Community Impact Grant: YSS Kids Club Technology
Throughout the current campaign, we continue to learn how great things happen when we live united. United Way of Story County (UWSC) focuses on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life – and the community is coming together to help advance the common good in these areas.
In addition to investing in core programs through partner agencies, UWSC offers the opportunity for human service agencies in Story County to apply for grant funding. When funding is available (which may come from such sources as campaign donations directed to education, income or health, income from the UWSC Endowment or the annual budget, or from Golf Fore Kids), the UWSC Allocations Committee will review applications before presenting recommendations to the UWSC board of directors. The awarded grants must support unanticipated, emerging or other under-funded needs.
Earlier this summer, UWSC awarded Community Impact Grants to support projects on a larger scale than the monthly grant applications. Applicants were asked to demonstrate how their programs impact the community and people served in the areas of education, income and health. In July, the UWSC board of directors voted to allocate more than $114,000 total to seven programs.
For the next few weeks, this column is highlighting all seven Community Impact Grant recipients as a way to share the good work of local agencies and, at the same time, fill you in on other opportunities UWSC provides beyond the traditional campaign and funding model.
The board voted to allocate a $6,600 grant to Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) to purchase iPads at four Kids Club sites throughout Story County.
The YSS Kids Club program began in 2000 to fill a recognized community need for before- and/or after-school programming in rural Story County. As an after-school program, YSS created a safe haven for children in the hours outside of school. Research shows that children who are unsupervised or disengaged with peers tend toward risky behavior, are more likely to develop behavioral problems and are more likely to be involved with juvenile offenses and violent crimes than those who are involved in peer group activities under positive supervision.
Kids Club is currently open before and after school and during no-school days at Ballard West Elementary in Slater, Gilbert Elementary and Gilbert Intermediate Schools in Gilbert and Roland-Story Elementary in Story City. In 2013-14, YSS served 313 Story County children and youth. Twenty percent of the families served utilize the sliding fee scale supported by United Way.
Kids Club strives to go further than providing a recreational program with an environment that is safe and fun. The program is also developmentally appropriate and engages youth in active, project-based and service learning, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and literacy strategies have been incorporated into the daily schedule. YSS sees the addition of tablet technology as an extension of the learning activities provided to the students, making the students active participants in their own learning. Specifically, this grant will provide three iPads per Kids Club site.
Ensuring children have access to the building blocks for academic success is an important priority for United Way of Story County. The addition of technology in the hands of the children in the after-school setting will offer a greater opportunity for such success. The iPads will allow children to learn computing, explore topics, participate in small group projects, better develop project-based learning and more!
The momentum is building, and we’re excited to share the collective good work. We invite you join us and see that great things happen when we live united. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer.
United Way of Story County is a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health, for our diverse community. Sara Wilson is the United Way marketing director.