Donating to the Judge Webster L. Brewer and Patricia Brewer Foundation

Organization Name Organization mission statement Your First Name Your Last Name Title Phone Email Approximately how many youth/families do you serve? What is the size of your board of directors? Asian Black/African American Hispanic/Latinx Middle Eastern/North African Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander White Did your enrollment change as a result of the pandemic? If so, how? Proposal Title Requested amount to the IndyStar Our Children fund Select the focus area(s) that apply: Total number served by the proposed activities Estimated percentage of low-income youth served What is the opportunity, problem, or need that your proposal addresses? Briefly describe your proposal. Include the need(s) addressed and who will be served What challenges or barriers has the COVID-19 pandemic presented your organization and how have you overcome those issues? Did you add, eliminate, or adapt programming to meet the needs of the youth and families you serve? How? Briefly describe the proposed outcomes. We want to know what your organization hopes to accomplish related to the proposal. Describe what will change, increase, decrease or be different as a result of the proposal concept. Briefly describe how grant funds will be spent What could the community be doing to better support Central Indiana youth and families? (Your response will not be considered related to grant scoring.) Entry creation date Entry updated date Entry ID Entry key Post ID Entry status
Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis Robert Shula [6495] [6560] Chief Development Officer 3177713278 rshula@bgcindy.org 7,400 youth served annually 36 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Power Hour tutoring and academic support 15,000 Building capacity, Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

The majority of our club members live at or below the poverty line. Their socioeconomic status leads to many barriers for after-school care, as well as educational resources they need to achieve their full potential. Our goal at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis is to provide academic enrichment to help supplement the school day in order to help overcome the barriers our kids face.

The goal of Power Hour programming is to help young people develop academic, behavioral and social skills through homework completion, high-yield learning activities and tutoring. Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis seek to provide an outcome-driven Club Experience that helps young people achieve academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. When Boys & Girls Clubs offer extended learning opportunities and educational enrichment programming during the non-school hours, they help improve young people’s academic performance and encourage them to graduate from high school, pursue a post-secondary education and develop a lifelong love of learning. Homework completion is a critical component of young people’s academic success.

Power Hour: Making Minutes Count helps Club members ages 6-18 achieve academic success by providing homework help, tutoring and high-yield learning activities and encouraging members to become self-directed learners.

Designed specifically to help kids and teens with homework, this program is available after school at Clubs. Dedicated youth development professionals and volunteers supervise each session and help youth members complete their assignments for the day. When they finish their work, they may choose to participate in a variety of other engaging and educational activities to develop their skills even further.

Power Hour is a great opportunity for kids and teens to get their homework completed in a quiet place with support from trained, caring staff at a Boys & Girls Club. Literacy training and summer learning are a core component of Power Hour, as well as a number of other programs provided at each club during this timeframe of focused learning.

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We work directly with Boys and Girls Clubs of America to measure all aspects of our club programming with detailed metrics about student acsademic performance.

The outcomes expected from Power Hour programming include higher literacy rates among our kids, improved academic performance and improved mental health outcomes. We are working with a number of providers to help us measure the impact our clubs have on our member’s overall social and academic lives.

Wifi Boosters at 5 clubs $65 x 10 = $650

3 Smart Boards for online video streaming lessons: $2,200 each x 3 =$6,600

STEM projects- includes robotics kits, project supplies, learning modules: $1,000 per club x 5 = $5,000

STEM standalone locking cabinets for STEM materials: $2,750

TOTAL: $15,000

We need to realize that the future of our community relies on how well we prepare the youth in our community. If our youth in Indianapolis do not have the resources and support they need to be successful citizens, then we are setting the groundwork for failure as a community in the future.

December 4, 2023 at 4:48 pm December 4, 2023 at 4:48 pm 28851 yd2dg 0 0
Children’s Dyslexia Center of Indianapolis Dana Smith [6495] [6560] Board Member, Secretary 317-979-4448 mrsdanasmith83@gmail.com 20 children/year 14 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Improving Outcomes for Students with Dyslexia 15,000 Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects as many as one in five people and is characterized by difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. Though it is commonly misattributed to poor vision or weak intellect, children with dyslexia actually struggle with processing and understanding the sounds of written letters. While the signs of dyslexia appear as early as kindergarten and can be mitigated through clinical intervention, many teachers are not trained in recognizing the red flags. This leaves thousands of children undiagnosed and vulnerable to falling further behind in school.

Students with dyslexia must work so much harder to catch up with their classmates, they often develop poor self-esteem. These problems can be made worse by bullying from classmates, and from teachers or parents who may attribute low academic performance to laziness or being unruly. Often students become so frustrated with the demands of school that they develop severe anxiety with regard to reading, and these feelings may persist throughout their life.

Remediation of dyslexia is a pressing need across Indiana, as it is everywhere. Consider the Indiana public school system (prekindergarten through grade 12) which operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards and superintendents. According to the latest reporting, Indiana has
997,869 students enrolled in 1,769 schools across 291 school districts. Considering studies show dyslexia affects as many as one in five, the reality is an overwhelming need for intervention and remediation for 45,000 children who struggle statewide.

In addition, despite its prevalence and detrimental effect on student development, dyslexia is not consistently identified or adequately treated in local public school systems. The CDCOI has been a forerunner in educating the public, educators, and school administrators on the need for early identification and effective educational intervention.

The CDCOI provides life-changing dyslexia remediation tutoring to children, helping them overcome the challenges of learning to read, write, and spell. Students receive one-on-one tutoring twice a week after school for 50 minutes per session. Each child receives individual attention while working with a designated dyslexia practitioner, allowing lesson plans to be customized based on their individual needs and pace. Thus, every child benefits from a continuity and focus that cannot be duplicated in a public school environment.

The CDCOI employs a one-on-one Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) approach to teaching reading skills. Designed to teach to the ways that students with dyslexia learn and memorize, students are engaged both physically and mentally in the learning process. This evidence-based approach is recognized by the International Dyslexia Association, and the CDCOI is accredited through the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC).

Our clinical program is independent of public school procedures. We serve children in grades 1-12 from many different educational backgrounds. On average, children admitted to the program attend for two years. The children receive one-on-one instruction twice a week after school. This allows for the curriculum to be tailored to each individual child’s needs. Often this instruction improves the child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and approach to learning.

We take pride in the fact that our clinical model incorporates the latest scientific research in the field of reading and spelling, dyslexia, and dyslexia remediation. We are structured and funded to serve a specific population: children with dyslexia. We require a psychoeducational assessment done outside of our centers since we do not evaluate children. The provided evaluation helps us to target children who meet the diagnostic profile of dyslexia.

The admission application and the psychoeducational evaluation help us determine if our evidenced-based approach would be appropriate for the child. Our professional staff are specifically trained to work with children with language-based learning difficulties.

The CDCOI offers training for teachers and other college graduates leading to initial certification as tutors in the Multisensory Structured Language Education approach. Requirements for certification include 60 hours of classroom instruction, five hours of lesson observation of experienced staff, 20 hours of 1-1 mentoring, six formal observations, three hours of feedback from formal observations, two hours of narrative progress summary writing for practicum children, required reading, required assignments, quizzes, and exams, and 100 hours of practicum work at the CDCOI under the supervision of qualified professionals. The CDCOI also provides training for advanced Dyslexia Practitioner certification. This program provides practicing educators with Continuing Education Units (CEU) credit from the colleges/universities affiliated with the Children’s Dyslexia Centers.

Accredited training is a hands-on, systematic, sequential, explicit method of teaching the connection of sounds to letters for readers. It emphasizes the structure and patterns of the language that make reading and spelling possible. This method of instruction is effective for all learners, but especially for children who need concrete rules that are explicitly taught to successfully learn to read and spell. Lessons taught to trainees about the history and structure of the English language and the implementation of effective teaching methods based on the science of reading are used directly in individualizing and customizing student lessons. Furthermore, lessons are reviewed and regularly observed by training supervisors so direct and constant feedback can be provided throughout the training. The ongoing support provided by training supervisors helps to ensure the highest quality of standards are met and that practitioners are well-prepared to work with any child who struggles with language-based learning difficulties.

After successfully completing the program and receiving their certification, some scholars teach at the CDCOI, some tutor privately, and others return to their classrooms with new teaching strategies and a new awareness for the signs of dyslexia.

Did you know that dyslexia affects as many as one out of every five people? Dyslexia is a neurological disorder that makes it extremely difficult for children and adults to read, write and spell. Children left with untreated dyslexia often suffer devastating personal consequences. It is the number one reason teenagers drop out of school and is a primary factor in juvenile delinquency. Research reveals that children with untreated dyslexia may become underachieving adults who are unable to contribute fully to society. Dyslexia is, however, a treatable condition. Children with dyslexia need professional help, and the earlier they receive it, the greater their chances of achieving normal, fully functional lives.

The Children’s Dyslexia Center of Indianapolis belongs to a family of tutoring centers established in 1994 by Children’s Dyslexia Centers, Inc. – a 501(c) 3 charitable organization originally founded by Scottish Rite Freemasons in collaboration with the Language Disorders Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University. There are now 47 centers in 13 states, programs that have changed the lives of 14,000 children and 4,500 educators. Until the Children’s Dyslexia Centers were launched, no other national charity had adopted this critical need as a major concern. Although studies revealed the existence of remarkably effective programs for treating dyslexia, no one was addressing the issue and its cost to individuals and society in a systematic way.

The Children’s Dyslexia Center of Indianapolis opened in 1999. In that time, the Center has served 377 children and trained 67 educators with the goal of helping all children with dyslexia in the Central Indiana area achieve grade-level literacy.

Remediation of dyslexia is a pressing need in Indiana as it is everywhere. Despite its prevalence and detrimental effect on student development, dyslexia is not consistently identified or adequately treated in local public school systems. Your generous support would help us to continue providing vital educational services to children with dyslexia in our Central Indiana community.

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The Children’s Dyslexia Center of Indianapolis conducts two types of evaluation: individual evaluations of each participating child and a program-wide evaluation of all participants, including children and tutors. The Center Director’s annual progress report provides the results of pre-tutoring and post-tutoring tests for each child seen at the Center. Formal standardized tests include:
• Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests (WRMT-III)
• Test of Written Spelling (TWS-5):
• Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE-2)
• Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP-2)

With your support, we will hold ourselves accountable to the following performance measures:
• 100% of students will demonstrate clinically significant increases in literacy skills.
• Each year, three additional students will receive 100 minutes of one-on-one, multisensory tutoring each week over the course of one academic year.
• Each year, three additional tutors will receive 140 hours of dyslexia remediation training each year.
• Over 90% of tutors will report an increase in their professional skills by participating in the program.
• Over 90% of families will report that they will recommend the program to other families.

In 2020, our Center was voted first place in the 2020 IndyStar Community Choice Award for being the Best Children’s Learning Center in Central Indiana in the category of Kids and Education. We want to continue to provide outstanding one-on-one tutoring support to the Central Indiana community.

The CDCOI is requesting $15,000 through the Season for Sharing grant to sponsor children and support educator training and supplies.

Sponsor Children: The CDCOI works with students one-on-one, allowing each lesson plan to be individually tailored to their specific needs. It costs approximately $5,000 to provide this level of personalized care to a child for one year – but the results are priceless. There are currently 19 children enrolled in the program and an additional four on the waiting list. While working with their designated tutor, students see their reading and writing skills improve, but even more importantly, their self-confidence and sense of well-being grow. Services are rendered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Center is currently operating at peak capacity, with a waiting list of children who are losing valuable time as they wait for an opening. These children will continue to struggle if the Center cannot secure critically needed funding to sustain its core tutoring programs.

Educator Training and Supplies: The CDCOI prepares adults to teach children how to read and write using the science of reading principles. The CDCOI courses follow a multisensory structured language/literacy education (MSLE) approach. MSLE approaches follow a systematic, sequential order and use simultaneous visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic techniques. Our courses are accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC©). Educators and other qualified individuals can receive training to become certified in our IMSLEC© accredited courses free of charge, except for a $250.00 materials/textbook fee. Tutor training is open to teachers and other graduate-level educators, of which there are currently five enrolled. Support through the Season for Sharing grant will enable the CDCOI to continue offering training and supplies to educators at no cost.

December 21, 2023 at 1:40 pm December 21, 2023 at 1:40 pm 29136 9hiln 0 0
Perfected Child Care Ministry LaShanda Fain [6495] [6560] Director 3178900131 pccm8736@gmail.com 75 7 members [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Empowering Young Minds: For the Creation of a Computer Lab and Library to Boost Children’s Reading and Writing Skills 15000 Building capacity, Enhancing services, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The opportunity, problem, or need that this proposal addresses lies in the imperative to enhance children’s literacy skills within our community. Despite advances in technology, a significant portion of our youth still face challenges in developing strong reading and writing abilities. This deficiency not only affects academic performance but also hampers personal and professional growth in the long run. The lack of access to comprehensive resources and interactive learning environments exacerbates this issue, particularly in underprivileged communities.

This grant proposal seeks funding to establish a state-of-the-art computer lab and library dedicated to fostering children’s literacy skills within our community. The project aims to provide a conducive learning environment for children, promoting reading and writing proficiency through the integration of technology and a rich collection of books. By combining traditional and digital resources, we aspire to empower young minds with the tools and knowledge necessary for academic success and future personal development.

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Our organization is driven by the mission to significantly enhance children’s reading and writing skills within our community through the establishment of a cutting-edge computer lab and library. Success, for us, goes beyond mere academic improvement; it entails fostering a lifelong love for learning, critical thinking, and creativity. We will measure success through multifaceted indicators, with a primary focus on improved literacy proficiency. Pre- and post-assessments of reading and writing skills, designed in collaboration with educators, will serve as benchmarks, allowing us to track progress and make informed adjustments to programming. In tandem, we aim to enhance technology literacy, leveraging the integration of digital resources, educational software, and internet access in the computer lab. Metrics such as the frequency and duration of lab usage, along with surveys assessing students’ comfort and competence in navigating technology, will gauge success in this domain. Beyond skills acquisition, our goal is to cultivate a reading culture, where the library becomes a vibrant hub for exploration and enjoyment. Library usage data, including book circulation and visit frequency, will be key indicators, complemented by qualitative assessments capturing children’s attitudes toward reading. Anticipated outcomes encompass increased academic performance, evident in improved grades and test scores, as well as enhanced critical thinking and creativity. By exposing children to a diverse array of books and interactive learning platforms, we envision a positive impact on their ability to analyze information critically, express themselves creatively through writing, and apply knowledge to real-world scenarios. Success is not confined to individual achievements; we also aspire to empower the community as a whole. Increased community engagement, reflected in the utilization of the library by parents, caregivers, and community members, will be a key outcome. The library and computer lab will evolve into focal points for collaborative learning, workshops, and community events, fostering a sense of collective responsibility for the educational development of the community’s children. Through these expected outcomes, our organization seeks to contribute to the holistic development of children and the broader community, laying the foundation for a brighter and more literate future.

The requested funds of $7,000 for Infrastructure and Technology will be allocated to crucial components of the computer lab. A substantial portion, $4,000, will be dedicated to acquiring up-to-date desktop computers, ensuring a conducive learning environment. Additionally, $1,000 will be invested in essential peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and headphones to complement the computer setup. Networking equipment and internet access, vital for seamless digital engagement, will be prioritized with $2,000, divided between the installation of necessary networking equipment ($1,500) and securing reliable internet access ($500). The remaining $1,000 will be allocated to the purchase of licenses for interactive learning applications, enriching the educational experience.

The second focus area is Library Resources, with an allocation of $4,000. A diverse book collection will be established with an investment of $2,500, encompassing fiction and non-fiction books catering to various age groups. An additional $1,000 will be directed towards acquiring educational materials and reference books to augment the library’s educational offerings. Ensuring a comfortable and organized space, $500 each will be allocated for the purchase of sturdy seating and shelves/storage units.

The Training and Staffing segment, funded at $2,000, emphasizes the professional development of personnel. $1,000 will be invested in training sessions for teachers and staff, focusing on technology utilization and library management. An additional $500 will be allocated to develop educational workshops dedicated to promoting literacy skills. In terms of personnel, $500 will be designated to hire a part-time librarian with specialized expertise in children’s literature, ensuring the library is curated to cater specifically to the needs and interests of young learners. This comprehensive allocation strategy aims to create a sustainable and impactful computer lab and library that maximizes the benefits of the Season for Sharing funds.

To better support Central Indiana youth and families, the community could engage in a range of collaborative efforts and initiatives that address the diverse needs of its residents. Here are several key areas where community support and involvement could make a positive impact:

Investing in Education and After-School Programs:

Establish and support after-school programs that provide academic assistance, mentoring, and extracurricular activities to enhance the educational experience of local youth.
Collaborate with schools, community organizations, and businesses to create internship opportunities, apprenticeships, and vocational training programs for students, preparing them for future career paths.
Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being:

Increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues by organizing community forums, workshops, and events.
Advocate for increased accessibility to mental health services, counseling, and support for youth and families, especially in underserved areas.
Enhancing Community Safety:

Collaborate with law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and residents to develop community policing strategies that build trust between law enforcement and the community.
Support initiatives aimed at reducing violence and crime through community engagement, neighborhood watch programs, and mentorship opportunities.
Expanding Affordable Housing Options:

Work towards creating affordable housing solutions through partnerships with local government, businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Advocate for policies that address housing affordability and prevent homelessness, ensuring that families have stable and secure living conditions.
Improving Access to Healthcare:

Support initiatives that increase access to healthcare services, including clinics, preventive care programs, and mental health resources.
Collaborate with healthcare providers to organize health fairs, screenings, and educational events that promote healthy living practices within the community.
Fostering Economic Development:

Encourage local businesses to provide job training programs, mentorship opportunities, and internships for youth, preparing them for the workforce.
Advocate for policies that promote economic development in underserved areas, creating job opportunities and improving the overall economic well-being of families.
Strengthening Community Engagement:

Facilitate community forums and town hall meetings to gather input from residents on their needs and concerns.
Support and participate in local community events, cultural celebrations, and neighborhood gatherings to build a sense of belonging and unity.
Expanding Access to Recreational and Cultural Activities:

Invest in parks, community centers, and recreational facilities that provide safe spaces for youth and families to engage in physical activities and cultural events.
Support arts and cultural programs that promote creativity, expression, and community pride.
Fostering Educational Equity:

Advocate for educational policies that address disparities in resources, teacher quality, and opportunities among schools in different neighborhoods.
Support initiatives that provide resources such as books, technology, and learning materials to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education.
By actively participating in these initiatives and fostering a culture of collaboration, the Central Indiana community can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for its youth and families, contributing to their overall well-being and success.

December 28, 2023 at 10:18 am December 28, 2023 at 10:18 am 29241 zs8ev 0 0
Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. Erika McCrory [6495] [6560] President (812) 373-6432 imaginationlibrarybarthco@gmail.com 1,700 children per month 7 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. – Children’s Yearly Books 15000 Building capacity, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The challenge faced by the Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. is addressing low literacy with children at elementary levels. This organization has been created to provide children with early reading skills, school readiness, language development, and life skills. According to research, 68% of fourth graders in the United States have below-proficient literacy skills. 30,000,000 American adults are counted as illiterate which is about 10.6% of the United States Population. Based on these facts, children are at a disadvantage academically when starting school and their time to catch up is very limited. Low literary rates can lead to a greater likelihood of students dropping out of high school, and the community facing higher rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hospitalization. Our targeted demographic will be servicing Bartholomew County residential children from birth to age five.

A surprising 41% of entering kindergartners in our county are not able to identify letters or the sounds those letters make. Not having these basic pre-literacy skills means that these children start school behind and are more likely to struggle to read proficiently by 4th grade, the point at which children in US public schools usually go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”; that is, children who are below proficient in 4th grade rarely receive targeted reading instruction in later grades to help them become proficient readers. Research tells us that the more books in a home, the higher a child’s reading proficiency (Educational Testing Service) and the higher their academic achievement. In fact, according to a study by Mariah Evans and colleagues, “Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parent’s education, occupation, and class.” Our program helps set children up for success in kindergarten and in later grades.

The Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. will impact the challenge described above by providing children with up to 60 free books by the time they enter kindergarten. Dolly Parton created the Imagination Library to “stimulate children’s imaginations and encourage reading within the family at an early age”. In 2000, Dolly Parton began offering the books nationwide and internationally by inviting communities to set up affiliate programs. Now, over 2,000 local affiliate organizations in five countries have sent over 140 million books to preschool-age children by not only enrolling children in their respective communities, but also raising money to help cover the cost of the books. Our project will provide children with the necessary equipment to understand how books work prior to enrolling in school. The Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. will provide parent/child engagement and interactions, facilitating home literacy practices. Families will have no financial commitment and will not have to go anywhere to pick up books. They simply must sign up online and a book is delivered to their home each month. Overall, this organization will stimulate and create an excitement with children encouraging them to read, creating a solid foundation for their future education.

As the local affiliate for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, we mail high-quality, developmentally specific books each month to children under five years of age to help raise local kindergarten readiness rates. Due to the high number of children enrolled in our program, we are seeking IndyStar Our Children Fund assistance with book costs.

Our program began in response to low literacy rates for incoming kindergartners in Bartholomew County. An average of 41% of incoming kindergartners in our county cannot identify their letters or the sounds those letters make. Research shows when children start kindergarten without these basic pre-literacy skills, they tend to struggle academically, and they have only a few years to catch up. Because fourth grade is when children go from learning to read to reading to learn, the ability to read proficiently by fourth grade is a predictor of success: low literacy rates are linked to a greater likelihood of dropping out of high school and to higher rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and hospitalization. For example, 85% of juvenile offenders have difficulty reading, and 43% of adults with low literacy live in poverty; in fact, 70% of welfare recipients struggle with reading. The Imagination Library offers a simple, preventative solution in contrast; access to books prepares children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

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Our focus for the Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. is to gain community support. We want to make receiving books easier on parents by providing books to children at their doorstep once enrolling in the program. Essentially in five years, receiving one book per month, if children were to read each book every day by the time they go to Kindergarten, they would have read 1,800 books. Our program will reach households that do not have a means of transportation, or a means to purchase books. Households come in many shapes and sizes these days and children now reside with relatives, extended families and even friends. If the guardian can provide a physical address, books will be delivered. We want to encourage individuals within the community that fall within having children between the newborn to five years of age category to enroll and participate in the program. We plan to be an active participant within society, launching community events which families can engage and participate. We plan to utilize connections of organizations that support us via funding, allowing us to financially provide books to children within the community of Bartholomew County. We are in the process of planning A “Dolly Parton” Good Time Event in March 2024 that will allow children to come to a Royal Ball event with Prince and Princess Characters, crafts, snacks, face painting, story time, etc. This will allow us to put on an event that will draw our community together.

Long-Term Goal: Our long-term goal is to increase kindergarten readiness rates in Bartholomew County, IN. We will begin measuring that goal starting in 2028, the year when we will first have a cohort that was enrolled in our program from birth. Using methodology adapted from prior studies that have examined other Imagination Library affiliates, we will gather data from local school corporations to compare kindergartners who participated in the Imagination Library from birth to children who were not enrolled in the program to see if the books have a positive correlation with early academic success (other studies have shown that Imagination Library books provide a 30% increase in kindergarten preparedness, and we anticipate similar results). We will continue to track the academic performance of both groups into higher grades.

Short-Term Goals: Our short-term goals every year are to get as many eligible children as possible signed up for the program and to continue to raise the money needed to keep the program funded. When it comes to registering children, we are particularly focused on registering children from low-income families. According to the 2021 Data USA Report, in Bartholomew County the poverty rate is 11.6%. However, household income is not tracked when registering for our program, so we are doing everything that we can to reach these individuals. We have reached out to several free programs within the community to provide them with our information to provide families when they meet.

The funds requested through the IndyStar Our Children Fund will be used to sponsor a child to receive books from birth to age five for those families that sign up and engage in the program. The yearly fee to sponsor one child to receive a book monthly (12 books per year) is $26 or $130 for five years. $15,000 from IndyStar Our Children Fund would make a difference in the lives of 576 children, who would each receive 12 books, for a total of 6,912 books. All funds received through the IndyStar Our Children Fund will go towards and provide children with books in Bartholomew County to overcome the challenges explained above. All approved funds will go directly to the support of each child and the cost of the monthly book. However, $26 sponsors a child for an entire year and we welcome any donation that the IndyStar Our Children Fund would be willing to donate. All donations can be made payable to Imagination Library of Bartholomew County, Inc. and mailed to 3210 Grove Pkwy, Columbus, IN 47203.

The main thing the community can do is to support Central Indiana youth and family organizations through monetary donations, attending Dine to Donate events hosted by these organizations, and attending events that these organizations put on for the community. Also, sharing the word with others in the community to continue to support these organizations. Local businesses should be willing to support their youth as this is the future generation that will be running these companies in the future.

January 9, 2024 at 10:24 am January 9, 2024 at 10:24 am 29463 nl1h1 0 0
LYN House Heidi Lyda [6495] [6560] Executive Director 317-638-7880 heidi@lynhouse.org 80 8 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Enhancing Tutoring Services 4852 Building capacity, Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

Low literacy rates are correlated to high levels of unemployment and incarceration. Students that have trouble reading in lower grades often find they do not gain the skills needed to be successful as they progress to upper grades. 40% of 4th graders cannot read at basic level, and that number increases to 70% for low income students (National Literacy Institute, 2023). We serve approximately 80 youths among our various programs, of whom 82% receive free or reduced lunch. 90% are under 200% of the poverty line. All of our students who were enrolled in our tutoring program saw academic growth over the school year.

Many schools focus on whole language literacy that posits students will learn to read through exposure to a rich array of reading materials, rather than explicit instruction. Often decoding strategies such as phonics are overlooked. Students that struggle to learn to read from the whole language approach often find themselves languishing in class, falling further and further behind. Students that are tutored by LYN House are given lessons that teach them to break words into smaller, phonemic chunks that focus on the sounds that letters make, allowing them to decode words that would otherwise hinder comprehension and reading. Our lessons are based on the science of reading and presented in a clear, consistent manner. Each lesson takes the individual child in mind and adapts the lesson plans accordingly. Students are presented information focusing on a particular phonemic skill and an activity that allows them to apply what they just learned. As they practice with their tutors and move through the curriculum, their literacy skills improve. Our phonics based curriculum helps fill in gaps left by the whole language approach to literacy which is commonly taught in schools. At our partner school we work closely with the teachers to be sure that our lessons are compatible with the strategies used in the classroom.

Most of our students attend schools that have seen high rates of turnover and turmoil as they try to address issues of low literacy, absenteeism, and other factors inherent in lower income communities. In addition to these concerns, the pandemic has exacerbated gaps in learning. Most of our students are below grade level in both literacy and math. Students that are tutored by LYN House meet one on one with a tutor. We use a phonics based curriculum based on the science of reading that seeks to meet student academic needs that may be lacking. By helping students close skills gaps, their literacy improves along with their confidence and relationships to school and learning. When students fall behind, their skills gap compounds and school relationships deteriorate as a result. Giving students strategies to decode words and improve their reading skills improves their overall quality of life. Low literacy rates are connected to high rates of unemployment and negative life outcomes as adults (Child Illiteracy in America: Statistics,Facts and Resources, 2023).

This is why LYN House approaches their tutoring with a 1:1 model, with the individual student in mind, while using the science of reading approach when working with the student on reading. The Season of Sharing Funds would enable us to build the capacity of serving more students both during the day at our partner school and after school at LYN House. We will also be able to enhance our services by providing additional training to staff in Orton Gillingham and increasing our library of activities to improve reading and math skills.

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Our work focuses on building long-term relationships with our students, their families, and our school partners. All of our emerging readers saw significant academic growth through our partnership at school 14. We will continue to build relationships with our school partners so that we can be a consistent, valuable asset that produces quantifiable results. Through classroom work with our school partners and our afterschool programming, we will continue to increase literacy levels for our students. Our phonics based curriculum helps to close gaps by helping students learn to decode words, break them into more digestible chunks and better understand what they are reading. Long term relationships are a priority as it increases buy-in from students and their families. The relationships we have built with our students and families demonstrates the efficacy of our work. Families have recommended LYN House to their loved ones so that siblings, cousins and friends have sought our services based on the growth we have achieved for others.

Each tutoring student will have a pre and post assessment in phonics and literacy and our goal would be for each student to show 1 to 1.5 grade level growth in one year. The other outcome is to maintain a long term relationship with the student over several years. By providing 1:1 support and connecting with the student’s parents we believe we could maintain a relationship with the student through their grade school years.

$125 OG Subscription
$132 A to Z Subscription
$3775 OG Trainings for staff
$100 Supplies to increase tutoring materials
$500 OG lessons
$220 Technology for lessons
TOTAL $4852

This would not be specific to supporting youth and families, but for organizations. There are a number of small organizations, like ours that find it difficult to access some of the grant funding. We serve a small number of families and have a very small staff. However, we do know we are making an impact and difference. Providing microgrant opportunities for smaller organizations that have yearly operational budgets below 150,000, would be amazing!

