With the help of a $150,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network afterschool and future summer learning programs are getting a boost.
Based in Kanawha County, the network is part of West Virginia University Extension Service and provides support for afterschool programs. The afterschool field is an essential part of West Virginia communities’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and programs will continue to play a critical role throughout recovery.
“We want to focus on what we can do to help strengthen programs and support families around this time. We want to learn more about their needs,” said Susan Gamble, director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network.
The grant provides the program with funds to distribute mini-grants to afterschool programs as they partner with schools to work together to support students.
Some of the funds will be allocated to hiring STEM ambassadors to engage youths virtually during this time. Another portion of funds will go to provide trainings to afterschool staff to enhance their skills of tutoring and academic enrichment supports to student participants.
Students, families and school systems are coping with unprecedented times in their environments. Bringing students back into schools and navigating the world of virtual learning presents unique challenges.
“Students returning to school have experienced extreme social disconnect, trauma and significant learning gaps. Afterschool programs are an essential partner in addressing these challenges,” Gamble said.
Afterschool programs in the state are discovering innovative ways to keep youths safe while continuing to stay engaged in learning. Their top priority is ensuring that all youths have access to learning opportunities and support to stay strong, resilient and hopeful for the future.
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private support on behalf of the University. To learn more about supporting WVU Extension Service programs, contact Lauren Seiler at 304-293-5692.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local WVU Extension Service office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension Service news on Facebook and Twitter by following @WVUExtension.