Centro Hispano of Dane County announced Tuesday that it would receive $100,000 over two years in the Aim High program from The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance to support programming for youth.
Centro Hispano executive director Karen Menendez Coller said in a text message to Madison365 that the funding will support the Juventud Middle School program “to grow our support as youth transition to high school. Funds will provide dedicated wrap-around support for parents of middle school youth in Centro programming … extending our focus on education and aspirations being a family affair.”
She said it’s important to support young people and their families at that age.
“A reason middle school to high school is crucial is because this is the transition when we lose Latinx kids in the school district,” she said. “Providing that extra wrap around boost is crucial.”
The funding is part of $1.8 million in new grants to 40 youth development organizations across the United States. Centro Hispano is the only Wisconsin-based organization to receive funding, and one of only nine to receive $100,000. The grants will fund organizations to support middle school youth during the out-of-school-time (OST) hours. Over the six years of the Aim High program, this current group of grantees is the largest to date both in number of grants and in total dollars awarded bringing the total to $7.95 million.
The Aim High grant program is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in OST programs to help middle school youth in under-resourced communities reach the 9th grade on time and better prepared for high school.
The grants will help sustain programs for middle school students in the face of the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on children and OST programs, according to a press release from New York Life Foundation. In addition, of the 40 grants, 20 focus on supporting OST programs’ racial and social justice equity-related projects.
The Foundation increased this year’s overall Aim High program budget by 20 percent in response to the challenges of the pandemic and the ongoing need to support racial and social justice work.
“The pandemic has created enormous challenges both for students and for the out-of-school-time programs serving them,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “Students face the challenge of catching up academically and reacclimating socially after the upending disruptions caused by the pandemic. OST programs are a lifeline for working parents and children.”
Research shows that participation in high-quality afterschool, expanded day, and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance, and more engaged students.“We’re honored to be able to partner with the New York Life Foundation on the Aim High initiative,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Afterschool and summer learning programs are working heroically to meet the needs of young people today, providing a space for young people to connect, build positive relationships, and accelerate learning. These supports are all the more critical in the wake of the pandemic, and the resulting crisis in youth mental health and disruptions in academic learning. These grants will help 40 particularly deserving organizations in that work. We congratulate all the recipients and commend the New York Life Foundation for its commitment and generosity.”