January 9, 2024 at 1:11 pm January 9, 2024 at 1:11 pm 29469 eq4tl 0 0
Outreach, Inc. Lyndsay Crespo [6495] [6560] Grants Manager (317) 951-8886 grants@outreachindiana.org 817 10 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Basic Needs for Homeless Youth 15,000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

In Indianapolis, the number of youth and young adults between the ages of 18-25 experiencing homelessness has increased 10% over the past five years. Circumstances that may lead to homelessness – like trauma, illness, and financial instability – are increasingly common as widespread social and economic issues such as the pandemic and inflation continue to take a toll on families. With so many youth finding themselves in such precarious positions, the need for services addressing basic needs, housing, education, and employment has grown as well. Outreach seeks to meet this need by supporting youth in achieving their most cherished goals.

For more than a decade, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) have collaborated with local organizations to conduct Marion County’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. As mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the PIT Count reports the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. According to the 2023 PIT count, there has been a 130% increase in people experiencing chronic homelessness in Marion County. The root causes of YYA homelessness vary based on individual case, but the main reasons often include rising costs of basic household commodities, low wages, healthcare expenditures, and family instability (National Center for Homeless Education, 2017). As such, a basic needs program like the one Outreach is proposing is essential in order to provide stability for youth experiencing homelessness as they participate in education and job training, work to secure housing, and begin to move from surviving to thriving.

Outreach serves youth and young adults, ages 14 – 24 (referred to from here on as youth), experiencing homelessness or housing instability within Marion County.

Outreach offers hope to these youth through advocacy and relationships, while providing access to essential, basic needs. Youth receive services primarily through Outreach program centers, where they can access warm meals, hot showers, laundry facilities, computers, and mail service. In addition, the program centers offer food, clothing, and hygiene item pantries and a safe space to spend time with staff, volunteers, and friends. Outreach staff work directly with youth at the program centers to help them reach their objectives. This work frequently begins with small tasks like accessing transportation and medical services and builds towards the youths’ longer-term goals like obtaining housing, finding employment, and securing an education.

Due to the pandemic, inflation, and the related increase in demand for services and support over time, Outreach is working diligently to keep pace with the high demand for services. As such, Outreach respectfully requests support for basic needs provision through the program centers, including food, bus passes, housing fees, and staff support provided to youth.

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Outreach plans to meet the following goals and outcomes with respect to services and supports provided to youth:

Goal 1: By the end of 2024, Outreach will serve at least 25-35% more youth experiencing homelessness.
Goal 2: A network of more than 250 well-trained and engaged adults will volunteer more than 5,000 hours annually to support youth experiencing homelessness.
Goal 3: Coaches will provide at least twenty hours per week of individualized coaching services that connect youth to social, education, employment, and housing resources in addition to a consistent, trusted adult in their lives.

Ongoing program evaluations measure success using both quantitative and qualitative data, documented as interactions between trusted adults and the youth, noting what occurred during interactions and any changes in a youth’s situation. Youth are routinely asked about and evaluated on their personal goals, and coaches collect this information as well. Quantitative data includes the number of youth who use Outreach services, which services and resources are accessed, how frequently and regularly youth access services or engage with coaches, and the length of time youth connect with Outreach. The qualitative outcomes – the heart of Outreach’s work – have fewer tangible objectives and therefore are difficult to measure objectively. Stories of transformation are often the most impactful in evaluating the success of our work as reflected in the youth served. Evaluation is ongoing, and through it, Outreach to continuously learn what’s most effective and helpful from the youth.

All $15,000 requested will be used to support basic needs provision through the program centers, including food, bus passes, housing fees, and staff support provided to youth.

January 10, 2024 at 2:14 pm January 10, 2024 at 2:14 pm 29486 qv7lt 0 0
Indy Hunger Network Megan Gendig [6495] [6560] Director of Cooking Matters Program 317-331-5519 megan@indyhunger.org 253 16 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Cooking Matters Program 10000 Building capacity, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

Access to healthy food is a major challenge for low-income families in Indianapolis. Indy Hunger Network’s 2021 Hunger Study found that 22% of Marion County families with food needs reported that they rarely or never eat a nutritious meal. For families that use SNAP benefits or food pantries, there are healthy options available to them, but they may not be familiar with some of these foods or know how to prepare them at home. We frequently hear from food pantries that healthy items, like dried beans, brown rice, or certain types of produce are often not selected by those seeking food assistance from the pantry, because pantry visitors lack the knowledge and skills to prepare those items at home. As with families of all income levels, it may also be challenging for low-income families to know which foods are the healthiest choices for their families, given the conflicting information they may receive from different sources. To address this problem, Indy Hunger Network offers the Cooking Matters program.
Cooking Matters is an evidence-based, culinary and nutrition education program. It is designed to engage food-insecure participants in hands-on learning about how to prepare healthy meals on a budget. Cooking Matters provides basic nutrition education on topics such as sodium reduction, choosing whole grains, how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, the importance of including your children in food preparation, eating balanced meals, and eating on a budget.
Indy Hunger Network began teaching Cooking Matters classes in 2015. To date we have offered a total of 307 classes, reaching a total of 2,687 participants, 722 of which were children. Twenty-six of the classes were composed entirely of parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 years old. We have offered programming at 73 sites, including churches, community centers, food pantries, schools, early learning centers, WIC clinics, and more. 84% of our participants reported utilizing WIC, SNAP, Head Start, food pantries, and free and reduced-price breakfast, lunch, dinner or summer meal programs. 65% of our participants have children ages 0-5 years old in their household.
Participants learn cooking skills through hands-on instruction including knife skills, food safety, measuring ingredients, and a variety of additional cooking techniques. We are currently offering both one-time, one-hour virtual and in-person classes as well as our 4- and 6-week class series for Kids, Adults, and Families. For all classes, participants take home groceries at the completion of each class, so they can replicate the meal made in class for their families at home. When participants recreate the recipe at home, they are sharing the skills they learned in class with their family members and reinforcing the new skills and information they learned. We work with partner sites throughout Marion, Hendricks, Johnson, and Hamilton counties. Through our new Satellite Partner program, we are providing supervision and training to partner sites in Delaware, Tippecanoe, and Monroe counties, so they can offer their own Cooking Matters classes.

Cooking and nutrition education is vital to helping people live healthy lives, and there are currently not enough opportunities for people to gain this education, especially for people living in poverty. Cooking and nutrition education classes help people understand the importance of eating healthy foods, gain exposure to new foods that they have not tried before, learn the cooking skills needed to purchase and prepare whole foods, read nutrition labels, and compare prices of food items in a grocery store setting to make wise decisions about how to purchase nutritious foods on a limited budget. The Cooking Matters Program empowers families to improve their health by gaining skills and knowledge to choose and prepare healthy foods that they enjoy. We are seeking funding to expand our programming to continue offering both virtual and in-person programming serving kids, adults, and families.
Cooking Matters classes are offered entirely free of charge to participants. For some, this is their first exposure to cooking skills. We use several different Cooking Matters curricula to reach different demographic groups, including Cooking Matters for Kids, Adults, and Families. Our Adults classes typically target parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5 to help develop healthy habits for children in their most formative years. In Kids and Families classes, children are involved in preparing their own meals and can share what they learn with their families at home. Each week that we offer programming with our kids, they share their excitement about the meals they prepared with their families after learning how to prepare them in class.
We encourage parents to let their children participate in our Families’ classes to allow them to have a better experience. In testimony from a participant this past year, they stated they “enjoyed cooking with our children, it made us feel closer”. In both our in-person and virtual programming for adults, families, and parents, children are in attendance in approximately 65% of our classes. Most of our classes that are not geared toward children or families do not provide childcare. In these circumstances, we allow the children to participate and be a part of class at their parents’ discretion. During our classes for WIC participants, offered about three times a month virtually, there are always children in attendance with their parents or guardians.

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The desired outcomes of Cooking Matters are increased knowledge, confidence, and skills, and their application to healthy meal preparation, shopping, and eating behaviors. For all classes, we administer pre- and post-course surveys that assess cooking confidence. The surveys vary between our series classes and our one-time one-hour classes. Both surveys assess participants’ comfort with using basic cooking skills, buying and cooking healthy foods on a budget, helping their family eat healthier foods, and perceived barriers to cooking (whether it takes too much time, is frustrating, or is too much work). In 2023, 74% of participants reported an increase in how often they eat fruits and vegetables, and 52% of participants reported eating more whole grains and low-fat dairy options. 74% of participants reported an increase in key food skills and strategies for making healthy food choices and healthy food behaviors.

Virtual programming outcomes are measured through an online survey after the completion of the one-time, one-hour program. The virtual survey measures participants’ confidence in their ability to purchase healthy meal ingredients within their budget, their ability to prepare healthy meals for their family in the time they have available, making mealtime a positive experience for their families, and their ability to handle mealtime frustrations with kids. In 2023, 71% of our participants reported being able to better handle mealtime frustrations with kids and making mealtime a positive experience for their families. 67% of our participants reported feeling confident they could feed their family a healthy meal given their current financial status.

In 2024, the Cooking Matters team is working on creating a new survey that can be administered to both our series classes and our one-time one-hour classes. This survey will allow us to collect concurrent data across all program offerings. The three takeaways we aim for in survey feedback are: an increase in eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy; an increase in making healthy food choices at home, at the store and healthy food behaviors; and feeling confident they could make a healthy meal with the food they have on hand. Other data we hope to measure from our surveys is how many participants participate in SNAP, WIC, Head Start, food pantries, and Medicaid, how many have children ages 0-5 years old in the home more than three days a week, and how many participants feel that they do not know where their next meal will come from.

With a grant of $10,000, we would be able to reach approximately 253 participants. This would equate to 15-18 classes in the community. Each class would host up to 15 participants or heads in the room in each class session. Participants take the food items to make what was made in class at home. Each set of food for participants averages a total of $20 per participant and $10 for class implementation. Each participant that participates in class not only receives groceries to make what was made in class at home, but they also receive a piece of cooking equipment. Cooking equipment pieces vary from cutting boards, colanders, spatulas, measuring cups/spoons, cooking utensil sets, and skillets, pots, and pans. All of these items were decided upon based on what participants were telling us were barriers to cooking at home. These supplies vary in cost but average $15 each.

Indy Hunger Network’s Cooking Matters relies on volunteers. Over the past few years, we have seen a decline in volunteerism, which has been reported as a nationwide trend. Volunteers enable us to offer more classes and provide more individualized attention and instruction to participants. We would encourage community members to get involved with Indy Hunger Network or one of the many other worthy non-profit organizations in Indianapolis to help make our community stronger for all.

January 10, 2024 at 2:40 pm January 10, 2024 at 2:40 pm 29487 alzon 0 0
Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic Inc. Erin Hall [6495] [6560] Executive Director (317) 429-4131 ehall@nclegalclinic.org 4,285 8 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Housing Family Support 15,000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The proposal addresses the pressing need for comprehensive support for individuals and families facing housing challenges within the community. While the current Housing Program at Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (the Clinic) effectively handles legal aspects such as evictions, security deposits, repairs, and accessibility issues, there is a recognized gap in addressing the broader social and emotional dimensions of housing instability.
How the Proposal Addresses the Issues:
The addition of a social worker to the Housing Program presents a strategic opportunity to bridge the identified gap and provide a more holistic approach to supporting families. The social worker will serve as a crucial link between legal assistance and community resources, addressing the multifaceted challenges associated with housing instability.
Holistic Support:
The social worker will provide personalized guidance, addressing not only legal issues but also the emotional and social challenges faced by families experiencing housing instability. This approach recognizes that stable housing is not solely a legal matter but also involves the overall well-being of individuals and families.
Community Resource Navigation:
Families often struggle to navigate and access essential community resources. The social worker will act as a liaison, assisting families in connecting with local services, financial assistance, educational resources, and healthcare facilities. This will empower families to address root causes and enhance their overall quality of life.
Prevention and Intervention:
By identifying early signs of housing instability, the social worker can intervene proactively. This includes offering preventative measures and support to mitigate the risk of eviction and related challenges, thereby preventing the escalation of issues and reducing the overall burden on families and the community.
Empowerment through Education:
The social worker will equip families with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain stable housing conditions. Education will empower individuals to budget effectively, advocate for their rights, and navigate the complexities of the housing landscape more successfully.
In summary, this addition will not only enhance legal support but also provide essential social and emotional assistance, ultimately creating a more resilient and empowered community.

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (the Clinic) stands as a vital pillar of support for individuals and families grappling with housing challenges in the community. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of these issues, the Clinic seeks to expand its services by integrating a social worker into its Housing Program. This innovative approach aims to address not only legal complexities but also the broader spectrum of challenges faced by families navigating housing issues. The existing Housing Program at NCLC is dedicated to providing legal assistance and support for housing law matters, including evictions, security deposits, repairs, and accessibility concerns. While this legal support has been instrumental, the evolving needs of the community necessitate a holistic approach to address the root causes and consequences of housing instability. To augment the services and provide comprehensive assistance, the Clinic is seeking funding to employ a dedicated social worker within the Housing Program. This addition will enable the organization to extend support beyond legal matters, focusing on the social and emotional well-being of families facing housing challenges.
Key Needs Addressed:
Holistic Support: The social worker will offer personalized guidance to families, addressing not only legal issues but also the emotional and social challenges associated with housing instability.
Community Resource Navigation: Families often struggle to connect with essential community resources. The social worker will serve as a liaison, assisting families in accessing local services, financial assistance, educational resources, and healthcare facilities.
Prevention and Intervention: By identifying early signs of housing instability, the social worker can intervene proactively, offering preventative measures and support to mitigate the risk of eviction and related challenges.
Empowerment through Education: The social worker can support the facilitation of workshops and educational sessions to empower families with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain stable housing conditions, budget effectively, and advocate for their rights.
Target Population:
The enhanced Housing Program will primarily serve low-income families, vulnerable individuals, and marginalized communities facing housing challenges. By prioritizing those at risk of eviction or living in substandard conditions, the Clinic aims to make a lasting impact on the overall well-being of the community.
Conclusion:
Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s proposal to expand its Housing Program through the addition of a social worker aligns with the organization’s commitment to comprehensive community support. By addressing the multifaceted needs of families facing housing challenges, the Clinic aims to create a more resilient and empowered community.

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The primary goal of Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (the Clinic) in relation to this proposal is to establish a more comprehensive and effective support system for individuals and families facing housing challenges. The integration of a social worker into the Housing Program aligns with the Clinic’s mission to address the broader social and emotional dimensions associated with housing instability.
Definition and Measurement of Success:
Success for this program can be defined and measured through both qualitative and quantitative indicators.
Qualitative Indicators:
• Improved Well-being: Success will be reflected in the enhanced well-being of individuals and families as they receive not only legal assistance but also personalized support addressing emotional and social challenges.
• Increased Empowerment: Success can be measured by the level of empowerment experienced by program participants as they gain the knowledge and skills needed to navigate housing challenges independently.
Quantitative Indicators:
• Reduction in Evictions: A measurable outcome would be a reduction in the number of evictions within the community, indicating the program’s effectiveness in preventing and addressing housing crises.
• Increased Access to Resources: Success can be quantified by an increase in the number of families accessing and utilizing community resources, showcasing the program’s impact in connecting individuals with essential services.
Expected Outcomes:
1) As a result, the program will help stabilize housing situations: Families receiving support from the integrated Housing Program are expected to experience more stabilized housing situations, with a decrease in the frequency of evictions and an improvement in overall housing conditions.
Measurement: The program social worker will measure this outcome through tracking eviction rates and monitoring the living conditions of participating families over time.
2) Enhanced Community Resilience: The program aims to contribute to the resilience of the community by empowering individuals and families with the tools to navigate housing challenges independently.
Measurement: Success in enhancing community resilience will be measured through participant surveys, testimonials, and the level of community engagement in program workshops and educational sessions.
3) Increased Utilization of Community Resources: The program seeks to increase the utilization of local community resources by families in need, ensuring they have access to services that address various aspects of their well-being.
Measurement: The program will track the number of families accessing community resources, such as financial assistance programs, educational opportunities, and healthcare services, demonstrating the program’s effectiveness in connecting participants with essential support.
In conclusion, the Clinic aims to accomplish a more comprehensive and impactful approach to housing challenges, defining success through both qualitative improvements in individual well-being and quantifiable outcomes such as reduced evictions and increased access to community resources.

The full amount will pay for a portion of one social worker position. Additional funding is being acquired from pending applications (Kaleo, VERA) to support the remaining amount.

Improving support for Central Indiana youth and families involves a multi-faceted approach that addresses various needs and challenges. The Clinic works in the justice and legal assistance field and here are some recommendations:

• Affordable Housing Initiatives: Address housing challenges by supporting initiatives that promote affordable housing options. Collaborate with organizations and local government to develop and implement strategies to reduce homelessness and improve living conditions for families.
• Criminal Justice Reform: Advocate for criminal justice reform initiatives that prioritize rehabilitation over punishment, especially for nonviolent offenses. Support programs that provide alternatives to incarceration and focus on addressing the root causes of youth involvement in the justice system.

January 10, 2024 at 4:44 pm January 10, 2024 at 4:44 pm 29492 1fn8 0 0
Brightlane Learning Claire Broman [6495] [6560] VP, Grants & Communications 317.202.9100 claire@brightlanelearning.org 800 14 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Mentor-based tutoring and education case management for children and families impacted by homelessness 15000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The students and families that will be supported through this proposal live in Indianapolis and are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Students in our programs are less likely to have attended PreK and often attend multiple schools throughout the school year, causing them to fall farther behind. They face more academic challenges than their housed peers, stemming from the trauma of experiencing homelessness. The parents of the students we work alongside often have complicated relationships with education, and the majority have a high school diploma, HSE/GED, or have not graduated. They are focused on stability for their families, which can lead to education falling behind as a priority.

By partnering with shelters, transitional living facilities, and permanent supportive housing programs, we are able to ensure that while parents are working to overcome the barriers contributing to their experience of homelessness and housing instability, their children have the support they need to move towards or continue in the direction of academic success. We include the parent/s and caregiver/s in helping their children achieve academic milestones.

In addition to the extensive support we provide to students during the school day, Brightlane Learning provides after-school academic intervention to students at nine shelter and transitional housing partner locations up to four days a week. We work to ensure that key academic milestones are met and also prioritize social-emotional learning (SEL). Since the pandemic began, our programs have focused even more intently on SEL in order to help students of all ages recover from the stress and trauma of the past several years.

Students are connected with Brightlane Learning staff and volunteer tutors who create supportive and positive relationships with each child. Additionally, children receive backpacks, school supplies, and uniforms required of them to attend school. This helps the family meet a need while also ensuring that students are not singled out from their peers for not having the required supplies.

As Brightlane Learning becomes more acquainted with the family and the child’s academic needs, a Personalized Learning Plan is created in collaboration with parent/s and the child’s teachers. This learning plan allows the child, with coaching from a dedicated Brightlane Learning staff member, to set academic goals for the quarter and track progress toward meeting them.

Our staff conduct intake meetings with parents to get their insight on where their child needs additional support. This meeting also allows the staff person to personally connect with the parent and to begin working with them to set educational goals for themselves and the whole family. Overall, these goals are aimed at connecting the family to the school community, helping parents to become more aware of educational resources available to members of their family, and giving them the tools to be their child’s best educational advocate.

Our close collaboration with our partner sites gives families the most comprehensive support and wrap around services. Brightlane Learning focuses on the youth and the whole family as it relates to the child’s education, while our shelter partners focus on the parents’ basic needs.

Over the past two years, we have seen the need for our educational case management services grow for the students and families living in our shelter and transitional housing partner locations. Families are setting and meeting more educational goals and we are spending more time with families to achieve those outcomes. We have seen an increase in Multilingual Learners and families for whom English is not their home language. Ensuring these students and families have the tools and resources to navigate school and their educational needs takes a bit more time.

Last school year, a record 734 educational goals were set by Brightlane families, and 85% of Brightlane families living in transitional housing met their educational goals. In addition to educational goal setting increasing, the number of students enrolled in our programs across sites was at record levels, and mentor-based tutoring sessions increased 67% (to nearly 13,000 sessions provided).

The story below is just one of the outcomes that our mentor-based tutoring and educational case management are providing for Brightlane students and families impacted by homelessness.

Elizabeth, a single mom, and her son Fernando are new arrivals to the US. They sought refuge in the U.S. after fleeing their native country of Peru because of domestic violence and threats against Fernando due to his sexual identity. They both speak Spanish as their first language and have limited English proficiency. Their transition to a new country, city, and welfare system has been challenging, and finding stable housing has been even more difficult.

They are both working with Brightlane staff and are making strides. Our staff member has worked diligently to communicate with Elizabeth, Fernando, and the school staff at a local high school to be able to enroll Fernando there, where he is receiving support from their bilingual academic and family advisor. Elizabeth has been able to attend meetings and engage in Fernando’s learning journey because of this school option.

Elizabeth has set multiple goals for engaging with Fernando’s school and teachers even with the language barrier and lack of consistent translators available to non-English speaking parents. She has also attended multiple parent workshops and is enrolled in English Language classes where she is building up her communication skills so that she can continue advocating for her son and communicating with his teachers and administrators. Fernando is slowly acclimating and continues to need support while getting used to a new education system and culture. In addition to school enrollment, homework support, and academic skill building for Fernando during tutoring, staff have helped with the social and emotional needs of this family, including helping to coordinate mental health support for Fernando when his mother indicated this may be necessary and wasn’t sure how to get him the help that he needed. Fernando is beginning to open up and make friends. He was recently invited to a classmate’s quinceañera, and he just joined his school’s swimming team.

Brightlane Learning respectfully requests $15,000 for mentor-based tutoring and increased educational case management for K-12 students impacted by homelessness and their families.

Students and families facing homelessness and housing instability move frequently between schools, which leads to learning loss and reduces their ability to build trust and a network of support. The families in our community have access to fewer resources to aid with academic achievement, such as tutoring, which often comes at a cost. These barriers to education result in students being more likely to repeat a grade and drop out of school. Without intervention, students experiencing homelessness are 87% more likely to drop out, and without a high school diploma, these youth are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness later in life. [SchoolHouse Connection].

Last school year 93% of Brightlane Learning seniors graduated, and student achievement improved drastically. During the 22/23 school year, 90% of Brightlane students maintained or improved their math skills, and 89% maintained or improved their language arts skills. This demonstrates incredible progress against pandemic learning loss, where the average loss for unhoused students was double that of their housed peers. The previous school year, both of these student achievements were below 70% for Brightlane students.

According to the 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in December, there was a 12% increase in the overall number of individuals staying in shelters or visibly unhoused during the January 2023 point in time count vs the 2022 count.

Families with children (16%) and unaccompanied youth (15%) represented the steepest increases over the previous year. While these are national results, Indianapolis does not fare better.

Using the most recent data from the Indiana Department of Education, the highest concentration of homeless students in Indiana is in Marion County. During the 2019 school year, Marion County alone represented 26% of homeless student enrollment across the state of Indiana but only 14.5% of total student enrollment. This overrepresentation of students impacted by homelessness in our county requires a thoughtful approach to partnering with schools and shelters across the city.

This proposal supports mentor-based tutoring for K-12 students and educational case management for students and their families in the nine shelters and permanent supportive housing locations that Brightlane serves. This includes approximately 200 children and family members residing at: Coburn Place Safe Haven, Colonial Park Apartments, Dayspring Center, Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Salvation Army Barton Center, Salvation Army Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center, The Julian Center, Trinity Haven, and Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children.

Our programs are provided on-site or virtually (Family Promise and Colonial Park) at each of these locations multiple times each week, eliminating the family’s need to travel to access services. Mentor-based tutoring focuses on homework help, test prep, and academic skill building. Through our educational case management, we address their unique educational needs and help set achievable goals for their children and for themselves.

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Brightlane measures short-term goals that are tied to long-term academic success, and we are focused on outcomes that ensure students and families have the tools they need to continue to achieve success even after they are no longer in our program. We refine our goals each year. We track and evaluate six different goals and outcomes that help measure progress for the students and families we support in shelters and transitional housing.

Below are three of the 23/24 goals that this proposal and support will impact.

• 70% of goals set by families in transitional housing will be met during the duration of the school year.
• 90% of students engaged in tutoring for at least 10 sessions at transitional sites will have a personalized learning plan to direct the tutoring hour specific to their strengths and areas for growth.
• 75% of the families we work with who have preschool-aged children (4-5 years old) will be referred to an accredited preschool.

We utilize a variety of tools to measure impact, including student and parent surveys, grade data, student assessments, and our goals and outcomes. Factors that contribute to these goals are also tracked, such as parent engagement with the school community, proactive and positive communication with families, and the development of personalized learning plans for students.

Brightlane Learning tracks all data in a comprehensive Salesforce database. This database tracks demographic information on our students and families based on the information received from family intake forms, student tutoring attendance, family goal setting and outcomes, along with survey and grade data specific to our overall goals. Data is collected and entered by our Education Support Coordinators (ESCs) and reviewed and evaluated by our full-time program directors, program managers, and Chief Operating and Program Officer.

Brightlane Learning’s successful program model and impact rely heavily on our staff of former classroom teachers, social workers, and experienced youth workers. Of our $550,440 community and shelter program FY23/24 budget, 78% is dedicated to staff salaries and benefits ($431,008). Brightlane’s program team is composed of 2 full-time education support coordinators and 4 part-time education support coordinators, and an Education Director. 100% of the grant funding will be allocated toward the salaries of the two full-time ESC salaries for their work directly with students and families in our shelter and transitional housing partner locations during the spring 2024 semester.

There is an educational crisis in our community and across the nation. Schools, particularly in areas with higher poverty rates, are carrying a huge burden. They are often under resourced while addressing academic achievement gaps, hunger, and sometimes emotional and behavioral issues that are compounded by the stress that the uncertainty and instability a lack of resources may present. If individuals haven’t already, those who want to help better support youth and families can tune in carefully to learn what their community school’s needs are and help them fill those gaps in the ways they are able.

January 10, 2024 at 5:41 pm January 10, 2024 at 5:41 pm 29495 brbg3 0 0
Brightlane Learning Claire Broman [6495] [6560] VP, Grants & Communications 317.202.9100 claire@brightlanelearning.org 800 14 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Mentor-based tutoring and education case management for children and families impacted by homelessness 15000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The students and families that will be supported through this proposal live in Indianapolis and are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Students in our programs are less likely to have attended PreK and often attend multiple schools throughout the school year, causing them to fall farther behind. They face more academic challenges than their housed peers, stemming from the trauma of experiencing homelessness. The parents of the students we work alongside often have complicated relationships with education, and the majority have a high school diploma, HSE/GED, or have not graduated. They are focused on stability for their families, which can lead to education falling behind as a priority.

By partnering with shelters, transitional living facilities, and permanent supportive housing programs, we are able to ensure that while parents are working to overcome the barriers contributing to their experience of homelessness and housing instability, their children have the support they need to move towards or continue in the direction of academic success. We include the parent/s and caregiver/s in helping their children achieve academic milestones.

In addition to the extensive support we provide to students during the school day, Brightlane Learning provides after-school academic intervention to students at nine shelter and transitional housing partner locations up to four days a week. We work to ensure that key academic milestones are met and also prioritize social-emotional learning (SEL). Since the pandemic began, our programs have focused even more intently on SEL in order to help students of all ages recover from the stress and trauma of the past several years.

Students are connected with Brightlane Learning staff and volunteer tutors who create supportive and positive relationships with each child. Additionally, children receive backpacks, school supplies, and uniforms required of them to attend school. This helps the family meet a need while also ensuring that students are not singled out from their peers for not having the required supplies.

As Brightlane Learning becomes more acquainted with the family and the child’s academic needs, a Personalized Learning Plan is created in collaboration with parent/s and the child’s teachers. This learning plan allows the child, with coaching from a dedicated Brightlane Learning staff member, to set academic goals for the quarter and track progress toward meeting them.

Our staff conduct intake meetings with parents to get their insight on where their child needs additional support. This meeting also allows the staff person to personally connect with the parent and to begin working with them to set educational goals for themselves and the whole family. Overall, these goals are aimed at connecting the family to the school community, helping parents to become more aware of educational resources available to members of their family, and giving them the tools to be their child’s best educational advocate.

Our close collaboration with our partner sites gives families the most comprehensive support and wrap around services. Brightlane Learning focuses on the youth and the whole family as it relates to the child’s education, while our shelter partners focus on the parents’ basic needs.

Over the past two years, we have seen the need for our educational case management services grow for the students and families living in our shelter and transitional housing partner locations. Families are setting and meeting more educational goals and we are spending more time with families to achieve those outcomes. We have seen an increase in Multilingual Learners and families for whom English is not their home language. Ensuring these students and families have the tools and resources to navigate school and their educational needs takes a bit more time.

Last school year, a record 734 educational goals were set by Brightlane families, and 85% of Brightlane families living in transitional housing met their educational goals. In addition to educational goal setting increasing, the number of students enrolled in our programs across sites was at record levels, and mentor-based tutoring sessions increased 67% (to nearly 13,000 sessions provided).

