Grant awarded to West End Center

The Foundation is pleased to continue their support of the West End Center in Roanoke, VA.

The mission of West End Center is to provide a safe place for children after school and during the summer. The purpose of West End Center is to equip children with the assets they will need to become successful adults by providing programs that meet their key developmental needs: academic education, social skills development, and overall wellness.

The funds will be used to provide West End Center’s educational programs to 150 disadvantaged school-aged children, specifically to pay the staff who teach the children and provide strong role modeling and support, and a small portion will be used for learning materials and outings. There are several components to the academic program. Children participate in tutoring four days each week. During these sessions, they complete homework assignments with the help of volunteers and professional staff and then work on enrichment activities. They participate in reading class twice each week in the school year and daily during the summer. The teacher uses the After School KidzLit curriculum, a program designed specifically for the after-school setting that uses engaging literature and hands-on activities. Emphasis is placed on STEM activities daily during the summer program. The education director also provides oversight and monitoring of the children’s academic progress. The social skills program relies on PeaceBuilders, an evidence-based curriculum that focuses on anti-bullying as well as a leadership curriculum for older students. Social skills development is emphasized in every environment and activity at West End Center. The Wellness program has a dual focus: fitness and nutrition. Children participate in a wide variety of physical activities, many that can be done throughout their lifespans. They also learn about good nutrition in addition to enjoying healthy meals and snacks daily at West End Center. Favorite activities include gardening and preparing their own snacks. In order for fragile families headed by single mothers to be successful, there must be high quality educational programs and dependable childcare. In order for the children enrolled in the program to escape the cycle of generational poverty, they must have access to programs that will support their acquisition of critical assets. This is not a problem that will be solved this year or next but only with ongoing, sustained efforts. West End Center has a successful track record of making a difference in the lives of the children who attend. Research has established the effectiveness of high quality out-of-school programs. The ability of out of school programs to provide hands-on, experiential learning is a particular strength.

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