York County Community Foundation recently awarded $116,660 in grants to several area nonprofits from its Fund for York County and Agriculture & Land Preservation Fund. Grants from the Fund for York County, the Community Foundation’s most flexible fund to address community needs, totaled $81,660. These grants were awarded through the Strategic Community Grants program to nonprofit organizations whose proposals addressed one of the Community Foundation’s three focus areas: Education, Downtown Revitalization, or Nonprofit Strategic Alliances. Grants from the Agriculture and Land Preservation Fund, which totaled $35,000, will support conservation and agriculture education efforts in York County.
Fund for York County Grants: $81,660
Downtown Revitalization Projects: $20,000
Dillsburg Area Foundation received $5,000 to preserve the Old Monaghan Presbyterian Church and create a Community Cultural Center in Dillsburg Borough. The Center will be available for borough town meetings, local organizations, cultural events, art classes, speakers and other community events.
Downtown Inc received $5,000 to create five 30-second video commercials marketing downtown York as a great destination for shopping, dining, and cultural experiences. This is part of Downtown Inc’s new branding campaign, Creativity Unleashed, which seeks to improve the economic base of York’s Central Business District.
New Freedom Heritage, Inc. received $5,000 to create a brick sitting area in the center of the central business and historical district of downtown New Freedom to serve as a gathering space that will strengthen the town center identity.
Partnership for Economic Development in York County, Inc. received $5,000 to help Main Street Hanover’s efforts revitalize the streetscape in downtown Hanover with public art and new trash receptacles.
Education Projects: $51,660
Audubon Pennsylvania received $5,000 to engage students in York City in science, expand their appreciation for their local environment, and provide opportunities for them to participate in local projects, while expanding their community pride. Students will participate in habitat creation and restoration projects through planting native trees and shrubs at Kiwanis Lake, Penn Park, Lincoln Park, Veterans’ Memorial park, and on school grounds to provide better shelter for herons and egrets and improve the overall habitat. The program will provide in-class programs, field experiences in the community, and after-school clubs.
Byrnes Health Education Center received $5,000 to work with the School District of the City of York to meet the health education needs of students enrolled in the district. Through participation in this program, students will choose healthier options when given the opportunity; increase physical activity; recognize negative influences and be able to confidently resist negative influences; and improve body/self-image.
Family-Child Resources, Inc. received $4,160 to provide in-depth follow-up to participants of the “School Attendance Issues” class to ensure that they are practicing new strategies and skills learned through the class. The class, part of the Truancy Reduction Initiative, involves both the students and the parents to get youth who are experiencing attendance issues back into school.
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania received $5,000 to support the “Defy the Odds” program for approximately 350 girl scouts in elementary through high school (K-12) in underserved areas of York County. Through the “Defy the Odds” program, these at-risk girls will develop the skills and positive attitudes to help them succeed in school. The program’s curriculum is tied to national educational core standards and development of 21st Century Skills – in specialized modules developed by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Activities within each curriculum include hands-on educational games, crafts, discussions and role-playing to keep girls actively engaged while learning.
Leg Up Farm, Inc. received $5,000 to help create a Technology Hub within Matthew’s Town, a highly functional play space used to engage children with disabilities in activities that support achieving their therapeutic and educational goals. The new technology hub will house an operations board that controls a robotic arm and related STEM activity supplies, including touchscreen computers and iPads designed specifically for special needs children. The educators and therapists at Leg Up Farm will use this space with the children to focus on non-traditional approaches to academic instruction as well as in the acquisition of daily living skills such as fine and gross motor development and hand and eye coordination.
Logos Academy received $5,000 to support the Logos Academy College Ready Mentoring Program, which is a school/community partnership that supports students and their families as they begin to prepare for college entry and career exploration. Volunteer mentors, screened and trained by Logos Academy staff, are matched with upper school students in the ninth grade. Through consistent communication, interaction, and structured group gatherings, Logos Academy helps cultivate positive relationships that typically increase students’ capacity for successful transition to higher education or the world of work.