The story below is just one of the outcomes that our mentor-based tutoring and educational case management are providing for Brightlane students and families impacted by homelessness.

Elizabeth, a single mom, and her son Fernando are new arrivals to the US. They sought refuge in the U.S. after fleeing their native country of Peru because of domestic violence and threats against Fernando due to his sexual identity. They both speak Spanish as their first language and have limited English proficiency. Their transition to a new country, city, and welfare system has been challenging, and finding stable housing has been even more difficult.

They are both working with Brightlane staff and are making strides. Our staff member has worked diligently to communicate with Elizabeth, Fernando, and the school staff at a local high school to be able to enroll Fernando there, where he is receiving support from their bilingual academic and family advisor. Elizabeth has been able to attend meetings and engage in Fernando’s learning journey because of this school option.

Elizabeth has set multiple goals for engaging with Fernando’s school and teachers even with the language barrier and lack of consistent translators available to non-English speaking parents. She has also attended multiple parent workshops and is enrolled in English Language classes where she is building up her communication skills so that she can continue advocating for her son and communicating with his teachers and administrators. Fernando is slowly acclimating and continues to need support while getting used to a new education system and culture. In addition to school enrollment, homework support, and academic skill building for Fernando during tutoring, staff have helped with the social and emotional needs of this family, including helping to coordinate mental health support for Fernando when his mother indicated this may be necessary and wasn’t sure how to get him the help that he needed. Fernando is beginning to open up and make friends. He was recently invited to a classmate’s quinceañera, and he just joined his school’s swimming team.

Brightlane Learning respectfully requests $15,000 for mentor-based tutoring and increased educational case management for K-12 students impacted by homelessness and their families.

Students and families facing homelessness and housing instability move frequently between schools, which leads to learning loss and reduces their ability to build trust and a network of support. The families in our community have access to fewer resources to aid with academic achievement, such as tutoring, which often comes at a cost. These barriers to education result in students being more likely to repeat a grade and drop out of school. Without intervention, students experiencing homelessness are 87% more likely to drop out, and without a high school diploma, these youth are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness later in life. [SchoolHouse Connection].

Last school year 93% of Brightlane Learning seniors graduated, and student achievement improved drastically. During the 22/23 school year, 90% of Brightlane students maintained or improved their math skills, and 89% maintained or improved their language arts skills. This demonstrates incredible progress against pandemic learning loss, where the average loss for unhoused students was double that of their housed peers. The previous school year, both of these student achievements were below 70% for Brightlane students.

According to the 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in December, there was a 12% increase in the overall number of individuals staying in shelters or visibly unhoused during the January 2023 point in time count vs the 2022 count.

Families with children (16%) and unaccompanied youth (15%) represented the steepest increases over the previous year. While these are national results, Indianapolis does not fare better.

Using the most recent data from the Indiana Department of Education, the highest concentration of homeless students in Indiana is in Marion County. During the 2019 school year, Marion County alone represented 26% of homeless student enrollment across the state of Indiana but only 14.5% of total student enrollment. This overrepresentation of students impacted by homelessness in our county requires a thoughtful approach to partnering with schools and shelters across the city.

This proposal supports mentor-based tutoring for K-12 students and educational case management for students and their families in the nine shelters and permanent supportive housing locations that Brightlane serves. This includes approximately 200 children and family members residing at: Coburn Place Safe Haven, Colonial Park Apartments, Dayspring Center, Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Salvation Army Barton Center, Salvation Army Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center, The Julian Center, Trinity Haven, and Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children.

Our programs are provided on-site or virtually (Family Promise and Colonial Park) at each of these locations multiple times each week, eliminating the family’s need to travel to access services. Mentor-based tutoring focuses on homework help, test prep, and academic skill building. Through our educational case management, we address their unique educational needs and help set achievable goals for their children and for themselves.

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Brightlane measures short-term goals that are tied to long-term academic success, and we are focused on outcomes that ensure students and families have the tools they need to continue to achieve success even after they are no longer in our program. We refine our goals each year. We track and evaluate six different goals and outcomes that help measure progress for the students and families we support in shelters and transitional housing.

Below are three of the 23/24 goals that this proposal and support will impact.

• 70% of goals set by families in transitional housing will be met during the duration of the school year.
• 90% of students engaged in tutoring for at least 10 sessions at transitional sites will have a personalized learning plan to direct the tutoring hour specific to their strengths and areas for growth.
• 75% of the families we work with who have preschool-aged children (4-5 years old) will be referred to an accredited preschool.

We utilize a variety of tools to measure impact, including student and parent surveys, grade data, student assessments, and our goals and outcomes. Factors that contribute to these goals are also tracked, such as parent engagement with the school community, proactive and positive communication with families, and the development of personalized learning plans for students.

Brightlane Learning tracks all data in a comprehensive Salesforce database. This database tracks demographic information on our students and families based on the information received from family intake forms, student tutoring attendance, family goal setting and outcomes, along with survey and grade data specific to our overall goals. Data is collected and entered by our Education Support Coordinators (ESCs) and reviewed and evaluated by our full-time program directors, program managers, and Chief Operating and Program Officer.

Brightlane Learning’s successful program model and impact rely heavily on our staff of former classroom teachers, social workers, and experienced youth workers. Of our $550,440 community and shelter program FY23/24 budget, 78% is dedicated to staff salaries and benefits ($431,008). Brightlane’s program team is composed of 2 full-time education support coordinators and 4 part-time education support coordinators, and an Education Director. 100% of the grant funding will be allocated toward the salaries of the two full-time ESC salaries for their work directly with students and families in our shelter and transitional housing partner locations during the spring 2024 semester.

There is an educational crisis in our community and across the nation. Schools, particularly in areas with higher poverty rates, are carrying a huge burden. They are often under resourced while addressing academic achievement gaps, hunger, and sometimes emotional and behavioral issues that are compounded by the stress that the uncertainty and instability a lack of resources may present. If individuals haven’t already, those who want to help better support youth and families can tune in carefully to learn what their community school’s needs are and help them fill those gaps in the ways they are able.

January 10, 2024 at 5:46 pm January 10, 2024 at 5:46 pm 29496 g38k6 0 0
Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People (d/b/a Brooke’s Place) Theresa Brun [6495] [6560] Executive Director 3177059650 theresa@brookesplace.org 3,110 15 members [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Camp Healing Tree 5,000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

Experiencing the death of a loved one is an adverse childhood event (ACE) that can contribute to the breakdown of the family unit. Childhood grief impacts healthy development, and unresolved grief in children poses a risk of long-term negative effects. Brooke’s Place believes no person living with childhood grief should feel alone. To that end, Brooke’s Place is central Indiana’s only organization addressing the need for ongoing and comprehensive support services to grieving children and families. The guiding aspiration under our current Strategic Plan is for Brooke’s Place to be an inclusive organization where all central Indiana youth who have experienced the death of a loved one have access to grief support.

According to the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), “childhood bereavement is a prevalent and critical public health issue that can have a profound impact on future well-being.” As previously noted, CBEM reports one in 10 Hoosier children experience the death of a parent or sibling before they turn 18, giving Indiana the 15th highest rate of childhood bereavement in the country. In addition, Indiana Youth Institute’s 2023 Indiana Kids Count Data Book states, “For a child, the death of a loved one can have profound effects on their mental health and well-being. Children understand and process death differently than adults…Recognizing the prevalence of bereaved children and identifying mechanisms that allow bereaved children to grieve in a healthy way, families and communities can limit the long-term health and mental health problems brought on by childhood bereavement.” Moreover, studies have documented that repeated and earlier exposure to loss is a unique source of disadvantage and inequality for Black communities.

Children and adolescents who experience grief face high risks of emotional and psychological stress contributing to behavioral problems, substance abuse, anxiety, social challenges, academic challenges, developmental challenges, recurring illness, and even teen pregnancy, delinquency and incarceration. Bereaved youth are also at a significantly increased risk for mental health problems, including three times the risk of depression, and higher likelihoods of bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They are more likely to abuse substances and alcohol and are more likely to do so at an earlier age. Grief among elementary, middle and high school students is associated with decreased academic performance, attention/concentration, and attendance.

The need to increase access to grief support for the youth in our communities is significant and evidenced by waitlists for services at Brooke’s Place, including a waitlist to attend Camp Healing Tree. We know just in central Indiana, there are an estimated 75,000+ grieving youth; and while we consistently serve more children every year, most children who have experienced the death of a loved one are not receiving the support they need.

Every program operated by Brooke’s Place is evidence-based and designed to address childhood grief in ways that are shown to reduce the risk factors and decrease the consequences associated with unresolved childhood grief. Our programs provide significant social and emotional benefits by helping grieving children decrease feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety, and increase healthy coping skills and feelings of belonging, empathy and self-esteem. Long term, grief support improves mental, physical, and emotional health and increases school performance, resiliency, and self-efficacy.

The goal of Brooke’s Place is not to help youth get over their loss, but to help them understand their loss, learn coping strategies, gain a renewed sense of identity and self-worth, improve their functional capacity and enjoyment of activities, and increase their general sense of well-being so they can go on living a healthy and productive life. Most bereaved children will need several types of support that incorporate adequate information about the death; reassurance of fears and anxieties; people to listen carefully to their fears and questions; their individual feelings validated; help with overwhelming feelings which might emerge in behavior; modeled grief behaviors to see others grieving; and opportunities to remember the person who died.

In 2022, 74% of Camp Healing Tree respondents reported increased healthy coping skills, 83% reported an increased sense of belonging and decreased feelings of isolation, and more than half reported decreased feelings of anxiety. Furthermore, caregiver feedback concurrent with our programs and as these children age through subsequent developmental phases, indicates that grief support better equips bereaved youth with healthy coping tools and strategies – thereby increasing their ability to endure the ongoing stages of grief and decrease their potential for negative consequences from unresolved grief.

Brooke’s Place requests Season for Sharing funds to support our Camp Healing Tree program. Historically, Camp Healing Tree (CHT) is a weekend overnight camp that serves grieving children and teens ages 7 to 17. The camp is held every August at Jameson Camp on the west side of Indianapolis. The objective of CHT is to provide a safe environment for grieving children and teens to express their feelings. By placing youth among similarly situated peers and caring adult volunteers, CHT helps them find healthy ways to connect and cope with their grief.

Each year, CHT quickly fills to capacity after registration opens, resulting in a waitlist and the inability for previous campers to return to camp. We do not want CHT to be an exclusive event for central Indiana youth who need this peer-to-peer support opportunity. Accordingly, in 2024 we are introducing a second camp opportunity. “CHT 2.0” will be a September day camp experience held at Camp Dellwood, also on the west side of Indianapolis. This program expansion will prioritize previous CHT participants, reducing the current challenge of a waitlist for the overnight camp.

Each grieving child and teen who attends Camp Healing Tree is provided a safe environment to express their grief and the opportunity to feel supported by similarly situated peers and caring adults, thereby decreasing their feelings of isolation and anxiety, and increasing their ability to cope with their grief in healthy ways. We aim for CHT “graduates” to report they worry less, have people to talk to about their feelings, feel good about themselves and their future, and know helpful ways to handle their feelings.

One in 10 Hoosier children experience the death of a parent or sibling before they turn 18 and 9% are bereaved generally by age 18, giving Indiana the 15th highest rate of childhood bereavement in the country. Children and adolescents who experience grief face high risks of emotional and psychological stress contributing to behavioral problems, substance abuse, anxiety, social challenges, academic challenges, developmental challenges, recurring illness, and even teen pregnancy, delinquency and incarceration.

Our traditional overnight camp serves 90 to 100 campers each year (all bereaved youth between the ages of 7 and 17). With the addition of the CHT day camp, we anticipate serving an estimated 170 campers in 2024. The purpose behind the second camp opportunity is to alleviate the CHT waitlist, which prioritizes new campers. CHT 2.0 will increase access to CHT for returning campers.

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We evaluate outcomes at Brooke’s Place by gathering intentional data and continuously assessing program growth, enhancements, and process improvements. Our overall aim is to ensure we are increasing access to grief support through the development of a strategic and sustainable community-based model of child grief support programs and services. We use the reporting system, Apricot Core, which produces intentional data that allows us to customize and continuously refine our measures. We use slightly different language based on the age of the participant, and our system includes data on length of time in the program so that we can compare like-to-like outcomes.

With requested funds, Brooke’s Place estimates serving 95 grieving youth ages 7 to 17 at our traditional Camp Healing Tree in August 2024, and an additional 75 campers at CHT 2.0 in September 2024. We specifically evaluate the impact of Camp Healing Tree via written camper and parent evaluations after camp, as well as a follow-up electronic survey to volunteers. We recently developed a common survey for all Brooke’s Place programs, with slight variations in language based on the age of the respondent. In 2024, we anticipate the results of the survey from Camp Healing Tree participants to reflect:

1) 85% of campers will report that they worry less about things after attending camp.
2) 85% of campers will report having someone they can talk to about their grief feelings.
3) 85% of campers will report that they know of helpful ways to handle their feelings about their loved one who died.
4) 85% of campers will report fewer physical symptoms related to grief (headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, etc.)
5) 80% of campers will report feeling good about themselves and their future.

Brooke’s place requests $5,000 to support Camp Healing Tree (CHT). Funds will be specifically allocated to the following camp expenses:

1) $2500 for CHT supplies: During CHT, participants are placed in peer groups structured by age. All groups participate in activities centered around team building, entertainment, physical activities, and grief-based activities. Several camp activities require supplies, including volunteer training materials, arts and crafts materials to make dream catchers and ornaments, and yarn to play the “web game” which illustrates how campers are connected through shared experiences, feelings and opinions.
2) $1000 toward rental fees Jameson Camp (total rental fee for the weekend is $14,000).
3) $1000 to provide camp participants with the experience of a grief drumming circle led by the Bongo Boys.
4) $500 to provide camp participants with meals and snacks.

While the stigma of seeking mental health support has somewhat decreased in recent years, particularly with the onset and lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant need still exists for youth-advocating organizations and systems (schools, etc.) to place a higher emphasis on the mental health of our children, teens, young adults, and their families. At Brooke’s Place, we particularly see the need for greater community awareness surrounding the connection between unresolved childhood grief and life challenges, such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, decreased academic performance and self-sufficiency, and even incarceration.

January 11, 2024 at 8:59 am January 11, 2024 at 8:59 am 29502 8hkp9 0 0
Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center Indianapolis Inc. Israel Shasanmi [6495] [6560] Deputy Director 317-923-4581 israel@mlkcenterindy.org 1,000 14 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Improving Literacy and Creating a Love for Reading 15,000 Building capacity, Enhancing services, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

MLK Center is the designated community center serving the mid-North area of Indianapolis, including Crown Hill, Butler-Tarkington/Rocky Ripple, Meridian-Kessler, and Mapleton/Fall Creek neighborhoods, a catchment area that is 60% White/Caucasian, 28% Black/African-American, and 4% Latino/Hispanic and 3% Asian (SAVI Community Information System at The Polis Center at IUPUI, 2021). Despite the local racial/ethnic diversity, ninety-eight percent (98%) of the families engaged in MLK Center’s programming are people of color, making access to our programs essential to their ability to achieve a more racially equitable quality of life.

According to the 2022 Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3), nearly 1 in 5 third graders lacked fundamental skills needed to become successful readers prepared to learn. This alarming statistic can be observed firsthand in our community. One of the largest disparities in our community, primarily for Black youth and families served by MLK Center, is inadequate access to high-quality education due to where they live. MLK Center places an emphasis on serving families attending neighboring IPS School #43, which currently holds an F grade from the Indiana Department of Education, with an alarming 5.1% of students meeting or exceeding statewide proficiency standards in English/Language Arts and 6.1% doing so in math (IN View, 2024). Seventy-eight percent (78%) of students are considered economically disadvantaged (IN View, 2024). IPS School #43 has experienced significant challenges, including a failed transition to Edison School for the Arts and continuous leadership and staff turnover. This has put many students at an academic disadvantage, which has impacted literacy. While the students in our afterschool program are making improvements in their reading levels, students need consistent and continuous support to continue to grow and achieve key social, emotional, and academic milestones due to systemic challenges at the school. MLK Center program will continue to take a coordinated approach and work alongside teachers, staff, and administrators at IPS #43 to ensure students are successful.

As highlighted in an Indianapolis Star article in November 2023, MLK Center intentionally focuses on literacy because research demonstrates that it is a significant factor that puts young people with undiagnosed dyslexia on a path to the school-to-prison pipeline (Moody, et. al., 2000). This research also demonstrates that if a child is behind or not reading at grade level, it takes two years of tutoring for two hours a week to catch up. MLK Center’s out-of-school programming and supplemental programming through the Read to Lead program creates a model that is rooted in research and proven to put all students on a path to reading at grade level so they can succeed. It also gives young people the intensive 1:1 support they need beyond what is provided in the classroom. Over 90% of children who walk through our doors are unable to read at grade level; however, within two years of participating in our program, children are reading at grade level. Children learn to love reading, and through parent engagement, reading is integrated into family routines to further promote growth that carriers into adulthood. MLK Center’s transformative and evidence-based approach to literacy is imperative to reduce disparities, improve academic performance and outcomes at IPS #43, and address academic inequities.

MLK Center is grateful for the opportunity to request $15,000 to increase the percentage students who are reading at grade level through the Read to Lead, After-School, Summer, and School Break Programs and close the achievement gap for students of color.

MLK Center addresses academic disparities by partnering with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) School #43, a neighboring school, to provide students with evidence-based after-school, summer, school break, and supplemental programming with an emphasis on literacy. MLK Center’s established out-of-school and supplemental Read to Lead Program serves approximately 90 students in grades K-8, creating seamless and sequential academic support to ensure students are successful. Our program takes a two-generation approach, engaging parents in coaching to help them identify and pursue their goals, achieve financial stability, and to provide guidance on how to support youth in achieving the goals in their learning plan through literacy activities at home.

Many of the youth we serve experience profound academic disparities, particularly in the area of literacy. In response, MLK Center engaged youth/families, school administrators, and our education partners at The Indy Learning Team as we designed our 21st Century Community Learning Center program for youth in grades K-8. MLK Center’s literacy programming is rooted in best practices to ensure effectiveness and is designed to make reading fun. For example, each week young people are given a theme such as art or technology, which drives the books selected to read and is incorporated into learning activities for the week. This approach creates a holistic and enriching learning experience that gets young people excited about reading and promotes learning in a variety of areas. In addition, our program engages parents to empower them to read at home with their child.

MLK Center’s program also has supplemental learning opportunities intended to provide youth with additional support through the Read to Lead Program, which offers 1:1 tutoring and social and emotional learning coaching. MLK Center partners with Butler University to use trained students to provide 1:1 tutoring focused on literacy and integrate social and emotional learning activities. Integrating social-emotional learning activities provides an experiential learning experience that focuses on the learning process and allows students to overcome social and emotional issues that get in the way of learning. The Read to Lead Program provides children struggling with literacy with additional 1:1 support, at least twice a week, to help them catch up to their peers and ensure they do not fall behind. These 1:1 sessions allow volunteers to provide intensive support that is tailored to different learning styles.

New in 2024, through our partnership with Butler University, students in the College of Education will serve as interns and train all staff and volunteers to expand their knowledge and understanding on literacy instruction using The Science of Reading, which is a proven instruction technique focusing on phonics. MLK Center’s intentional focus on literacy is imperative to promote literacy and ensure that children in our community are prepared to succeed in academics and life.

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MLK Center’s program aims to ensure all students are reading at grade level and that students develop a love for reading. Annual external evaluations of the program demonstrate a strong corollary relationship between program participation and improved academic performance in English/Language Arts and math, as well as other measures of academic and social/behavioral achievements. The majority (62%) of 1st-8th grades participating in the MLK Center’s Read to Lead program last year earned a B or showed improvement in English/Language Arts classes, and 65% did so in math classes. Additionally, 70% of participants have increased reading proficiency as measured by DIBELS assessments. This data is even more compelling given the students are identified and referred by their teachers to the Read to Lead program due to poor academic performance, attendance, and classroom behavior. The following outcomes are expected for participants:
• 1st-8th grade participants will earn a B or higher or show improvement in English and Language Arts classes;
• 1st-8th grade participants will earn a B or higher or show improvement in math classes;
• 1st-8th grade participants will be proficient or increase their DIBELS proficiency level; and
• Participants’ teachers will report that students improved or did not need to improve their academic performance.
The Indy Learning Team conducts individual student assessments three times per year to establish a baseline, intermediate and final assessment of student growth. Key indicators and metrics to monitor and evaluate success include academic data (grades in English and Language Arts Classes), DIBELS proficiency levels, and teachers’ observations. MLK Center will also partner with Butler University and The Indy Learning Team to evaluate the implementation of the Science of Reading and how the expanded evidence-based instruction strategies impact our programming.

MLK Center continues to observe families struggling to access quality affordable housing, thereby creating instability for many families. In response, MLK Center has created a pilot housing program to increase access to affordable and stable housing; however, a community-based approach is needed to truly to address this issue for families.

MLK Center continues to observe families struggling to access quality affordable housing, thereby creating instability for many families. In response, MLK Center has created a pilot housing program to increase access to affordable and stable housing; however, a community-based approach is needed to truly to address this issue for families.

January 11, 2024 at 1:45 pm January 11, 2024 at 1:45 pm 29514 wicsk 0 0
Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) Meredith Howell [6495] [6560] Director of Development 317-902-0931 mhowell@vips.org 250 26 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Early Intervention for Children with Vision Loss at the VIPS Family Resource Center 15,000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

The quality of life of a highly vulnerable population, Central Indiana’s infants and toddlers ages birth to three who are blind or visually impaired, improves significantly when children have access to specialized early intervention services that are specific to their vision loss. These Indiana children need early intervention by highly trained and qualified specialists–someone who can help the children meet developmental goals all while guiding the caregivers as they navigate this unexpected journey in parenting. The timing of the VIPS intervention is critical; the brain develops exponentially during the first five years of a child’s life. Vision is one of the first sensory pathways to develop, and is the main gateway for learning in children; in fact, up to 90% of how a child learns is through the visual pathway. However, even children who have vision loss and cannot be clinically treated can be helped through early intervention, adaptations, and specialized devices that VIPS can offer.

VIPS is at a critical point in the organization’s history in Indiana as far more children are being referred than VIPS can serve. This is due to several reasons including the fact that infants are now being saved because of the capabilities of NICUs but many are often born visually impaired and have other disabilities. In addition, word has spread rapidly around area children’s hospitals and VIPS has seen a large influx of referrals from Riley Children’s Hospital’s pediatric ophthalmologists, developmental pediatricians, neurologists, and other specialty physicians. VIPS has had to adjust programming to ensure all children who need the services VIPS can provide, actually receive them. Because the VIPS Blind/Low Vision Specialists (BLVS) were all at capacity with their caseloads, a waiting list was started but a game plan was put into place. VIPS had a BLVS who couldn’t travel to the homes to provide early intervention services because her caseload was too full but she could offer to see the families who were on the waitlist at the VIPS Family Resource Center (FRC) one Monday a month. Four families have taken her up on this offer and VIPS now has started the Early Childhood Intervention Program at the FRC.

This VIPS BLVS says that the children are thriving and meeting developmental goals through the intervention she is providing. She has access to adaptive equipment, the Sensory Room, Toddler Town, and other accessible areas of the FRC to work with the children. The parents have can have free coffee and snacks in the Parent Hub where oftentimes they will spark conversations with one another–truly getting the support they need from someone who understands what they are going through. The Lending Library is on-site where brailled books, light boxes, and more are available for parents to check out for their children. While the FRC is always open to all VIPS families, those who come to the FRC regularly now have a deeper understanding of all that VIPS can offer to support them. And not only are they utilizing the ECIP, but they are also attending other VIPS events and training opportunities. What started as a solution to a problem has turned into something incredible for these children and VIPS would like to be able to continue to offer this unique service to these families.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) respectfully requests support for the new Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) which will take place at the VIPS Family Resource Center near downtown Indianapolis. Through the ECIP a VIPS Blind/Low Vision Specialist (BLVS) will provide direct early intervention services to Central Indiana’s babies and toddlers, ages birth to three, who are blind or visually impaired and their families. The ECIP’s primary focus is on imparting visual skills and helping children reach their cognitive, language/communication, motor, and social-emotional developmental milestones. Within the ECIP, the VIPS BLVS guides parents on how to understand their child’s visual impairment, use assistive technology, and provide specialized interventions during daily routines to help their children achieve developmental goals, emergent literacy skills, and self-help skills. The program also supports children with vision loss in interpreting and utilizing input from their other senses. Therefore, ECIP helps establish a robust developmental and educational foundation during the early years of childhood which will enhance the child’s potential throughout their schooling and into adulthood.

Parenting a child who is blind is challenging for typically sighted parents. A VIPS BLVS can empower parents with the skills and insight necessary to help them bond with and teach their children, more importantly, they can show parents that their child can and will learn, just in a different way. VIPS equips parents with educational resources and tools that will help them teach their children long after a home/virtual visit is over. A VIPS BLVS can open a whole new world of hope and possibility for an infant with vision loss and their family.

Currently, VIPS is serving four families at the VIPS FRC monthly. Of those being served, (3) families reside in Marion County and (1) is in Johnson County. The race/ethnicity of the four children being served is (2) Multi-racial, (1) African American, and (1) Caucasian.

This program will address children’s and parent’s needs all while helping to eliminate the current VIPS waiting list. In addition, it costs VIPS less to serve these children at the FRC because of the travel costs that are eliminated for the miles that are typically traveled to and from the child’s home.

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Success looks different for every child VIPS serves. For a child who is only visually impaired, success may be learning to read and write braille, whereas, for a child who has vision loss and additional disabilities, success may be that they gazed in the direction of mom’s voice. Wherever a child is developmentally, VIPS will meet them there and document the inchstones and milestones along the way as the Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) is a data-driven program. The direct services provided to children through the ECIP are evaluated by assessing the skill levels of the children at specific points of service to measure the progress they have made toward the goals that are established by the parent and the VIPS Blind/Low Vision Specialist (BLVS.) VIPS also measures parent/caregiver knowledge of their child’s vision and its impact on their child’s development as well as their utilization of techniques to help their child learn as demonstrated by VIPS. A VIPS BLVS uses The Oregon Project, which is an assessment tool, designed specifically for children, birth to six, who are blind or visually impaired to assess areas of development such as cognitive, language, compensatory, vision, self-help, social, fine motor, and gross motor skills. VIPS BLVS use The Oregon Project in their initial, ongoing, and exit assessment of children throughout their time receiving direct home visits. At least 66% of children with visual impairments often experience other challenges (i.e., cerebral palsy, severe head trauma, Down syndrome, autism, etc.) that could hinder their ability to meet their developmental milestones. VIPS teachers take into consideration these other challenges when using the information from the Oregon assessment to determine if a child is making “Significant”, ”Good to Average”, or “Little to No” progress toward their outcomes. To evaluate caregiver knowledge and implementation of learned strategies VIPS collects data from a parent survey. This survey measures the knowledge the family gains from the services provided as well as family perceptions of their interactions with their child(ren) and of the child’s progress.

Outcome 1: 75% of children who are visually impaired only will make significant progress toward their VIPS goals.
Outcome 2: 60% of children with blindness/low vision, as well as other disabilities, will make good to average progress toward their VIPS goals.
Outcome 3: 80% of parents/caregivers will regularly participate in bonding/teaching activities with their children.
Outcome 4: 80% of parents/caregivers will have a better understanding of their child’s visual diagnosis and how it impacts learning and development.

If awarded the generous $15,000, VIPS would use the funds towards the partial salary of the VIPS Blind/Low Vision Specialist (BLVS) providing the Early Childhood Intervention Program at the VIPS Family Resource Center. The $15,000 would pay for four children and their families to receive 50 early intervention visits through the program–12 a year for each family. The costs of these early intervention visits include the BLVS’ prep time, printed resources, the time and expertise given during the visit itself, and the follow-up from the visit.

Ensuring there are vast amounts of resources available for families who have children with disabilities.

January 11, 2024 at 1:48 pm January 11, 2024 at 1:48 pm 29515 tar9l 0 0
Westminster Neighborhood Services Olivia Stewart [6495] [6560] Family and Adult Services Director 3176329785 olivia.stewart@westmin.org 17,000 13 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Food Pantry and Community Partnership Expansion 15,000 Building capacity, Enhancing services, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The Near Eastside of Indianapolis faces challenges that are complex and interconnected. With a poverty rate of 42%, the community faces a multitude of poverty barriers that hinder residents’ opportunities for overall well-being. A few of the key barriers neighbors face include food insecurity, with limited access to healthy food, healthcare disparities, and access to high-quality education.

Indiana is one of 11 states where food insecurity is higher than the national average, and Marion County has the highest rate of food insecurity in the state. On the Near Eastside specifically, 50% of our neighbors live within 185% of the federal poverty level, making them eligible for our food pantry program. 23% of our neighbors receive SNAP assistance, but those benefits are stretching thinner. According to data from the USDA, SNAP benefits increased 3% in October 2023, but this rise is far outpaced with grocery store prices increasing 13% from 2022-2023.

