Friends of the Children received fantastic news in early June that the organization would be receiving a Summer Program Support Grant from Eugene School District 4J that the district received as a component of Federal COVID relief efforts.
The grant supports Friends -Lane County’s 4J students through structured one-on-one activities with youth to promote social/emotional learning and literacy throughout the summer. The grant allows Friends to provide up to four hours of direct service to youth every week helping get youth maintain academic and social gains throughout the summer. The grant also enables Friends’ mentors to support the success of the program’s youth in other structured programs, like that offered by Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA, allowing the organizations to be mutually supportive of these youth and families.
Friends was also able to rent a classroom from 4J at the Arts and Technology Middle School that is also implementing a supplemental food program throughout the summer, giving Friends of the Children an opportunity to supplement food access for some youth/families.
The grant is also enabling the Friends-Lane County organization to focus on building literacy skills with youth in a more structured manner. Friends’s mentors have participated in significant training sessions on literacy and are engaging youth in literacy-related activities on all their outings. Friends was also able to provide families with access to tablets and online literacy apps over the summer. The organization will also study which practices seem to best support youths’ progress to help inform future literacy-based endeavors.