Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.) is set to offer free afterschool and summer learning programs at Dawes Elementary School and King Lab Magnet School beginning in February of 2013. Late last week, the Illinois State Board of Education awarded Y.O.U. a competitive grant of $270,000 per year to launch these new programs, which will offer students a wide array of activities that promote academic, social, and emotional development. The grant is renewable for up to five years, assuming the continued availability of federal funds, and thus is expected to total as much as $1.35 million.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our services to Dawes and King Lab,” said Seth Green, Executive Director of Y.O.U. “We know that these services make a real difference in the lives of youth and that they provide critical support to working parents.” Indeed, Green noted that 71% of youth who actively participated in Y.O.U.’s afterschool and mentorship program last year increased their GPAs, and 91% improved their social skills based on pre- and post- evaluations.
“This is great news for the youth of our District,” said Dr. Hardy Murphy, Superintendent of District 65. “Y.O.U. already supports more than 500 youth in the District annually and this new grant will allow Y.O.U. to provide a safe, enriching, and nurturing afterschool and summer experience to 150 more District youth each year.”
Each day, Y.O.U.’s afterschool programs offer students three hours of stimulating activities and support. Part of the time is devoted to homework assistance; the rest of the time is focused on hands-on, skill-building activities such as poetry workshops, science experiments, team sports, and art lessons.=
“Y.O.U. provides vital services that help youth in our community succeed,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “The expansion of these services to new schools is great news for our community.”
Y.O.U. will now operate afterschool programs at seven Evanston schools – Chute, Dawes, ETHS, King Lab, Nichols, Oakton, and Washington – and at two Evanston community sites. Y.O.U. also recently received a competitive grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to open an afterschool program at Lincoln Junior High School in Skokie.
“Y.O.U. is a key partner in our community-impact plan, LIVE UNITED 2020, providing kids and families in communities of greatest need with education, income and health resources they need most,” said Joe Vanyo, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Regional Operations at United Way. “The expansion of Y.O.U.’s services to two new schools in Evanston moves our community one step closer in achieving our goal to help 50,000 underperforming middle school kids enter high school ready to succeed.”
Y.O.U. Board President John Koski said that the exciting news should be seen as a community accomplishment. As Koski explained, “Our success relies on the collective effort of this community—the partners, donors, staff, board, and volunteers who make our work possible. In celebrating this news, we are celebrating all the stakeholders who make our programs strong.”