The Near Eastside of Indianapolis faces several challenges that create barriers to high-quality education for its children. Nearly 85% of students in Near Eastside schools qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, indicating widespread poverty within families. This can limit access to resources like educational materials, technology, and extracurricular activities. Schools in the Near Eastside consistently perform below state averages on standardized tests, reflecting systemic disadvantages and unequal access to resources. In the 2020-2021 school year, 5% of students passed both reading and math on ISTEP within the two main schools that Westminster serves.

For over 40 years, Westminster Neighborhood Services has provided educational support, access to basic needs, and community connections to empower neighbors on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. Westminster’s holistic set of services includes both Children and Youth Programs and Family and Adult Services to provide wrap-around support for the entire family.

Westminster’s Family and Adult Services include a food pantry and soup kitchen that are open three times a week and during the warmer months every other Saturday, an additional Senior Shopping Day in our food pantry and soup kitchen once a month, a substance abuse clinic in partnership with A Better Way, a back-to-school bash providing school supplies and uniforms to students, multiple health fairs, and a Christmas Basket program. We also bring in partners during pantry days to provide additional resources for our neighbors, including Humana, STEP UP, Gleaners, and SNAP Outreach,

Children and Youth Programs include K-8 after-school and summer programs that provide a safe, nurturing place for school-age children ages 6-14. These programs reinforce and enrich academic progress, teach social skills, encourage good citizenship, and provide activities for a healthy lifestyle. WNS’ youth programs also bring in specialists who work with the students to incorporate math, science, and language arts skills and visual arts for project-based learning. Community service projects are also incorporated into youth programs as well as leadership development and cultural activities that expand students’ awareness of opportunities beyond their local community.

As many families are beginning to depend on food pantries for the first time, an evening hour food pantry is crucial in extending the availability of assistance to accommodate those with other scheduling conflicts during our morning food pantry hours. Evening pantry hours provide families with more flexibility after work to attend the food pantry without the pressure of rushing to access services during work breaks or limited free time. Our evening pantry will take place on Tuesday nights from 6pm – 7pm. By building capacity throughout the year with securing volunteers and funding, pantry hours will be expanded to three hours every Tuesday evening by the end of year one.

Accessing a food pantry during the evening will also minimize the disruption to the workday for employed individuals, allowing them to fulfill their job responsibilities without the need to take time off for essential tasks such as obtaining food for their household. Additionally, knowing that there is a food pantry available in the evening can alleviate stress for working families who may already be facing time constraints and challenges in balancing work and familial responsibilities.

Currently, we hold two pop-up pantries each month. The expansion of our mobile pantry program will include three pop-up pantries during the months that school is in session, allowing us to serve additional neighbors in need. During school breaks, we will host four pop-up pantries each month. With 42% of the children in our neighborhood living below 125% of the federal poverty level, food assistance becomes exponentially more important during school breaks when families can’t access free/reduced meals offered during school. As families experience food insecurity during school breaks, the additional pop-up pantry will help relieve that stress.

Westminster Neighborhood Services will continue to play a crucial role in bridging educational gaps for children in the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. Tackling the challenges students face and working towards empowering them to reach their full potential. The Afterschool and Summer programs will address learning gaps by providing academic support and enrichment activities. These programs help children catch up in core subjects like reading, math, and science, ensuring they stay on track with their grade level. We will do this through individualized tutoring, in partnership with Listen to Our Future and Westminster staff helping with homework each evening. This ensures that each child has one-on-one interactions to address unique learning needs. Westminster will build on the youth reading club that was recently started. We will expand on incentives for students, with prizes and pizza parties monthly for any student who meets their reading goals. Westminster will also work on building skills and confidence through STEM activities, arts, music, and physical education with various program partners that can give our youth access to experiences and educational opportunities that are not often available to them.

Westminster Neighborhood Services serves the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. With its 20 distinctive neighborhoods, the Near Eastside is a diverse and culturally rich area of our city. However, considering that 28% of our neighbors are living below the federal poverty level, many of our neighbors face food insecurity and health inequities. 15% of our neighbors are without health insurance coverage, and 15% of our neighbors report 14 or more days of poor physical health in the past 30 days. To address and alleviate the issue of food insecurity on the Near Eastside, we are expanding our existing food pantry, soup kitchen, and community partnerships to better serve our neighbors and afterschool students.

Beginning in January 2024, we are adding an additional food pantry and soup kitchen day on Tuesday evenings. As more working families have been utilizing our pantry services, we recognize the need for an additional pantry day that is accessible and convenient for families who are unable to attend our pantry days that take place in the mornings.

Westminster’s Youth Services Program seeks to provide programming that provides a safe and nurturing environment which reinforces and enriches academic skills, teaches social skills, encourages good citizenship, develops leadership traits, and provides activities to encourage health lifestyles for students in grades K-8. Our afterschool program currently has 40 students enrolled and partners with Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, Paramount Schools of Excellence, and Washington Irving Neighborhood School to serve students and their families on the Near Eastside.

Community partnerships play a crucial role in enhancing the effectiveness and impact of our afterschool program. Community partners bring a diverse set of skills, resources, and expertise to our afterschool program. In 2023, our afterschool program began a partnership with Listen to Our Future to provide all afterschool students with tutoring services. At the start of this partnership, 75% of students were below their grade level for reading and writing; at the end of the 2023 school year, 50% of students improved these skills by three levels and 40% of students improved by two levels. Our afterschool program also partners with the East Washington Branch of the Indianapolis Library and the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library to provide our students with access to educational programming, workshops, and events.

In years past, we have held a parent pantry night every other Tuesday for families with children in our afterschool program. With our expansion, we are increasing the frequency of parent pantry night to every Tuesday evening. According to Feeding America, hunger can affect children’s health, development, and academic performance. When our families have enough nutritious food, they can experience enhanced physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Pop-up pantries will also be expanded from twice a month to three times monthly during the school year, and four times a month during summer break. We will host pop-up pantries in our expanded service area, so we can provide families and individuals in need with healthy and nutritious food.

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Westminster will define and measure success in a multitude of ways. Using Apricot Software, Westminster can manage data across our entire organization. It acts as a centralized database that stores data information and visit information. It is also utilized by the Westminster Case Manager to track neighbor outcomes.

Westminster hopes to see an increase in new neighbors served in our pantry to 20% and 100% participation by youth program families in our parent pantry. We will measure this through Apricot and as we see outcomes of the expanded hours, we can make data-driven decisions to improve our programs.

Children participating in Westminster after-school and summer programs experience significant gains in reading, math, and science. Our programs will continue to target academic support, homework assistance, and engaging activities to make learning fun and effective. Westminster hopes to see a continual increase in educational attainment in the youth program, with the goal of 90% of our students seeing an increase in testing scores. We will measure this with pre and post-testing of students in the afterschool and summer programs. We will also work with teachers to help identify ways Westminster can continue to boost academic progress.

Food for Pantry: $5,000
Pantry Expansion Equipment: $1,500
Family and Adult Services Director Salary: $2,500
Youth Program Manager Salary: $2,500
Educational Partnerships: $2,500
Incentives for Youth Program Reading Club: $1000
Prizes: $500
Pizza Parties: $500

January 11, 2024 at 3:38 pm January 11, 2024 at 3:38 pm 29520 g0yyi 0 0
Indiana Writers Center Barbara Shoup [6495] [6560] Writer-in-Residence 317-625-4199 barbshoup@gmail.com 60 9 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Building a Rainbow 6,100 Building capacity, Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

According to the most recent national Assessment of Education Progress, three-quarters of 8th graders lack proficiency in writing, a skill necessary for academic and life success. Most young people dread writing assignments because they have no idea how to translate the ideas and thoughts into words. IWC instructors, college interns and volunteers work with our students, one-on-one, helping them learn how to do this. Students learn that writing is a process that involves trial and error, often re-thinking along the way. They learn strategies for every part of the process, from coming up with an idea to polishing a story to make it shine.

This example illustrates the process:
Like all writers, no matter what age, no matter how experienced, our students struggle to find something to write about. “My life is so boring!” they say, frowning. We assure them that their lives are not boring at all. Everyone has hundreds of amazing stories in their heads, just waiting to come out. We talk, teasing those stories out of them. We know when we hit on the right story because their frowns melt away, their eyes light up; they smile—or even laugh.

We tell them, “Now write the story of what happened when…”
And they raise their pencils and begin.

They hunch over their papers, almost as if trying to climb into them. In that room, together, they are also at school, on the playground, at a family reunion. They’re at Grandma’s house, helping her cook. They’re riding bikes and roller coasters, shooting baskets, dressing up their dogs in silly outfits. They’re holding their baby brothers for the first time, dancing their first solo. They’re eating burritos and barbecue, fried chicken, birthday cake, and Gerber peaches. They’re playing hide and seek with their cousins in the backyard; arguing with their siblings, hurrying home in the rain. They’re laughing so hard their stomachs hurt. They’re mourning the deaths of people they love and who loved them. They’re in a state of wonder watching fireworks paint the night sky.

It is a beautiful thing to watch children write, lost in those inner worlds, a delight to watch them scramble to be first in line to sit in the Author’s Chair and read their lives to each other. And so very satisfying to hand out the anthology of their work at the end of our time together and watch them discover their very own stories inside!

Building a Rainbow is an eight-week program serving at-risk youth aged 6-16 twice weekly. The program improves students’ writing and literacy skills, encourages them to reflect upon the experiences they’ve written about and consider how what they’ve learned can make their dreams come true.

Our curriculum is based on research showing that all writing best begins in the sensory part of the brain. Instructors guide students through a process to remember and visualize moments in their lives, write them down in a series of steps, and shape them into finished stories. It meets Indiana State Standards for the teaching of writing.

A normal (one-hour) session includes the presentation of a writing lesson; writing and revising with help and encouragement from staff; and Authors Chair, during which students volunteer to read their work aloud to the group.

Students are divided into groups of 3-4, with at least one staff person per group. We stress our students’ identities as writers whose lives matter and whose voices deserve to be heard

Our instructors are published writers with broad experience in teaching, writing and working with young people.

College interns are required to write to the same prompts as the students do and share what they have written, which helps create the feeling that we all belong to the same writing community. Our 2024 interns will be IUPUI students assigned to the MLK Center, offering the benefit of familiarity with the site and the opportunity build significant relationships with students because they will be together every day.

The program culminates in an anthology of student work, bringing recognition and increased self-esteem to participants. Throughout the eight-week session, our program website www.buildingarainbow.org offers student writing samples and features students reading their stories.

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Goals:
90% of students will write at every session.
Measured by instructor monitoring/observation

85% of students will read their work aloud over the course of the program
Measured by instructor monitoring/observation

95% of students will have a piece of their writing included in the published anthology
Measured by comparison of roster to anthology table of contents

Season of Sharing funds would pay:
Program Coordinator: $2,500
Instructors: $3,600

Provide funds to keep schools open at night and on the weekends so young people can use recreational facilities.

January 12, 2024 at 7:34 am January 12, 2024 at 7:34 am 29542 cqoe3 0 0
YMCA of Greater Indianapolis Meresa Creekmore-Armor [6495] [6560] Vice President, Social Responsibility and Community Impact 317-554-1040 mcreekmorearmor@indymca.org 68,459 Youth and 37,390 30 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] YMCA of Greater Indianapolis – Family Institute 15,000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The Need:
The YMCA Family Institute addresses the complex needs of low-income families through an integrated, customized approach focused on physical health and wellness, mental and emotional health and parent/participant voice. The program addresses the Social Determinants of Health. These are the nonmedical factors in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. The impact of negative factors are more likely to lead to negative health outcomes, and include unsafe living conditions, food insecurity, poverty, and more.

Life expectancy between communities of the Indianapolis metro area has changed when comparing life expectancy for the 5-year period 2009-2013 to the 5-year period 2014-2018. Two communities that are both situated within the Indianapolis metropolitan area and separated by only 28 miles are in reality worlds apart. One sits in a northeastern suburb of Indianapolis. Its residents have a life expectancy of 83.7 years, rivaling the top-ranking countries of the world, Switzerland (83 years) and Japan (84 years). The second community is situated within the urban core directly south of Monument Circle. Its residents have a life expectancy of 69.4 years, similar to countries like Uzbekistan (69 years), Bangladesh (70 years), and Iraq (70). years) (Source: https://fsph.iupui.edu/doc/research-centers/worlds-further-apart-report-web.pdf).

Marion County’s poverty rate is above the Indiana and national averages and is particularly high for Black and Hispanic (or Latino) residents. Poverty and income inequality impact residents’ ability to access a variety of health resources. Violent crime rates in Marion County are well above Indiana-wide averages, as well as mortality caused by assault/homicide. A lower proportion of Marion County residents achieve high school graduation or attend some post-secondary education. Marion County ranked 91st out of 92 Indiana counties for severe housing problems.
(Source: https://cdn.iuhealth.org/resources/2021_IUH_Methodist_Hospital_CHNA_Final.pdf).

Addressing the Issues:
The YMCA is expanding its commitment to the Family Institute to better serve under-resourced families in Marion County. The additional Community Health worker will double the capacity to support families enrolled in the Family Institute.

The Family Institute addresses the Social Determinants of Health, the nonmedical factors in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. There are differences in the health of those living in communities with poor Social Determinants of Health, such as their ability to access safe housing, nutritious foods, transportation, and environments free of toxins. As described in research, and discussed in Healthy People’s Public Health 3.0, a person’s ZIP code can be more of a health predictor than genetic code.”

Enrollment and Access
To participate in the Family Institute, an adult must:

1. Live in Marion County’s high-poverty areas
2. Participate in one of these YMCA programs: Project Connect, the Early Learning Center, Youth Employment Services (YES)
3. Have a child under the age of 6.

Directors of YMCA programs can also refer families to the Family Institute’s Community Health Worker. The new Health Worker can, in turn, meet the family at these YMCA locations, to increase accessibility and participation.

Family Institute partners may also refer families:
The YMCA Family Institute provides services for one year to remove barriers to success, such as childcare (Play & Learn), transportation (gas cards, bus passes, Lyft cards), uniforms, and Aspire’s integrated physical and behavioral health services. IThis encourages the family to persist through the activities of the YMCA Family Institute.

The YMCA formed a Parent Advisory Board comprising participating Family Institute parents to provide input and shape the Family Institute program. As a result of this participation, we are currently forming a Parent Café monthly meeting. This will provide a physically and emotionally safe space where people talk and listen to each other on topics that matter to them. The Y encourages Parent Advisory Board members to serve as roundtable leaders to empower and engage others as peers.

2Gen Approach: The YMCA supports both adults and children/youth in Education Success, and the goal for families is health & wellbeing. Families work collectively with Community Health Workers to develop their Success Plan and identify their goals and interests.

Educational Success: Adult Goal
Utilizing a multi-generational approach to lifelong learning, the YMCA offers programs that remove barriers and unlock opportunities for high-demand and higher-income jobs for those in underrepresented communities. (Project Connect workforce development program).

Employability skills training includes career building, customer service, personal finance, life skills, time management, and workplace skills. The YMCA uses the Department of Workforce Development’s online WIN Career Readiness System that provides employability, foundational social skills, and digital literacy skills. These skills are learned within the context of careers. Participants coming from any entry point can also, if needed, earn their High School Equivalency degree.

Educational Success: Child Goal:
The YMCA supports youth through high-quality, accessible programs that strengthen character, leadership, and resiliency. The YMCA early childhood (under age 6) philosophy is: “Play provides the foundation for school learning. Play is the work of young children.”

YMCA has 8 licensed early learning locations throughout Central Indiana, providing a safe and welcoming preschool program with developmental and academic-based assessments that prepare children for kindergarten and early school grades.

Each YMCA center offers Play and Learn, a childcare setting with a curriculum starting at six weeks of age to develop gross and fine motor skills and strengthen cognitive abilities. Parents participating in the Family Institute use Play and Learn as childcare while completing Institute tasks.

Health & Wellbeing: Family Goal
The YMCA is committed to creating a healthier, more equitable, more connected community. Through this vision, we work to creatively address mental health, chronic disease, and overall health and well-being, with a focus on increasing health equity.

The Community Health Worker also leverages YMCA assets by encouraging Family Institute participants to engage in the YMCA’s healthy living programs including aquatics, group exercise, lifestyle change, sports, personal training, family events, and chronic disease prevention.

The YMCA’s Family Institute employs a holistic approach to health and wellness that supports and empowers families in improving their overall quality of life and well-being by addressing the social determinants of health that prevent them from thriving. The program has grown from serving 30 households in 2021 to 60+ families in 2023. We continue to offer this program to participants in the YMCA Early Learning Centers, YMCA Youth Employment Service (YES), and referrals from the Training Center of Indianapolis, a licensed healthcare training facility.

Family Institute provides individual and family-based case management, education training, peer-to-peer support groups, and therapeutic counseling. All this, coupled with navigated connections to community resources and supports, empowers families to improve their overall quality of life by addressing the social determinants of health that prevent them from thriving. Family goals are captured in a Family Success Plan.

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis utilizes a 2Generation approach through its Family Institute specifically for families living in historically excluded neighborhoods in Marion County to achieve positive health equity, resulting in positive health outcomes. The Family Institute addresses five priority health areas identified by the Indiana State Health Assessment and Improvement Plan:

1. Access to care
2. Mental and behavioral healthcare
3. Steps to address obesity
4. Building lifelong nutrition and physical activity habits
5. Addressing the impacts of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension

The YMCA partners with Aspire to provide integrated behavioral health, primary care, and substance use disorder care.

IndyStar’s Our Children’s Fund will support hiring an additional Community Health Worker, enabling the Y to serve 30 households through the Family Institute in 2024. This new position will maintain a 1:20 staff-to-family ratio and support the program expansion identified in the YMCA’s 2025-2027 Strategic Plan to be approved in early 2024. The grant will cover 50% of the paid position with annual support covering the remaining portion. The YMCA currently employs one Community Health Director, Danielle Cox-Eland, who carries a full caseload.

A Community Health Worker is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community they personally serve. They are trained as peer-to-peer counselors who can use their lived experiences to help others (peers). They are key to the success of the YMCA Family Institute, bridging the gaps between each family’s needs and the resources available to meet them. This trusting relationship enables the Community Health Worker to serve as an intermediary between health and social services and community residents. The Community Health Worker will facilitate access to services and improve service delivery’s quality and cultural competence.

A Community Health Worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing public health knowledge. They also encourage self-sufficiency through outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.

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Two full-time Community Health Workers (CHW) will support 30 families to participate in Family Institute in 2024.

Outcomes

50% of households will complete at least 6 months of the program
50% of children in the program are school-ready and engaged in learning
100% of parents are engaged in furthering their education path
85 of families will say their quality of life is strengthened through participating in the Family Institute

The Our Children Fund will support the hiring of second YMCA Community Health worker.

Salary: $20,800 (20/hr 20 hrs/wk)
Benefits: $6,656 (32 %)
Total : $27,456

IndyStar Support: $15,000

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis is working towards a healthier, more equitable, more connected community. Community voice, partnerships, collaboration, and advocacy are extremely important factors in working towards that goal. We believe the community could better support Central Indiana youth and families by investing in the areas mentioned. This can be achieved by ensuring families have easy and affordable access to healthcare, including mental health services, which involves increasing awareness and partnerships with other organizations, such as the YMCA’s partnership with Aspire. Additionally, the community could implement more of a 2-generational approach to supporting youth and families through programs and services in the following areas:

1. education support and enrichment programs
2. community engagement activities
3. collaboration across businesses in the nonprofit and for-profit spaces to provide a network of support
4. youth mentorship
5. parent workshops (such as the Parent Cafes)

The implementation of some of these strategies by the community can provide a more holistic and supportive environment for youth and families.

January 12, 2024 at 9:31 am January 12, 2024 at 9:31 am 29546 mkgkb 0 0
Central Indiana Youth for Christ Kyla McEntire [6495] [6560] Chief Development Officer 317.413.9396 kmcentire@ciyfc.org 260 7 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] City Life Literacy Program 15,000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

Alex Choate is the City Life Director for Matchbook Learning. Her role allows her to build strong relationships with the students and earn their trust. The relational equity she has created not only eradicates barriers to learning but will help ensure this program is successful. With such a unique population, relational equity is required for academic support to be helpful. Young people from these communities face significant challenges, including violence, homelessness, fatherlessness, abuse, neglect, and addiction, among many others. City Life aims to be a steady voice and presence in these young people and their communities, intentionally posturing ourselves as caring and attentive mentors.

Like Alex and her volunteer leaders, City Life staff have undergone training to set them up for success with Matchbook students. Still, additional training around being trauma-informed and culturally competent would ensure the program’s continued success. It’s essential for leaders who have relational equity to motivate students to read and write for reasons outside of school. Once this is established, academic support can be better received and feel more organic to students in small groups.

Matchbook 6th, 7th, and 8th graders receive weekly support through small group time with staff members and volunteers. Matchbook 6th graders are at a 2nd and 3rd-grade reading level, and the homework they receive from their teachers could be more conducive to their learning level, resulting in failing grades. Some students speak Spanish as a first and primary language. They receive reading assignments in English that are difficult for them and challenging to adapt. There is also a communication barrier with students’ families.

Matchbook students can easily fall into relationships that are not setting them up for success, academically and personally. Students can join gangs and partake in drugs and inappropriate relationships. Students lack the resources or role models to fill their time with things that keep them out of trouble. The easiest thing for them to do is to walk the streets with their friends, where they become bait for older teenagers and young adults who are involved in gangs, drugs, and sex. One of Alex’s Matchbook students who was involved in a gang last year brought a gun to his basketball game and shot someone. Some of her students are 12 years old and talking about having sex. She has several students who have tried or regularly smoke marijuana. City Life Small Groups and other City Life programming allow students to find innocence, resources, acceptance and hope for a statistically impossible future.

Students in these small groups would benefit from finding an activity that does set them up for success. Even better, these small groups would be a place where they feel seen, have fun, and are free. Soap box is another City Life programming opportunity we present to students a motivator to invest in their literacy skills. This fun activity also serves as an opportunity to showcase the importance of reading as they follow instructions to construct their Soapbox cars. As discussed in an IndyStar article on May 18th this year, “Soapbox derby gives kids between the ages of seven and 20 the opportunity to learn about mechanics, physics, and teamwork” (Johnson). This team-building community activity relies on building reading and literacy skills and reaches kids in under-resourced communities in Indianapolis.

These families need money for anything outside school, like sports, private lessons, tutoring, or camps. Allowing students to participate in something at no cost with adults who want to pour into their lives is a catalyst to change their future trajectory. Through our different kinds of programming, students can find something that interests them and can make a future out of while helping them with their reading and writing skills.

City Life, a part of Central Indiana Youth for Christ, works specifically with urban youth, their families, and the communities in which they live. More specifically, City Life is a relational, holistic, community-based ministry that serves under-resourced neighborhoods by developing young people from that community into emerging leaders who lead where they live.

Matchbook Learning at Wendell Philips School 63 is where City Life heavily partners. Matchbook serves a diverse population of over 650 students, primarily from Indianapolis’s Haughville and Hawthorne neighborhoods. 97.5% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. 42.5% of our students are English Language Learners. 8.7% of students receive Special Services through an IEP.

For these reasons, City Life seeks funding to implement a comprehensive literacy program to improve young people’s reading and writing skills at Matchbook in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade via small group instruction and mentorship and invest in our Soap Box Derby program. Since literacy is a gateway to educational success and personal empowerment, our program will specifically target students at Matchbook and students who attend City Life Wheels programming. This population of students has access to fewer resources, and their quality of education could be improved. City Life staff and volunteer leaders hope to address this literacy gap with small group instruction where students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade gather weekly for personalized academic support and the weekly soap box derby gatherings on Thursday evenings.

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At YFC City Life, success in our initiative to enhance reading and writing skills among Matchbook Middle Schoolers is defined by a holistic and multifaceted approach that extends beyond academic metrics. We recognize the significance of young people being seen, heard, and known by caring adults consistently involved in their lives; we consider this a vital factor contributing to their academic success. Our success is measured through the following key indicators:

Engagement and Participation:
– Middle Schoolers consistently attend and actively engage in small groups with mentors.
– Middle Schoolers participate in tutoring opportunities.
– Matchbook encourages Middle Schoolers to attend college visits and/or fairs, broadening their exposure to educational opportunities. City Life will follow up with Middle Schoolers on these visits to support further education beyond their time at Matchbook.
-Students take ownership and responsibility over what is required to compete in the soap box derby (i.e., building the car, practicing on the soap box hill, and making improvements for future races).

Academic Proficiency:
– Increased performance in classroom assessments, assignments, and projects, showcasing enhanced literacy skills and increased classroom engagement.
– Successfully building a soap box car with minimal help in reading instructions.

Our dedicated volunteers and staff track these indicators through ongoing conversations with students, parents, and school counselors. Then, students’ grades, attendance, surveys, and notes are recorded in their profiles in our Impact system. Our outcomes are aimed at assisting Matchbook Middle Schoolers in improving their reading and writing skills and are outlined below:

Individualized Goal Setting:
– Matchbook Middle Schoolers enrolled in City Life small groups will establish educational goals and be paired with a mentor to accompany them on their learning journey, fostering a sense of ownership.
– Over 75% of students will survey an increased awareness and understanding of the importance of setting both educational goals.

Individualized Support:
– 75% of Matchbook Middle Schoolers enrolled in City Life programming attend three or more tutoring successions offered by City Life.
– All middle school students involved in City Life Soapbox will attain full proficiency in independently reading instructions for constructing components for soapbox vehicles.

Improved Academic Performance:
– Matchbook Middle Schoolers will experience an increase in their grades within reading and writing classes because they actively engage in goal-setting, aligning their aspirations with measurable achievements.

By focusing on these outcomes, we aim to improve academic proficiency and empower City Life’s Matchbook Middle Schoolers with the skills, support, and individualized attention they need to excel in their reading and writing endeavors, setting the stage for lifelong learning success.

$5000: Training Volunteers
– Trauma-Informed Program Training
– Cultural Competency Training

$4,000: Soap box derby (car materials, volunteer training, transportation)

$3000: Food (due to the life circumstances and food insecurity of City Life students, food during all programming is essential)

$3,000: Small Groups (materials, books, book club teaching materials)

January 12, 2024 at 10:49 am January 12, 2024 at 10:49 am 29548 zpfh1 0 0
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Inc. Julia Whitehead [6495] [6560] CEO and Founder (317) 423-0391 julia.whitehead@vonnegutlibrary.org 3,000 25 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Kurt Vonneugt Youth Writing Program 15,000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

KVML is grateful to the dedicated support provided by our Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Director, Chris Speckman, who has played a pivotal role in steering the program’s remarkable growth over the past two years. With the program experiencing such significant expansion, KVML finds itself at a juncture where the developed model can be leveraged. The success of the Youth Writing Centers has garnered attention from schools nationwide, expressing keen interest in replicating the program. While this presents an exciting opportunity, it also poses a challenge for the organization as we navigate the intricacies of providing the necessary guidance and training materials to ensure successful implementation elsewhere.

This juncture marks a transformative phase for KVML, necessitating the stretching of our current Youth Writing Program staff’s capacity. Simultaneously, it opens avenues for increased awareness of our programming and potential funding opportunities through training and professional development initiatives. Such endeavors are vital in sustaining our Youth Writing Centers and ensuring their continued impact both locally and nationally.

To address this unique opportunity, KVML is poised to facilitate the expansion of the program model to diverse communities. The initial step involves the establishment of regular Youth Writing Program team meetings, a crucial component fostering a culture of knowledge sharing. These sessions provide a platform for the Youth Writing Program leadership to deliberate on successes and challenges, fostering continuous improvement and informed decision-making.

Within this collaborative environment, the Youth Writing Centers team will undertake the development of training materials during select sessions. This addresses the need for a structured framework both internally and externally and ensures consistency and quality in implementing the program in different educational settings.

KVML recognizes the dual nature of this opportunity, acknowledging the challenges it presents while embracing the potential for growth and impact. Through strategic measures such as regular team meetings, the development of comprehensive training materials, and increased financial investment in our Youth Writing Center team, KVML is poised to navigate this pivotal phase, ensuring the continued success and expansion of the Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Centers.

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) seeks a $15,000 grant from the Indianapolis Star “Our Children Fund” to enhance the capacity of the Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Centers. Originating amidst the pandemic and responding to the recognized need for high-quality academic and creative writing support in Indianapolis, the Youth Writing Centers now operate in four downtown Indianapolis Public High Schools. The program began modestly at Shortridge High School but gained significant momentum with the Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) administrative team, after showcasing improved writing proficiency through data and experiencing students confidently presenting their writing in front of an audience of hundreds at KVML programs.