Red Lion Area School District received $5,000 to allow the District to purchase iPads to enhance instruction for at-risk, full-day kindergarten students. The iPads will help get the students up to grade level, develop a joy for learning, and give them a sense of success and achievement. Using iPads in the classroom for instruction will serve as a motivating, engaging resource for these at-risk learners in order for them to reach their greatest potential.
Spring Grove Area School District received $2,500 to support its peer mentoring program, which matches successful high school students with incoming freshmen who might need a hand in making a smooth transition and handling the rigors of high school. These at-risk freshman receive the ongoing support and intervention they need to successfully complete that first critical year as well as academic (agendas, book bags, pencils, paper, notebooks, etc.) and non-academic materials (in the form of gift cards for clothing, shoes, etc.) that clearly benefit students in today’s high school setting.
York Academy Regional Charter School received $5,000 to purchase instruments for an innovative music program that will have students composing and performing music from the earliest months of their exposure to instruction. Composing and performing music in ensemble promotes cooperation and mutual respect, causing children to focus, experiment, practice and challenge themselves in new and exciting ways that will influence their approach to traditional subjects. In addition, research shows that children who have made music together are significantly more likely to help each other, which will help forge ties among York Academy’s heterogeneous population.
York City School District received $5,000 to enable each of York City’s six K-8 buildings to send their 6th graders to Junior Achievement’s BIZTOWN. The program includes hands-on interaction learning for students in career exploration, higher thinking and problem solving, math, finance, and civic responsibility. Students who participate in JA BIZTOWN are exposed to opportunities in areas they might not otherwise discover.
YWCA York received $5,000 to support the Quantum Opportunity Academy, which gives York City students the resources, knowledge, and support they need to both graduate from high school and pursue postsecondary education. QOP Academy provides intensive support and counseling throughout the college (or postsecondary training) application, admission, and enrollment process. In this way, QOP Academy strives to not only supplement the college counseling services offered by the school district, but also to fill the service gaps in the school district’s current offerings. All of the students in YWCA York’s QOP Academy are aspiring first-generation college students.
Strategic Alliances: $10,000
Family First Health received $5,000 to partner with True North Wellness Services in order to provide diagnosis and treatment of depression in a primary care setting, which will be unique in York County. Many patients of Family First Health find it difficult to access behavioral health care due to stigma, availability of appointments, or language barriers. Evidence has shown that integrating depression care into primary care improves patient outcomes, provider and patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes. Previously, Family First Health patients would need to go off-site for this type of health treatment.
Windy Hill Senior Center received $5,000 to assist in the relocation of its facility to the vacant former Spring Grove Middle School building. The move helps Windy Hill, now known as “Windy Hill on the Campus,” improve accessibility, visibility, and address programming for younger seniors. The senior center and the school district have been collaborating on a number of intergenerational programs over the past several years that will benefit the older adults and the students in grades K-6 and 9-12 on the campus. Some of the planned programs include reading buddies, Senior to Senior Fitness program, computer buddy tutoring, and a model train club.
Agriculture & Land Preservation Grants: $35,000
Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County received $20,000 to offer landowners a stipend for completing the conservation easement process, which will result in an increase in preserved farmland in York County. A conservation easement decreases development pressure in rural areas, reducing traffic and sprawl and resulting in “smarter growth” in communities. Most importantly, the low costs of community services needed by open space tend to offset the need for tax increases.
York County Conservation District received $13,000 to help mitigate the significant negative effect that agriculturally related land uses have had on water quality in York County. Sediment from erosion of cropland, pastures, stream corridors and nutrient runoff from barnlots and animal concentration areas are main sources of pollutants. This grant will help the YCCD develop conservation plans and implement best Management Practices to significantly reduce the pollutants in the County’s streams, creeks, and rivers.
York County Conservation District received $2,000 to support the Envirothon Program, which helps students understand ecological concepts and develop team skills to become responsible leaders and stewards of our region’s important agricultural and natural ecosystems. Originally created for senior high students, York County offers the Envirothon beginning in the third grade. This means that York County has perhaps the largest level of participation in the nation with nearly 1,000 students participating each year. The 2014 Current Issue will be Sustainable Agriculture.