failing schools because our agenda is to encourage the places that are discouraged,” said Wall.

Wall said the organization’s goal is to help Midland ISD students who struggle with reading and more.

“We’re not just at failing schools but we try to primarily focus where the need is greatest,” Wall said.

The most recent data from the Texas Education Agency Accountability Rating System shows Midland ISD with nine f-rated campuses.

That means those nine campuses did not meet TEA’s criteria.

Opportunity Tribe provides annual academic accountability ratings to its schools based on state standardized tests and more.

“We created what we call an achievement zone and it’s a school like about nine F schools so what we did with them is we provided them a lot more support in order to get out of being an F,” said Executive Director of Learning, Leading and Innovation Dr. Josefa Davila.

Dr. Davila said the district works hard year-round to ensure the growth of its students

“If there are groups [like] Opportunity Tribe or any other nonprofits that are willing to support our students then I think that’s awesome … they will get the opportunity to read and socialize as well,” she said.

The district said while Opportunity Tribe works with students enrolled at Midland ISD, the organization does not have a formal contract with the district. It rather helps students outside of the classroom.

Either way, Dr. Davila said groups like it are always a good thing to have in a community.

“We have about 800 kids that we serve through about 400 volunteers,” said Wall.

That’s the number of kids Opportunity Tribe serves every year.

“We’re looking for kids who are struggling to read who need some encouragement,” Wall said.

He said life can be tough and Opportunity Tribe is here to help.

“We get it’s hard for those kids to overcome that they need people to help walk them through it and that’s what we are here for,” said Wall.

Wall also said a new building in Midland is under construction. The building will be called Opportunity House where among other things, volunteers will be trained and more.

Midland ISD’s accountability rating will be updated later this month.

To learn more about Opportunity Tribe, click here.