Clark, Champaign organizations awarded grants for student academic needs, well-being

The Champaign Family YMCA is one of 161 community-based partners the Ohio Department of Education awarded a total of $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants. FILE

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The Champaign Family YMCA is one of 161 community-based partners the Ohio Department of Education awarded a total of $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants. FILE

Ohio Department of Education awards $89M to 161 community-based partners.

Clark County and Champaign County community-based organizations have been awarded grants to address students’ academic needs and well-being.

The Ohio Department of Education awarded $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants to 161 community-based partners, including the Champaign Family YMCA in Urbana and Children’s Rescue Center, Inc. in Springfield, ODE announced.

Those awarded can use the funds to create or expand out-of-school services that address academic needs and well-being of students most in need as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 relief grants focus on providing services to students who experienced greater disruptions to learning and didn’t engage consistently in school during the pandemic.

ODE received more than 700 applications, and organizations receiving the funds include community centers, colleges and universities, faith-based organizations, arts centers, neighborhood outreach centers and youth activity centers.

“The Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities grants provide students with opportunities to accelerate learning in unique and engaging ways outside of the traditional school day,” Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens said. “These before-school, after-school and summer enrichment programs will help accelerate student learning and address students’ mental health and wellness through academic and tutoring programs focused on literacy, wellness, college and career readiness activities and more.”

The Children’s Rescue Center, Inc. received $940,208.64, including $452,778.72 for the afterschool expand program and $487,429.92 for the afterschool create program.

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The Champaign Family YMCA received $2.1 million, including $600,000 each for the summer and afterschool expand programs and $900,000 for the summer create program.

The awardees will use the grants to create or expand before- and after-school and evidence-based summer learning and enrichment opportunities including reading and math tutoring, mentoring, wellness activities, career counseling support and more.

The YMCA will use $800,000 of the funding to help serve Graham Local School District students. This includes $300,000 per summer for the next three summers for Graham Elementary School, $200,000 per summer for the next three summers for Graham Middle and High School, and $300,000 for expanding afterschool programming for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

“The Champaign Family YMCA is very pleased to extend our partnership with Graham Local Schools by implementing the three ODE grants we recently received. The Y’s mission of putting Christian principles into practice is honored as we expand programming to serve elementary, middle school and high school students over the next three years,” said CEO Paul Waldsmith.

The Graham Elementary School create program will include:

  • Integration of math and reading enrichment activities with youth development strategies to create a fun, robust summer program;
  • Students will spend time in blended academic intervention activities and an assortment of project-based inquiry-oriented literacy, math and STEM-enriched programs to reduce the summer “slide” in reading and math;
  • Youth development and recreational activities to build healthy and positive life skills.
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The Graham Middle and High School summer expand program will include:

  • Expansion of academic and youth development opportunities to encourage participation from 50 of the most vulnerable students impacted by COVID and increase the number of weeks the summer program will operate from four to eight weeks;
  • Social entrepreneurship, community service-learning programs, career exploration and visits to area businesses and manufacturers will link students to real-world experiences and provide them with the tools to build character, set goals and priorities, and effectively communicate and believe in a positive future;
  • Provide structured time to focus on mental health and social-emotional development with family engagement woven into the program to build parent’s community support networks and strengthen parent involvement in their child’s poste-secondary exploration.

The afterschool expand program will include:

  • Allow the schools to expand academic and youth development activities to the current afterschool programs to encourage increased participation from 75 students at all three schools;
  • Students spend time in a variety of project-based, inquiry-oriented literacy and math activities focused on strengthening academic standards and skills and supporting STEM activities at all levels;
  • Provide structured time to focus on mental health and social-emotional development with family engagement woven into the program to build parent’s community support networks and strengthen parent involvement in their child’s poste-secondary exploration.

Lori Garrison, grants manager, said a team of YMCA, Graham schools and McWatters LLC worked to make these grant awards possible.

She said through existing grants, middle and high school students have a chance to receive tutoring, explore career options and find support in a smaller group setting, and middle school students also built a land lab, allowing them an opportunity to grow food for the school cafeteria and Falcon Market.

“This additional funding from ODE will enable us to expand these existing programs, touch lives and positively support the future needs of students in the Graham Local School District,” she said.

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