Thursday, October 15, 2009

YMCA Receives Grant to Open Middle School Learning Centers

I have heard some rumors about some big news coming from the YMCA of Western North Carolina.  This is the first of a few announcements that I expect to hear from them this fall.  

YMCA of WNC Receives Its Largest Program Grant Ever to Open
Two 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Buncombe County Middle Schools

Asheville, NC, Oct. 14, 2009 The YMCA of WNC today announced it received a $663,000 grant from the Department of Education to open two 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Buncombe County Middle Schools.

“This award represents the largest program grant the YMCA of Western North Carolina has ever received. It is a wonderful vote of confidence in the YMCA, our relationship with Buncombe County Schools and the amazing work of our staff,” said Paul Vest, president of the YMCA of WNC.

The grant was given as part of the No Child Left Behind Act by the Department of Education through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant funds are to assist schools, local educational activities (LEAs), and faith or community-based organizations to provide before school, afterschool and summer services through the establishment of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Programs (21st CCLCs).

The learning centers will be located in Erwin and Enka middle schools and will open Oct. 26, 2009. The centers will serve students Mon. through Thurs. with after school programs focusing on academic enrichment to improve student performance through tutoring and direct assistance. The centers will also work to increase parental involvement and support by offering evening classes focusing on English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED education throughout the year.

The centers will provide an arena for programs to improve math and literacy levels of students, support student learning and development through enrichment opportunities, building character and increasing graduation awareness and developmental assets.

“The middle school years are a crucial transition time for our students,” said Buncombe County Schools Superintendent Tony Baldwin. “These learning centers will provide important support for our students not only academically, but emotionally and socially as well, strengthening our Graduation Initiative and ultimately reducing our dropout rate. We are extremely fortunate to have a strong partnership with the YMCA as we work to keep kids in school and prepare them for 21st Century careers.”

The YMCA, in partnership with Buncombe County Schools, is working collaboratively with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, LEAF in Schools and Streets, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, POETIX and the Buncombe County Sheriff Office to make this program a success.

“Throughout our 120 year history of serving, the YMCA has looked for opportunities to address the needs of our communities. We are ecstatic that the state is giving us, with Buncombe County Schools, the resources to positively impact and enrich the lives of these middle school students and families,” said Vest.

Each 21st Century Learning Center will serve 75 students and their families, and will choose students based on their math and reading scores. State testing actually identified more than 400 students eligible. The funding will be spread out over four years, decreasing in amount throughout the cycle and is contingent on successful completion of grant requirements and evidence of growth and progress.

Media Contact:
Jenn Murphy, YMCA of WNC, Community Development Director
(828) 210-9604, (828) 210-9014,

No comments: