January 21 2021 0comment

United Way Announces Second Round of Funding Available for Student Engagement Mini-Grant Opportunity

United Way of the Wabash Valley is announcing another round of its mini-grant opportunity issued from their Youth Success Impact Council aimed at assisting school aged children from grades K-12 who are having issues regarding attendance or staying engaged while learning. The Youth Success Council believes that all Wabash Valley youth should gain the knowledge, skills, and character development to succeed in kindergarten through high school and be prepared for the next step in their journey. Their goal is to make an impact in the community by investing in efforts to empower youth to be responsible, reliable, and respectful individuals through their support of innovative programs and initiatives.

Education professionals understand that a first step for youth success is for students to be present in the classroom and engaged in learning.  They recognize chronic absenteeism as a major concern in area schools and nationally. While tracking reduced absenteeism will be a long-term measure of success in the council’s work, the current COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges that require creative solutions for student engagement in education.

The first round of this grant opportunity this fall produced great programs aimed at helping our local youth.  The council has $31,000 in remaining funds they wanted to dedicate to expanding this offering to more organizations. They are looking for programs aimed at student engagement in their current education forum (real, virtual or in-home) and that will work to improve long-term student attendance rates. Project proposals will enhance student engagement, interest and enthusiasm in their studies, as well as improved attendance, all of these outcomes contributing to better overall educational experience and readiness for our youth. Proposals can target any age group or grade level and may take place at home, at a school, or summer program. The projects may also serve any number of students, though the project must have a clear aim at students who are at risk of or have demonstrated a record of high absenteeism or have become disengaged from their studies. Proposals must also be structured to provide sustained development; working with students over-time, with proposals suggesting a one-time event structure will not be eligible.

Liz Metzger, Youth Success Impact Council member stated, “The Youth Success Impact Council was very excited to see the diversity of groups that submitted applications as well as the ingenuity of the programs. It was very clear that these groups care deeply about the success of the area’s youth. They were willing to invest a lot of their own time to provide programs with a little financial assistance for materials.  The second round will be much like the first, but with the addition of summer educational programs and/or tutoring.  Much has been written lately about the fear of students not meeting key benchmarks in reading and math which could cause educational problems in future grades.  It is best to address these issues as soon as possible. Let’s hope that all students will be sitting in real (not virtual) classrooms next Fall and engaged in their learning.”

The Youth Success Impact Council has made available $31,000 in funding for this initiative, and applicants may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 per program.  Funds must be used by May 31, 2022.  The deadline to apply is February 26.  For the full list of requirements and application details visit uwwv.org/funding.