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Thursday February 11th, 2016 2:19PM

School programs to benefit from multi-milliion dollar grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall Co.

By Ken Stanford Reporter
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GAINESVILLE - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County and the Gainesville City Schools System and Hall County School System have been awarded a multi-million dollar 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant.<br /> <br /> The money will be used to enhance the Success Academy after-school and summer programs operated in the two school systems. Specifically, it will be used to create and implement "fun and engaging" STEM-integrated enrichment in their after-school and summer programs. <br /> <br /> Success Academy is designed to improve the academic performance and classroom behavior of over 350 high-risk, low-income, and/or special needs students attending Gainesville City elementary, middle and high schools and Hall County elementary schools.<br /> <br /> The grant is to help students improve their math and science understanding and application, while simultaneously strengthening their reading, language arts, critical thinking, socialization and team-building skills. <br /> <br /> "The amount we were awarded is actually $1,398,323 a year for the first three years of the grant cycle," Steve Mickens, Chief Professional Officer for the clubs. "Then, the fourth year the amount is decreased by ten percent and in the fifth year of the grant cycle the amount decreases by 20 percent." <br /> <br /> The 21st Century Community Learning Center program is designed to help students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students enrichment activities that complement regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the extended families of participating children.<br /> <br /> It was established by Congress to award grants to rural and inner-city public schools and is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to after-school programs. (See links below.)<br /> <br /> "We are overly excited about the opportunity to provide some world-class programs and enrichment activities to the young people in our community that need us the most," Mickens added. "The funding allows our organization to continue in a much larger capacity to offer a variety of services to youth in our community from both school systems."<br /> <br /> He said, however, the clubs still need to "kick up" fundraising efforts "to ensure every child that enters our doors get the best possible after school services made available. The 21st CCLC funding is very restricted and will serve only about half of the youth that come to our clubs everyday."<br /> <br /> To that end, he said, the clubs' board of directors and resource development team are working "tirelessly to ensure we can continue to increase and diversify our funding streams so that all youth, 600-plus, receive the same services."
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