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State grants aid learning endeavors

December 29th, 2016

Regional groups among recipients

By Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

Five organizations benefiting students in northeast Indiana are getting a collective $850,000 boost from the state.

The Indiana Department of Education announced Tuesday that more than $10 million in grants from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program were awarded to 57 organizations, including two in Allen County.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne received $150,000, and the Southeast Youth Council Inc. received $200,000.

The list also included the Steuben County Literacy Coalition, $200,000; the Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County Inc., $150,000; and Garrett-Keyser-Butler CSD and Judy A. Morrill Recreation Center in DeKalb County, $150,000.

In an email, recreation center Executive Director Cheryl Nicole said the organization is excited about the new opportunities the grant will provide for its out-of-school programming for kindergartners through high school students.

“Through the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, we will be adding additional program hours, enhanced curriculum, field trips and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities,” Nicole wrote. “Being a part of this Department of Education opportunity will also include staff training and support to improve all aspects of our programming.”

Attempts to reach representatives from the other northeast Indiana recipients were unsuccessful Tuesday.

According to a statement, 21st Century Community Learning Centers help students in low-performing and high-poverty schools with services that include tutoring and mentoring as well as music, arts, sports and cultural activities. They also offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

“Students spend more time out of school than in our classrooms,” Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a statement. “That is why it is essential that we support organizations that provide enriching academic programming to Hoosier students.”

Statewide, the grants ranged from $75,000 to $325,000 and totaled nearly $10.3 million, according to the statement. It notes that 75 school corporations, nonprofits and community organizations submitted applications.