This expansion, initiated in spring 2022, has resulted in four Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Centers supporting students as of Fall 2023. In the 2022-2023 school year, Director Chris Speckman, Center Coordinators, mentors, and volunteers served 809 unique students in 2,446 sessions across three centers. In the Fall 2023 semester, KVML opened its fourth writing center, serving 2,131 unique students in 6,073 sessions across the four centers at Shortridge High School, George Washington High School, Arsenal Tech High School, and Crispus Attucks High School, which represents 38% of the four schools total population. This significant growth instills confidence that KVML will reach at least 3,000 unique students from the four centers during the 2023-2024 school year.

As the Youth Writing Centers gain recognition and schools express interest in replicating the program, there is a demand for guidance and training materials. This necessitates collaboration within our dedicated team to refine and disseminate the program’s model. The Youth Writing Director and Coordinators play a crucial role in developing these materials, working with the KVML team to strategize their use in program expansion and fundraising. To support this, regular team meetings will be established, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing. This will allow the Youth Writing Program leadership to reflect on successes and challenges, shaping the program’s strategic direction and training materials. This iterative process is vital for continuous improvement, ensuring the program’s long-term success.

While KVML currently offers stipends to Youth Writing Program leadership, the expanding time commitment necessitates a more substantial financial responsibility to the Youth Writing Program team. This grant will contribute to the sustainability and scalability of the program, furthering KVML’s mission to inspire the next generation of writers.

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KVML will accomplish a robust enhancement of the Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Centers to effectively address the escalating demand for top-tier academic and creative writing support within Indianapolis and nationwide. The core success metric currently involves assessing the positive impact on students, primarily focusing on improved writing proficiency scores and heightened confidence, as evidenced through both standardized writing assignments and students’ ability to articulate and share their work.

Moving forward, success for KVML’s proposal hinges on three pivotal dimensions: increased replication, sustained program quality, and expanded reach.

Firstly, replication of the Kurt Vonnegut Youth Writing Centers is a core objective. The number of successfully implemented programs, propelled and guided by meticulously developed training materials, will serve as a tangible and measurable indicator of program success. This measure underscores the program’s ability to not only address the immediate demand but also to establish a model that resonates and proves effective in diverse educational settings.

Secondly, KVML aims to define success through the sustainability of the program. It is not merely about immediate impact but about ensuring the enduring quality and effectiveness of the Youth Writing Centers over time. The program’s ability to weather changes, maintain its positive influence on students, and uphold its standards of excellence will be a key marker of success. Sustainability reflects the program’s long-term commitment to nurturing young writers and fostering a culture of literary proficiency.

Thirdly, scalability is a crucial aspect of success. The aspiration is not only to maintain current standards but to expand the reach of the Youth Writing Centers, accommodating an ever-growing number of students and schools. Success in scalability means the program can meet the surging demand without compromising the quality of support provided.

KVML requests $3,00.00 for compensation for the Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead for her work overseeing the project and ensuring that KVML is in compliance with all funding and project timelines.
KVML requests $8,000 for stipends to compensate Youth Writing Program Director Chris Speckman, four Youth Writing Center Coordinators, and additional mentor hours (mentor hours as needed to support training materials).
KVML requests $2,000 for travel expenses for Julia Whitehead and Chris Speckman to promote training materials and conduct on site trainings in new locations.
KVML requests $2,000 for printing of training materials and advertising.

KVML notices that there are many different kinds of organizations that serve this population but most of those organizations serve in a vacuum, separate from the other organizations. KVML leadership wonders if those organizations could partner to jointly work with schools and combine resources so that the burden is taken off the schools and also if the organizations are nonprofits, working with other nonprofits may help lessen the staffing burden on the nonprofits. When KVML created our Youth Writing Program, we called together other organizations that were working in schools to understand what they do, what works, and what doesn’t work for them. We now have those individuals as part of our group of thoughtleaders to make our program better. There are pros and cons to partnering with other organizations but it might be a way for Central Indiana Youth and Families to benefit from organizations. If you would like more information about what we are trying to express, feel free to contact us. THANK YOU!

January 12, 2024 at 10:58 am January 12, 2024 at 10:58 am 29549 a265w 0 0
Indy Reads Ruba Marshood [6495] [6560] CEO (317) 384-1496 Ext 710 rmarshood@indyreads.org 100 14 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Literacy Foundations: Building Literacy Skills and Family Support for Indianapolis Youth 15000 Enhancing services, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

The Need

Low literacy is a whole family and persistent problem in central Indiana. A 2023 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report found that 7% of Marion County adults lack basic prose literacy skills. The most recent report from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies states that 25% of Marion County adults were estimated to be at or below Level 1 for functional literacy (NCES, 2016). These adults may struggle to complete a job application, understand a newspaper, read some road signs, and comprehend written instructions. Low literacy leads to poor workforce readiness (NCES), continued cycles of low intergenerational literacy (Annie E. Casey Foundation), lower social integration, and a higher likelihood of poverty and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) (US Department of Health and Human Services). Individuals from marginalized groups are disproportionately represented in the lowest literacy levels. Improving adult literacy creates broad and long-lasting impacts on individuals and families.

Low literacy levels are a persistent problem that impacts youth as much as adults in central Indiana, particularly in Marion County’s schools. In IPS, 60.6% of youth passed the IREAD exam (IDOE). In Warren Township, Wayne Township, and Lawrence Townships, only 69.8%, 69.7%, and 66.2% of students passed the IREAD exam, respectively. In nearby Carmel Clay Schools, 93.4% of students passed the IREAD exam.

These literacy disparities among schools can be better understood once one better understands racial disparities in literacy education. IPS’s racial disparities in literacy described above are found in all Indiana schools. While 93.4% of Carmel Clay students passed the IREAD exam, only 87.8% and 78.1% of Black and Hispanic students passed the IREAD exam. This compares to 94.5% of White Carmel Clay students. A 2019 NCES report, based on national data from 2012 and 2014, found that Black adults accounted for 23% of all adults with low literacy levels despite only accounting for 12.6% of the population. Hispanic adults accounted for 34% of all adults with low literacy levels despite only accounting for 16.3% of the population. In comparison, White adults accounted for 34% of all adults with low literacy levels, yet they accounted for 72.4% of the population. Literacy inequity is even more stark for non-U.S.-born adults, who are over-represented among low-literacy adults. Non-U.S.-born adults comprise 34% of the population with low literacy skills, compared to 15% of the total population (NCES).

How Indy Reads will Address the Need

Addressing literacy gaps in a community is a proven way to address systemic racial inequity.
Literacy is fundamental in personal development, educational attainment, economic opportunities, health, social engagement, and more. Over 70% of Indy Reads’ clients identify as a minority in gender, race, and ethnicity. Our students are impacted by racial, social, economic, and educational disparities, which hinder employment opportunities, quality of life, and civic participation. For example, 86% of students live under 200% of the federal poverty line or identify as low-income; 47% percent are employed, and half of those are working to advance their employment. Forty percent are seeking to enter the workforce. Additionally, more than half of our students are parents to children under 18.

Literacy only grows in importance through the lens of 2Gen programming when it addresses the needs of children and their parents simultaneously, recognizing that the well-being of one generation is intertwined with the other. Whole-family efforts to improve literacy require a multi-dimensional strategy. Indy Reads’ 2Gen approach is designed to advance equity by providing access to quality educational programs, targeted interventions, culturally responsive teaching practices, and community engagement.

Indy Reads is strategically positioned to address the pressing need for low literacy and literacy disparities in central Indiana through our comprehensive 2Gen approach. We recognize that low literacy is a persistent issue affecting the whole family, with a significant percentage of adults lacking basic prose literacy skills. We also understand the multifaceted consequences of low literacy, from hindering workforce readiness to perpetuating intergenerational cycles of low literacy, lower social integration, and an increased likelihood of poverty. To combat these issues, Indy Reads has developed a robust program that spans education, economic advancement, employment opportunities, health and well-being, and civic engagement.

Indy Reads will coordinate the 2Gen services described above to serve 32 families over the grant period. As part of our wraparound whole-family support services, our full-time Student Services Manager and full-time multilingual Intake/ELL Coordinator will use the intake process to identify Indy Reads’ adult learners with children who can benefit from youth and family programming events. Intake data will also help us collect information about the ages of children so we can create engaging and age-appropriate programming.

Through those relationships, our program staff will work collaboratively to implement the above services and ensure they are fun and educational experiences. We will market these services intensively to our students who are parents. We will also offer the services to the wider community, including former 2Gen partner agencies and existing referral partners. We envision Indy Reads’ students and their families participating alongside the wider community – further building an inclusive community within and beyond Indy Reads’ doors. Collaboration is core to Indy Reads’ philosophy. We proudly collaborate with many respected organizations across central Indiana who will help grow our 2Gen program. Specifically, through this grant, Indy Reads will work with Daniel Webster Elementary, La Plaza, Listen to Our Future, and AYS to support whole-family programming.

Our 2Gen approach acknowledges the critical role of quality early education for children and simultaneously supports adults in building literacy skills and obtaining certifications or job training. This approach is designed to uplift entire families, recognizing the interconnectedness of the well-being of one generation with the other. By implementing these targeted and inclusive strategies, Indy Reads aims to address the root causes of low literacy and disparities among youth, creating a pathway for families to break the cycle of limited opportunities and achieve economic security and well-being.

In Indiana, over 18% of third graders are not proficient in their reading skills. However, The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) reports that youth of color, immigrants, and refugees are disproportionately impacted by low reading skills. At Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), only 52.6% and 50.7% of Black and Hispanic students passed the IREAD exam. This compares to 83.9% of White students. There is a pressing need to address literacy disparities among marginalized populations and enhance literacy skills for whole families in central Indiana.

Indy Reads believes that whole-family engagement, or 2Gen, is the most effective way to build literacy skills, advance intergenerational cycles of opportunity, and address literacy disparities in central Indiana. Indy Reads invites the IndyStar Our Children Fund to consider our proposal to implement a comprehensive 2Gen approach to uplift adult learners, their children, and families through targeted programs and strategic partnerships. Indy Reads began adopting a 2Gen approach two years ago. Our 2Gen programming engages adult learners and their children in programs that foster education, economic support, social capital, health, and well-being. Through our 2Gen approach, Indy Reads 1) acknowledges the critical role of quality early education for children and 2) helps adults build literacy skills and obtain certification/job training. We aim to uplift the entire family and help them achieve economic security.

IndyReads is a leader in adult literacy education. We focus on enhancing adult learners’ literacy skills, economic success, and sense of community. Our programs also help parents build the skills to actively participate in their child’s academic journey. Programs include our Literacy Foundations, which supports beginning-level native English speakers, and the English Language Learners (ELL) program, which supports adult learners who are non-native English speakers.
During the grant period, Indy Reads will build off these programs to offer 2Gen programming, including adult education programs, simultaneous youth education programs, and whole-family programming. We have developed three new strategies for youth to engage our adult learners’ children. These programs integrate with the parents’ educational journeys and support youth educational pathways, allowing kids to see their parents learning. First, we will launch youth-focused programming during ELL Conversation Circles and other adult-focused programs. Parents can bring their children to participate in programming, allowing families to learn together in an inclusive environment. Second, we will begin offering youth tutoring sessions that coincide with adult classes, enabling parents to attend classes while their children receive academic support. Third, we will launch virtual programming options to expand access to family programming.

To foster family engagement and promote whole-family education and literacy, we will organize, strengthen, and better promote family activities. These activities include Family Literacy Events such as story hours and poetry nights, where families can bond and appreciate the joy of reading. Whole Family Education Events will cover topics like financial literacy and nutrition. We will incentivize parents to read as a family through Family Book Clubs. Students will have access to a special section of free and reduced-cost books to encourage family reading.

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Defining and Measuring Success

Indy Reads evaluates the academic progress of our adult learners through standardized testing performed after every 40-50 hours of instruction. This data is managed using the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s InTERS database. We also collect data on non-academic student achievements, including improvements in employment status, earning certifications, helping one’s child with homework for the first time, and more. Our Student Services Manager, Intake/ELL Coordinator, and teachers obtain this information through one-on-one coaching sessions and individualized lessons during class.

We have data sets that follow family results and maintain those records in Salesforce and a customized application called Literacy Nimbus. The Literacy Nimbus application allows for increased data entry, tracking, and reporting, including student referral sources, attendance, goals, skills, assessment progress, class participation, and targeted demographic information. We anticipate tracking numbers of our students whose children also participate in our partners’ programs, attendance at bookstore family events, results of surveys, and family achievements related to literacy and education.

Indy Reads has recently revised our student orientation and onboarding processes with our Student Services Manager and Intake/ELL Coordinator to collect more information about our students’ families and share more information about our 2Gen programming as a complementary service to families to pair with our adult education programming. These discussions and student interest levels will be captured in our Salesforce database for reference at future coaching sessions with the Program team. As they follow up with each student throughout the school term, they will record in Salesforce which adult learners with children are participating in 2Gen events, helping us to identify those who are not yet participating in the programs and inviting further conversation to understand if other barriers may be preventing their involvement. We will maintain these records in our database and continue encouraging learners with children to join our 2Gen events and share their input on programming that would be meaningful to them.

Outcomes will be tracked through these conversations, and follow-up processes can also shed light on what 2Gen program topics are most helpful and interesting to the families served.
Asking questions regarding what participants enjoyed, what they didn’t enjoy, and what suggestions they have for future programs will provide valuable qualitative data.

Outcomes Indy Reads Expects to See

To measure the impact of our 2Gen programs, Indy Reads has established the following outcomes for the 2024-25 program year:

Outcome 1: Indy Reads will engage 32 families in our 2Gen programming and serve a minimum of 32 youth.

Outcome 2: Indy Reads will provide a minimum of three youth-focused programs that include youth-focused programming during ELL Conversation Circles and other adult-focused programs, youth tutoring sessions that coincide with adult classes, and virtual programming options to expand access to family programming.

Outcome 3: 70% of post-tested adult students will make at least one Educational Functioning Level gain.

Outcome 4: 100% of youth participating in 2Gen programs will receive program support designed to help to increase their literacy levels.

Indy Reads plans to spend the requested Season for Sharing funds in the following manner:

Staff ($4,500): Utilized to support staff to accommodate expanded program offerings

Program Materials ($2,000): Utilized to purchase educational materials, books, and resources essential for the various youth literacy programs offered by Indy Reads. This enhances the quality and impact of educational interventions.

Snacks for Youth ($500): Utilized to provide nutritious snacks for program participants, ensuring their well-being during educational sessions.

Technology ($2,000): Utilized to purchase essential technology to implement youth programs, such as two iPads for tutoring purposes, facilitating digital literacy initiatives, and enhancing the learning experience for program participants.

Evaluation ($750): Utilized to assess and evaluate program effectiveness, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with organizational goals. This will also support essential data collection tools such as Salesforce needed to collect and analyze data.

Marketing ($750): Utilized for marketing efforts to raise awareness about Indy Reads’ youth programs, attracting potential learners and community support.

Community Outreach and Engagement ($1,500): Utilized for initiatives that actively engage with the community, such as hosting events, workshops, and collaborative activities to foster relationships and expand program reach.

Volunteer Engagement, Management, and Materials ($1,000): Utilized to manage, train, and engage volunteers who will help implement youth programs. This includes recruitment, orientation, and ongoing support to ensure a positive and impactful volunteer experience.

Staff Training ($2,000): Utilized for staff training and professional development to enhance staff skills, ensuring the delivery of high-quality literacy programs and support services.

Indy Reads would like to offer suggestions for how the community could better support marginalized central Indiana youth and families. First, we would like to see the community prioritize the engagement of underserved communities in school systems. This would include hiring, training, and empowering staff to build positive, authentic relationships with students and their families. It would include the consideration and adoption of curriculum and pedagogical approaches that foster the successful engagement of the richly diverse community represented in schools and the equitable provision of support for struggling students. Further, understanding that 72% of children whose parents struggle with literacy also experience literacy challenges, this could also include the collaboration with other service providers to support parents’ education alongside their children’s literacy so that they may be their child’s first teacher and advocate at home. Examples of this exist in part in after-school programs that provide academic support, mentorship, and diverse extracurricular activities that enrich the educational experience of youth. We would suggest the equitable inclusion of parents in the design and implementation of these initiatives. Second, we would like to see increased investment in and expansion of pre-K programs that, along with many other benefits, help build early literacy for children. These efforts are again bolstered when the whole family is considered, and parents are engaged and supported to be reading partners with their children. Third, we recommend expanding adult literacy programs to support parents and caregivers in developing their essential reading and writing skills. These programs can include, among others, basic literacy courses, GED preparation, English Language Learner (ELL) classes, and vocational training. All of these enhance a family’s economic, academic, and community engagement opportunities. When children see their parents’ and caregivers’ involvement, care, and advancement in their literacy and education, they are often inspired to do the same – which may ultimately help break the known intergenerational cycle of literacy challenges.

January 12, 2024 at 12:25 pm January 12, 2024 at 12:25 pm 29552 imqqk 0 0
The John H. Boner Community Center, Inc.; dba John Boner Neighborhood Centers Tim Nowak [6495] [6560] Director of Youth Services (317) 808-2314 grants@jbncenters.org 230 13 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] EDGE Programs 15000 Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

Indianapolis is ranked 47th out of the 50 largest US cities in economic mobility. Here, children born in the bottom economic fifth percentile have a 4.8% chance of earning their way into the top fifth over their lifetimes. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these conditions as Eastside residents account for over 20% of unemployment claims in the county, but only make up 10% of its residents. Youth attending our EDGE programs live in an area comprised of high-risk populations, particularly around academic achievement, health vulnerability, and socioeconomic impact-related factors. EDGE participants are largely from racial or ethnic minorities, with most students identifying as Black/African American or Hispanic. In addition, the Near Eastside has limited safe, open green spaces for youth to get outside and stay active, with a 48% walkability/average walk score. Many families often must turn to purchasing groceries at a dollar store or gas station, as the area is a food desert and lacks grocery stores and affordable healthy food options. For this reason, our staff works hard to provide youth with a safe environment where they can learn and grow while also having fun and participating in enrichment activities.

According to the Education Recovery Scorecard (2022), the Indianapolis Public Schools district experienced a dramatic learning loss in reading between 2019-2022 when compared to nearby districts. Indiana students lost over four months in reading because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from Harvard and Stanford universities. The Spring 2022 Indiana Learning Evaluation and Readiness Network (ILEARN) assessment found that statewide, 41.2% of Indiana’s students are at or above proficiency in English/Language Arts (ELA), and although the assessment found that student learning is increasing there are still many students who have not caught up to where their learning should be today. Most recent school data available shows that the percentage of pass rate for ILEARN ELA at Brookside (6%), Thomas Gregg (15.8), and Washington Irving (6.7%) is much lower than the state average pass rate (41.2%). Student demographic data also shows that many students are economically disadvantaged, with 76.9% to 88.2% being at risk.

EDGE programs approach learning and growth wholistically to ensure youth have the support to improve their academic and learning outcomes, while also encouraging to have fun and play. A typical day includes time dedicated to enrichment activities (health and wellness, STEM, literacy, creative arts, social-emotional learning); academic and homework time (small group based on grade level and academic needs); youth choice (board games, physical recreation game, science experiments, service learning); and community time (focused on welcoming youth, snack time, announcements, recognize student excellence, positive interpersonal time) during the school year. In the summer, each day looks different, but activities often include singing camp songs, teambuilding activities, or ending the day with group reflections. Summer Camp also works to help youth experience new places and activities, and thus, weekly field trips are incorporated to provide additional learning for youth. Our annual overnight camping trip encourages the kids to step out of their comfort zone and challenges them to experience new situations in nature, building confidence while discovering skills and interests that differ from their previous experiences.

To encourage and strengthen reading, writing skills, and academics among youth, we approach it from a few different angles. Our Staff and Program Coordinator has been working to include more literacy and reading time during EDGE through the incorporation of read-aloud sessions for the younger kids and book club activities for the older kids. The goal is to encourage kids to discover a love of reading and deepen their connections with one another. For the last few years, JBNC has had the opportunity to build out a Learning Loss Recovery program, focused on accelerated learning to help students recover from any learning loss they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also consistently partner with local community organizations to support our academic work. One of our partners, Listen To Our Futures, provides weekly tutoring sessions for our summer campers to increase their reading gains, allowing for students to reach closer to grade level in ELA and Math over the summer.

Part of JBNC’s overarching youth services goal is to support healthy youth development and provide them with tools and skills that foster progress through a safe, structured, engaging environment during summer breaks. Research has shown that healthy youth development leads to a decrease in all risky behaviors. We know that afterschool hours and summer breaks can drag on and result in isolation as well as learning loss during the summer months. Research shows that the demand for afterschool activities has increased 60% since 2004 and that 24.6 million more children would enroll in out of school time programs if one were available to them (Afterschool Alliance, 2023). Youth who participate in afterschool programs experience multiple key benefits, such as interacting with peers and building social skills (90%); receiving healthy snacks or meals (70%); getting help with homework (73%); engaging in STEM or computer science learning opportunities (73%); taking part in physical activities (85%); and building life skills (68%). Afterschool programs are life-changing for youth who can access them and a lifeline for working families.

We are appreciative and thankful for the role our EDGE programs play in providing Near Eastside youth with spaces where they can feel they belong, build confidence, and grow academically.

The John Boner Neighborhood Centers (JBNC) delivers a year-round out-of-school time program to youth living on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis called EDGE (Excellence, Discovery, and Growth through Education). Our EDGE programs are designed to combat long afterschool hours and summer breaks that often lead to isolation and offer youth something to look forward to when they aren’t in school by engaging them in exciting activities and providing academic support. We are committed to high quality academic and youth development standards, as set forth by the Indiana Department of Education. The overarching goal of our youth services is to support healthy youth development and provide them with the tools and skills to encourage progress through a safe and engaging environment.

EDGE is a choice-driven program, meaning any student who wants to attend the program is eligible to enroll based on the available number of openings and youth are placed on a waitlist when the program is full. Predominately we serve youth who attend Brookside Elementary, Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, and Washington Irving Neighborhood School; with an average of 230 Near Eastside youth attending EDGE programs throughout the year. Approximately 35% of our participants are returning youth, and due to the transient nature of families in the neighborhood, we tend to serve many new kids each year. EDGE is inclusive of all people and does not discriminate based on any identifying characteristics including race, gender, disability, or religion.

Schools in the community face numerous challenges in providing optimal education experiences for youth. For this reason, EDGE’s literacy efforts are intentional to improve academic and learning outcomes for youth. JBNC is requesting $15,000 from the 2024 Season for Sharing Grant to support our wholistic approach to support youth improving their reading and writing skills throughout the school year.

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Our EDGE programs have several outcomes that are measured throughout the year, focused on academic enrichment, health and social emotional wellness, and family support. For this proposal, EDGE expects to see results from these outcomes:

– 60% of youth will earn a “B” or better or improve their ELA grade from Fall to Spring.
– 72% of youth will report increased desire to read.
– 80% of youth involved in ELA enrichment will maintain or increase their level of ELA achievement on the summer camp pre- and post-test.
– 70% of 3rd-6th graders will demonstrate increased teamwork skills.
– 70% of 3rd-6th graders will demonstrate increased problem-solving skills.

We are committed to program improvement and quality. Our EDGE staff use evaluation tools to ensure the program’s success is measured appropriately and accurately. Staff collect and track attendance, demographics, classroom grades, tests and assessment results, and youth, parent, and teacher surveys to maintain a successful evaluation process. Additionally, we utilize the Indiana Quality Program Self-Assessment (IN-QPSA) instrument developed by the Indiana Afterschool Network, as it provides an internal assessment for staff to gauge how effectively programming is being implemented. EDGE staff also maintain records of informational and educational materials provided to students and families, document service providers presenting information at EDGE Family Events, and track attendance by youth and parents.

During Summer, we use various measurement methods to evaluate and identify the outcomes and impact of the summer program. Part of this includes evaluation activities (e.g. data collection, analysis, reporting, and reflection), to ensure program staff have ‘real-time’ information from program participants allowing staff to adapt as needed. These evaluation activities lean on daily attendance records, activity plans, and academic enrichment results to identify the impact of the program and the extent to which the program is meeting proposed outcomes.

Additionally, parent and youth surveys are used to identify youth’s learning and growth.

JBNC is requested $15,000 from IndyStar Our Children Fund to cover the following costs.

Salaries: $11,250
$3,000 allocated to 6% of 1 (FTE) Staff and Program Coordinator to coordinate and implement literacy-focused programming.
$6,000 allocated to 5% of Interventionist’s (teachers) to develop curriculum for programs and support implementation in Afterschool and Summer Camp.
$2,250 allocated to three Youth Specialists and Camp Counselors to work directly with youth in implementation of programming at three afterschool sites and in Summer Camp.

Project Supplies: $1,500
JBNC will purchase program supplies for literacy and academic enrichment programs. Many of these supplies will help the first initiative at a read-aloud program. Additionally, we will purchase language interpretation supplies, to help us appropriately reach Spanish-speaking learners.
– 4 mobile whiteboards; a mobile whiteboard will be used for visual vocabulary, creative writing, and illustration.
– Reading, writing, and instructional supplies (e.g. notebooks, paper, writing and creative materials).
– $750 will be allocated to purchase books to be used for group read aloud sessions.

Program Incentives: $750
JBNC will purchase items such as small hand-held toys, stress balls, candy, t-shirts, and other items for the EDGE store, which serves as an incentive to encourage program participation. Youth will get points that add up to EDGE bucks, which they will then be able to use to buy things from the EDGE store.

Other: $1,500
Costs to cover accounting, finance, and management of grant.

Central Indiana youth and families would benefit from increased access to great programs and ‘outside of school’ activities and resources. A higher proportion of our families in Central Indiana come from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. Because of this, more of our families and youth feel the impacts of poverty and adverse experiences. For many households in lower income circumstances, extracurricular activities do not develop and wrap-around the community as easily. These facts mean we must continue to work toward equity and understand that our families need many resources and opportunities available to them to make up for that gap.

Awareness and publicity are also very supportive to our families, youth, and programs/organizations. It would be great to see nonprofits regularly recognized, highlighted, and/or discussed in the public sphere more and more. We appreciate all that the Indy Star does to help elevate our work and our community on a regular basis. Thank you!

January 12, 2024 at 12:26 pm January 12, 2024 at 12:26 pm 29553 2a8aq 0 0
United Way of Central Indiana, Inc. Kathy Clark [6495] [6560] Grants Manager 317-923-1466 kathy.clark@uwci.org 43,910/4,877 56 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] ReadUP 14,000 Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

The need for ReadUP programming is great, as only 40.7% of Indiana third grade students demonstrated proficiency in English Language Arts on the 2022 ILEARN test. With COVID-19 shuttering all Central Indiana schools in March 2020 and subsequent e-learning/hybrid schedules, learning loss is expected to continue to be detrimental for many children, which is especially concerning among younger children. In October 2020, Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released data from a 19-state study on the impact of learning loss throughout the pandemic. The study found, that on average, Indiana students lost the equivalent of over one year of learning during the first several months of the pandemic. For reading, the average Hoosier student lost approximately 130 days (about 4 and a half months) of learning. ReadUP will be a critical program in the coming academic years to ensure reading achievement gaps are appropriately and adequately addressed in Marion County and to overcome the staggering learning loss.

The need for the program remains high: While some ReadUP students were up to 12 months behind on their reading before the pandemic, some are now up to 24 months behind. At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, about 87% of students who entered the ReadUP program (and for whom complete data was available) were reading below grade level. At the end of the year, 24% were reading at or above grade level, and 60% had grown four or more reading levels, which is roughly the equivalent of one grade level, according to United Way data.

A grant of $14,000 from the IndyStar will support costs associated with implementing a ReadUP program at a new, in-need school/site. This will support between 10-15 students to receive approximately fifty 30-minute tutoring sessions (equating to 25 hours of tutoring per student) over the course of the school year. The costs associated with implementing ReadUP at a single school site in Marion County include essential materials such as books, book carts, and student folders, volunteer background checks, consultant fees for the ReadUP Reading Specialist, and United Way staff time for volunteer recruitment and training as well as ongoing management and administration of the program.

United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI)’s ReadUP program teams up with elementary schools throughout 7 counties to pair community volunteers with 3rd grade students who are reading below grade level. ReadUP volunteers will spend an hour each week at local elementary schools reading with two students in 30-minute sessions, helping students get on track – and stay on track – with grade-level literacy. Each student receives approximately 50 tutoring sessions throughout the year by a consistent set of tutors. Over the course of each session, volunteers will work with students to select texts, alternating between nonfiction and fiction books, ensuring students receive the broadest exposure to a variety of ideas, concepts, and vocabulary. Volunteers will support students to read with expression, to sound out unknown words and to comprehend the content. Tutoring sessions will end with a brief writing exercise and discussion about the day’s reading.

The ReadUP program will operate on an academic year calendar, beginning in September and ending in April annually. Sites will be selected based on current enrollment, geographic location, administrative buy-in, and level of need, ascertained utilizing the most recent Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) data, free or reduced-price lunch eligibility rates, and standardizing testing (Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network [ILEARN] and Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination, Grade 3 [IREAD-3]) pass rates.

