December 7, 2015
The YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston has received a $2,500 grant from the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust to pursue computer literacy programs in its school-age programs.
Funds will be used to purchase computers for the YMCA’s before and after school classrooms, which serve 70 children per week. Per the grant request, the YMCA will offer age-appropriate computer literacy activities to help build students’ skills and confidence with technology. This grant will leverage funds from the YMCA's corporate sponsors, Center Street Dental and JCW NAPA Distributors.
The grant comes on the heels of the YMCA of the USA’s Achievement Gap Convening, held Nov. 9–12, in Washington, D.C. Three members of the YMCA’s management team -- CEO Steven Wallace, early childhood education director Michelle Cyr, and marketing and advancement director Victoria Stanton -- attended the conference to learn more about collaborating with local schools to close the achievement gap for local children.
Cyr says, “The achievement gap is a very real phenomenon that negatively affects all children's learning, and disproportionately limits children from lower socioeconomic groups. The effects start as early as first grade, creating a gap that widens year after year unless schools and community organizations take action.”
Nationally, YMCA programs are already making a difference in student performance. Research by The Wallace Foundation and RAND Education shows that literacy intervention programs like those offered through YMCA Achievement Gap initiatives increase second graders’ reading levels by an average of three grade levels. Seventy-one percent of parents whose children participated in YMCA after school programs reported improved social and emotional skills, and more than half of students improved school conduct and increased their self-efficacy.
By adding structured computer time into its programs, the YMCA aims to give students additional exposure to technologies and academic support that they may not have access to at home.
In addition, the YMCA is seeking partnerships with local schools interested in leveraging Achievement Gap resources available through the YMCA of the USA. These resources include potential grant funding, evidence-based curricula and research findings.
Based in New Hampshire, the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust supports a variety of enrichment and community betterment projects, with a special focus on education and creating opportunities for children in rural and underserved areas.
For more information about the YMCA’s school-age programs and Achievement Gap initiatives, contact Michelle Cyr at 795-4095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.