(BLOOMINGTON) - The Monroe County YMCA will receive a $750,000 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.
The program is designed to give students, especially at-risk students, more opportunities for academic enrichment. The YMCA will receive this grant for four years following annual reviews of the programs using these funds.
Marketing Director Sara Herold said this was the first year the Monroe County YMCA applied for the grant. The YMCA currently organizes an ENERGIZE! program at schools to help students learn about nutrition and staying active.
The YMCA will also be partnering with the Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation and the Ellettsville Boys and Girls Club.
Only some schools in Indiana were eligible to receive the benefits of the grant. In order to be eligible, the school must have at least 40 percent of the students on free or reduced lunch. Its students must also be deficient in their ISTEP scores.
The ISTEP benchmark for schools in Indiana is 90 percent of students passing math and reading. In the 2011-12 school year, 86 percent of students passed reading comprehension and 78 percent passed math at Edgewood Primary School. 75 percent passed reading at Edgewood Intermediate School and 71 percent were proficient in math.
For the first year of the grant, much of the money will go to wages for staff and purchasing equipment. The program will incorporate tutoring and physical movement and will encourage families to stay involved in their children's education.
"So the whole family is involved in improving their academics," Herold said.
Some of the program will be taking place at the YMCA and other parts will be at the Boys and Girls Club as well as Edgewood Primary and Intermediate Schools. There is also a second YMCA facility opening on the northwest side of Bloomington.
According to a press release issued by the YMCA, "The YMCA, RBBCSC and the Girls and Boys Club are committed to working together for a successful, sustainable program that is designed to improve academic achievement, increase positive student behavior, grow family involvement and improve health and well-being for the entire family."
Preschool Youth Camp Director Angela Dilts said the program is also partnering with many members of the community. Ellettsville Police and Fire Departments will be giving students fire, drugs and safety lessons. IU Health Bloomington will provide health information to parents.
The program aims to help students increase their leadership skills and will also address behavioral incidents at schools with the hopes of reducing these problems.
Dilts said the main goal of the program is to increase family involvement and the educational lives of students.
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