UWCI and participating schools will work together to ensure a high-quality program for students and their volunteer tutors is implemented. UWCI staff will provide oversight of the program, including (1) conducting and managing training for school staff and tutors; (2) monitoring contractors and partners; (3) managing and analyzing data collection for reporting; (4) ensuring all volunteers complete required background checks; (5) communicating with partners regarding opportunities for program growth; and (6) managing the program budget to determine program capacity. Contracted Reading Specialists will travel to assigned schools to (1) monitor student progress and update reading levels regularly; (2) monitor student/tutor interactions and adjust as needed; and (3) report program fidelity concerns to UWCI and school partners.

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Most schools implement ReadUP three days a week, which means ReadUP students will receive an extra 90 minutes of reading practice weekly while building relationships with positive adult role models. That connection with a grown-up is equally meaningful so that they know that somebody’s caring about them and somebody does want to know how their day’s going and somebody does want to reaffirm for them that they’re special and that they’re capable. Along with increased academic performance and literacy skills, ReadUP students will leave the program with increased self-confidence and a deepened love for reading, which has rippling and compounding positive benefits. This leveling up of students equips them to read at grade level on their own, thereby helping them successfully transition from learning to read vs. reading to learn.

Further, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s special report, Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, “The pool from which employers, colleges, and the military draw is too small, and still shrinking, because millions of American children get to fourth grade without learning to read proficiently. That puts them on the dropout track. The shortfall in reading proficiency is especially pronounced among low-income children. Low-income fourth graders who cannot meet NAEP’s proficient level in reading today are all too likely to become our nation’s lowest-income, least skilled, least productive, and most costly citizens tomorrow.” ReadUP actively targets students in 3rd grade to become grade proficient, hence reducing the number of students on the dropout track, thereby fostering self-sufficiency in academics, as well as in future employment and generally productive citizenry.

ReadUP Site Coordinators will collect school-level data on a monthly basis, including attendance and reading levels. Student reading levels are tracked to measure student growth and progress towards reading at or above grade level. The state of Indiana evaluates all third-grade students at the end of the academic year by administering the IREAD-3 and ISTEP+ standardized assessments, evaluating each student’s foundational understanding of literacy and measuring students’ mastery of basic skills, particularly reading, writing, and mathematics. These two assessments as well as growth in student reading levels will determine student success and education gains.

Short-term outcomes focus on demonstrated improvement in students’ attitudes about reading and their acquisition of foundational literacy skills. Mid-term outcomes include rapid growth and sustained strength in reading skills. Finally, the key long-term outcome is UWCI’s community education goal to ensure at least 90% of participating students are reading at grade-level by the end of third grade, as measured by IREAD-3.

Specific metrics that will be tracked and reported on are:
• At least 300 students will participate in 50-75 tutoring sessions throughout the academic year, as verified through monthly attendance records;
• At least 300 students will apply new reading strategies in the classroom as demonstrated by meeting Desired Reading Behaviors (anecdotal progress monitoring);and
• 80% of participating students will demonstrate growth in reading and comprehension ability, as demonstrated by increase in reading level over the course of the school year.

Budget (Per School)
$1,200 Recruitment materials
$4,300 School coordinator stipends
$3,500 Books, program supplies
$500 Background checks
$500 Events, EOY celebrations, student and volunteer appreciation gifts
$4000 UWCI oversight, management, and volunteer recruitment

$14,000 Total (per school)

Central Indiana has a lot of dedicated organizations and stakeholder groups who are passionate about the success of our children; however, it can sometimes feel as though groups are working in silos. We believe that aligning efforts across the various organizations and groups towards a shared vision could result in a greater impact.

January 12, 2024 at 12:51 pm January 12, 2024 at 12:51 pm 29555 wym2z 0 0
Victory Learning Center, Inc. Victoria Wheaton [6495] [6560] Executive Director 317-941-6603 victoria@vlcindy.com 1800 7 members [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Readers that S.O.A.R. & Explore 10,000 Building capacity, Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

According to the IN Department of Education’s 2023 disaggregated report, only 65.6% of Black students and 68.9% of Hispanic students pass the state-mandated reading and literacy test, IRead 3. This is compared to 88% of white students who passed the test in 2023 (IDOE Data Center). Moreover, according to the 2022 Federal School Report Card, none of the 13 schools in Pike Township (where VLC is located) scored a “meets expectations” rating (IDEO Data Center).

Educators and researchers generally agree that the knowledge and learning experiences students have in the first years of their academic lives directly impact the trajectory of their adult lives, from employment and income earning opportunities (or lack thereof), and individual and family-level health and well-being outcomes. Immediate change is required to support our community, our schools, and our students. Victory Learning Center is addressing these learning disparities and closing the learning equity gap.

Victory Learning Center (VLC) strives to eliminate some of those long-term challenges associated with inadequate early childhood educational access opportunities by offering underserved in northwest Indianapolis access to high quality curriculum and instruction during their reading foundation years. Through our holistic programs and curriculum offerings – including the improved literacy and technology opportunities in this project – we help students build the educational skills they need to succeed on their later academic journeys.

We are requesting $10,000 to upgrade our early childhood curriculum offerings and
technology infrastructure. We will expand our current curricula to offer innovative
social-emotional learning program from Second Steps and a fact-based Reading Mastery curriculum based on the science of reading. We will also purchase three additional iPads to ensure every single student has access to these web-based interactive lessons and
activities.

Approximately 25 people will directly benefit from these upgrades and many more community and family members will benefit from our expanded knowledge acquisition offerings and technological capacity. Each student will have their own access account for the curricula and their own iPad, giving them the flexibility to study both in school and at home with their families.

The students will experience increases in their technology knowledge and skills, improved reading speed and comprehension, enhanced knowledge and coping strategies around social and emotional health, and overall increases in learning skills and proficiency. Families, neighbors, and community members will indirectly benefit by learning from these students who are bright, exploratory learners equipped with important technological skills and literacy expertise.

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With these curriculum and technology upgrades, we will ensure our students have access to a reading program that helps them achieve and sustain measurable gains in literacy, and for each student to graduate the program reading on or above grade level norms. The Reading Mastery curriculum explicitly and systematically teaches foundational literacy skills, teaches students how to read, comprehend, and write narrative and informational text of increasing complexity, and enhances oral language proficiency by cultivating background knowledge and expanding vocabulary. The guarantee of an iPad for each student means they will gain critical technology skills and have the opportunity to learn outside the classroom setting with their families. These additional benefits will support our goal of preparing these early learners to be productive and successful in their future academic and career endeavors.

Specific outcomes include:
–Improved reading and literacy scores for every student
–Increased reading comprehension scores for every student
–Expanded technology skills, specifically improved ability to navigate the iPad and online curriculum
–Greater student feelings of confidence in their reading and technology skills

We will track growth over time using individual learning baselines and learning goals, while utilizing grade level norms as comparative indicators. We will also conduct informal interviews and/or assessments with each student (with parent permission) to assess their progress and feelings about these enhancements.

The following items are needed to execute the reading program:
–3 iPads (purchase @ $600/piece, shipping, any additional accessories) = $2,000
–Reading Mastery Curriculum (first 3 years) = $5,000
–Second Steps Curriculum = $3000

January 12, 2024 at 12:56 pm January 12, 2024 at 12:56 pm 29556 l0odf 0 0
Kids’ Voice of Indiana Amy Pangburn [6495] [6560] Grants & Strategic Initiatives Manager 317-558-2870 ext 422 apangburn@kidsvoicein.org 5,000 a year 19 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Little Voices, Big Futures 15000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

THE NEED
As the GAL/CASA provider for all children in Marion County who are in the child welfare system, Kids’ Voice is in a unique position to provide support for children that sets them up for success throughout their childhoods and into adulthood. Marion County has the highest number of children in foster care in the state and its public schools have by far the highest percentage of foster children making up their student bodies, at 14.3%.
Our GAL/CASA program’s Educational Liaison Program was developed in response to the critical need for individualized educational support and advocacy for the school-age children we serve. According to the Foster Success Special Report on Educational Outcomes (2020), Indiana students in foster care were twice as likely to be in special education classes, twice as likely to be suspended, three times as likely to be retained in grade (the majority being retained in kindergarten), and four times as likely to be expelled than their non-foster care peers. Only 55% of foster youth are graduating from high school as compared to 87% of all students, with only 11% of them earning an Honors diploma as compared to over 30% of other graduates.

In terms of solutions, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and Department of Child Services (DCS) have set forth recommendations for educational liaisons to provide intensive services and supports for students in foster care and for creation/enhancement of an access pipeline for early childhood education. The IDOE’s Early Learning Guidebook for Indiana Schools makes strong recommendations for pre-kindergarten education as an important way to improve long-term student outcomes, accelerate educational progress, and to close achievement gaps, with an emphasis on closing gaps in social-emotional and academic readiness for kindergarten that lead to gaps in literacy and math proficiency by third grade. They outline multiple benefits of quality preschool education for:
• Children: Accelerated gains in kindergarten readiness and social skills, and for children who had delays at the start of the program, the majority exited the program at or above age level.
• Families: When families have a quality preschool program for their children, it allows them to continue working, starting working, or continue their education.
• Schools: Schools benefit from families having access to quality preschool by having children entering kindergarten ready to learn. Specifically, preschool results in better pre-reading skills, broader vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who don’t attend preschool. Long-term, students are more likely to graduate high school on time and are less likely to miss school or repeat grades.
• Indiana as a whole: For every $1 spent on high-quality pre-K, Indiana saves an estimated $4 in future special education costs, remediation, grade retention, and other costs. Additionally, billions of dollars in cost can be mitigated by investment in early childhood education that allows parents to participate in the workforce during a time of staffing shortages.

HOW WE ADDRESS THESE ISSUES
Kids’ Voice of Indiana’s GAL/CASA Program serves all Marion County children who are involved in the child welfare system, most of whom are placed in foster care, placed with family other than their parents, or placed in a residential facility or group home. Each Kids’ Voice GAL/CASA team includes an Educational Liaison (EL) who specializes in supporting the academic success of these children. The Educational Liaison has traditionally supported children enrolled in grades kindergarten through high school, but the Little Voices, Big Futures project is expanding on the population served to include preschool age children (3-5 years old). This will include preschool age children who qualify for developmental preschool due to special education needs as well as those experiencing barriers to accessing preschool or early childhood education. Over the last year, the Educational Liaison Program has been piloting this approach and has served 45 children ages 3-5 years old. However, over the same time period, the broader GAL/CASA Program served over 800 children in this age range, so we know we are barely scratching the surface in terms of meeting the need.
Children who are referred to the Little Voices, Big Futures are screened for developmental delays and other needs, which determine eligibility for developmental preschool within their school district or need for referral to other pre-school services. Of 34 children ages 3-5 who were referred to us from the Riley Care Bridge Clinic this year, 25 of them qualified for special education services.
In terms of numbers of children ages 3-5 served, we aim to serve approximately 100 children over the next year (more than doubling the number the Educational Liaison program supported in engaging in early childhood education this year), and then to increase the numbers served by approximately 10% each year until we’ve reached full capacity for the population of foster children we serve (in 2023 our GAL/CASA program served 834 children in the child welfare system ages 3-5).

PARTNERS/COLLABORATIONS
The Riley Foster Care Bridge Clinic is a key partner in this project. This clinic operating out of Riley Hospital for Children is a collaboration with Department of Child Services, Kids’ Voice, and other community providers. With the Little Voices, Big Futures program, we have greater capacity and are able to ensure that more children benefit from the developmental screenings and early childhood education they need. Indianapolis area public schools are also essential partners for the Educational Liaison Program and the Little Voices, Big Futures project. Children who qualify participate in developmental preschool at public schools throughout Marion County and our staff works closely with children, their families/caregivers, teachers, and other school staff to support each child’s progress.

The positive impact of early childhood education for children in the child welfare system cannot be understated. In Indiana, our foster children are falling behind – significant gaps in their educational outcomes persist regardless of their age, race, gender, ethnicity, or where they live – with life-long implications. It has been well documented that children’s participation in high quality educational programming during their preschool years (ages 3-5) is a key to mitigating underlying traumas and other instabilities related to placement in foster care, laying the foundation for their future success. It is well demonstrated that children’s participation in preschool results in better pre-reading skills and broader vocabularies, preparing them to enter kindergarten ready to learn to read and to develop literacy skills right alongside their peers. Even for children who have delays in these areas when they enter preschool, it has been found that the majority make such significant gains from early educational programming that they test at or above age/grade level upon entering kindergarten.
Little Voices, Big Futures is a new project of the Kids’ Voice GAL/CASA – Educational Liaison Program that is providing individualized support for the preschool age children Kids’ Voice serves that ensures that they benefit from early childhood education/preschool programming. This initiative is a high priority for Kids’ Voice because we see that young children in the child welfare system often fall through the cracks when it comes to enrollment in preschool/early childhood education, putting them at a disadvantage from the very start of school. Children referred to the program from Kids’ Voice’s own GAL/CASA program and from the Riley Foster Care Bridge Clinic (at Riley Hospital for Children) have the support of an Educational Liaison who connects them with high quality preschool/early education services and who provides continuous support for their ongoing engagement in early childhood education until (and potentially beyond) their enrollment in kindergarten.

Kids’ Voice of Indiana’s Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate (GAL/CASA) Program serves all Marion County children who are involved in the child welfare system, most of whom are placed in foster care, with family other than their parents (relative care), in emergency shelters, or in a residential facility or group home. Each Kids’ Voice GAL/CASA team includes an Educational Liaison (EL) who specializes in supporting the academic success of these children. In 2023, the Educational Liaison Program served 876 students enrolled in Indianapolis-area schools in grades kindergarten through high school. The Educational Liaison Program’s Little Voices, Big Futures project is expanding upon the population served to include preschool age children (3-5 years old). This includes preschool age children who qualify for developmental preschool due to special education needs as well as those experiencing barriers to accessing preschool or early childhood education. In terms of demographics, of the children currently participating in the Educational Liaison Program, 46% are female, 54% are male, 50% are African American/Black, 40% are Caucasian/White, 9% are Multi-Racial, 1% are Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and Other, and 2% are Hispanic.

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Our measures of success during the Season for Sharing funding period include the following targeted outcomes:
• Increase staffing capacity so that we can serve at least 100 children ages 3-5 in the Little Voices, Big Futures program during the one-year grant period.
• Establish internal referral process so that Kids’ Voice Guardians Ad Litem (GALs) and volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) can refer the children they serve to the Little Voices, Big Futures project.
• Continue and strengthen referral partnership with the Riley Care Bridge Clinic that serves foster children at the Riley Hospital for Children.
• Develop processes and procedures for tracking longer term outcomes for children participating in the Little Voices, Big Futures project.

These goals/measures of success align with the Kids’ Voice overall mission to amplify the voice of children and youth in the legal system to improve outcomes and inspire system-wide advances and also with our Strategic Plan under the Program & Services strategic initiative which outlines goals for expanding programmatic impacts and partnerships over the next two years. Further, these outcomes align with the mission of our Educational Liaison Program to support the academic success of children in the child welfare system. We view the Little Voices, Big Futures project as a pilot program with the potential to be replicated by other GAL/CASA programs in counties across the state, with the support of partners such as DCS, IDOE, Riley Hospital for Children, and Early Learning Indiana. Kids’ Voice is well positioned to lead this effort as a statewide leader in provision of best practices in GAL/CASA work.

A $15,000 grant will propel our Little Voices, Big Futures initiative by developing programming, providing training and education, and ultimately improving educational outcomes for more children in the Indianapolis area. Specifically, funding will be used for the following:

Program Operations, Monitoring, and Evaluations – $7,500
Funds would support Kids’ Voice personnel in performing specialized educational advocacy services, assist preschool-age children with transitions between schools and foster placements, perform assessments and continuous monitoring, and make additional referrals for children who have experienced trauma in their life. Funds would also allow our personnel to recruit and train new volunteers and to manage, retain, and engage current volunteer advocates.

Program Training, Seminars, and Supplies – $5,000
Funds would facilitate workshops and training sessions for Educational Liaisons and volunteer advocates on best practices for supporting pre-school through early elementary-aged foster youth, including a focus on improving educational outcomes in literacy and reading. These costs are required to help us enhance and improve our services to children and build our capacity for the program while also empowering us to better serve more families.

Volunteer Recruitment, Community Events, and Background Checks – $2,500
Funds would cover recruitment costs, targeted events, background checks and screening costs for potential volunteers to ensure the safety of the population served. Efforts include participation at community outreach events, “word-of-mouth” advertising from our network of volunteers, staff, the Board of Directors, Youth Impact Board, and other supporters, direct media pushes, special events, and other targeted approaches in the community.
Volunteers advocates help build capacity for the program by widening our reach to more families and increasing our diversity and knowledge base. Volunteers come from backgrounds in education and teaching, social work, child development, psychology, law, and special education.

The community can better support Central Indiana children and families by providing more individualized supports for children and teens for their educational success as well as their overall success. This includes community members serving as volunteer advocates (CASAs) who provide such support for kids in the child welfare system. Volunteering is one of the most impactful things that community members can do to make a difference.

January 12, 2024 at 1:07 pm January 12, 2024 at 1:07 pm 29557 cpnu0 0 0
Paws and Think, Inc. Ashleigh Coster [6495] [6560] Executive Director 317-721-2661 acoster@pawsandthink.org 85,880 Lives Touched in 2023 (youth and families are included in this number for all of our programming) 10 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Paws to Read Program 15,000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

Opportunity/Need:
The proposal addresses a critical need in our community: the pressing demand for improved literacy skills among Central Indiana youth. Despite a multitude of literacy programs, a significant number of children face challenges in developing essential reading skills. Paws & Think recognizes this educational gap and identifies a unique opportunity to leverage the human-dog connection through our impactful Paws to Read program.

The Challenge:
Reading proficiency stands as a cornerstone in a child’s academic journey, influencing their overall success in school and life. Alarming statistics reveal that two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient in reading, with even higher rates among low-income students. The repercussions of low literacy levels extend to adulthood, affecting employability and perpetuating cycles of poverty.

The Paws to Read Solution:
Paws to Read stands as a transformative solution to this pervasive problem. Our program allows children to practice reading skills in the comforting presence of trained therapy dogs. The non-judgmental nature of these dogs creates a supportive environment, encouraging children to overcome reading challenges with increased confidence and joy. This intervention aligns with national efforts to enhance grade-level reading proficiency, a crucial predictor of future academic success.

The proposal directly addresses educational disparities contributing to low reading proficiency. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading underscores the importance of third-grade reading proficiency, predicting future academic success. Paws to Read intervenes at this critical stage, offering a supplementary approach to traditional literacy programs.

Unique Impact of Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI):
The distinctive aspect of Paws to Read lies in the utilization of Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI). Numerous studies indicate that AAI enhances reading skills by reducing anxiety, improving focus, and increasing motivation. The calming effect of therapy dogs significantly contributes to a positive reading experience, breaking the cycle where struggling readers avoid reading, hindering their progress.

This proposal strategically responds to the existing funding gap for Paws to Read. While the program has demonstrated remarkable success, it currently lacks consistent, steady funding, posing a long-term challenge for sustainability. The grant opportunity addresses this specific need by injecting crucial resources into the Paws to Read program, fostering its growth and ensuring the continuity of this valuable service to the community.

Building Long-Term Stability:
To achieve long-term stability, this funding will cover a portion of costs for our 2024 Paws to Read programs, allowing us the necessary time and resources to work with an external contractor. This collaboration will involve an in-depth SWOT analysis of the program, leading to a redesign of how we measure impact, collect data, and implement essential improvements. Concurrently, this funding will support our Youth Services Coordinator, who plays a pivotal role in organizing all Paws to Read programs.

Moreover, a percentage of funding will be allocated to training costs, a key component in growing our therapy teams for long-term sustainability. By investing in training and program analysis, we aim to create a program funding model that not only addresses immediate needs but builds a foundation for sustained, impactful service delivery.

In summary, this proposal not only addresses the pressing need for improved literacy skills among Central Indiana youth through the proven success of the Paws to Read program but also lays the groundwork for long-term stability. By strategically allocating funds to cover immediate program costs, invest in comprehensive program analysis, and build capacity for sustained growth, we aim to not only enhance literacy outcomes for young readers but also contribute to a model of lasting impact in our community.

Paws and Think, Inc. is seeking support to build the capacity and long-term sustainability of our impactful Paws to Read program. Founded in 2001, Paws & Think is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives through the power of the human-dog connection. Our Paws to Read initiative, a vital component of our community-focused efforts, addresses the pressing need for improved literacy skills among Central Indiana youth.

Program Overview:
Paws to Read is a proven program held at schools and libraries in Central Indiana, providing close to 2,000 youth annually with a unique opportunity to enhance their reading skills in the presence of trained therapy dogs. Research indicates that this approach not only fosters improved literacy, comprehension, and communication skills but also significantly reduces anxiety in young readers. The non-judgmental nature of therapy dogs creates a welcoming environment, empowering children to overcome literacy challenges with confidence.

Community Impact:
Since its inception, Paws to Read has touched the lives of thousands of youth, contributing to their academic and emotional growth. In 2023 alone, Paws & Think recorded over 6,750 hours of volunteer service, with more than 85,880 lives impacted by our diverse programs. Currently, 150 active therapy teams operate at over 60 partner venues, making our reach extensive.

The Unmet Need:
Despite the success and impact of Paws to Read, a critical challenge is the lack of consistent, steady funding for the program. Paws to Read faces uncertainties in being able to grow and sustain its valuable services to the community within the current funding structure. As we continue to strive for organizational stability, the absence of dedicated funding poses a long-term concern, limiting our ability to serve more young readers.

Why Capacity Building is Crucial:
The proposed grant aims to address this funding gap by bolstering the capacity of Paws to Read. Building sustainable programming, systems, and operations will ensure the long-term stability of our organization and the continuity of Paws to Read. This initiative aligns with our mission to make the community a better place, one wagging tail at a time, and fosters the human-dog connection to improve the well-being of young readers.

This grant will not only secure the resources needed to recruit, train, and mobilize new therapy teams for expanded Paws to Read programs but also provide vital support for the coordination of this expansion. By investing in the capacity of Paws to Read, we aim to create a lasting impact on literacy, confidence, and the overall well-being of the youth we serve.

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At Paws & Think, success is intricately woven into our mission of improving lives through the power of the human-dog connection. As we seek support for the Paws to Read program, we define and measure success through tangible and intangible outcomes that resonate with the transformative impact on the lives of those we serve.

Defining Success:
Increased Reading Proficiency: Success is measured by enhanced reading proficiency in our Paws to Read program participants, evident in improved fluency, comprehension, and overall reading skills. We track advancement through pre- and post-program assessments, including reading test scores for school programs.

Growing Confidence in Young Readers: Success is also defined by the growth in confidence observed among young readers. Through interactions with therapy dogs in a nonjudgmental environment, participants develop a sense of self-assurance in their reading abilities. We gauge success through qualitative feedback, capturing anecdotes and reflections from participants, parents, and educators.

Program Expansion and Long-Term Stability: Our broader goal is the long-term stability of Paws to Read, marked by securing consistent funding. The proposed grant contributes to 2024 program costs and initiates a SWOT analysis, refining impact measurement and setting the stage for a sustainable funding model. The ability to maintain and expand the program, reaching more youth over an extended period, will signify success.

Anticipated Outcomes:
1. Enhanced Literacy Impact:
We aim to grow the Paws to Read Program’s literacy impact through assessments and reading test scores. With a more nuanced understanding of participant needs, we anticipate tailoring interventions effectively. Our goal is to have a minimum of 80% of participating students demonstrate measurable improvement in reading proficiency, fostering a stronger connection between reading and positive learning experiences.

2. Strategic Growth in Program Reach:
Supported by the grant, we project a 25% increase in Paws to Read therapy teams, expanding from 32 to 40 teams. This expansion will enable us to grow our teams within current programs or introduce the program to new partners, reaching an estimated 400 additional young readers annually. Our objective is to foster a love for reading in diverse communities and enhance accessibility to our literacy support services.

3. Establishing a Robust Program Funding Model:
The anticipated outcomes include the development of a sustainable funding model that ensures long-term program success. With the grant’s support, we will conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis, engaging external experts to refine our impact measurement strategies. We project a 15% increase in overall program funding through diversified revenue streams, such as community partnerships and individual donations, fostering financial stability and independence for the Paws to Read program.

In summary, success for Paws & Think encompasses immediate positive outcomes for program participants, strategic growth in program reach, and the establishment of a resilient foundation for long-term program sustainability. Through these measures, we aim to amplify our impact on the community and create a lasting legacy of improved literacy and confidence in young readers.

Paws & Think seeks $15,000 from the Season for Sharing funds to fortify and sustain the impactful Paws to Read program in 2024. The breakdown of the funds is as follows:

1. Program Funding for Paws to Read Programs (60%): A significant portion, approximately $9,000, will be allocated to directly support the continuation and expansion of the Paws to Read programs. These funds will cover essential programmatic costs, including materials, resources, training of additional Paws to Read therapy teams, and logistics required for successful program delivery. This allocation ensures the sustained positive impact of the program on young readers.

2. Youth Services Coordinator Salary Support (30%): To maintain the program’s effectiveness, a percentage of the funds, approximately $4,500, will be directed towards covering the salary of our dedicated Youth Services Coordinator. This individual plays a crucial role in program management, coordination, and oversight. By investing in human resources, we ensure the seamless execution and growth of the Paws to Read initiative.

3. SWOT Analysis and Program Data Measurement Redesign (10%): Recognizing the importance of program evaluation and adaptation, approximately $1,500 will be allocated for an in-depth SWOT analysis and creation of data collection tools. This external assessment will guide the redesign of impact measurement methodologies, ensuring the program aligns with community needs and sustains long-term support beyond the grant period.

This spending outline reflects a strategic distribution of funds to guarantee the continued success, growth, and adaptability of the Paws to Read program. Should further clarification or information be needed for this section, we are readily available to furnish an itemized budget or more comprehensive breakdown.

To better support Central Indiana youth and families, fostering an environment of enhanced collaboration, targeted training, and continuous professional development is paramount.

1. Expanded Collaboration Among Organizations: Strengthening collaboration among community organizations is essential. By fostering partnerships, we can share resources, best practices, and collective knowledge, ensuring a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing the diverse needs of youth and families. Concentrated collaborative initiatives could include joint programs, shared outreach efforts, and streamlined services.

2. Advocacy for Well-Trained Volunteers: Volunteers play a pivotal role in community support. Advocating for standardized training resources across organizations ensures that volunteers receive comprehensive preparation to serve effectively. This initiative guarantees the delivery of quality services and promotes the well-being of Central Indiana youth and families through consistent, trained, and compassionate community members.

3. Continued Professional Development Opportunities: Establishing more opportunities for professionals to connect, learn, and grow is vital. Workshops, seminars, and networking events could facilitate the exchange of ideas and strategies, fostering a community of professionals dedicated to continuous improvement. This collaborative learning environment will empower professionals to navigate challenges, share insights, and collectively elevate the quality of services provided to Central Indiana youth and families.

By investing in collaboration, advocating for trained volunteers, and promoting ongoing professional development, the community can create a resilient support system that positively impacts the lives of Central Indiana youth and families.

January 12, 2024 at 2:15 pm January 12, 2024 at 2:15 pm 29558 6p5hx 0 0
Brookside Community Development Corporation Shannon Glassley [6495] [6560] Outreach Director 3174073105 shannon@bccindy.org On average our organization serves 250 youth/family members per year over all our impact ministries 9 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Elevating Brookside Youth 14995.00 Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

Brookside neighborhood is one of Indianapolis’s most violent and troubled neighborhoods in Indianapolis. This really is exacerbated by pervasive poverty, where more than 45% of our residents live below 185% of the federal poverty level. It is a particularly challenging and often traumatic environment for children. Research shows that children who experience trauma have difficulty focusing on school and need extra support for social and emotional learning (SEL). When children are in survival mode, reaching their potential is hard. This is the reality for many children in the Brookside Community. They’re worried about where to sleep tonight, if they’ll have enough to eat, and if their loved ones will be safe. Learning is the last thing on their minds.
The following data from SAVI highlights the challenges that children in the Brookside Community face:
• Violent crime rate 26.21 per 1000 (2021)
• Juvenile Charges 38.5 per 1000 population (age 5-17) (2020) 
• Poverty rate: 24% (2021)
• Food insecurity: 13% of the population and 23% of children in Marion County were food insecure in 2020 (Source: Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap)

The constant struggle for basic needs like food and shelter can make it difficult for children to focus, learn new information, and regulate their emotions.
Children living in poverty have fewer educational opportunities, like access to quality preschool or enrichment activities. This creates a learning gap compared to their peers.
Traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or violence, can trigger the body’s stress response, disrupting cognitive processes and affecting learning abilities.
The cumulative effect of cognitive, social, and emotional challenges often leads to lower academic achievement, including poorer performance on standardized tests and increased risk of dropping out.

