From Caring Matters, July 2015
Lemoyne Community Center, the recipient of the 2014 $10,000 Mother's Fund grant, is working to empower underserved children in Washington by engaging students in out-of-school and after-school programs and activities that focus on education, art, health, sports, and recreation.
The Center hopes that through its commitment to these children, it can help to: stop the dropout cycle associated with generational poverty, decrease the illiteracy rate, reduce the youth crime rate, and provide entry into successful workforce endeavors and post-secondary education.
The $10,000 grant, awarded in support of the Homework and More after-school program, has been used to increase staffing and expand the piano class from one to three days a week.
Prior to receiving the grant, the Center was able to serve about 60 low-income students, ages 6 to 16, daily. With the additional staff support, more than 90 students are now able to attend Homework and More.
The goal of the program, which offers everything from assistance with homework to life skills development activities, is to help the children excel in and out of school. Recent report cards indicate that the Homework and More activities are making a positive impact on the students' academic performance.
"We have helped to elevate the grades as well as the attitudes of the students," writes Executive Director Joyce Ellis.
The piano program, which serves more than 30 participants, has become a very popular "and More" activity. However, with only one day of instruction per week at the Center and no way to practice at home, the students' skills were not developing as quickly as they should have been. Now that the program has been expanded to three days a week, the students have more opportunities to develop their skills and are improving.
The WCCF was also fortunate to learn about the successes of two fourth grade students who were struggling academically before joining the piano program.
"They have embraced the piano classes. It was like something connected for both of these young boys in terms of their concentration and class behavior. Teachers have reported a substantial difference in their attention span. Research indicates when students learn music or arts their attention span increases and they become better students. This is especially true with youths who are living in poverty," Ms. Ellis remarked.