Poverty disadvantages a child even before he or she is born. Persistent poverty has been demonstrated to affect a child’s ability to learn. Without help, the gap between children living in poverty and other children widens and limits life opportunities. On average, children living in poverty enter school with a 10 point IQ deficit compared to other children. They demonstrate academic performance levels that are 60 percent lower entering school and have a deficit of more than 30 million words by the time they reach school. Bethel’s investments in education, particularly early childhood education, are designed to make sure that place of birth does not determine success in life.