But there is hope. Brookside Community Play is a program that’s working to interrupt these challenges and to help children heal and reach their full potential. Brookside Community Play sees behavior as symptomatic of underlying problems like trauma. Play believes that when we address those problems, we can change behavior. Play creates a safe space where children can trust adults, open up, and heal. By our students finding safety in the environment and programming, it allows Brookside Play to focus on one -to-one and group tutoring sessions in reading and math. Brookside Community Play is making a difference in helping children learn, grow, and thrive. Play gives them the hope and opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their community.

Here are the areas Brookside focuses on in our after-school programming.

• Improving academic outcomes: At Brookside Community Play, we believe that enhancing academic performance can be achieved through various methods such as providing tutoring sessions, increasing reading aloud, exposing students to new vocabulary, engaging them in STEM projects, and offering fun and interactive science experiences.
• Helping children develop social and emotional skills: Brookside Community Play helps children develop social and emotional skills such as empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving. These skills are essential for success in school and life.
• Reducing stress and anxiety: Brookside Community Play helps to reduce stress and anxiety in children. Play is a natural stress reliever, and it can help children to cope with difficult emotions.

Brookside Play is making a difference in our community.

“Brookside Community Play’s involvement with families has been extremely beneficial to
Paramount Brookside and our community. I have personally witnessed the impact this program
provides to our students. These impacts have been displayed through improvement in student
behavior, attendance, and academics.” -Reggie Martin, Paramount Brookside School.

“As a school leader in a high impact community with a special focus on children/families of color, children with high ACEs scores, families with low income, immigrant families, and children who have experienced trauma, we have seen firsthand the impact Brookside Play and the Brookside Community Development Corporation plays in the development of our children, families and community.”-Jeremy Baugh-Brookside School 54
Brookside Community Play is committed to helping children reach their full potential despite the challenges they are facing in their community. The program is working hard to overcome these challenges and continues to provide a safe and supportive environment where children can learn, grow, and thrive.
A well-trained team fosters a dynamic and enriching environment where collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking flourish. This intentional approach to after-school programming goes beyond simply filling time; it shapes young minds, laying the foundation for a brighter future. With a team that is equipped to nurture a love of learning and reading, problem-solving, and teamwork, children are more likely to thrive in their school environment.
In combination with excellent programming, a safe and well-designed classroom can be a haven for children, fostering not only their emotional well-being but also their academic success.
Feeling safe and secure is paramount for learning. A well-designed classroom with predictable routines, clear expectations, and a focus on emotional well-being can significantly reduce stress and anxiety in children. This allows them to focus their energy on learning and participating in class activities.
The children we serve are asked to be adults very early, by providing them with childlike furniture it invites them to reenter into their childhood again. It evokes emotions of being seen and loved. This then opens an opportunity for connection with the staff. When we have the right furniture it can foster community, connection and vulnerability. When children feel comfortable and respected in their own learning environment, they are more likely to be engaged and participate actively.
With your support, Brookside will be able to elevate the impact our program has in the lives of the children we serve!

We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. Brookside CDC Play after-school program is committed to providing children with a safe and nurturing environment where they can learn and grow and is staffed by experienced and qualified staff.
Brookside Community Play provides a safe and supportive environment where children can feel free to be themselves. They can Play, learn, and grow without fear of judgment or ridicule.

Brookside Community Play is currently seeking funding to elevate our programming by providing additional staff training/education and additional furnishings for two of our classrooms.
With your support, we can enhance our programming for children in the Brookside neighborhood. Our program has a successful history of helping children excel in school, overcome trauma, and create a better future for themselves.

Enhanced skills will equip staff to tackle the diverse needs and interests of our young learners, crafting engaging activities that spark curiosity and ignite passions. This fosters a deeper connection with the program, encouraging consistent attendance and participation. Training will empower staff to become effective mentors, guiding children through challenges and celebrating successes. This personalized support builds confidence and resilience, helping them to thrive in academic and social settings.

When a classroom or space is designed with the child in mind, it transforms from a mere learning setting into a vibrant extension of their own development. Cozy nooks for quiet reflection nurture introspective thoughts and flexible furniture invites movement and collaboration. Such spaces understand that children learn best through exploration, engagement, and interaction. The carefully curated environment becomes a silent co-teacher, offering endless opportunities for discovery, fostering a sense of ownership and belonging. Ultimately, a child-centered environment is not just a room; it’s a living tapestry woven with care, where growth blossoms naturally and learning becomes an exciting adventure.

This funding will enable Brookside CDC Play to maximize our ability to provide educational and relational support to the children in our program.

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Through the generous support of Season of Sharing, Brookside CDC’s after-school program will blossom into a vibrant hub of learning and growth for our young people. The funds will elevate our current programming in the following ways:
• Deeper Connections: Staff training focused on trauma-informed practices and positive relationship building will equip our team to nurture trust and understanding with each child. This will create a secure space where youth feel valued and heard, fostering deeper connections and a sense of belonging.
• Interactive Playground: By furnishing three classrooms with engaging materials and flexible furniture, we’ll transform them into dynamic learning landscapes. This will inspire exploration, collaboration, and active participation, elevating engagement and transforming learning into a joyful adventure.
• Academic Spark: The additional training will also equip our staff with strategies to personalize learning and address diverse needs. This will not only enhance academic performance but also ignite a passion for knowledge and unlock each child’s unique potential.
• Building Strong Minds and Hearts: With the training we will elevate our social-emotional learning further for our program, teaching coping mechanisms, emotional regulation, and healthy communication. This will empower youth to navigate challenges with resilience and cultivate emotional intelligence, laying the foundation for lifelong well-being.
• Joyful Exploration: Beyond academics, these resources will nurture creativity and spark curiosity. New furnishings will invite imaginative play, artistic expression, and collaborative projects, transforming learning into a source of pure enjoyment.
Season of Sharing’s gift is not simply a collection of tools and resources; it’s an investment in the holistic development of every child who walks through our doors. It’s the fuel that will ignite academic success, emotional well-being, and a lifelong love of learning.
Measuring these outcomes comprehensively is crucial to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness and attract continued support. Here are some ideas for each:
Pre- and post-surveys:
• Ask youth about their sense of belonging, trust with staff, and comfort sharing feelings.
Observations:
• Trained staff can observe interactions between youth and staff, noting nonverbal cues and quality of communication.
• Record instances of active participation, use of materials, and collaborative activities.
• Track changes in program attendance
Focus groups:
• Small group discussions with youth to get their perspectives on program relationships and sense of security.
• Small group discussions to explore their emotional awareness, coping mechanisms, and communication skills.
Teacher assessments:
• Communication with family and teacher to understand student’s growth in school.

Training
Indiana Afterschool Network Monthly Membership $2,100
Center for Adolescent Studies-online course $2,800
Update Resource Library $575.00

TRAINING TOTAL: $5,475.00

Furnishings
1st & 2nd Grade Classroom
Calming Canopy (1) $99.50
Vinyl sofa (1) $299.95
Lounge Chairs (2) $119.98
Sensory Peanut Ball (2) $73.98
Write/wipe mobile table (2) $1,658.00
Balance seat balls (2) $49.98
Glide mobile chairs (2) $378.00
Comfy floor seat (2) $139.98
Bean Bag seat (2) $458.00
double-sided white magnetic board (1) $449.00

1st & 2nd CLASSROOM TOTAL: $2,897.37

3rd-5th Grade Classroom
Shape series seating $3,307.04
Supply storage between seating $531.96
8 x 10 rug $399.99
Bean Bag seat (2) $458.00
Balance seat balls (2) $49.98

3rd- 5th CLASSROOM TOTAL: $4,746.97

6th-8th Grade Rooms
Mobile Whiteboard Tables (4) $1,079.52
Glide mobile chairs-17 1/2″ (4) $796.00

6th- 8th CLASSROOM TOTAL: $1,875.52

Total Project Budget: $14,994.86

More volunteering, more people stepping up with their time to walk along our youth and families. More assistance in closing the achievement gap between underprivileged students and their peers by providing additional resources and support. Provide parenting classes, workshops, and support groups to equip parents with skills and resources. More accessible family counseling and mental health services along with a marketing campaign removing the stigmas around mental health in underserved communities.

January 12, 2024 at 3:07 pm January 12, 2024 at 3:07 pm 29559 rlpqc 0 0
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana Charles Stringer [6495] [6560] Grants Coordinator 3174723720 cstringer@bbbsci.org 1032 28 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Promoting Educational Success through the Big Futures Program 15000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

Supportive relationships, like those developed through BBBSCI programming, are vital for young people. Youth in our community face challenges and adding a supportive adult mentor increases protective factors for youth which help to buffer the impacts of facing adversity.
Research done by the Search Institute found that youth with more strong relationships are more likely to:
• Care about how they do in school;
• Put in more effort in school;
• Respect others’ feelings;
• Be good at making and keeping friends;
• Take responsibility for their own actions; and
• Do their best, even on tasks they don’t like.
There is a need for mentorship programming in Central Indiana. BBBSCI serves over 1,000 youth each year and still has over 900 referred youth waiting to be enrolled in its one-to-one mentoring program. A recent study from the mentoring advocacy group, MENTOR, found that 6% of Gen. Z reported not having a mentor of any kind growing up, and 67% of today’s 18 to 21 year-olds reported having times when they wanted a mentor but didn’t have one.
BBBSCI works with each individual child and family enrolled in its program and assembles a team to provide customized wraparound support to meet the unique needs faced by each child. Bigs and Littles are matched based on their interests, life experiences, values, and geography. Once matched, the Big, Little, and Parent/Caregiver will meet regularly with their Mentoring Relationship Specialist (a full-time, professionally trained BBBSCI staff member) to ensure that the relationship is progressing and provide wraparound support to the Little and their family.
The Big Futures enhancement program provides another layer of support by providing opportunities for youth to develop skills, explore different career paths, and access valuable academic resources. Through the Career Exploration Day included in this proposal, Littles will hear firsthand from professionals in a wide array of fields. The panelists will share what educational or job training path they took to get to where they are and provide practical advice. Littles will be able to ask questions and network with the panelists at the end of the event.
Other Big Futures events will teach Littles how to find the right major/career, select the right college, understand the costs, navigate the process of enrolling in college, maximize scholarships, and even take Littles on tours of local schools. BBBSCI hosts approximately 25 Big Futures events each year (averaging 2 per month). Additionally, matches get together two-times per month on their own which provides ample opportunity for Bigs to help Littles explore different career paths and provide academic help when needed.

More Central Indiana youth need the support and opportunities to explore their brightest possible futures. Beyond providing one-to-one mentoring relationships to more than 1,000 local youth annually, BBBSCI offers the Big Futures enhancement program (a series of academic and skills focused opportunities) to the over 400 high school aged Littles served each year. These events encourage Littles to develop hard and soft skills, assist in exploration of different career paths, break down barriers, help Littles make important professional connections, and provide access to important resources.
The goal of the Big Futures enhancement program is to equip all high-school aged youth enrolled in our one-to-one mentoring program with the skills and resources needed to succeed after graduation. This program provides an easy way for Bigs (adult volunteers) to support the positive development of their Littles (youth between the ages of 8-18) and builds upon the foundation of the mentoring relationship.
BBBSCI serves youth in Marion, Hamilton, and Johnson Counties. Big Futures events are offered to all high-school aged youth actively enrolled in BBBSCI’s one-to-one program for free.
This proposal would support the full cost of our annual Career Exploration Day and a portion of the expenses incurred by running the Big Futures enhancement program in 2024.
The need can be quickly illustrated by data from the Indiana Youth Institute’s (IYI) County Dashboards and 2022 Kids Count Data Book:
• From the County Dashboards:
• 11.6% of Marion County youth dropped out of high school in 2022, compared to 7.5% across the state; and
• Marion County ranks the highest in Indiana on the social vulnerability index, meaning youth in Marion County are most likely to experience negative effects caused by external stressors.
• From the Kids Count Data Book:
• 2021 and 2022 saw the lowest percentages of youth in Indiana passing the IREAD-3 since before 2012; and
• Only 43.1% of 8th graders in Indiana received proficient scores in the English Language Arts section of the ILEARN assessment.
However, IYI’s 2022 Kids Count Data Book also found that quality, structured mentoring has a positive impact on social skills; cognitive skills and perspective development; self-regulation of emotions and impulses; identity and core qualities (like empathy, curiosity, resourcefulness, and resilience); and self-efficacy. Furthermore, their data found that:
• Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 55% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class;
• Youth who face an opportunity gap but meet regularly with their mentors are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college and maintain better attitudes towards school; and
• Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and are 27% less likely to start drinking.

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BBBSCI’s core mentoring program produced the following outcomes in the 2022-23 fiscal year:
• 88% of youth served improved or maintained high academic performance and grades;
• 98% of youth served improved or maintained high educational expectations;
• 91% of youth served avoided risky behaviors;
• 86% of youth served improved or maintained high levels of social competence;
• 86% of youth served improved or maintained high levels of emotional regulation; and
• 97.5% of eligible youth graduated with a high school diploma or an equivalent.
BBBSCI defines success using the equation Length + Strength = Outcomes. Length is measured through our retention rates, which focus on each match lasting a minimum of 12 months and as many as ten years. We expect at least 85% of our matches will last 12 months or longer.
Relationship strength is measured through the Strength of Relationship Survey (SOR) at three months and annually. Our goal is that mentors will score 3.95 or higher (out of five) on the three-month and annual SOR. The tool consists of questions for Bigs and Littles that determine how strong the relationship is, with the understanding that seeing the strength of the relationship in measurable terms guides program improvements that result in fewer premature match closures. We know through national scale results that mentors who score less than 3.95 at three months are more likely to close early, allowing our staff to intervene accordingly with additional coaching to ensure the match is on track toward success.
The Child Outcome Survey (COS) and Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) document the positive youth outcomes resulting from the match. The COS is given to youth under the age of 11 years old, and the YOS is given to youth ages 11 or older. After just one year in the program, 85% of youth will report improvement or maintenance of positive scores in these key outcome areas: social acceptance, scholastic competence, educational expectations, grades, avoidance of juvenile justice involvement, parental trust, and relationships with special adults. The C/YOS is completed by youth prior to being matched with a mentor and then every 12 months throughout the duration of the match. The C/YOS measures help predict long-term success in the areas of improving academic achievement, reducing high-risk behaviors, and increasing socioemotional competencies.
Finally, BBBSCI expects at least 90% of eligible youth to graduate with a high school diploma or equivalent each year.

$5,580 will go towards sponsoring the Career Exploration Day (covering food, facilities, supplies, etc.). The remaining $9,420 will go towards administrating the Big Futures enhancement program for 2024. That breaks out to $7159 for salaries; $188 for professional fees; $376 for occupancy; $282 for office expenses; $475 for IT; $94 for transportation; $94 for conferences and meetings; $376 for program expenses; $282 for marketing; and $94 for miscellaneous expenses.

With over 900 referred youth waiting to be enrolled, we are always looking for more volunteer mentors to participate in our one-to-one mentoring program. Interested individuals can learn more or apply online by going to bebigforkids.org/volunteer. BBBSCI also appreciates any opportunities to present volunteer opportunities to employees.

January 12, 2024 at 3:41 pm January 12, 2024 at 3:41 pm 29561 end55 0 0
Assistance League® of Indianapolis Cathy Camp [6495] [6560] Chairman of Grants (317) 872-1010 grants@alindy.org 8,000 12 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] ALI Reads – a program to improve childhood literacy 14,400 Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

Beyond the basic notion of “reading books,” being literate as an adult means we can read the electronic road signs that tell us which lane to be in during new construction. It means we can understand when health insurance deadlines or requirements have changed. It means we can read the comments on our children’s report cards that tell us how lively and engaging they are. It means the entire world of the internet opens up to us. Reading is one of the first things we are taught, but still:
o According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, about 16% of children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school on time – a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers.
o 61% of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (5)
o In middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1. In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. (6)

Taking all the facts together, perhaps low literacy isn’t so surprising. Locally, Indiana finds itself solidly in line with national statistics. IREAD is one of Indiana’s standardized tests and it measures, in essence, “can a student read?” According to those results, 82.1% of Washington Township 3rd graders passed (the earliest grade tested). A second test, ILEARN, measures how well a student can read, write, and interact with a written piece. While 82.1% of students could perhaps read it, just 35.9% of 3rd graders were proficient. This is not a new problem nor is it attributable solely to COVID. The Indiana Department of Education notes that reading scores have been falling for the past decade.

The statistics are grim but the solutions are straightforward. This is a big problem and it will take many solutions and tactics.

Our program began its pilot phase by working with teachers and literacy coaches in Washington Township. It is one of the five school districts Assistance League of Indianapolis already works with through our program Operation School Bell®, which provides dress code appropriate school clothes, winter coats and accessories, and hygiene items for around 8,000 students each year. ALI Reads volunteers visit first grade classrooms to work with small groups of children by reading a quality, award-winning book together. In 25-30-minute increments during already-scheduled reading instruction time (and supervised by the classroom teachers), volunteers read and discuss a book with the children by asking questions regarding comprehension, prediction, empathy, and imagination. Volunteers are trained in interactive read aloud strategies by qualified experts and explore a combination of fiction and non-fiction books in weekly visits. A variety of books are selected to reflect the diversity of students and to align with the many interests the children have.

To further promote literacy and combat a lack of appropriate and available reading material, each child will receive a copy of each week’s book to take home to help build their own library. Providing six new books to help children build their very own at-home library is another important step in building literacy. Kids who have books read more. Kids with more books get more schooling. Kids with more schooling get higher paying jobs. Researchers have found that kids who read “for fun” are actually playing in a way that “allows [them] to experience other worlds and roles in [their] imagination.” (7)

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, “reading correlates with almost every measurement of positive personal and social behavior surveyed.” (8) At the conclusion of the program, a literacy celebration at each school will fete successful completion of the program and allow students to choose a bonus, seventh book to add to their collection. Feedback from the program is positive and one teacher shared, “My students loved the weekly routine of listening to a read aloud! It was also nice how they alternated fiction and nonfiction. I felt the readers had a good plan coming in and they were very prepared!” Another teacher commented, “The volunteers were amazing at pulling out and explaining important vocabulary words. This was a very important oral interaction for my students as 50% of my class is learning English as their second language.”

A grant of $14,400 from Season for Sharing will provide 1,800 books to students in 10 first grade classrooms in Washington Township in 2024-25.

Literacy is one of the most basic skills we need to navigate our world throughout our lives but according to the Indiana Department of Education, “nearly one in five students [statewide] are still struggling to read by the third grade.” University of New Hampshire professor NaYoung Hwang says that “‘Up to fourth grade, most students have the opportunity to learn how to read. But then after that, it’s ‘read to learn.’ [T]hird grade represents a transition point in students’ learning. Once you become a fourth grader, and you can’t read, it can have really negative consequences on all your learning.”(1) That’s why early interventions to increase literacy are so important.

Assistance League of Indianapolis is in the final phase of a pilot program informally called “ALI Reads.” In conjunction with our goal to improve educational outcomes, ALI Reads has been strategically developed to begin working with first grade classrooms to increase childhood literacy and to promote a love of reading through shared books and reading experiences.

Beginning with Washington Township, our member-volunteers will visit approximately 12 1st grade classrooms in three elementary schools for six weeks in the fall semester 2024 (approximately 360 students) and 16 classes in the spring semester 2025 (approximately 480 students) to strengthen and support student literacy and learning. Using the well-known “read aloud” method, volunteers will be trained in interactive strategies and will explore a combination of fiction and non-fiction books in weekly visits. To further promote literacy, every child will receive a copy of each week’s book to take home to help build their own library. Additional copies will also be provided to each teacher for their classroom libraries. At the conclusion of the program, a literacy celebration at each school will fete the successful completion of the program and students will get to choose a bonus, seventh book to add to their collection.

In a world that is increasingly “digital” and “online,” young children benefit significantly from the tactile presence of physical copies of books. “In a study of nearly 100,000 U.S. school children, access to printed materials was the key variable affecting reading acquisition.”(2) Further research shows that “creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months (our emphasis).”(3) Building each student’s private libraries can have an enormous impact on their reading ability and academic success.

“’Read alouds support all areas of literacy development, exposing students to new words and grammar, increasing students’ interest in reading and writing, and expanding skills like phonological awareness.’ They also strengthen students’ syntactic development, vocabulary acquisition, fluency comprehension, writing, emotional intelligence, teacher-student (or adult-student) relationships, engagement, and cultural awareness in the early grades.”(4) ALI Reads expects that the dual strategies of interactive read aloud and building children’s at-home libraries will increase literacy skills and an all-important love of reading, culminating in improvements on statewide assessments.

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ALI Reads has ambitious short- and long-term goals for the program. We are in this for the long-haul because we know that addressing low literacy is a marathon with a revolving roster of new students every year who will need the repetitive dedication to quality reading enhancements. The outcomes we have outlined to define success include:
1. Partner with three elementary schools in fall 2024 and four elementary schools in spring 2025.
2. Instilling a love and joy of reading and books in young students by reading aloud stories to them for 30 minutes per week for six weeks twice a year;
3. Providing new books for each child to take home and read (and re-read) with their families, thus expanding each individual child’s personal library;
4. Expanding classroom libraries by providing copies of read aloud books to contribute to teachers’ collections;
5. Improving reading comprehension by training volunteers how to introduce new vocabulary words and to model for children how to think while reading.

Success for these four goals will be measured by the number of completed program visits, by student/teacher surveys, by the number of books distributed, and by the volunteer training (measured by feedback surveys from teachers and volunteers). Long-term, the IREAD and ILEARN results for 3rd graders in 2027-28 will be the first opportunity to discover if ALI Reads! is making a marked difference in test scores. While that would be an enormous coup, we will more strongly rely on the results of student and teacher surveys to assess ongoing success. Our goals are to instill a love of literacy and expand classroom and student libraries, both of which should impact low literacy levels and increase reading comprehension.

Already teachers report that the children look forward to their weekly read aloud times with Assistance League volunteers and it’s creating a culture, a mini community, and anticipated weekly events that are racking up as positive childhood experiences. One unexpected outcome we’ve already learned is that survey results and informal feedback are so positive, with one significant take away that teachers are using the read aloud experience to dive deeper into reading instruction and student learning post our visits. We expected to invigorate students – we did not expect to reinvigorate their teachers!

YEAR 1 – FALL SEM. 2024 YEAR 1 – SPRING SEM. 2025

Expense Qty. Total Expense Qty. Total
BOOKS $1,440 12 $17,280 $1,440 16 $23,040
(6 books x 30 copies x $8)

TEACHER APPRECIATION $20 30 $600 $20 34 $680
$20 per teacher (incl. literacy coach/s) per semester – # schools x 4 teachers + 2 lit. coach x 5

VOLUNTEER T-SHIRTS $10 25 $250 $10 30 $300
for prominent identification in schools – # vols/school (x 5)

LITERACY CELEBRATION $600 3 $1,800 $600 4 $2,400
Snacks, refreshments, decorations – # grade-wide celebrations x $300/ea. + $300/lit. character appearance

BONUS BOOK – “Choice” Book $8 360 $2,880 $8 480 $3,840

Sub-Totals $22,810 $30,260
TOTAL $53,070

Long-term investing in quality programs – Longstanding problems – literacy and numeracy, generational poverty, racism, equality/equity, etc. – need the financial ability to implement long lasting solutions. Those solutions need the time and ability to get established and expand to include all those who need it through multi-year funding.

Sustained support of programs and organizations that are providing basic needs – Philanthropy and community investing need to be less of a marketing ploy or bragging rights and more of a partnership.

Generously supporting “the right thing to do” regardless of an ability to quantify “success” – Not everything can or needs to be measured. To better support the organizations that are doing the everyday work to combat the community’s problems, relieve them of the stress and pressure of proving that what they are doing is working. That takes significant time, effort, and energy away from the real work of improving the community.

Lobby for reallocation of education funding and advocate for an overhaul of the current system of property taxes being the primary support for public education – this system is inherently unfair and continues to propel wealthy children up (which they will do anyway) and keeps poor children down.

January 12, 2024 at 4:07 pm January 12, 2024 at 4:07 pm 29562 ap2n5 0 0
Saint Florian Center, Inc. Anthony Williamson [6495] [6560] Executive Director 317-442-4508 Sponsors@saintfloriancenter.org 1300 13 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Saint Florian Center Capacity Building Grant 15,000 Building capacity, Enhancing services [6516] [6519]

A capacity building grant will give us the opportunity to enhance our services through our year-round programs.

1- Firefighters After-School Program:
a. Firefighters and teachers assist with homework, leadership activities, cultural projects, and educational worksheets, incorporating fun, games and challenges to enhance and support learning objectives.

b. Components include:
i. Teaching Leadership and Prevention Skills and strengthening Life Skills to build character, instill confidence and reduce disciplinary problems.
ii. STEM Education: helps develop critical thinking, problem solving, planning, self-discipline, and personal expression skills.
iii. College Preparation or Vocational Training: assists youth with identifying in-demand careers and teaching them that higher education improves their overall quality of life, increases opportunities, and produces higher lifetime earnings.
iv. Readers Are Leaders: inspires youth to read, comprehend and become life-long readers breaking the school-to-prison pipeline.
v. My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper Rites of Passage: instills a sense of pride, identity, spirituality, and community by teaching personal responsibility and to “Do Something Positive” regardless of their life situation. We empower youth to break the negative cycle of destruction, provide an understanding of our rich heritage, and help build positive self-images so they don’t feel inferior to anyone.
vi. Crime Awareness & Prevention: teaches youth about conflict resolution and understanding the law, its protections and penalties. Prevention focuses on recognizing peer pressure to stay free of violence, bullying, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

2- 7 Week Leadership Development Summer Camp
a. Firefighters and staff created seven learning modules for developing leadership and life skills valuing education, hands-on projects and opportunities to dream big and explore a world outside of their neighborhood.
i. Modules include leadership, law & government, business, STEM, empowerment, art, philanthropy (health and safety).
ii. Youth Employment: focused on careers, continuing education, pre-employment skills, employment skills, college prep, financial education, work ethics, respectful and responsible behavior, team building, honesty, and combating peer pressure.

Our programs address several problems experienced by minority youth in Marion County preventing them from being successful in school and in life.
1. Prevent the experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs:
a. Use of Alcohol: “Among students in Indiana, alcohol remains the most accessible and the most used substance. Alcohol consumption can result in stunted brain development which reduces cognitive function and critical thinking.” (2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK) Our Program focuses on recognizing peer pressure and avoiding alcohol and other risky behaviors including violence, bullying, tobacco, and mind-altering drugs. Youth role-play refusal skills and identify alternative leisure-time activities.

b. Use of Tobacco: “Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that produces both stimulant and depressive responses in the body. Like youth alcohol consumption, tobacco ingestion at an early age can have long-lasting effects as the child matures. The combination of extremely addictive nicotine with the developing adolescent brain can create greater dependency on nicotine and alter the formation of neural circuits in the brain.” (2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK) Youth under age 13 experimenting with vaping is at epidemic levels and kids believe there is no risk.

c. Use of Drugs: Alcohol and tobacco is considered a gateway drug because once there is a chemical imbalance, individuals start the search for something stronger and the same chemical reaction in the brain. The teen brain is still in the process of maturing and experimenting will modify the chemical balance of the brain and overload the circuits. There are many negative consequences including dependence, poor judgement, and worse attendance, grades, and experiences. It may also lead to violence, incarceration and dreams denied. Our Program gives youth the tools to understand the effects and consequences of experimentation (even the first time) and develops positive alternatives to avoid risky behaviors.

2. Living in Low-income Households:
a. “Low-income working families with children, like other families who do not earn enough to meet basic needs, are financially vulnerable. Working families earning low incomes often hold jobs that demand extended hours and pay low wages. Jobs that pay low wages generally do not provide robust benefits like health insurance, resulting in many children in low-income families having to rely on government-sponsored insurance programs. Low-income working families are also more likely to encounter health problems, less likely to find affordable housing, and have trouble attaining education.” (2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK)

b. 92% of the youth in our programs live in low-income households and qualify for free or reduced-cost school lunches. Our Program assists youth with identifying in-demand careers and teaching then that higher education improves their overall quality of life, increases employment opportunities, and produces higher lifetime earnings. We identify oppressive systems that deter minorities from pursuing higher education and discuss ways to overcome these systems.

3. School Attendance and Absenteeism:
a. “A student’s engagement in, and attendance of, school are critical components of their academic success and social adaptation. Research points to chronic absence and habitual truancy not just negatively impacting academic performance, but also affecting their social well-being. Students who are chronically absent are more likely to develop serious mental health issues, engage in drug and alcohol use, and become violent or participate in criminal behaviors.” (2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK)

b. “Children who attend schools with high suspension rates are significantly more likely to be arrested and jailed as adults – especially Black and Hispanic boys – according to new research that shines a spotlight on the school-to-prison pipeline. Data have long shown that Black and Hispanic students experience suspension and expulsion at much higher rates than white students, and that as adults, they’re also disproportionately represented in the county’s prison system.” Research also “shows a correlation between high levels of education and low levels of criminal activity…” (U.S. News & World Report, July 27, 2021)

The mission of the Saint Florian Center is to provide at-risk or better yet “at-promise” Indianapolis youth an opportunity to foster leadership skills, develop problem solving methods, and survival tactics through a variety of programming and opportunities in the community in order to create leaders of tomorrow.

The program is named after the patron saint of firefighters and was formed in 1992 by two Indianapolis Firefighters. We have been successful operating programs for the past 31 years through a holistic approach to directing minority youth toward successful school achievement and away from dropping out, suspension and expulsion – circumstances that too often lead minority youth to violence and tragic, and life-altering consequences. Youth learn skills to succeed in their family, school and society despite racial barriers.

Our major challenge is that we need help building capacity to improve our effectiveness and sustainability to fulfil our mission. To date, we have never raised enough funds to meet budgetary needs.

We are proud of being a small organization with a large reach. In order to prevent staff burnout, create new systems, and develop a new strategic plan, we need financial support to strengthen our ability to deliver on our mission over time. This will enhance our ability to have a positive impact on the lives of our cadets ages 6 – 17 and help their dreams come true.

We do not have enough funds to hire and keep staff trained in the latest skills to meet our cadets where they are and help guide them to where they need to be. We need to update our technology hardware and software. We need help purchasing software that will help us improve our volunteer and donor base. We need assistance with data collection and record keeping. We need help hiring consultants that will help us improve communication and market our services so we can have a positive impact on more cadets.

By investing in our organization and improving our capacity to manage the organization it will enhance our ability to deliver direct programs and services year-round to youth ages 6 – 17. The firefighters proving a missing element such as caring, nurturing and encouraging all cadets to be successful.

Improving our capacity will help us:
• Be intentional about attracting, retaining, and motivating staff, volunteers, and donors.
• Re-evaluate and clearly define our organizations target population.
• It will help us diversify our donor pipeline by engaging with younger volunteers and donors.
• It will help us utilize social media to establish new connections within Central Indiana.
• It will create new opportunities to collaborate with other local nonprofits to maximize resources.

SFC serves a very vulnerable population. In 2023, we served 1,043 youth; 92% qualified for free or reduced lunches.
a) Summer Camp Youth – 85% from one-parent households, 44% from low-income homes.
b) Year-Round Program Youth – 55% from one-parent households, 82% from low-income homes.

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Once we enhance our capacity through improving our systems, we are confident that we will be able to continue our successful and impactful programs. We will accomplish the following:

1. Update, modify and revamp our educational curriculum to provide new and relevant experiences and to better address the challenges facing today’s youth.
a. We will continue to support the social, emotional, and educational needs of school-age youth in Marion County.
b. We acknowledge the barriers that prevent many of today’s youth from developing a positive and healthy sense of “self.” With the refreshing of our program content, we will increase the percentage of youth who complete each module or cohort and they will demonstrate knowledge learned according to our Firefighter benchmarks. These improvements will lead to greater overall program success with youth learning more and developing into solid community leaders.

2. Improve the leadership training lessons for our cadets so they can take over (with guidance) all summer camp planning and implementation operations.
a. This will be accomplished through project-based learning which allow the cadets to learn while having fun.
b. The emphasis will also be on completing weekly short-term and program-wide long-term goals.

3. Hire qualified and educated staff to improve our age group supervision ratios.
a. The quality of information delivered is more important than large numbers because we want the cadets to internalize our lesson to change their lives.
b. Counselors overseeing smaller groups will improve the teaching and comprehension of our lessons and allow for increased youth participation.
Experience has taught us to track the data and learn from it while developing, modifying, and implementing our programs. A snapshot of tracking and measurement tools include:

1- 80% of youth will have achieved at least one “A” grade in their school homework, tests, projects or other assignments. Measured by tracking grades.

2- 80% of youth will have received a minimum of 20 hours of focused programming in leadership and prevention skills. Measured by tracking of attendance and participation.

3- 85% of youth will have identified a continuing education establishment to develop a career that is in demand and pays a decent wage. Measured by behavioral and attendance tracking.

4- 80% of youth will demonstrate three steps in goal setting and three positive responses to facing adversity. Measured by behavioral and attendance tracking.

5- 90% of youth will have successfully completed the Readers Are Leaders “hours read” challenge and character description activity. Measured by tracking of reading.

6- 80% of youth will successfully recite the Nguzo Saba (7 Life Principles) and share how they positively impact their lives. Measured by tracking participation.

7- 80% of youth will identify a minimum of three activities to Do Something Positive and make healthy choices. Measured by tracking attendance.

8- 85% of Cadets will complete 120 hours of value-based programming. Measured by attendance.

9- 80% of Cadets will complete 7 hours of cultural competency, inclusion, and equity training. Measured by attendance.

Expenses
Capacity Building $6,000
Software Systems/Technology $1,000
Professional Development $1,000
Consultants $1,000
Bookkeeper $1,000
Staff Retention / Attraction $2,000

Program Enhancement $9,000
Transportation to Educational Outings $ 3,000
Program & Module Supplies $ 3,000
Personnel (Salary / Benefits) $ 3,000

Total Expenses $15,000 $15,000

The community could do a better job of addressing the root causes of systemic racism as it appears in schools, government policies and business practices. The community could also do a better job of educating residents throughout Central Indiana about systemic racism – how it started centuries ago and still persists in our systems today. All Central Indiana youth, families and citizens will benefit from tackling these two issues.

The community could offer more cost-effective community learning activities that enable youth to grow and learn. Indianapolis has a multitude of educational facilities such as the Children’s Museum, Historical Society, Indianapolis Zoo, and more but youth serving organizations like ours cannot go because we do not have the financial resources to attend.

Over the summer kids need more tutoring, reading, and math learning opportunities that are different from learning inside the school because kids are so behind due to the pandemic. The community could address this need.

Finally, the community could provide safer neighborhood environments where kids can grow, learn, and have fun without the threat of violence. This starts with lights at night in the parks and on the street.

January 12, 2024 at 4:14 pm January 12, 2024 at 4:14 pm 29563 n4yxs 0 0
Christel House Academy, Inc. dba Christel House Indianapolis Ashley Kozler [6495] [6560] Accounting and Grants Director 317-783-4690 akozler@chschools.org 2050 15 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] High-Dosage, Individualized Tutoring 15000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

Urban schools face unique challenges, and Indianapolis schools are no exception to barriers related to poverty, race disparities, and non-English speaking students. In fact, just 15,000 of the 45,000 kids within Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) boundaries are enrolled in high-quality public schools (The Mind Trust, 2016).

As shown from recent IREAD results, Indiana third graders haven’t caught up on reading skills post-pandemic. In fact, proficiency rates have been steadily falling for the past decade. This is a challenge also faced by Christel House Indianapolis.

To address this issue, Christel House Indianapolis created a partnership with Ignite to provide high-dosage tutoring to our most at risk students in third or fourth grade at our Christel House Academy South and Christel House Academy West schools. These students are supported in basic reading development with daily 1:1 instruction from the Ignite tutors.

Students are placed into three separate during the Ignite sessions. Tier 1 is for students working on Grade 1 or 2 reading level skills and passed their first progress monitoring assessment. Tier 2 is for students who did not pass their progress monitoring assessment; or is working on Grade K reading skills. Tier 3 is for students who did not pass their progress monitoring assessment AND is working on Grade K reading skills; or students who failed a progress monitoring assessment twice.

Christel House Indianapolis students currently participating in the Ignite programming are in either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Christel House Indianapolis is a recognized educational leader, with a history of serving Indianapolis students for over 20 years, including students in our traditional K-12 model and adults through our DORS program. While the initial vision was for Christel House Indianapolis to be a K-8 elementary school, we have now grown to two K-8 campuses, a combined high school, an adult high school on four campuses, an infant through Pre-K program in partnership with Early Learning Indiana, and we launched IndyTeach, a teacher licensure program that has also expanded into IPS and other charter school partner schools.

We have a proven track record in preparing graduates for college and career readiness. In 2020, 62% of our high school graduates enrolled in college, compared to 53% of students across Indiana. Christel House graduates are also more likely to attain sustained employment and earn higher wages than their peers, with 44% of Christel House graduates sustaining employment, compared to 23% of graduates across the State. Five years after high school graduation, Christel House graduates have a median annual income that’s about $5,000 higher than local comparators.

We request funds through this opportunity to support our Ignite partnership to provide high dosage tutoring to our underserved third and fourth grade students.

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Our goal through the High-Dosage, Individualized Tutoring initiative is to help move our underserved Indianapolis students past the 50th percentile in initial NWEA testing on reading skills. By providing high dosage tutoring to our most at risk students, we can provide instruction that meets them where they are with individualized supports to increase their confidence and skills throughout the academic year so that they gain higher proficiency in later years.

Expected Outcomes:
1) At least 25% of Ignite students achieve “Bright Spots”, meaning they have progressed quickly and/or overcome challenges.
2) At least 75% of Ignite students achieve 1 Level Progress, meaning that they have moved up one protocol in the reading skills.

If awarded funding for the High-Dosage, Individualized Tutoring, the Season for Sharing funds would be used to provide the high dosage tutors through Ignite on a daily basis for the individualized 1:1 support to elevate basic reading skills for our underserved third and fourth grade students at our Christel House Academy South and Christel House Academy West schools during 2024.

January 12, 2024 at 8:24 pm January 12, 2024 at 8:24 pm 29566 x8blu 0 0
Cornerstone Youth Services INC Jazzmin Williams [6495] [6560] Director of Programs 3175830119 jwilliams@cornerstoneyouthservicesinc.org 20 youth 4 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Enhancing professional skills in youth through certification and training 15000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

Post-secondary enrollments have decreased since COVID-19 in the beginning of 2019. The ClearingHouse Research Center reported that the Fall of 2019 overall post-secondary enrollment fell 1.3% from the previous fall season (2019). The report estimates this to be about 231,000+ students that chose alternative methods. Having some form of secondary and postsecondary education increases the likelihood of obtaining high paying positions, long term employment and career advancement. Secondary and postsecondary options teach skills needed to adjust to working conditions and the flow of work culture of specific fields, this learning often takes 1+ years to complete on the job. “Going to college offers career choices, the ability to make more money and personal skills that can be used by an individual over a lifetime”, according to the Tarjan Center at UCLA. The opportunity to enhance our employment services for the teens we serve will increase the likelihood of obtaining a career. Our youth will now be exposed to professional and employability skills sooner than adulthood.

Cornerstone Youth Services INC is a non-profit organization committed to serving youth ages 13-18 years of age with reconnecting to the community as productive members. We serve youth interested in building a sustaining future, personal growth and overcoming stigma in their own community. We plan to continue to serve youth under the age of 18 by providing certifications and training before entering into the workforce. All of our youth have shared their excitement with joining the workforce. Many of our youth are raised in a single-parent working household and these parents have little time to educate them on joining the workforce. In offering an employment clinic and working with youth we have found that most youth learn employability skills through trial and error on their first job. Our youth have reported holding a job for less than 6 months before moving on to another opportunity due to pay, working conditions and/or lack of skills to do the job. Having completed certifications and training will enhance their chances of obtaining a higher level of employment and increase sustainability of employment. The certifications will be offered online and the education will be through highly recommended courses. Examples of certifications offered will include; Customer Service Soft Skills, Microsoft Certification, Osha Safety Certification, Android/IOS Developer, Coding/Tech, CCNA and more. Certification and training programs will prepare young professionals for adulthood and non-traditional paths to success.

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Cornerstone Youth Services INC hopes to secure additional funding to support our current programming. We work with justice-involved youth on obtaining skills, resources and support. The program provides mentorship, employment coaching, mindset and life skills training with goals of reducing recidivism. The funding we receive through the “Our Children Fund” will be used to pay for the costs of offering and obtaining certification and training for employment. We will define success in three ways; enrollment, completion and obtaining employment. Our outcomes include; 30 youth will enroll in training, 20 youth will obtain a certification and at least 15 youth will gain employment. Of the 20 youth that obtain a certification at least 5 will obtain employment using the skills acquired through the certification. We expect to complete this within 1 year of receiving funding.

In order to ensure our staff receives the training and support needed to administer and set up the certifications we expect to utilize $1000 to obtain training needed to monitor testing. The time required to monitor the training and programming will add additional hours each week for our staff. We will utilize $4000 to ensure these hours are paid throughout the year. In order to accommodate 20+ youth we predict to spend roughly $350-$500 per youth on certification and/or training or $10,000 total.

There are many agencies supporting adults with obtaining employment but for youth interested in the workforce it can be difficult to find programming that works around the school schedule. The community could adapt to the needs of teens to ensure they are prepared for adulthood.

January 12, 2024 at 9:01 pm January 12, 2024 at 9:01 pm 29567 5y542 0 0
Indianapolis Public Library Foundation Kasey Davis [6495] [6560] Director of Development 2605190937 kdavis@indyplfoundation.org 90,000 17 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Youth Reading Programs 15000 Supporting families [6516] [6519]

This package includes programs that serve two segments of the population including preschool aged children and school aged children. Programs focus on providing inclusive learning experiences to children in low-income areas. The On the Road to Reading program delivers high quality, standards-based story programs in preschools and childcare centers. Educators also receive coaching on integrating literacy objectives into their classrooms. This provides much needed access to children and childcare centers that would otherwise lack it. The Paws to Read program is provided at multiple branches, increasing confidence in young readers who may not have a safe place to practice. And the Graphic Novel Club will encourage students to engage with their peers with new, exciting books.

This proposal includes three programs: On The Road to Reading, Paws to Read, and Graphic Novel Club.

The On the Road to Reading program is a comprehensive program in which Library staff visit preschools and childcare facilities, presenting story programs and leaving Bunny Bags of books to supplement the classroom collection. Staff provide hands-on activities for classroom use as well as kits including materials and teaching guides. Providers also receive resources to strengthen their own skills and to share with parents.

The Paws to Read program offers children an opportunity to practice reading to a Paws & Think therapy dog. Research shows that therapy dogs can help to reduce anxiety as well as improve focus and attention span. Therapy dogs serve as a calm presence and allow children to work to improve literacy, comprehension and communication with a nonjudgmental listener. Children with reading difficulty in early grade school are less likely to complete high school. Children will have the opportunity to read aloud to a therapy dog to increase their reading confidence and comprehension in 15 minute time slots.

The Graphic Novel Club will encourage children ages 9-12 to read a new book each month and discuss what they’ve read with their peers. This will also encourage siblings, parents, and other family members to come and spend time in the library while their child participates in the book club. Books for discussion will be chosen in advance and put on hold or purchased for book club attendees. Attendees can pick up their copies a month in advance to read. Each month, attendees will meet to discuss the book and participate in activities related to the book of the month. At the end of each book
club meeting, attendees can pick up next month’s book.

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Participating in high quality early childhood programs impacts academic success. By increasing the quality of literacy education in marginalized communities, this program directly affects children in poverty in Marion County. More than 10% of early childhood education programs are at Level IV on Paths to Quality. (IYI Kids Count 2023) With limited access to the high quality childcare necessary for school success, students in marginalized communities. We work with Child Care Answers to identify childcare centers that would benefit from this program. In addition, we will ensure that imagery used in promotional materials reflects a diverse audience, as well as utilizing books and resources that focus on children of color.

On the Road to Reading – $12,430 to be used for books, materials, staff support, and supplies.

Paws to Read – $1,500 to be used for Paws and Think (program partner) to provide program.

Graphic Novel Club – $1,070 to be used for books, snacks, and crafts.

January 12, 2024 at 9:15 pm January 12, 2024 at 9:15 pm 29569 hm26g 0 0
St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center Shannon Mason [6495] [6560] Chief Development Director 317-361-4882 smason@stmarysecc.org 151 children 23 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Social Worker 15000 Building capacity, Enhancing services, Supporting families [6516] [6519]

Young children who grow up in poverty are likely to enter school two years behind more advantaged peers and the achievement gap continues to widen during their school experience. However, research indicates that the involvement of a child in a high-quality early childhood program results in significant life-long positive outcomes including higher IQ scores, achievement levels and graduation rates. In addition, these children are less likely to be retained, enrolled in special education, or incarcerated. The research shows that the children most affected by these programs are at-risk children, like those served at St. Mary’s. The early childhood program must be of high quality for the children to achieve these positive outcomes.
St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center addresses the problem of school readiness. Children in poverty are less likely to be ready for school. Developmentally, they go to school with the skills of a three-year-old. The children lack the experiences common to other children. Research indicates that children who have been read to an average of 1400 hours will be successful in first grade. This happens for children in the middle class. However, children in poverty are read to an average of 25 hours in the first 6 years of their life. In addition, the observed cumulative vocabulary for children in middle class families is 1,116 words and only 525 words for children in low-income families by the age of three.
The Early Childhood Program offers two initiatives that are designed to impact school readiness and provide significant life-long positive outcomes: The Preschool Program and Professional Development Program. The Preschool Program serves 151 three to five-year-old children in our classrooms at two sites in Indianapolis. 93% of the children we serve live in poverty. The Professional Development Program provides professional development activities for community educators to allow them to provide high-quality early learning experiences to ensure the success of children served at their schools.

St. Mary’s Preschool Program provides the highest quality early childhood experience for the three-five-year-old children attending our schools. Our program is state-licensed, nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Level 4 (the highest level) on Indiana’s quality rating scale. We have built in support for children and families through our social services, food services and family engagement programming. We provide a low adult to child ratio (1:7) to ensure that we can focus on the social and emotional, as well as cognitive and physical, development of the children.

We currently serve children at two locations: the Thompson Building (downtown) and the Gilliatte Building (Fort Harrison). The program serves the following diverse group of children annually in Marion County:
Gender:
43% boys
57% girls

Race:
5% Caucasian
38% African American
1% Asian

14% Two or more
41% Other

Ethnicity:
48% Hispanic
52% Non-Hispanic

As 93% of our families live in poverty, many of the children we serve have experienced trauma and adversity. Studies reveal that children who do not reach minimal social competence by age six are likely to have difficulties in school and throughout life. Children who experience trauma early in life face the risk of compromised emotional development.

St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center partners with Butler University in the study of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, renowned to be one of the best curriculum models in the world. In addition, we foster the child’s mental and behavioral health through our work in educational neuroscience and brain-informed discipline. We study and implement strategies with Dr. Lori Desautels of Butler University. This work is essential as many of the children at St. Mary’s have experienced great trauma and adversity. We must help the children to dampen their response to trauma and adversity by self-regulating and making connections with others. These abilities are a pre-condition for learning.
Despite these efforts, there are additional resources and strategies needed to best serve our children and families. We have determined we need a full-time Social Worker on staff. This trained individual would work in both of our locations and assist both families and staff. We currently offer referrals for services needed. The referrals are made to community agencies with the expertise to meet those needs. Partnerships are built and nourished throughout the year to provide maximum impact to families.

St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center’s mission and vision focuses on positively impacting the futures of the children and families we serve for success in learning and in life. St. Mary’s will provide a high-quality early education program (Preschool) for 151 three to five-year-old children each year. 93% of our children live in poverty. As a result, they experience additional trauma and adversity. St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center would like to hire a full time Social Worker.
While 1 in 4 Hoosier children under the age of 6 live in families at or below the federal poverty line, 1 in 3 Indianapolis kids do. According to welfarinfo.org, Black and Hispanic residents have a far greater poverty rate than White residents. Close to half of all Indianapolis children are living in impoverished conditions when the level is changed to 150 percent of the poverty line.
In addition to living in poverty, many of the children we serve have experienced neglect and abuse. More than one quarter (26%) of Hoosier children have one or more emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions, compared to 22% nationally. Studies reveal that children who do not reach minimal social competence by age six are likely to have difficulties in school and throughout life. Children who experience trauma early in life face the risk of compromised emotional development.
With a Social Worker on staff, we would be able to directly serve and meet more of the needs of our children during their time on site. While external referrals would still occur, we would be able to expand upon current partnerships as well as provide services on site. Our program goals include meeting the whole needs of both the child and family. A Social Worker on our team would help meet these goals.

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Success for the children is defined as being developmentally ready for kindergarten. Through this milestone, their success in future years of school is likely as they are starting on grade level. Outcomes in the Preschool Program are measured by the COR assessment. We measure growth throughout the year and determine the child’s developmental age to determine kindergarten readiness.
Due to having a full-time Social Worker on staff, we expect to be able to work with both families and staff members more effectively. A Social Worker’s approach to care is oriented toward solving problems and promoting positive social change. While St. Mary’s focuses on the child in our Preschool Program, we understand the entire family needs stabilization for success. We focus on resources and guidance needed to reach success through our Family Engagement component.
We expect to see stress reduced in our children through their efforts with the Social Worker. The individual will also work with our staff to provide strategies for coping and calming within situations. As a result, we will see the annual assessments completed on children improve. These assessments determine the level a child enters kindergarten at developmentally.

We plan to spend the funding on the salary and benefits of a Social Worker. The individual would be a full-time employee of St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center.

January 12, 2024 at 11:02 pm January 12, 2024 at 11:02 pm 29570 demxd 0 0
Horizons at St. Richard’s AmySue Bacon [6495] [6560] Executive Director 317-926-0425 abacon@horizonsindy.org Horizons serves approximately 175 students and their families each summer and through year-round programming. 17 [6505] [6506] [6507] [6508] [6509] [6510] [6501] Closing Gaps in Literacy at Horizons Summer Academic and Enrichment Program 15,000 Building capacity [6516] [6519]

Inequities built into our education system, like the uneven distribution of resources, create barriers for some students to access the knowledge and skills every student needs to be prepared for life after high school. Every year, children from families that qualify for free and reduced lunches face an opportunity gap during the summer. Sending a child to summer camp is a costly endeavor, with camps charging a range of fees from $75 – $500 per week per child. For many families’ budgets, the cost of sending their child or children to camp is not possible. This is where Horizons steps in by offering a tuition-free academic and enrichment summer program with opportunities for students to learn, grow, and achieve their goals. Our program addresses education inequity through offering joyful, high-quality programming without a hefty price tag for parents. 100 percent of incoming Horizons students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. Meeting parents’ needs of having a safe, caring, and enriching environment during summer for their children without costly fees sets Horizons apart from other out-of-school time programs.

The “summer slide,” or loss of reading and math skills during the summer months, impacts the academic success of children each year. Making summer learning accessible to all students is important because according to a study by RAND, students who attend at least 5 weeks of summer programming experience gains in reading and math. Where out-of-school time learning is available, students gain approximately 6,000 hours of extra learning by the 6th grade. Where it is not, students can test 2.5 to 3 grade levels behind more affluent peers with access to high-quality out-of-school time learning. All students deserve resources to help them develop proficient reading and writing skills and build a love of learning. Horizons students gain an average of 6 – 10 weeks in critical reading and math skills. They begin the next school year with more confidence and enthusiasm.

Each summer, Horizons programs support students in setting their own goals and provide opportunities for them to build the social-emotional tools, the academic skills, the healthy habits, and the confidence to reach them. Much research has shown that students who struggle academically in school often also struggle with self-regulation, behavior, and attendance, and students that struggle with self-regulation, behavior, and attendance struggle in school. Horizons provides our students with counseling services and SEL lessons on topics such as naming emotions, managing anxiety, handling peer conflict, and goal-setting. Students are encouraged to continually strive to live into our RISE values: respect, integrity, safety, and empowerment, in their words and actions. During our safe, rigorous, fun, and tuition-free summer program, students are given opportunities to practice, make mistakes, and improve. The SEL tools and skills follow our students into their school year and life beyond Horizons. Students and their families love Horizons so much that our program had an 78% return rate and a 92% daily attendance rate in 2023. Our students are coming back day after day and year after year to build on their academic gains in a positive, nurturing environment.

Learning to swim is a right of passage for many children; however, swimming is an activity that has not traditionally been easily accessible for people of color. 64% of children of color in the U.S. do not know how to swim, and 79% of children from under-resourced families have little to no swimming ability. The need for children of color to develop life-saving swim skills is real. Horizons at St. Richard’s (Horizons at SRES) seeks to change this statistic in Indianapolis by including swimming as part of our academic and enrichment summer program. Through our partnership with the JCC, Horizons students participate in swim lessons three times per week and have free swim fun time to play in the water. Each summer that our students return, their swimming skills get stronger. In fact, 100% of the eighth grade class passed the swim test this past summer, showing their mastery of life-saving swim skills. In addition to the physical benefits of regular swimming lessons, students gain other life skills, such as perseverance, self-confidence, and goal setting. Students take pride in learning to swim and their increased self-confidence carries over into the classroom. The swim skills our students develop remain with them long after their summers with Horizons. The impact of swimming on our students’ lives is powerful.

The Horizons Academic and Enrichment Summer Program meets many needs facing families in Indianapolis. The specific need that will be met through funding the “Closing Gaps in Literacy at Horizons Summer Academic and Enrichment Program” proposal focuses on a need to minimize learning loss and encourage literacy gains for low-income students in Marion County. Through providing highly-qualified, licensed professional educators to drive literacy instruction and provide one-on-one support for students, real gains can be made. Impacting educational equity in Indianapolis by ensuring all students have opportunities for the academic success needed to realize their dreams makes Indianapolis a stronger thriving community.

With the support of the Indy Star’s Season of Sharing funding, Horizons seeks to assist students in our program with building reading and writing skills and closing gaps in grade-level literacy. Specifically, these funds will be used to offer competitive salaries to secure a Reading Specialist and a Reading Interventionist for our six-week summer program. All 150 students that Horizons serves during the summer would be served by this funding since Horizons’ literacy program is led by our Reading Specialist and supported by our Reading Interventionist. This team of educators works with all of our classes from Pre-Kindergarten – 8th grade. The Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist coordinate our pre and post STAR Assessment scheduling. STAR is an adaptive, computerized assessment created by Renaissance Learning that measures literacy and numeracy skills. STAR Assessments provide educators with accurate, reliable, and valid data quickly so that they can make good decisions about instruction and intervention. The Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist help teachers utilize students’ STAR literacy data, and collaborate with teachers to plan intervention for classes and individual students. This data is vital to providing targeted instruction to accelerate learning. Horizons exists to accelerate learning recovery. Students experience an average of 6 -10 week gains in reading and math over the course of a summer with Horizons. Additionally, Horizons Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist push into the classroom to support lead teachers in their large- and small-group instruction and to help identify critical reading skills. The Reading Specialist and Reading Intervention also work one-on-one with students to strengthen literacy skills, such as phonics, comprehension, and literary analysis. These funds will provide our students with individualized support by providing the opportunity for students with significant literacy gaps to work one-on-one with a licensed educator and literacy expert. Every student deserves quality instruction tailored to meet their needs, and Horizons is able to offer high-quality, personalized instruction to the students that need it most through the work of our Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist. Additionally, our reading team works closely with not only students and teachers but also Horizons families to foster a connected, supported, and learning-rich environment for students in school and at home. The Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist prepare an individualized progress report for each student’s family and school with pre- and post- STAR assessment scores and helpful tools for navigating and utilizing this information. Horizons specialists often meet with families to offer guidance on strategies to support literacy at home and on how to be an effective advocate for their child during the school year.

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Horizons at St. Richard’s expects to positively impact the lives of the students we serve and utilizes a variety of measures to track the impact of our program. Success looks like happy children who feel confident in their reading and writing abilities. For this proposal, we hope to accomplish the following specific goals.

The Horizons Network students show yearly average gains of six to ten weeks of academic growth over the course of the six weeks students attend a Horizons summer program. In Summer 2024, Horizons at St. Richard’s students on average will meet or exceed eight weeks of reading gains thanks to the support of teachers and students by the Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist. This will be measured by pre and post STAR Assessment data.

In Summer 2024, 50% of Horizons at St. Richard’s students testing in the far below (red) and below grade level (yellow) on the pre-summer assessment will move up one level in post-summer assessment due to support of students with the largest learning gaps by the Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist. This will be measured by pre and post STAR Assessment data.

100% of Horizons parents/guardians will receive an end-of-summer progress report identifying literacy and math skill gains and areas for improvement for their student(s) due to the work of the Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist. This will be measured by tracking and sign out sheets at the End of Summer Celebration where parents indicate they received their packet of student data and progress.

Horizons will retain both our Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist from Summer 2023 to Summer 2024 due to offering a competitive salary. This will be measured by staff retention data.

Horizons offers set salary amounts for faculty positions in our summer program. The requested $15,000 will be spent on salaries for the Reading Specialist and Reading Interventionist.
$9,000 of the awarded amount will be spent to fund the majority of the $9,500 Reading Specialist salary. $6,000 of the awarded amount will be spent to fund the majority of the $6,750 Reading Interventionist salary.

The community should continue to fund and increase funding to out-of-school time programs that enrich the numerous hours that students spend away from school. These non-profits provide safe, non-violent spaces for children to continue learning and growing.

January 12, 2024 at 11:45 pm January 12, 2024 at 11:45 pm 29571 8otyd 0 0

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